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)
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. 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.
Well you are really lucky and have the perfect solution there. Always leave your key in the patio door and leave by the front door from now on. When she says "I couldn't get into your house Vlad" you say "That was the plan mum. You cannot let yourself in and interfere any more."
Thank you. I’m kind of hoping she’ll be so pissed off that I stood up to her she will withhold her “help” to show me how much I need her. Wishful thinking maybe.
Stay strong, you’re doing bloody well. Do not back down, or you’ll be in a worse position than you were before you reestablished your boundaries
You have my sympathies Donny boundaries can be hard to set and then of course you often need to continually reinforce them.
I have my own experience of this. It can be very hard.
I know you’re right thistle, thanks.
My sister does help me out when she can but she works away for 2-3 weeks at a time so isn’t always available when the rare opportunities to go out arise. She does help when she is home though.
Would your sister be up for babysitting, she'll probably enjoy the peace and sobbing around...
Donny that fact that someone has always behaved badly in the past is not a good reason for allowing them to continue to behave badly.
Your house. Your rules.
The only thing that actually would be helpful would be the odd babysitting but that involves DC staying at her house and then I have to stay for dinner the following day when picking them up. DC arent usually keen as she is so “her way or no way” and even more so recently so I don’t like to send them. It also means I feel in debt to her because I’ve “needed” her and gives her ammo to say “see, you do need me after all” which I just would rather avoid.
I don't think your main aim should be avoiding a row.
Be very clear that you don't want any help, or that leven of help, she is being really out of order.
Are there things she could do that you would actually find helpful? Maybe you could offer her that.
But either way she can't be barging in, doing what she wants and saying her piece about it. Incredibly rude.
Everyone tolerates her. She has always been overbearing. My dad and sister, We roll our eyes and give each other sideways glances and just let her carry on whatever her moan or rant is. But she has crossed a line now. She gets to rant in her own house but not mine.
It’s been so long since I’ve risked an argument with my mum I forget why I am so keen to avoid it. She does sulk and makes passive aggressive comments. She did yesterday too. And she will play the injured party to all and sundry when she tells her story. But I don’t have to live with her so I guess it’s not such a price to pay. I’ll not take the key. Yet. My sister (who lives with my parents) and Dad both have keys and it would mean taking theirs too. I won’t rule it out though. I can’t put a chain on the door as it’s a PVC French door but if I leave a key in it she can’t get her key in and I can leave by the front door which she doesn’t have a key for.
How would she feel about people going in her home and invading her privacy without asking?
Well I imagine she wouldnt be keen! I had considered going to her house and making a mess to see how She appreciate my help in encouraging her to chill out and enjoy mess.
If she has that argument with you again where she says that she doesn't need to do it but wants to do it, tell her that you need her to stop. That you need calm. She is causing stress and disruption and ruining everything (it would be worth having one thing that she washes really badly and ruins so you could bawl her out every time she tries to do anything again so that she doesn't ruin everything again). But why does she think that her wants come above your needs, that her want to do household chores and cause chaos in your home should come above your want to have a calm clean house in your own time? And why is she so determined to be horrible to you?
Shocking her by framing it differently might help to stop her a little sooner (get her down to 5 or 6 stops at lease )
If you have to, tell her that she can't do it properly, that you had to rewash all the things that she washed before, you had to hoover everywhere because she didn't do it well enough to see where had been done and where hadn't and so on.
Would your ds be prepared to say he had lost his key/had his bag pinched/etc to get the key back off granny (or for you to get it off granny temporarily) so that she doesn't think it's you trying to get your key back? Sounds like he has the measure of her if he was counting the no's!
If you don't want to change the locks and your DC is there, can he put a chain on? Just to stop her walking in whenever she fancies?
What does she do if you argue that is so bad? Make it all about her and how everyone hates her / how nasty you are or something? So that the air is never cleared by an argument?
How would she feel about people going in her home and invading her privacy without asking?
Change the locks. It's the path of least resistance and will stop her coming into your home uninvited immediately. If you don't, you will be stressed and anxious every day, wondering if she is, or has been, in your home.
Do not give her a copy of the new key, or give the key to anyone who she can borrow it from to get one cut.
Change the locks. She will just cut a copy otherwise.
You will now get:
Approaches via other people (your mum is so upset!)
Vague Illness insinuations/tests/health scares.
Oh god will she invent an illness?? do people do that?
She actually has a very elderly mother she could be channeling her energies into but I suspect my gran would tell her where to go.
I’ve just remembered she kept saying “I’m not interfering” even though I didn’t once use that word so she obviously does recognise that her behaviour could be seen as interfering.
I would not be surprised to see at some point she going to the GPs to have some "tests" done for a previously unknown health condition.
Be very wary of her going forward; what has happened here is really a continuation of the dynamic she played out with you as children.
That was not a row you had; that was you maintaining your boundaries.
Her help is anything but because you did not ask for it so it is unwanted. She has taken it instead upon herself to do this because she wants the power and control that gives her. She won't be interested in volunteering or such like.
Such people do not listen, its their way or no way as far as they are concerned. Also she has not apologised nor has taken any responsibility for her actions; this will not happen either.
She won't like this from you though and I would think she will try something else now to bring you into line. I am unfortunately not surprised that you had to say no ten times; I would have let her leave regardless (re you saying she did not have to). She just wants her own way and for you to kow tow to her; keep saying no and reaffirm your boundaries as and when necessary. She sees you as incapable somehow.
Well done but you need to stick to your guns, ask for your key back the next time she arrives without an invite, she needs to channel her energies into someone rather than you, she could volunteer to help at women's refuge or local hospiTal who may need help with other things.
That wasn't a row and now let her sulk.
She may need you more than you need her.
Stay firm, arrange to maybe go out somewhere at weekends.
Then get her a list of places that need volunteers, find her a U3A to join and a WI and you'll get peace,
Good for you, and for DS too, he sees it clearly.
Boundaries. And if she gets stroppy so be it, she’s BVU!
Well done you!
It sounds like you handled a difficult situation very well, probably better than I would have done, and it sounds like your mum needs to fill her days by volunteering her help to a local charity, or three.
Well done, op. Watch out for the sudden attack of illness now.
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:
Please login first.