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I'm a 36 year old mother of two and my mum just made me cry. Again.

(30 Posts)
OnTheRunButReallyRatherSlowly Wed 14-May-14 09:36:24

DH is away this week so my mother is staying to make me feel like shit 'help out'.

So far this morning I have been criticised because:

I haven't organised giving away ds2's outgrown baby clothes.
I haven't got in touch with the friend who loaned me her maternity clothes to give them back (friend is in no hurry as isn't planning another baby just yet).
I wouldn't let ds1 (2yo) have raisins before breakfast.
Ds2 (11wks) was crying in the night (he has a cold), and cried while I was making breakfast (whilst in the sling).
I haven't emptied the upstairs bins.
The nappies got left on the washing line overnight.

Apparently I am lazy and I procrastinate. She has been telling me I am lazy and that I procrastinate all my life, and I believed her for a very long time. It's only very recently I realised that's it's NOT FUCKING TRUE!!!

I have two very small children. I look after them mostly on my own as DH works long hours (I'm not criticising him, he definitely does his share and more when he's home). I keep the house in some vague kind of order, and make sure everyone has food to eat and clean(ish) clothes to wear. I'm no domestic goddess and my organisational skills leave a lot to be desired, but on the whole I think I do a reasonable job. I am also in the early stages of setting up a business so I can work from home when my maternity leave ends.

I have 16 hours a week when ds1 is with a childminder, for four hours of this time I am working as a volunteer breastfeeding supporter, which leaves me about 12 hours a week when I am 'only' looking after the baby and can get things done. I am furious. I want to scream and shout at her that I am NOT lazy, I am NOT ignoring jobs that need to be done because I can't be bothered. I am prioritising time with my children, getting by day-to-day and trying to work out how to help support my family financially.

This is not a one-off, or something that has only come up recently, she has been telling me the same things about myself for as long as I can remember and I don't think I have ever really challenged her - mostly because for a very long time I believed her.

Sorry for the rant. I can't scream and shout in rl because the children are here. Just needed to get some of this off my chest.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 14-May-14 09:39:48

And you haven't shown her the door yet because.... ?

PostHocErgoPropterHoc Wed 14-May-14 09:41:17

How long is she staying? Do you need her there or is she actually making you feel worse?

I imagine this is unlikely from the sounds of her, but could you ask her to go home?

PostHocErgoPropterHoc Wed 14-May-14 09:42:08

Btw, you are not lazy. You're doing a great job smile

Bumpsadaisie Wed 14-May-14 09:42:13

You poor thing. Its really hard going when you have a 2 year old and newborn. Let alone trying to set up a business too and volunteering as a bf counsellor.

I think when my two were 2.5 and 11 weeks I just about managed to get through the day, put on a bit of washing and if DH was lucky make a stew for us to eat later (otherwise he had to make supper after a long day at work) And that was on a good day ...

I think you need to think long and hard about whether its useful to have your mum "helping" out like this. You can set some boundaries with her - e.g. if you want to meet, make it a purely social occasion on neutral ground (e.g. go out for a coffee).

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 14-May-14 09:45:23

"I want to scream and shout at her that I am NOT lazy, ....."

Leave out the 'scream and shout' bit because it won't help but what's stopping you saying all of that out loud? It's your house, your DCs, your life. If you don't like her attitude, tell her where to get off.

OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Wed 14-May-14 09:45:52

I would ask her to leave

Kewcumber Wed 14-May-14 09:48:29

"If you are just here to criticise then go home, if you are here to help then you can put the bins out for me, if you are here because you are lonely and want the company then go and put the kettle on and I'll sit down with you and have a chat first chance I get. Your choice"

I get on well with my mum but I'm the worlds worst housekeeper (send your mum over to me and she's think you are a shining diamond) but after one remark too many in the end I said to her "Yes but I'm an adult and the nice thing about being an adult is that you get to live how you want to"

I'm afraid you may hav to toughen up. She is still your mum but you're not a child anymore and she's still in the "teenage daughter" role play scenario when you've moved on from it.

ravenmum Wed 14-May-14 09:50:53

My daughter is 16 and I am sure there are still some of her baby clothes in a cupboard somewhere.

Why isn't she getting on with that stuff, if she's there to help? Why is she so concerned about laziness?

Could you tell her what you told us?

Its not you, its your mother and her own deeply rooted issues which she is foisting onto you. She has likely always been this rotten to boot but having children of your own has brought all this into sharp focus.

I would also be asking her to leave asap. With regards to yourself you will need to reinforce your own boundaries regarding her because they are set far too low currently. I would also suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as well as looking at the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages.

EmilyAlice Wed 14-May-14 09:52:04

I would just repeat ad nauseam, "I blame the parents."

OnTheRunButReallyRatherSlowly Wed 14-May-14 09:53:33

Thank you for your responses. I am blubbing again now, but in a good way.

The main reason I don't want to tell her to go is that I do think it's important (for everyone concerned) that she has a relationship with her grandchildren. She comes over about once a week (lives 60 miles away) and ds1 is always super excited. I was very close to my grandparents growing up, and I am keen that my children have the same experience.

We're actually going to stay at her house now for a couple of nights. My dad will be there which helps take the heat off. She is very critical of him as well, and I think she perceives a lot of similarities between me and him, which she doesn't like.

I do agree that I need to have a serious talk with her about our relationship, and how her attitude to me makes me feel and how I think it has affected my life. I never stop because I don't want to be seen as 'lazy', and it has sometimes made me quite ill. I feel guilty if I sit down with my feet up for half an hour.

Nocomet Wed 14-May-14 09:56:26

grin Raven my two are 16&13, we have just had a massive clear out of soft toys and old baby clothes the dolls and teddies wore.

The DDs and me now have it down to one box of first shoes and sentimental clothes and the rest are off to the charity shop.

OP I'm afraid your 'D'M needs to shut up or leave.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 14-May-14 09:57:06

Oh dear me no. A relationship with the grandchildren is fair enough but it is not acceptable for your children to see Mum being crushed underfoot and tolerating it. Please stand up for yourself whether you're in her house or your own. As your thread title suggests, you're not a little kid any more, she is not in a position of power and she needs her wings well and truly clipping. Not... if you'll take some advice... the 'how you make me feel' conversation (because bullies love to know they are causing pain) but a more direct 'I will not tolerate being told I am lazy any more'

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Wed 14-May-14 09:58:49

I am lazy and I do procrastinate. Send her to me for a couple of days and she'll never accuse you of that again... grin

MaryWestmacott Wed 14-May-14 10:01:25

Thing is, it's about time you redifined your relationship with her so "yes, the nappies were out on the line, if you noticed them, why didn't you bring htem in? You're supposed to be here to help, but you don't seem to be doing anything helpful, just pointing out what needs to be done. I had a baby 11 weeks ago, that's my excuse, what's yours for being lazy?"

Turn it round on her, you can say "if you don't like the way I arrange my house, you don't need to stay."

She can still have a relationship with your DCs, but remember it doesn't need to be on her terms. Your DCs are small, they aren't going to miss out because mummy and granny have an argument now, but long term, they will notice that granny talks to mummy like dirt.

Does your mother want a relationship with your DCs? Because then you hold the upper hand, she has to do it on your terms, if she's not fussed about them then nothing you can do will make her a close loving grandmother, if she is fussed about them then realising you will cut her out if she doesn't start behaving might well work to modify her behaviour.

PostHocErgoPropterHoc Wed 14-May-14 10:03:35

How do you think she'll respond to 'the talk'? I tried it with my mum when she was having a similar effect on me and she went on the defensive, denying, minimising and excusing everything I tried to talk to her about. The result is that I haven't seen her for almost a year and a half and it's blissful.

Her relationship with her mother was very strained too. I don't consider my relationship with my grandmother was worth seeing how much mum hated her. I don't want to model it to my children.

Enb76 Wed 14-May-14 10:03:57

I think you need to learn to be a duck. My mother does this - she doesn't even think she's being critical. It really used to upset me but actually, when I turned and looked at it it was her issue, not mine so now I can ignore it more easily. If she's being critical about the bins say something like "oh, well if you'd do them that would be a massive help", if she say's you're being lazy just say "yes, dear" and ignore, ignore ignore. These criticisms are not personal (though they definitely feel like it) they are her issues that she's projecting on to you. You probably can't change her behaviour but you can control the way you react to it.

I have finally allowed myself to be me - I can be a bit lazy, I know I procrastinate but I certainly don't care how my mother feels about it. I have my own house, my own family and I'm doing pretty well so she can carp and criticise all she wants but I refuse to let her have control over my happiness.

I love my mother but everyone has their faults, you can't change them but you can change you.

chaosagain Wed 14-May-14 10:13:17

It might be time to reflect on why you keep being hurt by her and the damage that her criticism has done. Anyone who has had small children should know full well the work that is going into looking after them, never mind managing anything else in the household, especially when you have a baby under 3 months.

You should tell her how you feel. But you may also need to accept that she might not want to really 'hear it' and may just carry on as before. You need to realise that you're not what she's says you are. But more importantly, you may want to have a stock of responses to comments like that. Things like 'oh, I know, terribly lazy. And I haven't even alphabetised the books on the shelf either.' Or 'Those things aren't high on my priority list right now. Please feel free to do them if they're bothering you'

And yes, having a relationship with the kids is important. But only if it's good for the kids and perhaps you need to accept that longer term, she may not be the grandmother you'd want for your children if the super critical thing turns on them..

You see - my MIL isn't nice to me a lot of the time and I've put up with more than I should because I think it's important children have a good relationship with their grandparents. But hang on - where are we in this? It's taken me until my late 30s but actually I think you serve yourself better putting yourself first sometimes. You don't need to say "piss off, there's the door" - and a good thing too, because I think you and I both know neither of us would ever do that. But I think we could both be firmer about who we are. So a firm "I'm not lazy, stop saying that I am" with clear eye contact might be enough to make it clear the balance of power has shifted. I think a lot of the time people treat you as poorly as they think they can get away with.

StraddlingTheFence Wed 14-May-14 10:35:18

I'm amazed you haven't strangled her yet.

Is she negative all the way through, or is it just a pattern of communication for her? I have a relative, no where near as bad as yours thankfully, who only seems able to speak in negatives. Our conversations are like this:

Me: Hello, are you enjoying all this sun?
Negative Nora: <in tragic tones> Well, they don't know how long it will last for, it might be rain again soon, what will you do with the children if it rains over half term? I expect you'll be worrying about how you can afford to take them out and entertain them?
Me: Oh, we'll find something to do, the children are quite happy to play out in the rain anyway
Negative Nora: They don't do that any more now, parents, they just let them sit in front of a computer screen all day. It doesn't do them any good. I don't know what the next generation will be like. Our generation we were much hardier, this generation is too mollycoddled. We just got on with things
Me: <stifling laughter> Yes

It ok for a few hours, but if I had to spend a week with her I am fairly sure she'd end up buried under the patio.

Atbeckandcall Wed 14-May-14 10:48:26

Good God she sounds EXACTLY like my mum!!!! Scarily so!!

I've finally learned to just ignore and say "yes dear".

Or I as her to do. It dawned on me a few weeks ago that if I ring her and ask her to help me sort out shit clutter for a car boot/plant some pots/clean out my kitchen cupboards etc. it keeps her out of the way from looking at everything I can't be fucked to do haven't had time to do.

I think they think that because they did it and they managed to keep on top of everything when they were raising children that we should to. Times are different and actually nowadays no one give a shit if our front step has been scrubbed well enough to eat our dinner off!

Next time, go stay at hers smile

DIYtrainee Wed 14-May-14 10:51:03

Oh Op, I hear this 'relationship with grandparents' thing so many times on MN.

What sort of a relationship do you want to have develop when your children will see her constantly criticising you?!

She only deserves a relationship with her grandchildren if she can foster a decent relationship with her OWN child, namely YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Nanny0gg Wed 14-May-14 11:12:24

What DIYtrainee said.

And what if she starts being critical of your DC too?

It needs stopping now. She won't change all together I shouldn't think, but you can redefine your relationship.

Your dad might thank you for it!

Bumpsadaisie Wed 14-May-14 11:30:59

There's lots of kinds of "relationships with grandparents", OP.

My parents are like a second set of parents to my children, they are our only childcare, two days a week. We moved house and jobs (making career sacrifices) so the kids could grow up here in the lovely spot where i grew up and be looked after by my parents.

That's because, some annoying foibles aside, my parents are great. They respect boundaries (as do we), we can talk to them about any issues without them having a meltdown, they are mindful and thinking people. I am sure that privately they probably do have a few views about some of the parenting/life choices we make, but they wouldn't be so rude as to nag us about them. They care for our children without taking over and are always careful to ask for our views about anything to do with the children's care.

My children see my DH's parents a few times a year, they live four hours away. They are lovely and affectionate grandparents and the children are very fond of them and love to see them. But there is no way DH would allow them to be full time carers for his children. Too many issues, too many problems with boundaries, too difficult to maintain an adult-adult relationship with them and prevent them taking over etc.

My children have a relationship with both sets of grandparents and love them all, but one is very different to the other. Its necessary for it to be that way to preserve our boundaries and mental health!

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