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AIBU - to think my mother should butt out of my life?

26 replies

gemmiegoatlegs · 26/05/2007 19:47

I want honest opinions, not just tea and sympathy as I'm having trouble seeing another point of view on this.

My mother is long-since divorced from my dad, has a busy professional job and lives on her own. On a weekend she turns up at my house and stays all day sat, goes home sat night (sometimes v late) and comes back to stay all day sunday. She says she wants to spend time with the kids but honestly doesn't let them get a word in edgeways. The kids play up all the time she is here as they are fighting with her for my attention. She comments on absolutely everything: my in laws who "couldn't give a shit" (her words, not mine, my dh shouting at our dcs when they are naughty, the dcs behaviour, the smell of my washing, everything....!

She is driving me berzerk and i feel like such a bad mother when she is here. The dynamic of our relationship has become truly bizarre. I really dread her visits and have started having fantasies of moving out of town!

OP posts:

FlossALump · 26/05/2007 19:49

can't you make plans for at least one day of the weekend for just you as a family? That way perhaps she will appreciate more the time she has with her GC and also maybe get the hint she is annoying you!

Or just tell her to stop being so critical!


Kewcumber · 26/05/2007 19:51

good fences make good neighbour and a little distance with family isnlt such a bad thing either - no YANBU.

Can you break the pattern and say you are going out one saturday but invite her over for tea then say the same on Sunday. Start doing that ever other week or so until she gets the message that she cannot just turn up and virtually live with you all weekend.


lulumama · 26/05/2007 19:52

is she lonely? sounds like she has no other support network

find out about local groups, things she might be interested in

she needs to appreciate that she is stifling you , if she is not a help , maybe you could ask her to take DCs out for an hour or two to give you and DH time together, or babysit?


Kewcumber · 26/05/2007 19:53

I see a lot of my mum and am very close to her but would strangle her if she spent that much time with me. But she does sometimes make me feel like a bad mother - but thats me being sensitive not her being insensitive. If weaning her off doesn;t work you will have to sit her down (wihtout DH and DC's) and talk to her about it.


Zog · 26/05/2007 19:53

Can you explain how this situation arose i.e. did you invite her initially or has she always turned up uninvited?

WHat does your DH think?

How far away does she live?

When does she see her own friends?

Sorry about all the questions but I think it'll help wrt possible solutions.


gemmiegoatlegs · 26/05/2007 20:01

well, i know she must be lonely as she hasn't got much in her life apart from her job and us, she had a bad relationship a few years back which pretty much got rid of the few friends she had.

I sometimeds wonder whether |i am an emotional crutch for her and if she found someone new she would drop us like hot potatoes. My dh works weekends and when my ds was a baby, before dd came along, i did enjoy her visits and we used to go out in to town to a cafe or whatever, but now i feellike all my plans for things i want to do at the weekend are totally overridden. Today i was planning on going to the gym for an hour and dh would supervise the kids. Well, she said she would be happy to stay with the dcs whilst we both went.

I was only out 45 mins and then she said she would prefer not to do childcare duties as she finds my almost 2 y o dd "very demanding" at the mo. The whole time we were out dd had been asleep upstairs and hadn't made a peep!

I just wish it could be the same as all other visitors , including the ILs who pop round for an hour, have a cuppa, give the dcs their undivided and then leave. I fel like she puts so many conditions on us all, and everything syhe does to help is stored up for when she feels like unloading on me about how much i owe her.

Then when she leaves i have a huge guilt trip because "she only has us"

OP posts:

Kewcumber · 26/05/2007 20:02

she needs a hobby


Scanner · 26/05/2007 20:08

If you don't feel able to speak to her about it, which is what you should do in an ideal world. Then its cruel to be kind time, she needs to find other things to do, sounds like she's frightened of being on her own and the longer you provide an alternative the longer this will go on.

Does she call first or just turn up? If she just turns up I think you need to be out soemtimes, or if that feels too mean, then call her and say you'll be out on Saturday. Alternatively could you blame dh? with his permission of course, say something like he's said he want to spend more romantic time together at the weekend.


vixma · 26/05/2007 20:08

grrrrrrr, how you are still sane is amazing......bless her, she has become dependent on seeing you and the kids cos you are obviously a joy to be around which is nice as even though she complains she must love being around you or else she wouldn't come round. Mums, this maybe us one day.


gemmiegoatlegs · 26/05/2007 20:14

i know i need to cut the apron strings(!) but i am so worried about leaving her on her own. Dh thinks i am mad to put her welfare above my own, cos he knows i am about to implode.

i have su=ggested loads of things she could get involved in and she is always so critical like "that is for old people/uneducated people/desperate people/people who drive etc etc..." There is always a reason not to do it.

A woman who lives near her who does a similar job and also lives on her own has been calling on her recently, and she is ever so critical saying "she hasn't got anything else to do" and is annoying her and i just want to tell her that's how i feel...but i really don't want to upset her

OP posts:

octo · 26/05/2007 20:23

My mum is the same and drives me potty - she comments on everything which has nothing to do with her - typical comments are:

  1. ooh you've had your hair done, I bet that was expensive (nothing about if it looks nice)
  2. xxx (dh) does everything around the house (FFS no he does not!)
  3. is there anything I can do to help? (Yes - you can do xyz - then doesn't do it)
  4. The vicar said .....
  5. Your nephew is so badly .....
  6. What do you need that for? (favourite line of them all)

    I could go on and on - I know I am very lucky to have a mum but she does drive me and the rest of my siblings insane!

    I am off to visit them on monday for the week .... dh doesn't think I will last the week!!!

FioFio · 26/05/2007 20:25

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gemmiegoatlegs · 26/05/2007 20:28

i actually said to dh today, i wish she would go and live near my sister and bother her for a few months!

OP posts:

FioFio · 26/05/2007 20:29

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octo · 26/05/2007 20:34

FioFio - I never go shopping with my mum!!!!


vixma · 26/05/2007 20:39

fiofio.......your mums a bit cheeky......i would love to be a size 14....(i am 16)....however my mum does the same. When I was a size 12 she asked me if I put on weight, I am hoping I will not be like that with my own child, however I have repeated some of my parents sayings and it is very scary.


FioFio · 26/05/2007 21:02

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squeakybub · 26/05/2007 21:07

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Elasticwoman · 26/05/2007 21:29

It takes me back, all this mother-daughter stuff. Once we rang in advance of seeing my mother and offered to take her out to dinner when we came up. "Don't you like my cooking then?" she said. Also told me I shouldn't be "showing" yet at 4 mos pg, as if there was much I could do about that. Dh used to tease me by saying "try not to fall out with your mother this time".

Now she's in her 80s she has mellowed and I've learnt what subjects to avoid and how not to give her the opportunity to wind me up. I do feel a sense of responsibility for her wellbeing but then she is pretty old now.

To the OP, I am amazed you feel so responsible for your mother. It is certainly not your fault she is alone, and if she is still working then she's still young enough to sort out her own social life. Filial duty does not extend to putting up with a parent all weekend every weekend.
Just say casually, oh mum, (or whatever you call her) we have other plans this weekend, so can't see you this time. If she wants to see the grandchildren, let her do it as a babysitter while you go out in the evening. She can do things her (oh so superior) way while you're out.

BTW has any one read My Mother, Myself by Nancy Friday?


jandeb · 26/05/2007 22:37

Hi I think you should be honest and stand your ground, after all we are talking about your family, house, kids, life, do I go on.
Tell her you love her and want to spend time with her but the times she is there is not convenient. Think of a better time that suits you then invite her round.


gemmiegoatlegs · 27/05/2007 10:47

to Elasticwomam, sad thing is if she has dcs at her house she "can't cope" and last time they went overnight she smacked ds which is absolutely not our way of doing things.

OP posts:

Elasticwoman · 27/05/2007 12:21

Of course, if you're not happy about her babysitting, don't ask her to do it. But that still doesn't mean you have to entertain her at your house all weekend every weekend.


kimi · 27/05/2007 13:05

not read all of this but it sound like the next time she try's to guilt trip you will the "I only have you" speech tell her if she was a bit less demanding and not such hard work then she might have other people and you might enjoy the time you spend with her if she stopped dumping herself on you the whole time.

Tell her you want to spend family time with your family some of the time.


kittyhas6 · 27/05/2007 13:15

gemmie, do you know, I think we have the same mother . Mine's got no time for me 'cos she spends all her time at yours


octo · 28/05/2007 13:33

gemgoatlegs - my mum keeps saying to my boys that she will smack their bottom if they don't do such and such and it makes me mad - I do tell her not to say it as its not something we do or threaten to do - not that am totally against it - just think it is mean to threaten them like that - she did it to me when I was little and although it worked because we were scared of being smacked, its not how I want to bring up my kids.

On a final note - I am just off to my mums for the week ... wish me luck

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