Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

URGH! I need to get my Mum to back off without it causing a row.

(55 Posts)
DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Fri 09-Feb-18 23:26:35

I posted a few weeks ago about my mum being overbearing with my son and sneaking him money. We haven’t seen her since and I was just planning on keeping my distance from her, not visiting as much. I think it’s relevant that she retired a few months ago and suddenly has a lot more time on her hands and a lot less to occupy her mind. I don’t mean that to be condescending but she had a very full on job managing lots of people that she absolutely loved. It was her career she worked hard for since she was 18. It’s now gone so I’m sure she feels at a loss.

Today I came home from work at lunch and she was in my house taking a wash out of my washing machine. My 12yo is on midterm break so he was home but she wouldn’t have known that until she came to the house and she does have a key but I’m not sure if she’d have gone in had she found no-one Home. The washing was my washing. She had gone round the house collecting laundry and put on as many loads as she could get done. I have no idea how long she had been there. She had also hoovered and reordered my fridge as apparently I had my bread on the wrong shelves. hmm DS was tidying his room (I had asked him to do that before I went to work anyway) so I came home and didn’t have long before I had to go back to work, was hoping to grab something quick to eat. Instead she dumped the wet washing in my arms and told me to hang it outside. I said I don’t hang it out on days like today because it just doesn’t dry at all so it’s extra work having to bring it in later and rehang inside. It’s a sheltered north facing garden and even the ground stays damp. She muttered and mumbled about getting it out so I obliged because I could face a row. She kept saying “it’s all a help” (meaning what she was doing was helping me) I thanked her and hoped she would go but no, she went off to put DSs school shirts in. This is actually his job, he does it on a Friday but she disagrees with him having to do it himself. Anyway she put them in and went off to pester him and kept coming back looking for a dustpan and brush and a bin bag and asking where such and such went to the extent where it was easier for me just to get the stuff and do it myself. It came time for me to go back to work and she was showing no signs of leaving I said thanks for all your help and she started muttering about how I need to keep on top of my laundry. This is a problem with me. I have OCD (that she doesn’t know about) and I am currently at the end of an obsessive period where I was washing stuff constantly and needlessly. Anything fabric and I was washing it and couldn’t keep up with all the drying. I finally reached the end of it and was allowing myself a break from laundry apart from the essentials. So there was a build up. I had made my peace with it, I knew why it was there and it was “allowable” (in my head) and was working my way through it. She was muttering about keeping up with my washing whilst she was putting more in the machine and I was getting really anxious because I could see she wasn’t doing it how I would do it but I couldn’t say anything as she was doing my laundry for me. I snapped and said “I really appreciate your help Mum but if it comes with a lecture I really would rather not have it” she ignored and carried on saying my house will smell if I don’t do laundry and again I said “I really don’t want to have this conversation” and she said “yes but you have to keep on top of it” and I said “I don’t want to hear this” and she said “I’m only saying!” But I had asked her 3 times to stop! So she did stop talking about it and I had to go back to work and leave her there with my son. I’m now home and I’ve had to rewash everything she washed as my anxiety was through the fucking roof by the time I had got home. (I know this is my issue and not her fault) Then this evening she text to remind me to bring my washing off the line! (it was already back in the machine) I’ve had to go round the house and rehoover because I don’t know where she hoovered and didn’t hoover. My house isn’t dirty. She didn’t need to hoover at all. I have no idea why she felt the need to come to my house and spend a few hours cleaning. When I was growing up she was always resentful of having to clean. I feel like I shouldn’t be grateful that she was helping me but it has been brewing inside me all evening and I can’t have this again. I am actually grateful that I was working today because if I had been home when she arrived I’m sure we would have rowed because I can’t cope with that. But I can’t have this. She can’t just turn up to my house and start cleaning. I’m not her new hobby.

I can’t ask her for her key back because it will just be a massive row and sulking session. I do know she has good intentions and only wants to help so I don’t want to be hurtful or harsh with her but I can’t have this. I won’t be telling her about my OCD either because she doesn’t understand it at all and thinks things like that are solved by just getting over it. I had hoped if I just kept my distance it would be fine but now she is actually coming to my house and not to see me but to occupy herself. We have never had the sort of relationship where she would sit and have a cuppa with me. We’ve never done that in my entire life. She doesnt come to visit with me, she comes to check up on me. What do I do? I don’t want to hurt her or cause a big sulk.

ohfourfoxache Sat 10-Feb-18 00:01:53

She sounds horribly overbearing

Could you channel the locks? If she mentions anything “oh yeah, I lost my keys so I’ve changed the lock for safety”

Then when she asks for a copy: “oh yes, I’m sure I’ll get round to it”

ObscuredbyFog Sat 10-Feb-18 00:04:25

Change your locks, don't give her the new key.

You or an intermediary really need to set firm boundaries for your mother. She has no right to intrude into your life or your home. It's making you ill. It has to stop.

RemainOptimistic Sat 10-Feb-18 00:09:33

She is unreasonable. You will always be made to feel in the wrong, she will never suddenly stop being a massive twat, so why not set boundaries? You're getting punished anyway, may as well be for something that benefits you.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Sat 10-Feb-18 00:11:37

I need to actually say something to her because she wouldn’t let the key thing drop if I just changed the lock. It would come to a head and a row so I need to actually just address it upfront with her and tell her she can’t do that again. I just don’t know how without making bad feelings.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Sat 10-Feb-18 00:13:09

I was dreading her retiring because I knew she would eventually find herself with too much free time and gravitate towards me and my DC. And now it’s happened.

Thistlebelle Sat 10-Feb-18 00:25:43

You say “Mum I love you and I know you want to help but it’s an invasion of our privacy to have you letting yourself in and doing our housework. I don’t want you to do it again. I’m an adult, you wouldn’t do this to any other adult. If you keep letting yourself in without permission I’m going to change the locks”

I think that this might need to be an argument you are prepared to have.

My sister loves it when Mum turns up and does all the housework.

I would hate it.

My Mum respects my boundaries.

It’s not helpful if you don’t want it done.

Ps it’s “our laundry” and “our housework” It belongs to the whole family not just you.

mummmy2017 Sat 10-Feb-18 00:26:12

How about writting her nice STOP email.

Mum I want you to know I love you. But
I need you to stop trying to run my like, I am an adult and for reasons I don't want to talk about I need you to stop coming to my house and doing my housework. I like to do it in a certain way, and you know I like DC to have chores and help. I don't want to have to take the key back or change the locks as I do value you being able to help in an emergency,

what do you think about maybe volunteering for some of the charity's in the area that would love to have you engage in helping them, we could go and look at them next time I have a day off, as I feel they would welcome someone with your life experiences with open arms.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Sat 10-Feb-18 00:32:36

You say “Mum I love you and I know you want to help but it’s an invasion of our privacy to have you letting yourself in and doing our housework. I don’t want you to do it again. I’m an adult, you wouldn’t do this to any other adult. If you keep letting yourself in without permission I’m going to change the locks”

Yes this sounds like the kind of thing that might cause least offence/chance of a row.

The laundry she was doing when I came Home was literally just mine. She had been in my ensuite and taken all my laundry out of it. The DCs stuff she had already done!

mummy that’s a good suggestion about volunteering. She definitely needs something to help her feel useful. She isn’t used to not having a focus. I don’t want to patronise her by saying “you need a hobby” but I really think she does need something.

Joysmum Sat 10-Feb-18 00:33:12

I would GP along the lines of saying you know she’s only trying to help but that she wouldn’t have liked it if her mother had done what she did, no matter how well intentioned, and that she raised you to be self reliant and that she’s to let you have your own space.

Butterymuffin Sat 10-Feb-18 00:36:26

Yes say what Thistle said. You will have to follow through though if she doesn't listen.

Thistlebelle Sat 10-Feb-18 00:47:07

The thing is, you need to set your boundaries now. If you let this go she’ll do it forever and your resentment and anxiety will grow.

Of course you love your Mum and don’t want to hurt her but if you avoid the argument I suspect it will only get worse.

Going into another adult’s room is seriously crossing boundaries.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Sat 10-Feb-18 00:56:19

Oh I definitely have to stop it now. I have been so stressed all day today since. I can’t have that happening again.

springchickenn Sat 10-Feb-18 01:19:49

You could def get away with changing your locks for some ambigious reason and never getting round to cutting her a key. My own mother did this to me, I have no idea why when she relies on me to let her dogs out and stay there when she's on holidays (which I'd prefer not to do but I am the golden child). My DS has his own key and I don't have one hmm. Anyway, I always accept that she hasn't got around to getting me a key - so maybe you could try it at least for a while.

Winosaurus Sat 10-Feb-18 06:01:59

My ExMIL used to do the same... just let herself in and move/ clean / disrupt things in my house. It wasn’t even my ExH’s house it was mine that he moved in to so that made it even more bizarre.
I came home to find her putting new bedding on DS’s bed hmm it didn’t match his room and I hated it - she also tried to change his curtains?
Also came home to find her binning things from our fridge and she had also taken out all of our underwear from the tumble dryer and folded up my knickers!!! Talk about an invasion of privacy!!!!
I lost it with ExH and asked him to have a word... anyway it resolved itself one afternoon when she let herself in thinking we were at work to find us having sex on the living room floor. She stopped pooping by unannounced after that grin

Winosaurus Sat 10-Feb-18 06:02:41

Popping by* not pooping by!

Bigfatchips Sat 10-Feb-18 06:22:55

Why are people so scared of having arguments? If you'd said "for God's sake Mum what the hell do you think you're doing?" as soon as you got home then everyone would know where they stand now. You are allowed to be angry you know, even with your own mother.

This isn't a trivial thing ... this is her infantilising you, being controlling, not seeing you as an adult (even though you are old enough to have a 12 year old son). Put a stop to it right now! Yes she may be hurt but that's OK. She can sulk and then get over it. Don't allow her to put her wants ahead of your own. You should have had your lunch and laughed at her when she instructed you to hang the washing outside.

thethoughtfox Sat 10-Feb-18 07:55:10

Do your mum's cleaning issues have anything to do with your issues with cleaning?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-Feb-18 08:05:08


This is in no way a trivial issue.

Its not you, its your mother. I would also keep her well away from your son as well. I would look at and post on the well we took you to Stately Homes thread on these relationship pages too. is a good resource and may also prove useful.

Re your comments in quote marks:-
"I can’t ask her for her key back because it will just be a massive row and sulking session".

I would change the locks in any case. What your mother is doing here is likely a further extension of what she has done towards you her whole life. You need to urgently raise your boundaries here with regards to your mother, she is acting unacceptably here. This relationship is clearly an unhealthy one. It may also be difficult for you to do this as well precisely because she has never really encouraged you to have any.

" I do know she has good intentions and only wants to help so I don’t want to be hurtful or harsh with her but I can’t have this".

Why do you think she has good intentions, such overbearing behaviours are never well meant at all. She has not considered you in the slightest, even though you have a 12 year old son she still thinks of you as being somehow incapable. She wants power and control, this is clearly not being done at all to be helpful. You did not ask for her to come into your home and so such from her is unwanted and unwarranted. She does not and has not considered you in the slightest; its been all about getting her own needs met. She cares not for your reactions so why should you at all consider her; her stroppiness and sulking would be done by her to get you back into line. Its her own needs for power and control that are being met here. Such types also are more likely to go on the attack and sulk at you, not feel at all hurt but more put out that you have actually challenged her. BTW sulking is another form also of emotional abuse. She is responsible for her own actions, not you.

StripeyDeckchair Sat 10-Feb-18 11:31:34

Ask for the key back became you've got a workman coming round to check/fix something. If she offers to sit in for them say it's a friends OH so you know them and are happy for them to fit it in with their work over the next week.

Then don't give the key back.

BonnieF Sat 10-Feb-18 11:46:53

What’s wrong with having an argument with someone who is behaving unreasonably, not respecting your home or your property and pissing you off, even if that person is your mother.

She will only start respecting you when you stand up to her. It’s time for some straight talking.

RandomMess Sat 10-Feb-18 11:48:47

You need to remind her that DS is your son, she's had her turn at parenting and it's yours now, like it's your house and she is welcome only when invited!

SandyY2K Sat 10-Feb-18 12:10:38

Change the locks if you can't ask for the keys back.

You can say there was an attempted burglary if she asks why.

Of course that's conflict avoidant....a bit like myself.

Although I had a situation with my mum recently. I told her I was old enough to do what I want to and she had done her job in raising me and the decisions were now mine to make.

She gathered her thoughts and had a little rant...but agreed it was my choice and she wouldn't say anything about it again.

She was a bit shocked when I spoke to her...but I was very calm about it.

If you know my DM you'd realise it took quite some courage for me to say what I did.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Sat 10-Feb-18 12:26:05

Thank you everyone.

I hate any sort of conflict so I guess that’s why I back away from challenging her. Also, it’s my Mum and that dynamic is hard wired so it’s instinctual just to do as I’m told. I need to get over it and remind myself I’m not a child anymore.

Do your mum's cleaning issues have anything to do with your issues with cleaning?

I suspect so. Cleaning was always a guilt ridden thing. It always involved her shouting about no-one doing anything to help her and cleaning was her being in a bad mood and us scurrying around feeling guilty for not doing stuff we hadn’t been asked to do. She very much martyred herself over it. We weren’t made to do anything until she would occasionally snap with what needed to be done and then it was lots of shouting and guilt.

Backenette Sat 10-Feb-18 12:30:18

From experience, if you ask for a key back they will just cut another one.

Mil proudly told my mum that we’d asked for the key back (for guests when they stayed) but she’s got another one. It makes me very angry indeed. They are moving to our city next year and I suspect we will face similar meddling.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: