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I think my mother has Empty Nest Syndrome. Please help me find a cure before I end up screeeeeeeaming at her!

(13 Posts)
MadreInglese Tue 10-Nov-09 14:57:10

My younger sister recently left home for uni, and with my brother already at uni this leaves the family home empty of children.

God forbid that my mother should actually communicate/socialise/live peacefully with my father, she seems to be searching for a new outlet for her nesting urges. Both my younger brother and sister are quite dependent (slightly less so now they've moved out), needing lifts and money and advice, etc, etc. I am quite a bit older and love my independence and had left home many years before them and no great domestic tragedy has befallen me yet.

Mum has now wiped from her memory the fact that I've lived quite happily in my own house for years and years, managing to feed, water and clean my family fairly successfully, and has switched back into uber-mothering mode as if I am 12 years old

She's trying to organise things for me and DD that we've always done ourselves, keeps buying and trying to give me all sorts of stuff, furniture, crockery, etc, go on it'll look nice in your room, never mind if you already have enough beds, have another one, you can never have enough beds, go on......

If I won't agree then she starts rabbiting on at DP or DD about it, usually managing to convince one of them that they really do want said bed/chair/tv/saucepan/curtain rail/blah blah until we end up with the bloody thing without being able to figure out who agreed we would have it

I can't seem to have a conversation at the moment about anything with her, if it's anywhere near a moan she launches into 'Fix The Problem' mode, if it's what should we do for DP's birthday she has it sorted before I've even finished my sentence - you get my drift

DD's getting a bit confused and playing up a little because grandma is letting her do things that DP & I won't

I love her dearly and I do appreciate her input and help when I need it (I'm sure I sound like a right ungrateful whingebag) but she is beginning to get a bit overpowering and smothery and tbh it's on the verge of interference now

I am about ready to scream <clenches teeth>

WWYD?

(Oh, and she already has a job and a cat before they are suggested grin)

PotPourri Tue 10-Nov-09 15:00:45

dog. And distance - keep clear as much as you can, and don't be needy (i.e. don't ask for advice or that is inviting her in)

MadreInglese Tue 10-Nov-09 15:20:22

LOL, dog not feasible really with existing cat and job

I'm trying very hard not to ask questions, or appear to be whinging about anything, or discussing problems, but I find I'm just having to carefully construct every conversation

Could it perhaps be a temporary thing that will fade eventually? I really can't cope with 3 years of this till my sister comes home!

TrippleBerryFairy Tue 10-Nov-09 16:29:24

how about simply talking to her and telling her all this? It sounds like you have a good relationship with her (before all this started) so first thing I suggest telling her exactly how you feel.
My guess is she is feeling 'not needed' after all the kids have left the house and behind all her irritating behaviour is just a simple need to feel 'needed'.
Few years back I had to remind my mom that when I talk to her about my life I don't need her to constantly advise me or offer solutions (she used to get into this 'fix the problem' mode too!) and that I just want to have a chat and be listened to. She still does that sometimes and then I just remind her all that again and she's fine, she stops doing it.

Re all the things she's making you buy - how about simply telling her you don't want to waste money on things you don't need?

I think you just need to be firm with her and simply tell her to stop doing things you don't want her to do.

PercyPigPie Tue 10-Nov-09 23:33:40

LOL at dog - I was going to say kitten!

MadreInglese Wed 11-Nov-09 14:05:11

Oh I do tell her at each occasion but perhaps an overall-summary-type conversation is required. She'll be a bit gutted though I think if I tell her that in effect she needs to be less mother-y, but I'll blow my top I think if it doesn't stop soon

(btw she's not making be buy things, she's just giving us them, "it's free so you might as well have it, of course you have room for it, don't be silly" hmm)

I was hoping it would be a passing phase and I wouldn't have to mention it, but it seems not!

I wondered whether I could channel her somewhere, give her something to do for me or DD so that she doesn't feel so redundant, but nothing is springing to mind

mumblechum Wed 11-Nov-09 14:16:58

Voluntary work to fill in every spare hour?

MadreInglese Wed 11-Nov-09 15:19:23

hmm yes she might go for that

I think it needs to be subliminal distraction IYKWIM

mumblechum Wed 11-Nov-09 15:30:32

She should think about working for Kids Company, maybe doing up flats for teens leaving care.

denmans Wed 11-Nov-09 21:06:04

fostering?

sdr Wed 11-Nov-09 22:05:25

Is there one thing you could make her responsibility. Perhaps take DD once a fortnight, say horseriding or something?

Also do like mumblechum's idea.

2rebecca Thu 12-Nov-09 12:59:02

I'd try and get her doing more stuff with your dad, and would probably discuss things with your dad. I'd probably also tell her that you'd like her to stop trying to give you stuff as you're finding it a bit much.

WRT The solving problems things I'm on her side. Whilst you just want to moan and complain about things that is very tedious for the listener and turning it into a conversation you can contribute to makes it more interesting for your mum. I only discuss problems with people if I expect them to try and help me sort them out. I don't really get moaning for it's own sake, must have a masculine mindset on this.

If this doesn't work I'd be tempted to back off a bit and let her and your dad sort themselves out, if you're not there to fuss over she'll have to start finding other things to do.

MadreInglese Thu 12-Nov-09 14:00:03

Something with DD or more stuff with my dad are both good ideas

I hardly even bring up new conversation topics now as it doesn't even have to be a moan before she's fixing it, I can mention how cold it's got and she'll call me the next day saying she's got a nice winter coat off her friend and it will be much warmer than the one I've got so she'll drop it off for me, even if I say thanks but I like the one I've got she drop it off anyway so I can "give it a try"

Or I'll just mention in conversation that our mortgage is up for renewal soon and she'll launch into a research project finding all sorts of possible (in her eyes) mortgages for us and then decide EXACTLY what we need and will practically book the appointment for us

I feel I do need to help fill her baby gap with something, it just seems to me like she's avoiding accepting that all her children have moved out by plonking herself right in the middle of organising my life

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