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SONS GIRLFRIEND - ARE WE BEING UNREASONABLE?

(102 Posts)
MINNACK Mon 25-Mar-13 19:56:53

never done this before so will try and keep it simple

our sons girlfriend is lovely and we genuinely love her but we feel a little put upon lately.

the two nights per week we agreed to let her stay over have turned into three and four now and we are finding it a little hard going as we never get the house to ourselves and every weekend is spoken for. not to mention the extra mouth to feed etc. she never contributes financially to takeaways etc but is on a very good wage.

just lately she has taken to raiding the fridge and cupboard when she feels like it and it using food we thought we had for ourselves and set menus etc - on top she is gradually just putting her washing in the laundry and instead of me having less work as our children grow - my workload is increasing. when she is here - she never helps me around the house and literally leaves a trail of mess everywhere she goes and i have to tidy it all up.

like i said we love her but all this is starting to grate on our nerves and we fear it will spoil our relationship.

any advice would be greatly appreciated

thank you

YouTheCat Mon 25-Mar-13 19:59:43

How old are they?

I'd be helping them to get a deposit together and getting them both to shuffle off.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 25-Mar-13 19:59:50

How old?

I'd convene a family meeting

waterrat Mon 25-Mar-13 20:00:27

blimey, you need to just be honest! Surely it's not that difficult? She is massively unreasonable - and you should stop worrying/ thinking about it and just sit down and say - we love you , but here are the house rules...

How old are they? It is your son who needs to behave better as well. If she is not contributing - ie. acting like you are her mum and dad basically and expecting you to pay for stuff - then you need to start charging rent. They are both taking the piss!

choirmum Mon 25-Mar-13 20:00:49

YANBU at all. It's your home in which she is welcomed as a guest, it's not a hotel with 24hr room service! I think a conversation needs to be had but I appreciate that it's not easy and you don't want to cause upset.

CognitiveOverload Mon 25-Mar-13 20:01:12

I think you just need to speak to her diplomatically. How old is she?

niceguy2 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:01:44

I feel your pain. My DD's BF is constantly here. I'd say 6 nights a week. Not sure how old your son & his GF are. Sounds maybe a bit older than my DD who is 16.

What I've done is set a strict kicking out time of 10pm because it was getting stupid before and I only feed him now if there's spare food if she hasn't prewarned me that he's coming for dinner. I also now include him in the chores and he's just finished sweeping up and washing up!

I think you need to have a word with your son and if that doesn't work just boot her out. It's such a pain in the arse. They just don't see it. You just can't relax in your own home!

Salmotrutta Mon 25-Mar-13 20:02:00

If she leaves a trail of stuff, just gather it up, plonk it on her and say "I believe this is yours".

Then chuck a tea-towel at her and say "Make yourself useful love"

Salmotrutta Mon 25-Mar-13 20:03:06

But then I'm aright grumpy cow if people take the piss.

Which is what she is doing.

BertieBotts Mon 25-Mar-13 20:03:52

I had a bf practically move in when I was 18 and my mum started charging him for food grin - I think you need to make a set boundary - she comes 2 nights a week or less, or she contributes, or they move out if they want to spend so much time together.

waterrat Mon 25-Mar-13 20:08:20

I think you must have been far too nice and accommodating to her so she now thinks you don't mind her treating the place like this. Call a family meeting - unless you think it would be better to talk to your son first. tell him exactly what you have written here - say your costs and work have been increased by the pair of them and that you are not happy.

Salmotrutta Mon 25-Mar-13 20:10:51

You could be sneaky and the next time she eats something you had set aside for a special treat march in on them and accuse your son...

"X, did you eat that key lime pie your Dad and I were looking forward too??"

limitedperiodonly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:14:04

Say something to your son. She's being thoughtless but he may have led her to believe it's okay.

I remember with shame doing this at now DH's flatshare at 25 with no idea because he didn't tell me. To be fair, he was paying his fair share, and I bought food and cooked for takeaway-living blokes, but I still would have paid something if asked.

One flatmate does send me an xmas card 20 years on and the other one is my BIL, so I couldn't have been that bad.

dinkystinky Mon 25-Mar-13 20:17:37

How old are they? Could you set a few rules - 3 nights a week Max, provide their own snacks themselves between , do laundry at your own home or yourself - to make you feel happier about things?

Creameggkr Mon 25-Mar-13 20:19:59

Oh it's horrible isnt it? My ds 2 had a gf here all the time but I was a single mum with a baby and simu couldn't afford to keep another adult. We had many rows then one day she used my very expensive conditioner in the shower and I was fuming. That same day she had a go at me via ds for eating one of her poxy caramel shortbreads. I showed her the ^ she was in the parents bed!! she was dosed up on calpol and had a drink.What earthly reason was there to get up with her?^ door and chucked her caramel shortbreads after her cheeky moo.
Ds3 had a lovely gf who stayed here sometimes or he stayed at hers so ok. Then she gleefully announced her pregnancy at 18 hmm
Ill never forget the look of surprise on their faces when I informed them they weren't living here.

Creameggkr Mon 25-Mar-13 20:21:35

I have absolutely no idea where that post came from! Not sure I like this I phone blush

firesidechat Mon 25-Mar-13 20:21:48

I'm in a similar position except the bf is not earning much at all, but probably will soon. Because of this I don't mind that he doesn't pay towards his food. To be fair he doesn't eat that many meals here, sometimes buys his own food and is always careful not to be a burden.

In your situation I think a word with your son would be my first move. His gf, his responsibility.

I sympathize hugely with the lack of personal space and every weekend would test my patience to the limit.

So YANBU.

oldraver Mon 25-Mar-13 20:24:05

No matter how nice she is you are going to have to say soemthing. Sit them down and have a word

Yfronts Mon 25-Mar-13 20:24:28

Sit down and have a meeting. House rules including how many nights a week sleeping over, what days they will cook meals (after buying the ingredients themselves) and write out a list and let them choose what cleaning activities they want on their rota. They are young adults and all should be pulling their weight. Say something to your son about the mess trail.

She is not very nice and lovable if she is treating you and your home this disrespectfully.

BackforGood Mon 25-Mar-13 20:41:38

If she considers herself "family" enough to be staying in your home for more than half of each week, then she is "family" enough for you to be able to have an open and honest conversation with her / them.
You need to say that if she is going to be living here half the week, then you all need to sit and sort out on what terms - how much she should be contributing, which meals she and your ds are cooking, which you are cooking, how you split the laundry / cleaning the bathroom, etc, what they are contributing towards utilities, who does the shop, what you are going to do about knowing if something in the fridge / cupboard is ear marked for a particular meal, etc.
Emphasise that it's lovely she feels so comfortable here, but clearly if this is going on for any length of time, it's better to set ground rules now, than have any resentment build up.
All said with a amile - how can anyone object ? smile

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Mon 25-Mar-13 20:47:19

She's taking the piss, you have to say something.

mumofweeboys Mon 25-Mar-13 22:08:24

Yep you need a chat with son and gf. Def time to set some rules. If they are funny start charging her board.

DiscoDonkey Mon 25-Mar-13 22:12:06

You need to talk to your son. Just say "sorry but two nights a week is enough, if you want to live together then move out"

As for her washing just leave it in the dirty basket, cheeky moo.

EndoplasmicReticulum Mon 25-Mar-13 22:12:44

I think this was me, once.

If my in-laws are reading this I probably need to apologise! Looking back I realise it was a bit cheeky, but at the time I had teenage blinkers on and didn't think they'd mind.

We had a family rule growing up that said as soon as a guest had been in the house 24 hours, they were treated as family. They got chores to do, and were expected to help out

ImperialBlether Mon 25-Mar-13 23:41:07

She's got a nerve! You really do need to shout at them for eating food that was meant for the family (ie not them.) A couple of "Oh for christ's sake, who's eaten the bloody cheese again" will do wonders.

Pass her the vacuum cleaner too, if you're tidying up.

Where does she live? If she has somewhere to go to, you need to ask them what they're planning to do for the weekend, then say "Oh I was just asking because your dad and I fancied a weekend on our own." A hard stare should follow.

schoolgovernor Mon 25-Mar-13 23:53:55

It sounds as if you would rather have your space than gain another lodger. In which case I wouldn't be roping her in as "part of the family", I'd be sitting them both down to tell them that you hadn't planned on ending up sharing your home with another couple. She's welcome to stay for a couple of nights a week as planned, but if they want to live together they need to find somewhere to live. Also mention that when she does stay you'd appreciate a bit of help from both of them and don't expect extra laundry to do.

schoolgovernor Mon 25-Mar-13 23:55:30

p.s. And yes, point out that food in the fridge might be tomorrow's dinner, so you'd appreciate them not just helping themselves without checking first. Snacks fine, but don't eat the last of anything without going straight out to replace it. In other words - use some common sense.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 26-Mar-13 06:34:07

You have to talk to them. If you've never said anything then she probably thinks that it's ok. She's relaxed, she feels like it's her home, she probably feels settled, etc. That in itself is not a bad thing. You WANT people to feel comfortable in your home. Just not to take the piss.

It's down to you to tell them the rules. max number of nights. not helping yourself to stuff. and enforce the rules.

And you can't always be your kids pal. That's not your role. If they're pissed off with you, then you're just going to have to be ok with that.

LisasCat Tue 26-Mar-13 07:13:57

When I was 18 I felt very welcome at BF's house, would stay most nights, and go round even if he wasn't there to chat to his mum and sister. But I never helped myself to food and never left a mess or laundry. That exceeds the boundaries of decent human behaviour and if she can't see that I'd worry how she functions in the grown up world of work.

RedHelenB Tue 26-Mar-13 08:10:21

I think she may not realise how she's being until she's told & you need to sit down & discuss it with them both. Your son could well have said to her, help yourself to food treat it like home.

Talk to your son! Tell him the 2 nights are more like 4, and you want your house back, also, buy a load of snacks to keep in his room if his GF likes to munch. However old she is, if she's earning a wage, why on earth is she not putting in for take aways? does your son put in?

birdofthenorth Tue 26-Mar-13 08:20:15

I think I also owe my teen ILs a big apology! My parents moved house part way through our relationship so it became a long distance relationship & I lived there for a month at a time during uni holidays... to make it worse I was a vegetarian and they were farmers! I don't think even working teenagers have any clue how much food costs.

I also never left a mess outside his room or helped myself to snacks though.

Agree with the general consensus that you need a gentle, friendly adult chat.

Sorry former ILs!

pinkyredrose Tue 26-Mar-13 11:52:25

Oh for gods sake, just tell her she isn't allowed to help herself to food or put her laundry in the basket (you're not washing it and silently fuming are you?)

Assert yourself, it's your house not hers,

TomArchersSausage Tue 26-Mar-13 12:04:22

Putting her washing in the basket and helping herself to the contents of the kitchen? hmm How terribly RUDEshock

Take the washing out and hand it back to her saying this appears to have mistakenly found its way into my laundry basket.

Have a serious word with your ds. Tell him how often she can stay and stick to it.

MINNACK Tue 26-Mar-13 13:36:52

wow - thank you all very much!

i really appreciate all your views and help. i thought i was going nuts. the resentment is building all the time and i hate being put in this position.

i am also unwell myself with an 'proper' illness and they all know this but it doesnt get through to them when i ask for them to pull their weight. our other son is now asking for the same - with his gf being allowed to stay the same etc. the problem is doubled. i admit i am too soft and just end up feeling mean and sorry for them and that i should do everything they want as i love my kids so much etc - they are all between ages of 20 and 28!

as i write this i realise i am being pathetic and weak but i cant seem to get through to them all that enough is enough and when we do say something as mum and dad they all go mad and stop talking to us and walk out.

their rooms are always a tip and the bathroom is a health hazard - they have their own private one and they dont clean it at all unless i shout the house down - i refuse to clean it. we also have a young daughter who is not impressed by it all either.

i feel that at 45 years old and having spent all my life bringing them all up that i have now surely got the right to have a bit of peace and calm in my life? i have lots of hobbies but can never get the chance to do them without constant demands for what they all want.

i even feel mean for writing all this

thank you all

pinkyredrose Tue 26-Mar-13 13:40:20

They're between 20 and 28! shock

They are royally taking the piss!

MINNACK Tue 26-Mar-13 13:42:34

and yes i am doing the washing and the amount is slowing increasing and yes i do fume silently and it all is getting me down.

DreamingofSummer Tue 26-Mar-13 13:43:42

You need to tackle this head on. They are taking the piss mightily. If they want to live like pigs let them get their own sty.

Your house, your rules

pinkyredrose Tue 26-Mar-13 13:45:32

Stop doing the washing! Tell them if they want to live together they can get their own place.

They're treating your house like a free hotel. You really have to put your foot down or they'll still be there in ten yrs time.

Nancy66 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:48:32

You are being totally walked all over and it's horrible to think that your own kids would allow this to happen at a time when you are ill.

I would just tell the gf to leave permanently - no negotiation of terms. It's not her home and therefore she can't live here.

LemonBreeland Tue 26-Mar-13 13:50:52

I agree with schoolgovernor insist on it going back to two nights a week, and that if they want meals they buy them together.

If they want more time together they can get their own home.

BuiltForComfort Tue 26-Mar-13 13:52:25

neither your son's girlfriend nor your son sounds lovely. how dare they get mad and walk out when you try to exert a bit of control.

please stop being soft. you and your dh need to get tough. They contribute or they get out. Do they pay rent? I bet they don't. I am really shock that grown adults would treat their own parents in this way, and that the parents allow themselves to be walked over.

MadameOvary Tue 26-Mar-13 13:53:14

OMG OP, they must have really ground you down if you feel guilty for asking what is rightfully yours - space, time and money!
So what if they storm out? As long as you have spoken reasonably and calmly you have nothing to feel bad for.
Some stock phrases that might be helpful.
Currently x and y is happening and this leads to Z, which is not helpful.
What needs to happen is a and b, otherwise you will have to make other arrangements.
I appreciate you might not like it, but those are the options.
Do NOT apologise.
20 and 28! Fuck's sake. Time they moved out and gave you some peace.

quietlysuggests Tue 26-Mar-13 13:53:27

Could I move in please? You sound too kind and I would pick up after myself...

pinkyredrose Tue 26-Mar-13 13:53:33

Does the girlfriend not have her own place with food and a washing machine? You're going to have to get tough even if it's uncomfortable to do so.

It's horrible that they're putting you in this position.

Primrose123 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:54:14

How about getting all the kids together, including partners, and telling them that you are struggling with the house and your illness, and they must keep things tidy. They don't have to actually clean or anything (!) just pick up their own stuff and leave the place tidy.

Secondly, the washing. YABVVVVVU to do their washing. If your son is in his twenties, then he should be doing all that himself. Show him how to sort his washing, and how to wash, dry and iron it. Tell him that he will have to do it when he leaves home, so he needs to start now. (If he says that he won't need to because his girlfriend/wife will do it then make sure you slap him hard around the head with a wet fish!) There really is no need for you to spend all your time doing another adult's washing and ironing! I still do my DCs washing and ironing, but they are young teenagers, and I am slowly showing them what to do, and get them to help in the school holidays. I would love them to still live at home with us when they are in their twenties, but I will not be doing their laundry!

You say that you love them, show that love by taking them for lunch or doing something enjoyable for you too, not by being their housekeeper!

mummytime Tue 26-Mar-13 13:54:31

I would have a family meeting, making it clear that unless everyone who lives in your house, and this includes GFs who regularly stay, help with chores/contribute financially; then you will have to down-size to something more manageable.

For a start: everyone does their SN washing, cleans their own room, meals only if their attendance is given in the morning, your sons provide a family meal at least once a week.

BTW I am older than you, but have much younger children, and am not ready to retire yet.

MadameOvary Tue 26-Mar-13 13:54:58

Of course if you were the gobby type then "Fuck off" might be good next time they demand something...

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 13:55:03

YANBU

You need to nip this in the bud, now. You silently seething is not going to change anything.

Inertia Tue 26-Mar-13 13:55:25

At 20 and 28 they can either follow the house rules or move out.

Do they pay you board? If so then charge extra for every night that a girlfriend stays. If not then they need to start. I paid my mum board even when I was a student.

Don't do their washing. Leave it in the washing basket. Just do the washing of those people unable to do their own, such as younger children.

Let them walk out and keep walking.

Being soft on them because you love them won't make them love you back- they certainly don't seem to have any respect for you.

expatinscotland Tue 26-Mar-13 14:01:27

You are both being mugs. They stop talking to you and walk out? Let them!

There's no way we could afford to keep surplus adults in our home.

Call a meeting. Tell them you are not a laundrette. They give you £100/week each and have a month to find another place to live.

Between 20 and 28?? I thought you were going to say 16/17.

Your sons should be doing their own washing (and if they want to chuck their girlfriend's in at the same time, that's fine).

They are all old enough to be contributed equally to the household chores and budget. You really need to be tough with them because being soft, whilst easy now, is just setting you up for another 45 years of having the piss taken out of you. Do you really want that?

There have been some great suggestions on this thread, telling you how to handle the situation in a way that won't raise conflict.

If your sons do sulk and storm off then so what? It will mean less work for you and you can get some lodgers in instead, who will pay their way. Once your sons realise what the real world is like they will understand and come back with flowers and an apology, even if it does take them a couple more years to grow up.

STop doing their washing. Just sort through the laundry basket and leave the GF's things in it. Simple.

Her dirty clothes are her problem, not yours.

Stop cooking extra or clearning up after her.

Start telling her to tidy her things away, and tell everyone they are not to just raide the kitchen for food.

You have to be assertive and in control, otherwise you can only blame yourself.

If your sons have any respect for you they will soon pull themselves and their GFs into line.

Take control now.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 14:06:04

Living with you at 28??

Why aren't they doing their own washing? They are seriously getting a free ride! Just stop doing it.

Figure out a daily raite to charge for all GFs staying over, and let them know this and what it involves.

You should not be wasahing their clothes or cooking for them or tidying their mess.

Take control. Seriously. So what if they get stroppy, you can still be in control.

dinkystinky Tue 26-Mar-13 14:11:49

Bloody hell! At 20 I was living on my own in London and working - doing all my laundry, shopping, cooking etc. Why on earth are your two sons taking the piss so royally because they are living at home?

Stop doing stuff for them - draw up house rules, including a cleaning rota (including them). Draw up a washing machine rota (you do yours and DH and your younger DD's, they do their own and their gfs). Get them to contribute to the food kitty and take turns to cook themselves too. And if they and their girlfriends throw a strop and threaten to walk out, let them!

Ionasky Tue 26-Mar-13 14:17:15

Sounds like you actually want to enforce some space, and they are good at ignoring any hints. I'd proceed on the basis that they haven't realized they aren't being considerate as young etc, sit down with your oh and work out some rules about which days people can stay, and which they can't that you want to yourselves, and the rules for the days they do stay about which chores are done by them etc, and if a financial contribution is required.

I'd be quite non confrontational about it, you are definitely being reasonable as all these posts indicate, be sure you and DH have the same views and understand the new rules before you talk to your boys and present it as the situation going forward.

noddyholder Tue 26-Mar-13 14:18:55

Just sit them down and say that there are so many people in the house now you need rules. If they feel they can't stick to them then it will no longer be open house! Everyone has their own snacky foods and toiletries and washing is not your responsibility. Plus at least 2/3/4 nights a week you want privacy. Can he stay at hers?

oldwomaninashoe Tue 26-Mar-13 14:22:46

Oh OP I feel your pain!!!!
There have been times when DH has said that our house is getting more like a Travelodge (I did point out to him that Travelodge don't provide meals)
Ds3 and Ds4's girlfriends are very respectful of our space and never help themselves from the fridge without asking.
Ds2's last girlfriend was very different, she was an over indulged madam who had only lived at home and threw a strop when "someone's taken the hairdryer from my room" (I had reclaimed MY hairdryer from MY sons room!)
When it all gets a bit much I leave the "Rightmove" site open on my laptop with details of bungalows etc, they get the hint!
Start talking about downsizing very loudly with your DH as you are finding it tiring , financially crippling, to live this way.
Return her dirty washing to her with a puzzled look saying "I found this in the laundry basket, I don't know what its doing there?"
Label things in the Fridge with post-its, explain very innocently to the family that food appears to be going missing!

Good luck!

fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 14:28:20

You absolutely need to crack down. I am shocked that they are fully into adulthood, I was expecting you to day they were 17 or something!

My now-DH moved in with me and my parents when I was 16 - he is older than me and was working so paid some rent, my mum quite fairly stopped doing my laundry so we did ours together, we did a lot of the shopping and cooking and washing up, hoovering, gardening etc.

I'm now 26, have been living with DH (and now our DCs) for 6.5yrs and can't imagine taking the piss out my parents like your DS and his GF. It's horrible.

You need to find a time when GF is out and have a long frank discussion with DS - no need to shout and list their many many faults, but just say that you all need to create some rules to allow family life to run smoother, and with clear consequences if it doesn't happen. They are more than old enough to find a place to rent together, as many younger people have to - good grief they really don't know or appreciate how lucky they are do they?! angry

Heinz55 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:29:27

I have a very dear friend who is the most wonderful, natural hostess. Her home is always warm and welcoming with homemade goodies and everybody loves to go there and to stay on and on.....my friend really resents it buts seems unable to stop being such a fantastic hostess. Trust me: I know she resents it and I would move in the morning!! So, OP you must suffer from something of a similar condition. Stop being so accomodating!! Ditch their laundry back in their room and don't cook for them - isn't it high time they were living independantly anyway??? They will never appreciate fully what sacrifices you are making for them so stop!!! (or I and many other posters here will come and move in too!!)

fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 14:32:04

I quite like the sound of things like innocently handing laundry back, leaving estate agent sites open (genius grin) etc but TBH I think a proper, open conversation would be the way to start here. Don't turn it into a game or battle of wills, it will just get uglier and may take a long time to even get anywhere (they clearly have the skin of rhinos!) - you are the parent and owner of the home, they need to respect that and you have every right to sit him/them down and set your your rules NOW.

fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 14:33:18

set out your rules, sorry.

LandofTute Tue 26-Mar-13 14:36:21

So when your son is doing his laundry and helping out with housework does the gf not try to join in? Or does he do bugger all around the house too?

GreenShadow Tue 26-Mar-13 14:36:37

Actually, rather than hand back laundry, I would just leave it sitting in the laundry basket so that she eventually runs out out of clean clothes. Might sink in.

noddyholder Tue 26-Mar-13 14:37:46

Do you want them to move out or would you be happy if they paid their way and did equal washing cooking etc?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 26-Mar-13 14:38:40

It's pretending to be all grown up and hey we're living together! when actually it's you and DH providing and she's treating home like a hotel. Laundry and food on tap, she's got her feet well under the table.
Over 20, they know they are onto a good thing.

It doesn't have to get nasty, just get them together and say time for a chat, things can't carry on, you and DH need space and money doesn't grow on trees, either they contribute financially and with housework or they can go do their own thing. Of course they are always welcome but you have your health to think about.

I did my own laundry as a older teen and I know plenty of others who did the same. Stop doing laundry for any adult other than you and DH. Are your adult children paying rent? At minimum anything they eat should be replaced.

I suspect the children walk away because currently there are no consequences if they don't comply with what you ask. Don't do their washing and if they won't do the most basic of cleaning don't cook for them either. Consider running the kitchen cupboards down for a week or two and only buying for you, your DH and any younger children on a daily basis for a few days so there is no food for the adult children unless they go out and buy it.

Once they have had a strop explain to them that you will no longer put up with them taking the piss.

MrsKoala Tue 26-Mar-13 15:15:34

Sorry OP i had to laugh at the 'walking out' part. Do they have jobs/study? Do they walk out if a colleague/tutor asks them to do something too? Thought not.

It's a sad fact we have to accept that some people who we love, will only do the decent and right thing when forced. If they weren't forced they would happily let their sick mother continue taking on more and more just as long as they didn't have to do it themselves. It really is hurtful to think we have people so selfish in our lives and even brought them up.

This happened with exBil. He was living at home and working full time yet refused point blank to do anything or pay any board. He just laughed and said no. Much to the frustration of poor exMIL. When i spoke to both of them about it, it was acknowledged that the reason he did it was because there were no repercussions. He knew that MIL would never kick him out. So how awful is that? His mum, whom he loved dearly, was bullied into doing all his washing/chores with no rent because she loved him too much to kick him out. I told her she wasn't doing him any favours, he would grow up very selfish. And he did.

Anyway, if i were you i would establish some rules now. Even if you don't want to do it for you, do it for them. Think of being cruel (not that it is cruel at all) to be kind and they need a valuable lesson from their parents. This is part of your job to produce self sufficient functioning adults. Go back to toddler tactics of necessary. Explain the boundaries, let them tantrum, but continue to reinforce the boundaries until they accept them or leave. Don't shout. Just calmly do not do the laundry/cooking etc, label all food, and politely ask the girlfriends to leave at 10pm on nights they are not designated to stay.

Are they paying board? are they working/studying?

MINNACK Tue 26-Mar-13 15:26:47

again thank you for all the sound advice.

no rent is paid and girlfriend lives at home with her mum the rest of the week. no contribution is received at all from her. if our son cleans his room up she sits on the bed all day and doesnt think its her place to sort things as it is his room!

i have written up house rules and placed them in prominent places and gone through them with both sons but they just dont do the things they are asked. i dont ask alot - just to each empty dishwasher twice a week - that is it - along with clean their rooms and private bathroom. nothing changes. me and hubby are worn out and down with it and just end up feeling like gits for complaining so we just tend to shut up and do things ourselves. i realise it is mostly my fault as i am that hostess - very warm and welcoming etc but then i get taken the piss out of and then that makes me angry and ill and now just tearful and depressed all the time. right cheesed off at the moment.

we are very generous people and love giving but its just getting worse and we as a couple have no quality time at the weekend on our own. the weeks are too busy and stressful and sometimes it would be good just to kick back on a friday and saturday and be on our own.

we will have to make things change but it is hard to after all this time.

thank you

MINNACK Tue 26-Mar-13 15:29:12

also i have just lost my sister to a tragic case of neglect in hospital and i need time to grieve too and learn to come to terms with everything.

minnack have a very unmumsnetty hug.

I was going to make a joke about switching on a porn film or start wandering around naked. That should embarass them into moving out.

dinkystinky Tue 26-Mar-13 15:36:33

Ah, tell your sons all this Minnack - put a moratorium on sleep overs at the house for at least a fortnight to give you the space etc you crave. I know you love being the hostess - but it should be at your choice and on your terms - and use that time to draw up your new house rules/order. If your sons dont like it, maybe they could and should start thinking about what it would be like living and fending for themselves in the world with out mum and dad supporting them and looking after them 24/7.

jumpingjackhash Tue 26-Mar-13 15:41:26

Minnack you really do need to be stronger with them - tell your sons that you'll be charging them board from next month @ £x, which will include bed, bills, food. Get them to do their own laundry (or they can find a local laundry service). Of course a quick and easy fix is to just stop doing their laundry and cooking for them!

I'd also be tempted to give them a bed & board rate just for them and one for if their gfs are going to stay - then they might just see the added work/food etc.

Seriously, they are 20/28, that really is old enough to look after themselves and realise they have a responsibility to pay their own way/sort out their own shit.

I'm sorry about your recent loss, but don't see how you can give yourself time and space to grieve with all this extra stress.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 26-Mar-13 15:44:00

I am so sorry about your sister thanks this business about your home and being taken for granted is like the straw that broke the camel's back.

For now, you and DH have to be a united front, you both have to state how you would like things to be. Give them a week. Then start buying food just for yourselves and DD. Wash your clothes nobody else's. Put a padlock on the fridge and cupboard if necessary. Do they use a family car? If they don't put petrol in it they can't use it.

Phase 2: Ask them to tidy their rooms because you have someone coming to view them as potential lodgers.

Phase 3: As mummytime suggested upthread, I wonder if talking about downsizing would give them a rude awakening? In fact is it something you have ever given thought to?

zzzzz Tue 26-Mar-13 16:00:47

They are utterly capable of doing there own laundry. Put aside a day when they can use the machine and they can sort themselves out.

Tell them that unless they tidy and clean their rooms once a week, you will expect them to pay a cleaner to do it.

Sort out a reasonable contribution to all bills and get them to set up direct debits.

Choose two nights a week when gf's can stay and tell them to stick with them.

Invite elderly boring relatives to stay and make them give up there bedrooms regularly and make polite conversation.

Al this should focus their minds on how ver nice it would be to be independent.

MrsKoala Tue 26-Mar-13 16:11:23

Minnack that is very sad that you feel this way and your recent loss. You must reclaim your home.

Personally i wouldn't bother with their rooms and their bathroom. Leave that to them to sort out. I would just shut the door and block it from my mind. I would concentrate on communal areas and chores. Ie a rota for dishwasher emptying etc. I would also start charging bed and board as a percentage of their incomes - you don't say if they work, but if they do maybe work out 40% or something you feel reasonable. I would say gf's staying 2 nights is included. If you want to have more space i would be strict with the 2 nights rule rather than charge extra per night they stay and i would also make a rule that either Friday or Saturday is a no sleepover/gf zone from 6pm - so you and DH can have an unwind and relax together.

fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 16:13:08

Oh minnack I'm so sorry about your sister sad thanks gosh you really don't need all this stress on top of a bereavement, let alone with a chronic illness as well. I have a chronic illness as well, and am well aware how much even a tiny increase in my workload makes me more ill.

I think, given the death of your sister, their aunt, a reasonable approach would be to say "I need time to grieve" and then tell them that GF cannot stay for, say, a fortnight or a month. Hell, if they really want to sleep in the same bed they can stay with her mum (and if she is stricter or doesn't allow it maybe that will make them see sense?) or since they are working adults they can pay for a hotel!

This will give you some space which you have every right to and you need it while you come to terms with your loss. During that time you can also think up new rules that will be absolute set conditions if she is to come back. Make it clear she will not be allowed back unless these new rules are followed to the letter.

You need to vastly increase your expectations. You sound like a lovely nurturing generous person, but long term by expecting so little of your boys you are doing them no favours. I'm sure you've seen lots of MN threads about useless husbands who do not pull their weight around the home, and very often it transpires that they were never expected to lift a finger when they lived with their parents. Don't let your sons grow up like that! It's time for change. It's not too late - but you have to be strict. You will be doing them a favour in the long term - and their future wives too.

Just emptying the dishwasher every day is far too little. Given their age, and the fact they are working not studying (ie needing extra time to study at home) I think they should be doing an equal amount. There is no reason why they can't do their own laundry, take turns to Hoover, wash up etc, and help with cooking and shopping. Maybe you could tell them how much they would be doing if they lived alone - because even if they do their fair share, they will be getting a damn good deal compared to how much they'd need to do if they lived away from home.

MINNACK Tue 26-Mar-13 16:15:35

thank you for all the kind sound advice and condolences - will have a meeting with hubby then family meeting.

sorry if i confused you - sons are 19 and 23, girlfriends are 20 and 28.

because house is quite big they seem to think its ok to use it as hotel but it is just more mess and more things to wash etc.

like the idea of downsizing !

lots here to take on board and think about - many thanks to everyone.

anonymosity Tue 26-Mar-13 16:15:36

Have a "family meeting" and set out the ground rules - now that 2 nights has morphed into her practically living with you. That might work.

Nanny0gg Tue 26-Mar-13 16:22:19

Dear heaven's it just gets worse!

The girls are taking you (and possibly your sons) for a ride!
And it isn't your fault - your husband has a say and your sons are taking advantage.

I'm sorry for your loss - which is showing up your sons' selfishness even more. Don't be downtrodden, tell them they're pretty much not welcome until they buck up their ideas. And if your sons are earning then they should be paying as well as contributing to the running of the house.

DiscoDonkey Tue 26-Mar-13 16:29:27

28 shock totally taking the piss!

EldritchCleavage Tue 26-Mar-13 16:34:03

They need to move out, seriously. I moved back home for a while as a working adult and my father made it quite clear that the rules were different now-I had to pull my weight. I did chores, cooking, errands and paid rent in addition to working full time. He also made it clear that, adult or not, it was my parents' home and ultimately, they called the shots. I would do exactly the same.

MINNACK

Sorry for your loss. I think you have every right to say that under the circumstances you want so peace and quiet to come to terms with your loss and ban all staying over for at least a fortnight.

zzzzz Tue 26-Mar-13 16:40:31

Just to add a little perspective. My doting and very loving Mother stopped doing my laundry when I was 12. It really isn't hard to stick your laundry in a machine and press go.

Dozer Tue 26-Mar-13 16:43:41

The situation is bad for you, they are all being selfish and taking advantage of your kindness, time to read the riot act followed by a total change in rules. Starting with your DSs paying rent and doing their fair share of chores, and their girlfriends' overnight visits vastly reduced. If they want to play house/hotels they should stump up their own cash and go elsewhere!

fuzzpig Tue 26-Mar-13 16:44:08

Somehow it seems worse that the GF who should be 5 years more mature is actually the oldest. If that makes any sense.

2 years older than me FFS.

Dozer Tue 26-Mar-13 16:45:46

It's shocking that their behaviour has continued when you are ill and bereaved. Don't put up with any more.

daintree3 Tue 26-Mar-13 16:48:02

What a cheeky cow! I'm speechless

Definitely set some boundaries!

amothersplaceisinthewrong Tue 26-Mar-13 16:49:52

I am gobsmacked that a 28 year old is not renting her own place by now, espeically as she is on a "good wage". I would reduce the visits to a couple of nights a week. My son's gf stays with us sometimes, but never more than a day or two a week and my son stays there as much. No way does she leave me any washing or clearing up. Riot act definitely needed.

ivanapoo Tue 26-Mar-13 16:54:33

Sorry to hear about your sister.

I would go with making a list of additional costs eg cleaner, food shop, extra utilities so they can't argue and ask them to pay it - while they look for their own places.

Could your DH have a word instead? Why does it fall to you?

OK, minnack I am cross on your behalf, and I dont get cross often.
How very DARE they treat you like this? I dont mean the girls, I mean your sons. How very DARE they.

Time for some straight talking. Do you know what you actually WANT to happen? What do you absolutely NEED them to do? How much are they all actually costing you?

Some straight talking with some facts and figures is the way to go. I am happy to come and mediate if required. smile

You go girl!

SherbetVodka Tue 26-Mar-13 17:16:27

I would go with making a list of additional costs eg cleaner, food shop, extra utilities so they can't argue and ask them to pay it

This, definitely. They should be paying for a cleaner for their rooms and bathroom at the very least.

mrsjay Tue 26-Mar-13 17:20:00

she isnt staying over she is moving in lovey you have to talk to him about it put it back to 2 nights and say they BOTh have to contribute to takeaways and show her where the washing machine is or say LOUDLY WHOS KNICKERS ARE THESE if her washing appears int he basket wink

NinaHeart Tue 26-Mar-13 17:33:11

Minnack, I am totally with Norks on this one. Enough said.
Feel the supportive vibes and off you go to sort them out.
and let us know how you get on.

riverboat Tue 26-Mar-13 18:14:21

Good luck OP, I hope the family meeting goes well.

If it doesn't have the effect you hope, I would just wordlessly and non-confrontationally:

- Stop doing anyone's washing except DH and DD (leave all else in basket)
- Stop cooking meals or ordering takeaways for more than three people
- Throw any mess left in communal areas into the bedroom of the offender, including dirty plates, empty yoghurt pots etc. And stop trying to get them to clean their rooms, just don't go in there.
- Clear a couple of shelves in the fridge, a cupboard and some freezer space, and tell them this is where they can store the food they buy. You could be kind and start them off with a loaf of bread, milk and a few tins.

If they complain, just explain mildly you thought they'd prefer to live outside your system of housekeeping and cooking, since they didn't like it enough to contribute.

MimiSunshine Tue 26-Mar-13 18:19:56

Ok stop worrying about the GF(s), they don't live in your house so unless you're about to adopt them, don't include them in a family meeting.
Work out what you and DH are happy with I.e
GFs over only2 nights of the week including weekends
Sons do they're own washing. (Just leave it in the basket)
Sons contribute to bills and food (realistic amount)
Sons and daughter cook one night a week each (sons to buy ingrediants and if your daughter is over 12 then no reason she can't join in this plus age appropriate chores)

Then you tell your sons that its up to them to communicate the house rules to their GF. You will tell ask GFs nicely to leave on night 3 and no screaming and shouting will stop you.
The boys take the piss because they know you'll eventually back down and just do it yourself.

Be strong and just keep in mind that in the long run you're doing them a favour

LifeSavedbyLego Tue 26-Mar-13 18:20:14

Surely it is time (at 20 and 23) they move out. They are working adults, not children, not teenages and not students. They need to man up and rent a room/flat elsewhere.

Because you are NOT A FUCKING DOORMAT WOMAN.

(they may come home once a week for the Sunday tea - but only if they've been good and bring you naice wine )

Failing that they should be doing their own washing, and two days each (per couple) of the cooking and cleaning. Girlfirends that don't help can fuck off home. Oh and paying the going rate for bed and board.

QuintEggSensuality Tue 26-Mar-13 18:23:18

I have just seen their ages! shock

I disagree.
They are taking advantage. They are old enough to know better. It is time they ALL move out.
You are not their unpaid skivvy!!

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 18:24:31

What Lego said x 100000

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