Finding a balance caring for difficult mother-in-law
My husband and I have a 7 year-old son. My work-from-home situation means he's with me whenever he's not in school. He does activities 3x per week, but we make time for play, hanging out with friends, and even some volunteering. Life isn't perfect, but we've found a balance. We're happy.
I feel sure, however, that life is about to change drastically. (Beware! Unleashing ugly frustrations....) My mother-in-law has always been a lazy, opinionated, and demanding person. (This seems to be everybody's opinion of her. She has no friends and most of the family is no longer in contact with her.) Her lifestyle choices have now caught up with her. My in-laws have a home 2 miles from us, but right now she's in a nursing home an hour away with insulin-dependent diabetes, hypertension, low-level dementia, and a host of other problems.
We just learned that my warm and caring father-in-law will have to give up driving soon due to his eyesight, so he is trying to move her to a care facility near us. I don't mind helping my FIL. He is kind and thoughtful, so I have hopes that we can set up a reasonable driving schedule for doctor appointments, grocery shopping, hanging out, and such. My MIL, however, has a long history of wanting what she wants when she wants it, and he rarely tells her no. She will "get a bee in her bonnet" about wanting something, and does not quit until she gets it.
We make dutiful visits every weekend and try to make the best of them, but the setting is sad and her company is never nice. Worse, she demands my FIL stay with her all day, and I see him slowly shutting down. Although usually active and very "with it," he's close to 80 and needs more exercise/stimulation than just sitting next to her. My son and FIL are best buddies but rarely get to see each other anymore. Her care is also going to soak up most of his savings.
1. How can I get past our history and my resentment to help create a peaceful new balance for our whole family? (Yes, this includes an attitude adjustment for me, but I'm not sure how to accomplish it.) 2. How can I work with my FIL to help him understand he's got to find his own balance with her if he's not going to just throw away the rest of his life? Are there any good books, websites, etc. that might help us? I knew "the sandwich generation" would be hard, but when you don't respect or like the person who demands all the help? Ugh.