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To reserve the right to be messy?

(42 Posts)
littleacceb Sat 10-Sep-16 12:15:46

My mother left her partner overseas and has returned home penniless, having not had a job in 25 years and burned through the moderate divorce settlement from when she and my father went their separate ways.

She has been living with us for two months now, and only in the past fortnight confirmed that this isn't just a visit but a permanent relocation. She has fully occupied our spare room and spends her time walking the dog, washing up, doing laundry, visiting friends around the country and watching tv.

The first three items are helpful, but not enough to make up for the extra mouth to feed and the loss of a spare room. She refuses to provide any childcare - I'm self-employed and work mostly from home, so that'd be a great help - but that is absolutely her prerogative. It's clear that she will need to get a job, if not to contribute to the household then to cover things like clothes, hair, nails and lunches out that are being picked up by sympathetic friends and my single younger sister, not to mention the repairs needed to her twelve-year-old performance car.

My husband doesn't like her (or anyone else really) going in our room, but this is something she just cannot seem to compute. She says "oh get over it". He found her in our bathroom today; her response was that she didn't know he was home, still failing to understand that it's an "at all" situation. He was pissy with her about it, so she launched a tirade at me about how he's an arrogant snob.

She hates that our house is messy, but I just don't care enough to dedicate time to clearing up beyond the basic. I'd rather do most other things - play with the kids, work, read. Apparently we think we're better than other people and that's why we don't tidy up. She's always thought this of people who work - that they think they're better because they're busy. She tries to block people from coming into the house because apparently I should be ashamed of how messy it is. But I'm not ashamed. It's not like it's gross or smelly - it's untidy.

Anyway, apparently there's no compromise to be had. She won't get a job or apply for benefits until she's decided whether she's going to live at her friend's house (in her 25-year-old daughter's bedroom, with all her teen decor still present) or here.

If she's here, she won't stop going in our room, and apparently that's only because she wants to keep the place tidy.

I guess she's just freaking out. It must be terrifying starting afresh with nothing, and I honestly don't feel that she'd feel welcome anywhere. She had a rough childhood and a horrendous marriage, and none of us children have turned out how she wanted. But you can't travel on that feeling, or some suppressed version of it, forever.

Lilaclily Sat 10-Sep-16 12:17:12

She sounds awful !
Send her on her way !

RJnomore1 Sat 10-Sep-16 12:19:52

Why is she deciding if she lives with you for free? Why are you facilitating this behaviour?

elodie2000 Sat 10-Sep-16 12:21:27

Your house, your terms.
If she wants to stay, she needs to contribute and if she doesn't like the way you live (messily), she needs to find another solution. If she stays, she does not go into your room. Full stop! She is very rude.
Very similar rules apply to adult children living at home. They are old enough to make choices, join in or find their own way.

SaucyJack Sat 10-Sep-16 12:23:46

You're not the child any more OP. You don't have to accept being treated like a naughty kid in your own home that you pay for if you don't want to.

Are you afraid of her reaction?

littleacceb Sat 10-Sep-16 12:25:23

Eep. Good question. Guilt? When she and my dad split, I blamed her, even though he had hit her. Sympathy. She just seems so paralysed.

BeingATwatItsABingThing Sat 10-Sep-16 12:28:29

Put a lock on your bedroom. I hate people coming uninvited into our room as well unless there is a legitimate reason.

Either she plays by your rules and contributes or she goes.

Finola1step Sat 10-Sep-16 12:28:45

Oh, so she gets to decide if she moves into your home permanently. With no contribution apart from tidying up - which you don't want her to do. And dog walking.

Tell her that there needs to be a long term plan. Tell her that she can not live with your permanently and agree a tine scale for her to find her own place. Not ask her. Tell her.

The lack of respect for your private space would be a big issue for me. I.suspect it is a big issue for your dh too.

Finola1step Sat 10-Sep-16 12:29:49

Time not tine!

RJnomore1 Sat 10-Sep-16 12:30:43

Little, how old were you when that happened?

Palegreenstars Sat 10-Sep-16 12:31:54

What a difficult situation.

Do you not feel comfortable asking her to move out?

If you can't kick her out could your sister take her some of the time to give you a break?

You need to put your nuclear family first as this will be having an impact on them too and could easily escalate. Can you sit her down and explain seriously that she can't live there unless she starts playing by your rules. She is a guest and is no way near paying her way and has absolutely no right to interfere with the way you run your home.

You are doing an amazing thing hosting her, but if this situation doesn't resolve itself soon then it will get so much worse. Am assuming you both want a relationship with each other?

Peppapogstillonaloop Sat 10-Sep-16 12:34:04

Sorry if this sounds harsh but you are completely enabling her dreadful behaviour. She should have respect for you and your husband and home and it sounds as if she has none. I don't think it is her prerogative not to help out with childcare when she lives with you and does not contribute.
agree with pp you need to tell her that she needs an exit plan and give her a time frame..

MrsExpo Sat 10-Sep-16 12:34:46

You need to get tough on this one OP. It won't be easy and I feel for you.

If necessary put a lock on your bedroom door to make a point. Then sit her down and tell her that, whilst sympathetic to her situation, you need her to understand the this is your house, so is run to your rules. If she doesn't like it then she must make alternative arrangements. You mention her lack of willingness to help with childcare. I assume, therefore, that you have a young family. So tell her your priorities now are you kids, your husband, your job and your life in general and if she's going to share that she's got to either pull her weight (and stop taking the p@£$) or leave. Give her a time-limit ... something like three months ... to find work and make alternative arrangements for her own life. Meanwhile, she has no right to invade your privacy, veto visits from your friends and generally use you and your household like a convenience. Good luck.

NightWanderer Sat 10-Sep-16 12:35:54

Can she get a council house? I live abroad so I'm not sure how the system works but can you ask and find out? It might be the best long term solution for her to have her own place.

NapQueen Sat 10-Sep-16 12:38:29

You need to serve her notice.

She can stay with a friend or your sister. You've done your bit.

ImperialBlether Sat 10-Sep-16 12:42:10

I'd help her decide by narrowing her options.

When you talk of her it's as though you're the adult and she's the child/teenager.

Your husband doesn't want her living with you - it's his house too and I think if he doesn't want it, she shouldn't be there.

cexuwaleozbu Sat 10-Sep-16 13:22:27

"Mum you know I love you and I really want to spend loads of time with you now that you are back in the UK. But I don't think it's going to work out well with you living here. We are already getting under each other's skin with our different attitudes and it would be awful if that started leading to quarrels. We need to get you settled somewhere else nearby. Both of us will be much happier able to live life in our own way but close enough that we can see each other lots"

GoblinLittleOwl Sat 10-Sep-16 13:26:27

Your mother sounds high maintenance, and extremely thick-skinned. She has probably made a career out of being supported by others: your father, her overseas partner, now you, with your sister and best friend as reserves. She has no intention of working and I doubt whether she would qualify for benefits or council accommodation, certainly not immediately.

I would think she is prospecting for a new partner, hence the clothes, nails etc, walking the dogsadgood way to meet lonely widowers), lunches with friends, ditto, refusal to do childcare (no granny label) and she wants the house tidy in case she needs to bring someone back. I bet she has a huge amount of charm and a steely resolve to get her own way.

Your husband sounds as though he will lose his temper with her shortly; let him, then be ready with your ultimatums, presented oh so sweetly: she doesn't criticise you, your husband or your house, she gets a job and finds somewhere to live; and until she leaves she has a list of chores to earn her keep.

Expect she will be out within a week.

greenfolder Sat 10-Sep-16 13:38:43

You need to say

You are forcing me to choose between my husband and you. I choose him. You have 2 weeks to go

littleacceb Sat 10-Sep-16 17:17:43

@RJnomore1 I was 24. Old enough to know better really, but if you grow up with it, it sort of becomes normal.

Ugh, I know you're right. I just can't talk to her like a normal person. She just looks at me with such disgust whenever I try to talk about anything serious. I've got to be brave. She won't be homeless or starving.

She's now acting like nothing happened and I don't even know how to bring it up.

mrsfuzzy Sat 10-Sep-16 17:24:22

you and your dh need to tell her straight you've helped her out but there is a date on the calender and you need to be gone by it. she's playing om a guilt thing, don't let her do it any longer.

littleacceb Sat 10-Sep-16 17:35:21

I was brave. She was just heading out to a party, and before she left, I said "we can't just have rows and forget about them when the problems still remain". She said, in a really arsey way, "well, I definitely won't be going in your room again".

I said thank you, and that I appreciated that her points about our untidiness were valid to her - she said "certainly not just to me" - but that we were happy how we lived. She said it was ridiculous - what else could she do all day. I'll admit that I was gobsmacked - um... get a job? - but couldn't get the words out.

She said she would get the place tidy if we would just change our habits to maintain it - referring to an earlier complaint about DH not putting his shoes away - and didn't we want to live a better way? I said not especially.

She began to cry. I said I just wanted to have a logical conversation. She yelled "this is logical!" then slammed the door and went to her party.

DeathStare Sat 10-Sep-16 17:35:34

I agree with everyone else, you need to put a stop to this behaviour - if not for your own sake (which I think is more than reason enough) then for your DH's.

If the situation was reversed and this was your MIL everyone would be saying you don't have an IL problem you have a DH problem for allowing to continue. And I'm afraid (awful as it sounds) your DH currently has a DW problem for allowing his MIL to treat him like this.

I know it's tough but this is your home and your DH's - not your DM's. You need to draw out some very clear boundaries. If she wants you to do her the favour of allowing her to stay then the concession is she has to respect your boundaries. If that's more than she can manage she needs to find someone else to live.

Oh.... and I don't think it would be at all unreasonable to expect an unemployed adult, who is living rent and bill free in someone else's home, to muck in with childcare.

specialsubject Sat 10-Sep-16 17:39:34

I am surprised you havent changed the locks!

She wont get benefits until she has been back in the uk for a while. So she needs to get a job and get out. Her fault for pissing away money, sorry.

She can get work enough to pay for a flatshare and start from there.

DeathStare Sat 10-Sep-16 17:39:55

We just crossed posts, and so I just wanted to add....

I think you are negotiating and explaining things to her too much.

If she wants to live with you she needs to know what the rules are. She doesn't need to be part of a discussion about why they are that way or how they could be better. She simply needs to know what they are and that they are not open for discussion and either she respects that or she leaves. Her choice. But you need to stop allowing her to be in a position where they are open for discussion.

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