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to have made my mother cry yet again?

(239 Posts)
slightlyirritable Sun 29-May-16 15:11:41

Don't know where to start- right now I am at home under a duvet while my husband and daughter are out enjoying the funfair. Yet another run in with my mother has left me reeling and I can't cope with people right now. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I don't know what to do next.

I'm 45, my mother is 73. Frankly, we're both too old to change! To keep this post under a million pages long, let's just say she has never been happy with my standards of cleaning and tidying. There are various reasons why I am the way I am- all look like excuses when I type them, but there we are. I am not a bad person.

Our daughter's going to be 4 next week. She has barely slept through the night ever. We both have full time jobs- DH leaves at 6am. We are lucky to work locally and very lucky that my parents look after DD outside nursery hours. She starts school in September.

We do our best to keep the bombsite that is our house under control, but not easy to find time that works while DD is awake and when she goes to sleep, we collapse. My parents are in this house every day for pick up and drop off (I don't drive, so I can't take her to them)

on Thursday we had the latest 'last straw'. Wait for it.....yellow broccoli.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, DD has decided to keep veg out of the fridge. I decided it wasn't worth an argument and let it continue. Mother discovered the broccoli before I'd had a chance to come downstairs. She described it as 'rotten'. It wasn't. There was also some spinach and potatoes, also apparently rotten. I never got to see them as Dad had whisked the offending articles out of the house lest we all die of yellow broccoli contamination.

Cue lecture about standards - I've had 45 years of this one- and the implications that my daugher's health is at risk. And we may all have food poisoning without even knowing it. Which is where my patience ran out. And I am told we live in squalor. Etc.

in the evening she comes in as if nothing has happened.

2 days later and they have DD for the morning so we can tidy up. This has by now been turned into a bigger deal than it really is. I phone to ask what time we're getting DD back. I get the usual answer to a totally different question, we go back down the yellow broccoli road and then I learn the shock revelation that inside a sealed box, which was inside a sealed bag, in a rucksack, were some leftover strawberries from last week, which we'd forgotten to take out after a walk. More lecture then she wound herself up into tears and hung up.

So I have made my mother cry yet again.

Literally the only thing that matters about my life to her is cleaning and tidying. She is stupidly over-happy if I do a bit of dusting and almost suicidal if I don't- which is more often than the first one.

I can hear people shouting (if they've survived this far) "so just tidy then" but it's not that simple. and if I do, there's something else. always something

When DD starts school, I'll be able to walk her there in the morning, so they don't have to come here, but in the afternoon, she wants to come back here and stay for the 2 hours before I get in, and cook dinner as well. They live 5 mins away. I don't think this is going to enhance the family harmony situation.

I have signed up a team of cleaners who come over and blitz every few months- I can't get on top of the tidying more often than that, so it's better than nothing.

I am crafty, knitting, sewing, etc. I hardly do any of it any more, as you can't enjoy yourself while there's chores to be done, but I do spend time with DD making things and to me the one hour I have with her before bedtime is precious. We have clutter. I created solutions, but they became problems. My mum 'tidies' by shoving everything anywhere it will go, so within one day, all the bits from DD's games are separated, never to be found again. Anything I put down, disappears and later turns up in the most random of drawers.

So I've sort of given up, as I'm going to be wrong anyway, whatever I do.

Finding this exhausting and hating myself. Even more so for my mother being in tears because of me.

We are all good people and everyone's miserable. My daughter is a fantastic little girl and I have worked hard to make sure she is growing up happy, healthy and confident, and with a sense of self. She is sociable and everyone loves her. I was a shy, quiet, nervous child. I don't want her to grow up like I did.

I'm so sorry this is so long.

blondieblonde Sun 29-May-16 15:22:51

Move away, or stop seeing so much of your mother. Surely forking out for a nanny/after school club is better than this? You're not on your own, you have your family with your DH and daughter. Don't let your mother do munchausen's by proxy on you with her neuroses! You sound like you're doing a great job with your daughter. Get some time away from your mother - it is essential. Don't worry about the mess either - jesus christ, at least you've got some greens in the house, whether they're yellow, under the sofa or in the goldfish bowl it is none of anyone's business but yours.

Listen to this poem. Toughen up - take control.

blondieblonde Sun 29-May-16 15:23:57

Particularly if you've got a daughter OP, you need to show her how to make her own path, not be got down by doubters, and how to be happy and cheerful and not worry about the little things.

MorticiaLiverish Sun 29-May-16 15:26:20

I don't have much advice but I do think that it is your mother that has the problems, not you. Crying over somebody else's yellow broccoli? Jeez, its a good job she doesn't look inside my fridge wink

IcedCoffeeToGo Sun 29-May-16 15:26:34

Two adults and one child and you can't keep a house tidy, at all?

A tidy and organised house makes a huge difference to everyone's happiness.

Seems like you need to get rid of stuff and put your daughter to bed.

I'm very untidy too and so I understand, I have four children but when my house is tidy we are all better. A place for everything and frequent clear outs.

And tell your mother to fuck off, do this for your family X

Greenyogagirl Sun 29-May-16 15:29:07

I can see both sides, you are so lucky to have your mum provide childcare for you and help you out. My mum has a fit if pots aren't washed and has never had my son for me!
If you're honest is the house scummy? If dd has friends come over would you be embarrassed?
I think there can be compromise, start buy throwing away anything and everything you don't use, just take it down tip. Give dd and dh jobs to do. Dd has to pick up toys and put them in toy box and put her clothes in the laundry basket etc when you're more organised you'll be able to spend ten minutes a day cleaning and always be on top of it. (Be messy if you want but keep on top of food and grime!)

LordEmsworth Sun 29-May-16 15:29:25

She cried because she found some rotten strawberries? How did you keep a straight face?

Your new mantra should be: "I am not responsible for her emotions". Repeat 50 times before even getting out of bed each morning.

I am assuming that your house is just untidy, not a health hazard. In which case, her opinion of it means nothing.

If you/DH/DD are unhappy with it then can you get the cleaners in to do little & often, more often e.g. 2 hours a week? So it's never perfect but always ok?

Also, have you thought about moving somewhere so you don't live 5 mins away? Abroad maybe? So it's harder for them to "pop in"?

NotYoda Sun 29-May-16 15:29:29

FWIW, your standards don't sound far different from mine. I have yellow broccoli sometimes, mouldering mushrooms and the like.

And my mum is a very very clean and tidy person

The difference is, she would never impose her views on me, and because i am not reliant on her in the way you are, I don't feel guilty for having differences of opinion with her. You are in the position of being beholden to her and i don't think it is any coincidence that this parent-child dynamic has arisen between you. It sounds as if it suits her.

It really sounds as if her overbearingness is the problem here - not your cleaning.

The priority, I think, is for her not to be your child minder. I am not someone who grandparents should never be carers, but there has to be mutual respect and clear boundaries, and she doesn't have them. She's using it to wield power over things that are none of her business

Patterkiller Sun 29-May-16 15:29:35

Your mum sounds like she has some real issues around cleanliness. These aren't your issues they belong to her. And you are not a child for goodness sake. Your house has jack shit to do with her. Man up and tell her so.

Does your Dds school do wrap around care. Most do and it sounds like it will be well worth it. Then change your locks and meet at a coffee house if you need to see her.

RosieandJim89 Sun 29-May-16 15:29:40

I totally hear you about the tidying. It is damn near impossible to keep on top of whilst both working full time and with children. Everytime I clean it is undone within the hour.
I would say absolutely no way do you want her watching DD at yours. It is much more convenient and better for the relationship if she watches her at their home instead.

NotYoda Sun 29-May-16 15:30:16

... sorry, I am not someone who thinks grandparents should never be carers

SquinkiesRule Sun 29-May-16 15:30:51

Stop having them babysit, find another way, do you really want your mother to do to your Dd what she has done to you.
You can't go on like this, it's ridiculous. Somehow I have a feeling she cleaned and tidied the house alone when you a child/teen so how would you ever learn to clean to her standards. No matter what you can't win, so stop trying to meet her expectations and cut back on them seeing you and caring for your child, and especially them coming into your house.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sun 29-May-16 15:31:15

Good lord, it's none of her business!

blondieblonde Sun 29-May-16 15:32:08

Also though you do need to take control generally op, the stuff about your daughter deciding to keep veg out of the fridge and not go to bed properly... tell her no and stick to it.

Puppymouse Sun 29-May-16 15:33:18

OP I really feel for you. My mum is nowhere near this in terms of cleanliness but has told me my house is "full of clutter." Ironically we had a quote from a removals company recently and were complimented on how clutter-free it was! grin

But people base stuff on what they themselves would want or find easier. Maybe she is pinning your happiness and/or wellbeing (and her own) on how tidy and clean your house is. When actually it really doesn't matter.

If I don't Hoover for two weeks I don't sweat it anymore. Nobody's going to die. Just do little bits that you can and spend quality time with your DD. Nobody gets old and says "I had an ok life but really it would have been so much better if I'd cleaned more." flowers

ExitPursuedByBear Sun 29-May-16 15:33:48

Send your Mum round to mine. If the shock doesn't kill her, it will make yours look like a haven of cleanliness and order.

NotYoda Sun 29-May-16 15:35:29

i think it is really striking that you assume we would all think "Just tidy then"

I don't know what response you'll get overall, but I'd bet at least half of us will be thinking that this is about your mother's obsessionally and not about your messiness

obviouslymarvellous Sun 29-May-16 15:38:13

I think you need to stand up to your mum and in effect grow a pair! It's your home so do as you wish and she can do as she wishes in hers. You are lucky to have childcare and regardless of working or not it's not that hard to keep a house clean. Yes mess can happen but it can be kept clean. I have three children pets the lot, yes it gets messy but it's clean. On another note I haven't spoken to my mum in over 4 years and intend to keep it that way as she is toxic and caused a lot of hurt. I think you either shut up and put up/tell her firmly but nicely/ or keep away from each other

ClassicCoast Sun 29-May-16 15:40:11

My mum has been known to throw shoes away because they didn't fit in the shoe boxes she bought. we live in mayhem really, animals and neighbours kids and too many late nights filled with fun. I have found vegetables and sandwiched entirely knew colours and tubs too dangerous to open after school hols when I looked in bags. So what. Kids are happy, house is cleanish a and tidy ish and I work full time, she works full time and we are busier and happier than she has ever been.

I'd would never have her round other than on my terms when I am there. Draw some boundaries and ignore her tears, she has issues you don't need to.

NotYoda Sun 29-May-16 15:40:48

I'd be really interested to know either your mum has always been like this

And why you live so close to each other

And what else she does with her time

Because I wonder if tit's not going to be a simple thing for you to stand up to her now because either it's a lifelong pattern or something happened to make you feel sorry for her

NotYoda Sun 29-May-16 15:41:13

it's, not tit's!!

Greenyogagirl Sun 29-May-16 15:43:08

Mum is old, looks after granddaughter a lot and is concerned about manky veg not bring in the fridge and that the house might cause health problems.
I think as she does look after your kid it is her business and she just cares about you. Can't believe everyone is against the mum! I'm sure you could find a nice happy balance and start by keeping veg in the fridge!

AndYourBirdCanSing Sun 29-May-16 15:44:37

NotYoda yes I thought that as well. It is very much her problem, not yours.

Your mother sounds stifling. I would do all I could to avoid her being in your house on a regular basis to be honest- her picking up and bringing home for 2 hours after school everyday isn't really going to work is it. Get too stressful for you! I would rather use an after school club or try and arrange to collect from their house

slightlyirritable Sun 29-May-16 15:45:03

Thank you all for replies- will read them all properly.

Just feel I need to fight my corner, as feeling a bit attacked by some of the comments-

it really ISN'T that bad in here, and no I wouldn't feel ashamed if someone came round. it just gets out of control from time to time.

I didn't mean I'm alone in the world- I meant surely I'm not the only one with this situation?

DD does tidy her stuff up to a point, but clutter builds up in places- often things like paperwork we need to go through.

Moving away is not an option, and easier for you to say than for me to do anyway.

Thank you for the poem- that sums it up completely.

I'm sorry people think DD doesn't go to bed properly- she does, but she wakes up a lot in the night. We are both exhausted from work and when she goes to sleep, so do we.

I just wanted to let off steam and find some solidarity, so I apologise if I'm in the wrong place.

Some of the comments on here have really made me smile and thank you for empathising.

Some of them are quite harsh and I'm rather shocked! I supposed that's the risk you take if you lay your life out in front of strangers.

I will not tell her to fuck off, much as I would like to- she is my mother.

Badders123 Sun 29-May-16 15:46:21

Is your mother just upset you don't keep house to her standards or does she genuinely think you are putting your dds health at risk?
Either way she is not dealing with the situation well!
Wrt your House - could you get a regular cleaner once a week to do the basics?
You both work ft - it's not an unusual thing to do
I like a clean house - it's just how I am - but I would NEVER lecture anyone else on their standards

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