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Son & his family want to stay with us until he finds another house. Worried about how to deal with this given our situation.

Elizabeth CP
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

As discussed on other threads I have been struggling with anxiety,  depression & exhaustion while caring for my husband who is blind & has a chronic illness which has led to frequent episodes of illness. In desperation I rang for help last week & arranged for a carer to assist so I could go away for a couple of days on a family camp over Easter. Unfortunately I developed a stomach bug so haven't been well since coming home on Sunday so fatigue is still a major problem. My husband has gone away for 5 nights with MDA & I promised I would try to rest & recover while he is away.

Today my son rang to say they had to move out of their house on Friday & have nowhere to live so can they stay with us. We downsized a few years ago due to my husband's condition so there is little room for 2 adults & a 2yr old & 11mth old. I feel like I'm in a no win situation. If I say no they have nowhere to live so I'm a terrible parent. My son also has a history of depression & has only recently started work again after a long period of being too unwell to work & being suicidal. If I agree to have them I can't rely on them to stick to any agreements. DIL is good at promising but never follows through. I find her very stressful. She yells at her son frequently which I find upsetting. They are both very messy & I would find it hard to prepare meals due to her mess. Having them here will also make it impossible to keep the house in a suitable state to ensure my husband's safety given his blindness.  Tiredness tends to lead to my husband becoming ill putting extra pressure on me. I don't know what to do.  

75 Replies 75

Dear Elizabeth. I'm sorry if our suggestions/replies made you feel bad. None of us intended that. We are concerned about you and hubby. You just said they (son) can't go to her mother's because of her own problems? You have a sick husband, your own health isn't good. All we were trying to do is stop you from feeling exactly as you do now? Correction, you do not have to come up with any alternate places for them to go, this is THEIR job. They are adults, they have to take responsibility for themselves. If you were away, they would have to look after themselves. Jess is right, you seem to want to be a 'martyr' here. If that hurts, I'm sorry. I know you think you're helping, you're not. All you're doing is taking their responsibility. If they do come to you and it goes 'pear shaped' are you going to self blame. Your hubby has no idea about any of this. You really need to let him know, to prepare him, it's his house too. You are/have been a good mum, no-one questions that, but you now have to be a wife. You and hubby have to come first here. Two little kids are not going to help hubby with his own difficulties to consider.

Thank you Starwolf,

I appreciate you & others trying to encourage me to say no which I agree would be the best option if I could do it. I guess I needed help to clarify in my own mind what I should do but also understand why it was such a terrible idea at least helped me to feel I was being reasonable in my feelings & fears rather than being a terrible, selfish unfeeling mother. Unfortunately once I had made the decision having people telling me I was wrong was rubbing salt into a wound & making me feel worse.

I also hoped (although I knew this was a very unrealistic hope) that someone might make a suggestion of somewhere I could turn for help or get my son's family to turn for help. I tried ringing one number to see what help was available for someone with nowhere to go but got no advice.

Now I need advice/encouragement to help me set up boundaries to ensure this is a short & painless as possible. I think I will need to have somewhere to vent but I need to feel safe doing this rather than judged. I also will need to find a balance between protecting myself (which is likely to mean escaping somewhere on my own particularly when my husband is out) & standing up for my rights so I can feel OK in my own home rather than having others take over.

Thank you for clarifying your expectations.

I may offer advice but that's where my suggestions stop. I don't do judgment and have no expectation about results. Whatever people choose to do or not to do is none of my business. I am aware at all times that the said suggestions may not be applicable or adequate.

I admit I have little to offer. The reason for this is that I fear the only alternative to a firm "no" will be an endless stream of future conflicts and hardship.

I hope I am wrong and wish you all the best.

Thank you for your reply.

Hi Elizabeth,

What an impossible situation this must feel like. It sounds like it will be emotional saying yes or no. I think you have hit the nail on the head with your comment about boundaries.

My suggestion would be to make a list of your expectations. A good old fashioned written list that you can post on the fridge. Then organise a quiet time before hubby gets back to sit down and talk them through it.

I would begin by saying, "I have agreed to let you stay temporarily as I understand you are in a difficult position. However it can't be any longer than (e.g. 3 weeks). My Drs have advised that I really shouldn't have you here at all and your father is not going to cope with this at all. I know you'll understand, 3 weeks is reasonable time to arrange an alternative. I need you to look for accommodation as a priority (suggest hiring a powered caravan site, renting, long term motel options etc... they are getting paid). I just can't offer any longer with our health issues." (If it feasible that you can help them find somewhere offer that support).

Then talk through your rules.

E.g. Rule: Toys and Play things in bedroom only. Discuss - it is going to be difficult for both of us but while you are here you will need to contain the children's toys and play things to the bedroom. Your father should be free to move around the house without concern for his safety and will not be able to that otherwise.

Rule: You cannot move furniture in the kitchen or living areas. Chairs must be pushed in after use.

Rule: All items on the kitchen bench must remain where they are currently placed. All dishes must be washed and put away immediately after use.

Rule: We eat at xx time. If you cannot be here for that time you will have to organise and clean up after your own meal.

Rule: The hallway and bathroom and toilet floors must be clear of any obstacles at all times.

Rule: From xx time at night your father likes to listen to music to relax for the night.


If the rules are then broken, you can say that it's just not working out. You can also advise that you understand that the children are little but the crying and screaming and the raised voice of the DIL is causing increased anxiety and you are concerned for your health. They need to take a few days off and make alternative arrangements immediately. This shows that you were willing to help but gives medical reasons why it's not working.

I hope this helps. A big hug to you xx

Kind thoughts,


One quick addition to my last post.

They probably will not be hapoy about the kids having to play in the bedroom. You can offer that they can only be in the living area if you are there to be able to be mindful of your husband's needs.

Kind thoughts,

Carol xx

Thank you for your suggestions. I haven't told them about my depression etc & don't want to discuss this with them Mainly because I'm worried re confidentiality. My DIL talks too much but I can use my husbands condition as a reason as that is well known & accepted. I think the idea of written set of rules is a good idea with consequences laid out. Playing in the bedroom is unfortunately not an option as there is no room. There isn't even cupboard space available as my daughter uses one room when she stays for weekends so she has her stuff stored in the wardrobe. I'm not willing to change that as I like her visiting & I don't want to make it seem like me son's family can stay longer than absolutely necessary.

I think I might speak to my other son re the list of rules to get his input as he is aware & sympathetic to the situation but not emotionally involved so he can probably help work out what is fair & reasonable with me. I think it will be helpful having a second person to help in this process. I feel that he will be supportive & I can trust him totally.

Hi Elizabeth,

They were just some examples anyway. Making up you own with some input from your don sounds good. I am glad this has helped.

Yes, keeping things as they are so your daughter is still able to visit as normal is great. It is important to reinforce the temporary nature of the situation.

Keep in mind, as some of the others have replied, that it is your home and you need them to be respectful of that.

Adult kids can sometimes forget the boundaries when it comes to Mum and Dad's home and even their time. For example, I have a friend who thinks she can drop her kids at her Mum's whenever she likes because the Mum doesn't work. She doesn't understand when her Mum gets upset. Poor Mum has her own life.

To this effect, I strongly suggest that you enforce all of the rules you set and not make any exceptions. I believe this will be the only way to be successful but may be hard on you emotionally. An example would be that they have a snack and drink after dinner but leave the dishes. You suggest they need to clean up but they say they are tired and ask to finish them in the morning. The answer is No. I understand you're tired but we have those rules we talked about and I need you to do it now like we agreed. Thanks for understanding.

My guess is that there will be times when it is very hard to manage having them in your home even with the rules and they will probably push back and may even suggest that the rules are over the top. A gentle reminder that you are doing them a favour and that it's your home your rules may help.

We will all be here to help support you and you can vent to us 🙂

I hope your tummy bug is all gone and you're feeling better. Take care and let us know how you go.

Kind thoughts,

Carol xx

Hi Elizabeth,

Good to see you working on possible compromises. Fingers crossed your guests will be willing to meet you halfway.

Enjoy what is left of the week-end. I hope it brings you peace and rest.

Thank you Carol & Starwolf,

My stomach bug has gone after spending Wednesday eating very little & being very restricted what I ate. Felt hungry & tired all day but I've been fine ever since so that is good. I have been very lazy while my husband has been away. I keep thinking I'm wasting valuable time but then remind myself that I need to allow time to recover & to regain strength to stand up to my DIL once she arrives. The positive about this thread is that I've been reminded that I'm not being unreasonable not wanting to have them stay which hopefully will help me to stand up for my rights in expecting them to fit in with me. Your suggestions give me ideas of what to say which is helpful. My daughter is here for the weekend which is nice even though she will be out with friends a lot of the time. I had my oldest son visit for lunch with his 2 kids. He cooked. His kids are 4 & 22 mths & very cute so it was fun to have them. They live close so we see them often