Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Help! Tough situation with my mother

Posted by   + Show Post

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.

by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM
Replies (11-13):
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Wow- I think you hit the nail right on the head! She does love me but she has a very weird way of showing it. It's so conflicting for me. I feel like she's pushing me away and I don't want this- especially with her health being like this. Of course it's doing much much better but cancer is so unpredictable and I know things can change rapidly. I appreciate EVERYONE's comments and support. It's helping me think these things through.

Quoting redress:

Krishna, just my thoughts on this, for what they are worth:
I think she loves you dearly, doesn't hv the right tools to express that love and appreciation and is deathly afraid of appearing needy to you, or god forbid, a free loader.
All her life she has helped others. To her, her own self worth, is derived from that one solitary source: being productive and useful in the only way she knows how. She is projecting those notions and visions upon you. Not right. But she may not change.
I suspect she must be v proud of you, v appreciative of you, and I also suspect that she is in remission bc she is w you. It boosts her immune system. You lead your life differently and she must respect and appreciate that. You shd ask her to stop for a moment and think of you as her friend (insert any name here) and as an equal, not as her daughter. If she couldn't stand you in that role, it would be best for her to leave.
If she looks at you from the non judgemental and accepting eyes of a dear friend, I think she will realise how unfair she has been to you.

You need your space, you need to be appreciated and respected. Don't send her away, but help her switch out her meddling guilty mommy glasses for non judgemental vision.
She may be threatened by the health of your marriage and your relationship w your children. She has to understand that just like you don't judge her for the decisions that she made as a mom and wife, she shd return the favor. Also I suspect she cleans up behind you bc she is afraid that you and your family might think she is a free loader.
There is no free loading in this dynamic. You love your mom, she loves you. She looked after you when you were little and you didn't Bitch at her about her choices, and now you are looking after her and she had better return the favor.
My mom died last year. My heart is broken. But omg she did send me on a guilt trip or make me feel like I was a mess every second of my life! She loved me more than anything but had a ridiculous way of showing it.
Good luck!

Quoting krishna56:

Yes, she's retired. She does spend time with her friends and other family members pretty often. So it's nice for everyone- she gets to get out of the house and have a good time, and I get some space. But obviously it just doesn't seem like enough. 

Funny thing is, one of her very close friends invited her to live with her. This was after one of my mom's "bitchfests" to her about me, after an argument of course. But my mom told me, "I would never put someone out like that." Oh okay... so it's okay for you to put me through this but you'd never want to live with anyone else?? Doesn't seem fair, and as if she KNOWS she's making my life difficult!

by on Jul. 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Well its a case of either love it or leave it. Your mother has gone through a tremendous lot both physically and emotionally. Having chemo therapy is very debilitating. It puts tremendous stress on you physically and emotionally. One day you think you are going to live and the next you don't feel like breathing another breath. But you cannot let your family suffer because of her problems. You have done everything you can and more and now its time to relieve the pressure on you. Letting her continue to belittle you is only going to put terrible stress on you and yours. Your children are going to feel the stress you are under and its going to hurt them. Plus they don't need to see their grandma acting like this and talking you down. Your husband is going to feel the stress in his house after doing what he's done for his mother-in-law. You owe him more respect. Don't let her continue to do this. Sit her down and have a really hard one on one talk with her about this constant chipping away at you. Tell her it will stop immediately or there's the door. She may not even realize how often she is doing it and as for telling others its none of their business and she should not be sharing anything in your house with anybody else. You've done your share and more make her stop now or move out. Keeping her in the house is not helping anyone including her. If she feels so uncomfortable with the way you keep house then she needs to move and keep her own. Stop it now, not tomorrow. You owe it to yourself, your husband and your children and also to your mother to get her out of the situation. Good Luck

by on Jul. 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM

No mothers are not always meddling. I had four children and I never once involved myself in their lives or marriages after they left home. I felt that I had raised them right and they were on their own. They have succeeded very well and I have kept my nose out of their business. If they and their spouses argued I stayed out of it. My youngest came to me right after she married and wanted to rent a room from me for her and her hubby and I said NO. I told her I would help financially for them to get a place of their own but did not want them in my house. My reason was that to me she would always be my little girl and I would always be the lady of the house. But to her she was now married and felt she was a full grown adult and was going to want to do things her own way. So they found a very nice little apartment and did very well on their own and we kept the peace in our house. But I never meddled in any of my kids business.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)