Help! Tough situation with my mother
I'm writing to get some advice on a sticky situation. My mother was diagnosed with cancer last fall, a month after I had my daughter. I'm married with 2 children. My mom's initial prognosis was shocking and not good, so my husband and I both decided to invite her to come live with us. My mom is divorced and my father passed away. I am her only child.
When she first moved in, my mom was so incredibly grateful that we opened up our home to her. Althoughour house is a 3 bedroom one, and thus she shares a room with my daughter, she still was appreciative of the support.
Fortunately, my mom's chemo treatments have been successful and her condition now is much better. The tumors are shrinking and her oncologist is very pleased. So her health is in much better shape than we thought. She is not physically dependent on our help in any way. However, it seems as though the niceness is starting to wear off. Obviously she's been here for almost a year so she's gotten more comfortable with speaking up about things. She doesn't do it on a daily basis, but if we have an argument, she starts bringing up things that I do that are "wrong" to her. How often I clean the house is apparently not good enough for her. I work from home part time, but she doesn't feel I spend enough time with my family. (Which really is hypocritical- my mom worked both a full time and part time job her whole life! I have a very good bond with my children too.) She overhears my occasional argument with my husband and has a "problem" with it. She just seems overly involved in every single aspect of my life, and I wish I had sme space. What's worse is I know she tells EVERYONE she knows everything she can that's "wrong" about me. I hear her on her phone sometimes, and then other times she has just come out and told me "you won't believe how many people I talk to about you."
It's hurtful because we don't appreciate the judgment, especially because we do not speak badly about her to others. It's been very hard for us all to adjust. We never ask her to do anything, chores wise. She however takes it upon herself to do some cleaning, and later she will harbor resentment about it. She will tell us that if she was living on her own, she'd be doing housework, so she might as well chip in around here too. We have told her multiple times not to do OUR laundry or dishes. We will get to them when we can. Just because it's not on her time frame does not mean we are leaving the work for her to do. But she refuses to listen, and will clean up, and then later complain to us or someone else about doing it. It's as though she always needs to have a problem with something.
It's probably worth mentioning that her whole life she has served as a caretaker role. Her mother was in a wheelchair, my father suffered from depression and alcoholism, and there are several other family members with issues that she has helped them with. Helped with, almost to a fault. She is very much an enabler and rarely sees when people are taking advantage of her. I think she has a good heart, but I also sense a codependency. She needs to "fix" people with their problems. Well, I don't need fixed. I'm not perfect but I am a well-adjusted contributor to society, and I have a good relationship with my children and husband. And this is my house, not hers, so we do things differently and I will not change my ways for her. I feel my husband and I have already made adjustments by her being here all the time, and she has yet to show any effort to compromise.
I have told her that if she is unhappy with how we run the house, then maybe it's not the best place for her to be. She of course took that as me "throwing her out" and has told virtually anyone who listen. I don't want her to leave necessarily. What I really want is for her to just accept that I'm not her and I don't do things the same way, and there's no need for constant picking and complaining about it. I'm in a very difficult situation because although her treatment is going well, I don't know what the future holds for her health. I want to be supportive but I cannot stand this environment anymore. I'm not happy with this arrangement and I feel like it's not really helping her either. She loves being with the grandchildren, but it seems everything else she has a major problem with.
I just want everyone to be happy, but unfortunately I feel like one person will "win" while the other loses.