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(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

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


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.

worldgonecrazy Tue 26-Mar-13 14:01:56

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.

overmydeadbody Tue 26-Mar-13 14:04:47

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.

overmydeadbody Tue 26-Mar-13 14:06:21

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 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.

worldgonecrazy Tue 26-Mar-13 15:33:00

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.

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