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My mum thinks that just because she helps out I don't have any rights to challenge her .

(70 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 13:26:06

I've never had a great relationship with my mum, but in recent years since having kids she has been a lot more involved in my life. She has my daughter once a week, which is probably more for her benefit than ours as my partner is a SAHD so we don't need childcare. She will also come round and help clean the house, which I think she does in order to feel useful and needed, as we've never asked her to do this she just offers. ( actually she says she does it as she doesn't want her grandchildren living in a dirty house).

Also she is quite well off and has given money towards my wedding and towards the house in the past, again all offered not demanded by me.

But she seems to think this gives her the right to tell me what to do, she is constantly criticising me about petty things such as how I spend my money, or even how I wrote the invitations for my wedding which is nothing to do with her. Or what we feed the kids for example - my son does not like meat so we don't force him to have meat.

When I told her I found this criticism unwarranted and unnecessary, she just whips out the 'I do so much for you and now you're having a go at me, I'll withdraw all my help' line/threat. Like because she has helped with the wedding costs and done some cleaning I'm not allowed to challenge her in any way.

Then she goes into victim mode - saying after all I do for you, look how you treat me, etc.

i tried to have a conversation with her about the constant criticism and ask her to stop, or at least suggest things rather than tell me outright I shouldnt' do x, y , z, but she thinks she has a right to tell me what to do as she's my mum and she helps out. so the conversation just goes round in circles.

Has anyone got any words of advice as I'm at the end of my tether.

PeppasNanna Wed 13-Jan-16 13:46:32

Your mum does do alot, her feeling the right to critise you is the mighty high price you pay for that help. Sounds just like my DM.

So i grew up. Payed for childcare & stopped telling her so much.

The house cleaning? Seriously wrong!

maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 14:54:11

House cleaning wrong in what way - as in she shouldn't do it, or I shouldn't let her do it? She just comes round and starts doing it, I'm not even there most of the time.

IamlovedbyG Wed 13-Jan-16 14:57:26

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MuttonWasAGoose Wed 13-Jan-16 14:57:40

If you can do without her money, cleaning and childcare, then consciously let go of it.

And then prevent her doing these things. Change the locks. Make plans for your child that day of the week. Don't accept any money.

She will still get angry when you tell her to back off, even if she can only say "after all I have done for you."

SuperCee7 Wed 13-Jan-16 14:58:52

Stop accepting her help

Grumpyoldblonde Wed 13-Jan-16 14:59:53

So, your partner is a SAHD and just sits there letting your mum clean your house?
I think you are going to have to tell her not to clean for you and that while you appreciate her help it is not for her to criticise and you would rather not have her help if she won't stop. She doesn't want her GC in a dirty house, is your house dirty? It is a terribly rude thing to say if there is not genuine concern about health. (filth everywhere, animal mess, no clean clothes or sheets etc.

Jan45 Wed 13-Jan-16 15:07:38

Sorry but if I had a mum that had done all that I'd probably listen to her a bit more, she does so much for you, not saying you should be agreeing with her but I wouldn't be shutting her down and making her feel wrong, she might have valid points no?

maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 15:22:36

The point is Jan, she has no right to tell me, for example
1. That I am not feeding my son correctly because he does not want to eat meat (he is 5, he doesn't like meat, I don't think he needs it in his diet).

2. That I shouldn't have bought my daughter a pair of boots half price in the sale

3. That i shouldn't write the wedding invite to my uncle as 'Mr. X and family' as I didn't put his wife's name on the envelope.

All these things are said in a very critical way, not as suggestions. She has no idea how to influence! If she just said them as suggestions or in a gentler way I may listen, but it's very 'telly' and controlling.

The house is not dirty, but I work full time and my partner probably doesn't do as much as he could because she's always round here trying to clean it! Obviously we still do some bits. But understandably if she's coming round every week he's not going to be doing it all the time. She says she will just come round to see the kids and then brings her cleaning stuff with her!

So am I being bought? Because if so I'd rather not be. We are saving for our wedding but I have considered employing a cleaner afterwards (can't afford it before) as at least then I will be in control of the situation. She will still probably come round and try to do the cleaning though, she doesn't usually take no for an answer.

I have never in my life asked her to clean my house she just insists on doing it, it started when I was heavily pregnant with my first child and never stopped. I think she does it to feel useful and needed, and to have as a bargaining chip. Along with financial contributions towards, eg, my wedding, which she offered in the first place.

Grumpyoldblonde Wed 13-Jan-16 15:27:01

Only one option here I'm afraid and that is to tell her straight, I can't see any other way. You are a working adult, a mother and it is your house. I wonder did you know her mum (your Gran) did she interfere in your mums life like this?

SanityClause Wed 13-Jan-16 15:29:56

If she threatens to withdraw her help, you need to politely agree.

"Of course we appreciate your help, but if it is conditional on you feeling you can constantly criticise, then that is too high a price for us"

(Incidentally, not putting both names on the invitation? Does seem a bit rude. I wouldn't like it if I was your uncle's wife.)

AgathaF Wed 13-Jan-16 15:30:53

She doesn't have the right to tell you how to live your life, unless you are a generally chaotic family struggling to cope. Are you?

Personally, I think you should stop her doing the cleaning at yours, just tell her you don't want it to continue, then change the locks if she persists.

The money she's given you in the past is not really relevant now. It's done, doesn't mean she owns your life forever.

She sounds terribly passive aggressive. You need to take a deep breath, state your boundaries, then insist she sticks to them if she wishes to maintain a relationship with you.

CheerfulYank Wed 13-Jan-16 15:36:10

What Sanity said.

My mother is very much this way. She ran roughshod over my wishes when I had DC1. She was so critical and I felt like I had to do what she said because she was helpful.

After DC 2&3, though, I'm just not in the mood. And I feel more confident in my abilities as a mother, enough to say "that worked for you, but I'm doing it this way."

My mother would LOVE to clean my house, I'm sure. It drives her crazy. But, so what? She has a show home and always has. I don't and likely never will. As long as it's not a hoarder-type environment or actually filthy, it's none of their business.

If she threatens to withdraw help just say "well, you'll have to do what you think is best."

maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 15:38:52

Agatha we are not a chaotic family struggling to cope, the house may be a bit cluttered now and then but who's isn't with two young children? She'd like to see us that way though, as she feels like she is then justified in interfering and what she sees as helping us out, which makes her feel important and needed.

She is terribly lonely and does not have a good track record for getting on with people. She also seems to be unable to take any criticism or challenge (and before anyone says I am not taking her criticism of me, that's very different. Her criticism of me is about how I live my life, things that are none of her business. My criticism of her is directly related to our relationship and how her behaviour impacts me, which very much is my business)

SpaceDinosaur Wed 13-Jan-16 15:40:56

Honestly? "Mr X and Family" isn't really how a formal invite should be addressed. My mum would also raise that as a point if I addressed invites like that. But then my wedding was a "formal" traditional church etc affair and your invite sets the tone and expectation for that.
Are you involving her in the wedding planning? Can you give her specific wedding jobs to have responsibility for? (Worked an absolute treat with my mum and mil!)

DS not wanting meat? Fine
Buying shoes? Fine
^ that's her being fussy^

Difficult. My mum loves doing this for us too. But she doesn't try to impose her will.
Ask her to stop.
When she mentions "dirty house"
Well DH and I aren't going to be able to get into a routine of keeping on top of things when you're constantly doing things. Please don't clean any more and that way we will take responsibility for our own home

maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 15:41:14

I did say to her today don't feel you should come and clean for us if you don't want to, as I often do, but she will make these threats and then a few weeks later just carry on as before, as though nothing's ever happened.
So unless I physically barr her from the house, which is quite extreme, nothing will change.

I'm seriously beginning to think the only way out of this is to get a proper cleaner (as my / partner's cleaning will never meet her very exacting standards)

Blakerose15 Wed 13-Jan-16 15:41:25

Don't except her help n give bk money problems solved

AgathaF Wed 13-Jan-16 15:47:12

I think you're not being assertive enough with her. Instead of saying "don't feel you should come and clean for us if you don't want to", try saying "we don't need any help with cleaning so please stop doing it now". If she has a sulk about it, so be it. Tell her that if she persists, then you will have to get the locks changed to stop her that way, which seems a bit silly really. Things have got to change though, and you need to start somewhere.

She want's control and ownership of your life. You are the only ones who can stop her having that, but you need to be really firm with her.

maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 15:48:33

Didn't really want advice on the invite as it has been sent now (and this is only on the envelope not the actual invite itself) , but it goes to show how her critical way with me actually sends me in the opposite direction as if anyone else said it I may have listened!

It's a very informal wedding and I seriously doubt my uncle or his wife will really care about how their envelope is written, it's very clear that they all are invited.

The point is that my mum started having a go at me and trying to re write the envelope, further evidence of her being overly controlling/interfering.

slowdownyourneighbours Wed 13-Jan-16 15:49:11

She is being unreasonable, but I suspect she will never accept this or respond any efforts at discussing it.

You have to stop accepting her help.

I sympathise, she is being very controlling!

KP86 Wed 13-Jan-16 15:50:23

Iamloved, even if the OP lived in the dirtiest house in the country it's still no one else's place to comment on it. If DM wants to play martyr and come clean, fine, but the guilt trip afterwards is not necessary.

Berthatydfil Wed 13-Jan-16 15:52:22

There's no excuse for her to be cleaning if your partner is a sahp.
You don't need the childcare as your partner is a sahp.
So get you partner to step up and refuse the cleaning and the childcare.
If you are ensuring your ds eats cheese eggs pulses and nuts and medical professionals have no concern then there is no need for him to eat meat. So no concern of hers.
Buying half price boots on the sale - good for you !! Again no concern of hers.
I would however address the wedding invites more formally.

maggiethemagpie Wed 13-Jan-16 15:57:39

I'm very bad at being controlled, I kick back against it. Probably because of growing up with a very controlling mother with very poor boundaries. (EG until I was a teenager she'd pick my clothes for me).

In relationships I go the opposite way, my worst nightmare would be to be in a controlling relationship, my partner is very passive and we rarely make demands of each other.

My mum will probably sulk a while then pretend nothing's happened, I do feel like I am being bought sometimes though so maybe should rethink the cleaning thing.

Also she often reorganises our things and we will find things in strange places a few days later, or she'll do things like reorganise the cutlery drawer, when we haven't asked her to, which REALLY annoys me!

MatildaTheCat Wed 13-Jan-16 15:58:15

Well she very clearly wants to be highly involved in your family life and feels she has a lot to offer both in terms of money and time. Unfortunately she also has a lot of unwanted advice to give. Honestly,mot sounds bloody annoying but I would smile and nod as much as possible. The invitation, the meat and shoes...all petty things that she wants to give an opinion on and none of her business but hardly worth a big falling out.

I would probably discourage quite so much regular contact as she seems to be spending a lot of time with your family and practise a quick smile and 'Thanks, mum,good point, I will think about that.'

MatildaTheCat Wed 13-Jan-16 16:01:41

Sorry, cross posted. The cutlery drawer is very annoying. Tell her straight that you don't want her moving things around thanks.

My mil rearranged my entire kitchen when I was in hospital having ds1. I was furious but never said anything. I still don't regret that. She was a great one for knowing everything better than everyone else but was and is still very kind and we love her.

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