When we live with parents and in-laws, the space becomes different. Suddenly it’s not just you and your spouse, or you, your spouse, and your kids.
There is an entire other person there who very considerably influences the dynamic of the living situation.
Redditor notamaidthrow found himself in conflict with his mother-in-law wherein she very much did not appreciate something he did.
She literally asked him to do it.
After this, unsure if he was in the wrong, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole” or “AITA” for perspective from objective outsiders.
“AITA For giving my MIL a chore list?”
Our original poster, or OP, set the stage that brought his mother-in-law (MIL) into his home.
“My MIL moved in with my wife and I last summer because she lost her job and could no longer afford the house she lived in.”
“What was supposed to be a temporary arrangement has turned into a semi-permanent one because MIL has not been able to find a new job in her field and has refused to get a part-time job or a lower paying job unrelated to her field. That’s a debate for a different time though.”
OP’s MIL said she wanted to contribute more.
“My wife has to travel for work, sometimes for 7-10 days at a time. This travel was pretty much cut out due to Covid, but has recently started up again and this week she is gone for a 5-day stretch.”
“Before my wife left, MIL was kind of venting to my wife about feeling like she isn’t contributing anything to the household.”
“She has no income so we aren’t asking for rent, but she does throw us some money here and there to help with groceries.”
And then OP obliged.
“We don’t have kids so it’s not like we need help with childcare. She will help with laundry a bit, but both my wife and I prefer to do our own laundry so we kind of told her not to worry about it.”
“She also isn’t much of a cook and both my wife and I would prefer if she didn’t cook for us. We’ve pretty much told her to concentrate on finding a job and saving money.”
“I wasn’t involved in the conversation, but my wife told me about it before she left.”
“The day my wife left I talked with MIL about it and offered her some reassurance that we aren’t concerned with her lack of monetary contribution.”
“She said she feels like she should be doing more around the house but doesn’t feel like it’s her place to take initiative on what to do. So I told her I would think of some things that she could do.”
But his MIL was extremely unhappy about it.
“That night I made a list of things that need to be done around the house. I will admit that a lot of them are fairly undesirable things that get pushed to the back of the to-do list.”
“Like cleaning windows, cleaning the oven, cleaning bathrooms, etc. MIL was still asleep when I left for work the next morning so I left the list on the counter.”
“A couple hours later I get a text from her with a picture of the list saying, ‘What the hell is this? Do you think I’m your maid?'”
“I didn’t respond right away and figured I would talk to her about it when I got home.”
MIL wasn’t done being upset yet.
“When I got home she confronted me about it right away. She said it was sexist of me to imply that all she could do around the house was clean.”
“I told her those were just a few things that I came up with, but if she has other ideas I am willing to hear them. She then asked if she looked like a maid to me.”
“I told her no, she doesn’t look like a maid. She looks like an able-bodied adult living rent-free in someone else’s home who had just asked what they could do to help out.”
Now OP is unsure if he did something wrong.
“She crumpled up the list and threw it at my chest and said she’s not doing any of that stuff. She hasn’t spoken to me since and mostly just stays in our guest room with the door closed.”
“I told my wife about it and she said I should have just waited until she got home but she said she understands why her mom is upset.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Everyone agreed OP was not to blame.
“She was virtue signaling by complaining that she didn’t do anything around the house, but you actually offering her things to do to rectify the anxiety she was expressing about it was too real and she felt called out.”
“She needs to let go of her pride and find a damn job and get out of your house if she has no actual desire to contribute in any way to the household.”~VixHarlow
“NTA my ex and I lived with friends for a few months while looking for a house to buy and I hated feeling like a freeloader.”
“I did anything I could to help out(they wouldn’t take money), dishes, vacuuming, dusting, washing the dogs, hell I even removed 3 layers of wallpaper throughout the whole house.”
“I can’t believe this woman scoffed at a few light chores…sorry OP.”~tjo1975
“When I was a teen living with my mom, I didn’t have set chores, but if she set out a list of things that needed to be done, I’d go down the list no problem.”
“(The problem came when she expected me to do something without telling me to do it. Dirty dishes in the sink? Dafuq I care?)”
“(I’m a grown adult and have dirty dishes in the sink. I’ll get to it when I get to it.)”
“She ‘said’ she wanted to help out, OP called what was apparently her bluff. NTA”~kirroth
“NTA – somebody has to do those things. In the absence of a maid service or magical elves, the duty would fall to a member of the household. Seeing as she lives with you, that description includes her.”