So, I'll admit off the bat that this is a vent.
My mother in law is driving us nuts. My partner - usually a very calm person and able to put up with a lot - has gone off at her twice in the past few weeks and doesn't know how much more he can take. I'd love to tell her what I think, I don't mind being the bad guy, but I know it wouldn't help matters.
So a bit of background. MIL has been through some tough things in her life - relationship breakdowns, domestic violence, being a single mother, death of a partner, becoming a single mother AGAIN when her eldest was independent, and now she's seriously ill.
So at the moment, she's having a rough time. Even before most of this though, she was always a self-centred person. he's one of those people who feels the world owes her, and despite all the support from family and friends it's never appreciated and it's never enough.
We're having a hard time ourselves at the moment. A very fussy new baby, lots of trouble breastfeeding, a lot of pressure on my partner due to his business, and earning very little money. Despite this, we're well aware that her situation is more serious and we're doing everything we can to help.
She has no car on the road (long story, largely due to poor financial decisions and a refusal to sell her car because "it's been good to her"), so my partner is doing a lot of driving her around. She lives 15 minutes away, so even the simplest thing usually requires at least an hour of his time. For example, she keeps asking him to take her shopping at a place near to where we live (so a minimum 30 minutes to get her and drop her off, an unknown amount of time attempting to work at home while she shops, then another half hour to get her and take her home). She wants him to do this because it's "cheaper". WE don't even shop there, despite preferring it, because neither of us has the time at the moment to go to more than one place to get food. It ends up being just a transfer of wealth anyway... with the time and the cost of driving her around, we might as well give her the money and she could put that towards shopping locally.
Speaking of money, she borrows money regularly. Usually small amounts like $20, which she pays back within a week. This is generally because she's spent all her money - and she buys plenty of unnecessary things - and then realises she "needs" money for something more important. She also has a debt of about $500 with us which has accumulated over the past few years.
Now to recently... due to everything that's been happening at home, my partner has been getting an average of maybe 4 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. He usually goes to sleep sometime during the morning, and gets up late morning/early afternoon (unless he's taking his mum somewhere, in which case he gets about an hour's sleep before leaving). He literally spends ALL day working, doing things around the house/for the baby, doing things for his mum or occasionally sleeping. Out of 24 hours he MIGHT have a total of an hour where he doesn't - this is spent eating, showering and occasionally relaxing. This is 7 days a week - no break with his business. He still takes her places, we look after her 10 yo... etc etc. As much as we can manage.
A few days ago it was his mum's birthday. As requested - he took her to an event she wanted to go to (2 days prior) as a birthday present. He also took $250 off of what she owes us (as she stresses about paying it back), and took her to the hospital for an appointment the day before her birthday so that she didn't have to take public transport. He was also going to ring her on her birthday. At 2pm on her birthday (he'd been awake for an hour), she rings him accusing him of forgetting her birthday, saying how she had to spend it all alone, how he doesn't care about her and never does anything for her. I was furious! I can't believe she doesn't realise/doesn't care how much stress she's putting on him. Even worse - what can he do about it?
So what would you do in a similar situation? Keep helping as much as possible, despite the strain it's putting on your family and the fact that it's not appreciated? Stop helping and live with the guilt?
On a similar note, how do YOU deal with ungrateful relatives in your life?
(Apologies for how disjointed this is...written over a few hours in between attempting to get a hungry, gassy, spewy, VERY overtired baby to sleep)