My husband always does everything for his mom, who lives five minutes away. I feel like it’s excessive as our time together is limited and there are plenty of things to do around here that he’s not taking care of while he is helping his mother with household chores like shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters. Help!

—Married to a Mama’s Boy (United States)


I can see why this situation would be frustrating for you but validate that you are married to a good man who takes good care of his mother.

Is your mother-in-law elderly or physically or financially limited? In any case, it’s probably best she’s not up on a ladder or outside in the dead of winter shoveling snow. Is there any way you all could achieve more of a balance so you all could attend to the needs of your household while still helping your mother-in-law? The intention to make sure she’s got everything she needs is great—it just needs to be balanced with you and your husband making sure you both have what you need.

This is a great opportunity to think outside of the box. Can she have someone come to help her once a week with odd jobs? Maybe you could even get someone to come help at your own home once a week. Perhaps a handyman/woman would give you a deal if you get regular help at both homes since you live close to each other. Or is there someone you trust that could live with her that could chip in for utilities and help with tasks around the house?

Sometimes too people may ask their kids or others for help not just because they need help but because they are lonely and want to see them. Could this be part of the dynamic in your situation? If so, perhaps you could institute a regular evening once or twice a week where she can come over or you all go over there and you could all have quality time together. Or your husband could have one evening a week with her while you use that time to explore a class you always wanted to take or to go out and catch up with friends.

Some go even further and look for living accommodations together—perhaps a house with a separate mother-in-law suite? It’s a lot easier and less expensive to pool resources together and then you all would only have to maintain one property rather than two separate properties.

Think about what you really want and what would make you happy and then sit down with your husband to figure out how you can get your needs met, including couple time together. No doubt he is probably stressed as well trying to maintain both your home and his mother’s. Even maintaining just one home can be a lot of work!

I have no doubt you will be able to figure out a plan that works for everyone! Kudos to you for looking at figuring out a positive solution.

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