Parenting dilemma: Should we become a sandwich family?

Dilemma: My mom’s health is failing and I don’t want her to end up in a nursing home. I want her to move in with us, but my husband has put his foot down with a hard no. I don’t know what to do.

Every Friday at 8 p.m., readers meet on the Chicago Parent Facebook page to help solve parenting dilemmas. 

“You can always get a new husband. You can’t get a new mom.  For me, I would be taking care of my stepmom. She didn’t have to love me. But did. She didn’t have to be there for me. But she was. And I will always be there for her.” —Heather W.

“Time to get mature with the husband and see what’s going on. Find out his reasons and break through them. Last resort would be to find another living space for you AND your mom so you’ll have two homes. He will see how serious you are.” —Dar L.

“Find a therapist or a mediator to talk through what the issues are and try to come up with a solution. This is too big of an issue with huge reaching consequences to be handled with anything but maturity and reason.” —Jennifer D. 

“Your husband is thinking about you. It is a difficult task looking after an elderly or unwell parent. If you find somewhere close, it may solve all problems.” —Brigitte P.

“I would take a serious look at what it takes to care for someone. Caring for your mother will likely become a 24/7 job. It’s not the right choice for everyone. For some families, moving an older parent in just totally makes sense, for others it’s nothing but stress. … It will completely change your life.” —Emma B.

“I’d do anything for my parents and I wouldn’t hesitate. It’s gonna be time consuming, hard and stressful but nothing can repay a parent for all the sacrifices they made for you.” —Nina G. 

“You made vows with your spouse, not your mom. Would you feel it is your children’s responsibility to upend their lives to care for you?” —Nancy G.

“Your mom will not be around forever, you have to do what you can to help her. You have a voice too, not just the sound of your husband putting his foot down. I remember my parents taking my grandmother in and I would do the same. Definitely a hard decision for you to make.” —Jennie S.

“Unfortunately this is the issue with many, many people and it’s a hard decision to make. No matter how much you like to be upset with your husband, he has a right to his home and there’s no right answer except that these things should be discussed before marriage.” —Dorenda C. 

“How we respect our parents and how we sacrifice, as they have, to make their lives better, is a future indication of how we will respect our spouse in that time, and hopefully how our children will respect and treat us. Your husband needs to put his immediate needs aside and recognize this is the time to step up. There is no “foot down” scenario here. There is the right thing to do and the selfish thing to do.” —Emily P. 

“I don’t know your relationship with your mother, but I’m assuming she took care of you your whole life. It’s time to return the favor. He would understand if it was his own mother.” —Sarah B.

“Not going to sugarcoat this, your husband sounds like a jerk and then some. This is your mother, not some long-lost relative that found you on Facebook. Marriage is 50/50. He doesn’t get to make the rules and hopefully he remembers this behavior when his parent’s health begins to fail.” —April L.

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This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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