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in law moving in- need advice

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Old 08-25-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
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Question in law moving in- need advice

Hi. So- here's the situation. my sister in law is a single mom with an 8 month old baby. she lost her job, lost her housing and has nowhere to go. no one else in the family is in a position to help- so she is moving in with me and my husband.

she thinks she'll be able to move out within 2 weeks. she is starting school, which she has to pay for out of pocket because she defaulted on a previous student loan, and her only income is unemployment, which is only guaranteed until May 2011. She is under the impression that once she can prove she is a student she'll be able to rent an apartment and be out of our house.

Does anyone have any experience with this at all? I'm afraid we've opened our door for a long-term situation that we are in no way prepared to handle- emotionally, physically, monetarily. We don't have kids, we lead a really quiet life, and we like our time alone. This is going to be really hard on us... how do I know? Because my brother in law's 6 month stay with us ended up being 3 years... but at least he paid us rent.

I'm freaking out and afraid that we are going to just enable her to continue making bad decisions if we let her stay, but what kind of monster throws out a woman with a baby?!

any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm at a loss on how to deal here.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:38 PM   #2
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Bringing people into the house can sometimes
be a tricky situation; no matter how much you
love and care for them. My mother brought in my
uncle who is currently still getting a divorce and he
absolutely does NOTHING around in the house. All
he does is play video games, goes to work, and pays
a $150 phone/internet/cable bill. My mother gets
so frustrated that there's many family members in
our house yet she is the only one doing this by
herself. I'm only 16 and I have more of a responsibility
to help around the house than the adults in here (my uncle
and grandmother). It's frustrating for the whole family.

I'm not sure what type of lady your sister-in-law is,
and it's truly great that she's going back to school!

All I'm saying is just let her know the rules around
the house and what she could help with. It really
makes it better for everyone in the house if there's
no confusion about how things operate. Good luck!

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Old 08-25-2010, 08:44 PM   #3
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I don't envy you your situation! I was in a similar situation, in that my sister was laid off from her job and moved in with my husband and I. Just called one day and announced 'I'll be there this week-end!' It was only for a month, but wound up being for about 8 months. We were lucky that we could separate our space, so to speak, as we have completely different lifestyles, tastes in food, in music, etc.

Not knowing the size or set-up of your house, I can only suggest that you and your hubby try to reserve private space where she and her baby have no access (and vice versa). That may help you all maintain your own lives. I also agree with jemappellesierra -- lay down the rules. In fact, it would probably be best if you agreed on these with your husband, then discussed them with your sister in law before she and her baby move in. For example, what are her caregiving arrangements while she's away at school, or studying? What about chores, sharing food and utilities costs, etc.? I also suggest that you and hubby ensure you set up date nights or something so that you have 'couple' time without the extra company! Good luck with everything!
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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If you feel silly laying down specific/documented rules - remember, these aren't just for your benefit. Unless your SIL has a history of being selfish and unreasonable, you have to assume she wants this to be as convenient for you as possible, as you're doing her a big favor. Rules will give her an easy way to ensure that she's doing that. I mean, how terrible would it be to be staying with someone and have them get angry at something (like leaving dishes in the sink or whatever) that you genuinely didn't realize was that important to the person you were staying with!

Clear expectations make things easier for EVERYONE involved.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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I agree with everyone else. Clear expectations and communication are very important. This could possibly be very stressful, and you'll need to set boundaries (if you want) regarding how much you'll be helping w/ the child as well. Also, I wouldn't expect her to move out in 2 weeks. Good luck to you and your family!
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:59 AM   #6
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Ditto what everyone else said. I would not expect her to move out in two weeks. If she doesn't have the money for a security deposit and first months rent, no one is going to rent to her regardless of her student status. I mean seriously, why would that make a difference? All they care about is do you have the money and will you be a good tenant?

I'm curious as to why she can't get more student loans? They're being loaned directly through the gov't now so a credit company doesn't have to approve her anymore. I've never heard of that before...and that stinks. Its great that she's going to school and trying to improve her life though.

Good luck with everything. I hope it all works out for the best!
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:30 AM   #7
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Just don't make it too comfortable. Let it be known that it is your house and make your expectations known. I've noticed that when you make a place too comfortable, those "guest" never leave.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
If you feel silly laying down specific/documented rules - remember, these aren't just for your benefit. Unless your SIL has a history of being selfish and unreasonable, you have to assume she wants this to be as convenient for you as possible, as you're doing her a big favor. Rules will give her an easy way to ensure that she's doing that. I mean, how terrible would it be to be staying with someone and have them get angry at something (like leaving dishes in the sink or whatever) that you genuinely didn't realize was that important to the person you were staying with!

Clear expectations make things easier for EVERYONE involved.
I can't agree more. You will be saving yourself a lot of trouble (hopefully) by making your particulars clear. I rented a room while I interned in another state and my roomates were very clear on how liked things. It made it so much easier for me knowing that recycling and composting were a huge deal to them and other things here and there. Make it as easy as possible for her to succeed in not annoying the mess out of you.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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thanks guys! i think you're right- some clear expectations on both sides are in order here. she moved in two days ago & is still struggling to get all her stuff put away. she has sooo much stuff! and it's all gotta go into a tiny tiny room.

my main concern isn't so much living together as it is getting her back out there on her own. a temporary situation is fine but .... i really hope it's temporary.

thanks for the feedback and support!
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