My Mother-in-Law Asks for Money Too Often and It’s Hurting Our Family: How Can I Address This With My Husband?

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QUESTION: My Mother-in-Law Constantly Asks for Money: Advice?

“My MIL always asks my husband for help. In the past, she’s asked him to help her with bills, food, etc. We recently bought her food & when we dropped them off, she immediately asked him, ‘can I have some money?’

I give her information about places that can help her with bills, food, etc. & she gives every excuse to not sign up for the assistance. I feel as if she would rather just ask my husband for things than to find a way herself. In my opinion, she is not smart about her financial decisions & does not put her priorities first. She will throw ‘get-togethers’ and spend her last on it.

The food we bought her was quickly gone due to these get-togethers. Even after we told her to be smart with it. I’m extremely frustrated because we just moved & still have things we need to get for our home. After I had my last born, she had/still has health issues (which she sees multiple doctors, multiple times a month) & needs someone to be available for the appointments.

We decided I become a SAHM. So financially, we get by, but we have to be smart about it. My husband frequently talks about finances and how he wants us to not live paycheck to paycheck & be financially stable & I started looking for jobs I can do while at home to start helping relieve the stress of supporting our family by myself. However, I find it unfair that we have to bust our behinds to provide the lifestyle we want for our family & his mom can easily just ask & he will always give.

We have had talks in the past about how if he doesn’t have it to do, then he needs to learn to tell her that. He will agree, but when it comes time to do so, he always says, ‘that’s my mom’ & helps her. Recently, she was blowing up his phone when he was getting sleep before work & when he answered she goes ‘my tire is flat, I need new tires’ I’m assuming she is expecting him to pay for that.

He doesn’t know I heard the conversation (I was lying next to him). Idk if I should bring it up & tell him we don’t have it to do, or if I should just see what he does on his own. We just got caught up on our bills from him being laid off from Covid & both of our cars need oil changes/tires/etc also. I feel like she doesn’t care we have children to take care of & other responsibilities & relies so much on others to take care of her wants/needs.

There were a few instances where we asked her to watch the kids for a few hours & she will immediately ask ‘am I getting paid?’ & it upsets me because those are her grandkids & she should want to spend time with them & not have to be ‘paid’ to spend time with them. (Just to help with the opinions: she does not work, she lives with my FIL who doesn’t really help her with anything).”

RELATED: How Can I Tell My Husband I Don’t Want His Mom to Move In With Us?

My Mother-in-Law Asks for Money Too Often and It's Hurting Our Family: How Can I Address This With My Husband?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“This will never stop if you don’t set the boundary. Just tell her you guys cannot afford it anymore, you have your own family to support. Your children should not be going without because you lack boundaries. She is taking advantage of your kindness.”

“It’s even in the Bible that when a man marries he’s to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. You’re now his #1 priority and if he’s to help his mom then it needs to be a decision both of you make.”

“You need to set up boundaries and FAST. Yes that’s his mother, buts she’s clearly taking advantage of both of you. Hell no.”

“Wait… so she is married and her husband, your FIL, doesn’t fulfill his husbandly duties?! Did I read that wrong? But helping here and there is fine, but it sounds like she has taken advantage of you guys and she comes first. You need to seriously sit down and talk to your husband about this. It’s never going to change and if you are living paycheck to paycheck you can’t afford to keep helping her. Your kids’ needs should come first.”

“Tell her that the only way you can help her is if she goes with you to Social Security and makes one of you her payee. You will pay her bills, give her an allowance and buy her groceries, and take her to appointments. Explain to her that with only one of you working the other at home with the kids you cannot stretch your budget to include her too, that this is the only way you can help her by setting her up with a budget.”

Honestly, it doesn’t ever go away. He’s a mama’s boy and unfortunately will always tend to her hand and foot from my experience. Mine put a $3000 down payment on her car because she needed a vehicle but somehow that was our responsibility to get her one. Everything of hers gets fixed on a dime. Today her alternator went out, guess what was fixed tonight while I’ve had a check engine light for months and brake light out for weeks? Guess ill be fixing them myself. Nip it in the bud now if you can. They may not go away completely but it may get a little better than it was.”

“You need to get on top of this ASAP! Speak to your husband and make him realise that his children and their upbringing is what he needs to prioritise. Put her into your budget on a monthly basis if you have to and just stick to it, if she spends it all then than that’s her problem. She’s a grown woman! My guilt would eat me up if I ever had to take from my children.”

“It would be really hard for me not to help my mom if she needs it. The fact that the her husband will not help her is really sad. At the end of the day, helping your parents is more important than material things. My dad died (56yrs) last January. Life is short.”

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