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Mom is living with us
Old 03-22-2014, 12:20 PM   #1
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Mom is living with us

I know this is a delicate and sensitive issue but I need to tell somebody how I feel, which is.....trapped in my own house. When she came I told her to make herself at home. And she most certainly did!
She has her own room with all the fixtures, but she is never there. She is a chain smoker and I am trying to stay quit. 12 hours a day of TV in the family room when it used to be off. Intruding and constantly meddling in our conversation. No intimacy of any kind. The last one to go to bed and the first up. Letting at all time her presence known. Constantly watching us she is pusshing us to barely used parts of our home.
She cant stand any sort of advice or comment: the result-dignified silence, hurt pride and sulkiness.
I could go on.... But I think all of you get the picture.
Should I have a showdown with her, setting basic reasonable limits....or...there is nothing to be done.
Ah....There are 9 of us siblings, but I have this ominous feeling of being the one stuck with this situation.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:48 PM   #2
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Oh boy!

I do not think a showdown is good, but a talk is needed. It appears that there might have been some confrontation already, judging from your post. People need their personal space, and I think there should be a way you can tell her that the constant-on TV should be the one in her room.

And welcome back. Long time no see.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:58 PM   #3
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Welcome back Vicente!

This is a sticky situation. We must respect our parents, but we have rights too.

What does your DW think? If this is difficult for you, it must be worse for her. My first suggestion is for the two of you to agree on what your expectations are. For example, it is perfectly reasonable, for health reasons, to decide that your home will be a no smoking zone. I realize that this is culturally very difficult in Spain, but you might be able to get support from your doctor. Second, you might consider negotiating some house rules about privacy. But you cannot easily control your mother's behaviour. Third, it is time for your siblings to step up to the plate. At least get one of them to invite your mother for a few weeks.

I seem to recall that you had similar concerns some years ago about a young nephew. Presumably he moved on?
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #4
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It is not that easy to have that talk. Whenever I want to address any issue related to what Ive mentioned, she either dodges the topic, pretends it has nothing to do with her, says she isn'n welcome or gets into a sullen mood.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:08 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear of this situation Vincente, I can't imagine how stressful it must be. How is your wife coping?

Some good friends of ours had a similar situation with a very demanding and tiresome mother of the husband. However, his 2 brothers, who lived in different States were more than willing to share the load so they used to take turns throughout the year to have her staying with them.

They did have one situation where our friends, who live in Louisiana, were on vacation over a long weekend in New York City. They got back to the hotel one evening to find a note asking them to call the husband's brother. (this was before cell phones). He had got the dates wrong and his mother was sitting in the airport in Louisiana waiting to be picked up. He had to call a neighbor who had a key to their house and they picked up his mother, who by then had spent many hours in the airport.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:09 PM   #6
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says she isn'n welcome
Maybe you could work on this part? She seems pretty robust. Jack her up and put it to her, give her a few days or a week to get the message, then call the cops.

That line above about "we must respect our parents"? That's a two-way street.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:27 PM   #7
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So nice to see a post from you, Vicente, even if it's about such an irritation. It is difficult when your extreme kindness in taking your mother into your home is being abused by her.

Good luck in resolving this problem.

Have a little meeting with her. Point our how much you love her and welcome her into YOUR home, and that you are happy to generously offer your hospitality to her. Ask her if she needs anything. Then set down the rules, based on what bothers you the most from your post:

No smoking except in __________ (You specify where she can smoke). (She is a chain smoker and I am trying to stay quit.)
No television in the family room in the daytime (she surely has a television in her room?) (12 hours a day of TV in the family room when it used to be off.)
Be respectful of you and your wife. (Intruding and constantly meddling in our conversation. No intimacy of any kind.)
Stay in her room between __________ (you specify--midnight til 7 am?) (The last one to go to bed and the first up. Letting at all time her presence known. Constantly watching us she is pusshing us to barely used parts of our home.)

She will probably have her feelings hurt and sulk and and not talk to you. Just ignore that and stick to the rules. In a few days she will come around. Just like a toddler or a teenager.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:28 PM   #8
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Is this living arrangement intended to be permanent?
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:28 PM   #9
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I would have thought that for somebody who has always claimed/boasted to be an independent self-reliant and solitary kind of person, to have a room for herself would be much aporeciated. I gues I am/was wrong.....
Another thought: our having de facto allowed her to do what she wants -like in no other place - will convince her that ....Where can she possibly be/go and be more confortable than in my house....?
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about your tough situation. I agree with Meadbh you have the right to make the inside of your house a no smoking zone. I guess that is a more common kind of house rule in the U.S. Many nonsmoking households here do not allow anyone to smoke inside their homes, and that often applies even when one of the spouses smokes and one doesn't.

Do you have a senior center or some place she could do volunteer work during the day? Can you let her have a TV in her room and take the TV out of the family / living rooms altogether? Or set no TV hours in the shared spaces? I think if it is your house you have the right to have some reasonable agreements.

You can frame it that you are concerned about her health. Chain smoking and watching TV all day can't be very healthy anyone mentally or physically.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:36 PM   #11
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Is this living arrangement intended to be permanent?
In principle, all 9 of us have to share the responsability. But the bottom line is that it seems my wife and me is the most convenient solution, being as we are so timid....Previously one of my sisters practically evicted her before her three month term was due. Now Mom has warned us all that she is not a suitcase and isnt about to move out....
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:44 PM   #12
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NINE sharing responsibility? Is splitting the cost nine ways for her own place a possibility? That way everybody is off the hook putting up with her shenanigans but everyone is taking responsibility. Then you can all change your phone numbers.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:49 PM   #13
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I think Ill be brave enough -fat chance- to challenge her with some of your items of advice when her stay is near the end of my theoretical term of duty. Otherwise Ill add -to ourselves- insult to injury by having to put up with her bad mood for a long time.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:56 PM   #14
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Sorry to hear about your situation, Vicente.

However, my mom and mother-in-law are both strong European matriarchs and they fit your mom's description surprisingly well. When they come to visit, they just take over and pushing back creates a lot of tension. We are very familiar with the "dignified silence, hurt pride and sulkiness". My wife tends to "let it be" with her mother while I have a more abrasive personality and tend go for the showdown. All I can say is that my wife gets a lot less respect from her mom than I do. MIL keeps pushing DW's limits, but she knows mine very well.
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:47 PM   #15
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:53 PM   #16
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A vision of Mom duct-taped to the wall, a la "duct tape parenting," comes to mind. If it is OK to do this to little kids who won't behave, why not to old people who should know better?

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Old 03-22-2014, 06:14 PM   #17
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Oh man does this strike a nerve. I've posted before about our case, and will spare the details. If there was ONE thing I would do differently in my 62 years it would be to NOT have built the addition for the MIL. Eight seemingly endless years ago.

She is not the domineering PIA you describe, but is just very very needy and frail, won't listen to what we tell her on how to use walker. In last five days she fell four times, including one face plant with massive facial bruising. When DW took her to Acute Care center, they sent her to ER. Hey, it was like any of the many other falls she has for her own refusal to do things safely. What does DW get for her 9 hours in the ER, waiting? Acusatory looks and questions like we're abusing her.

We have had it. But we don't seem to have the guts to place her. Yet. She has no assets and I'll be damned if I'll pay for her care. Which upon reading that sentence, boy are we PAYING for it in other ways. Inability to travel at will, DW constantly caregiving.

That's enough. I highly recommend anyone think twice before becoming the residence of a parent. If you do, you better set conditions up front right away. Part of our problem was that when she first came it was like...she was visiting again. So how do you start going out and leaving her home? (set up that you will go out without her once or twice a week, a simple condition). And be prepared for what can be one long painful commitment. I swore that if it got to adult diapers we'd be done; we've been through that after one fall that immobilized her.

Good luck. These are not easy problems to deal with. When I talked to an eldercare agency all I got was a lot of "you're not alone" and "yes, I can hear the frustration in your voice." That did a lot of good.
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
A vision of Mom duct-taped to the wall, a la "duct tape parenting," comes to mind. If it is OK to do this to little kids who won't behave, why not to old people who should know better?

http://celebritybaby.wpengine.netdna...wk-422x422.jpg
Careful now.....we don't want Vicente and DW to be accused of elder abuse!
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:20 PM   #19
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If it's not child abuse, it's not elder abuse....nothing special about elders!

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Careful now.....we don't want Vicente and DW to be accused of elder abuse!
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:48 AM   #20
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When my father was dying, I had to bring him out here for his terminal care, so I also had to bring my mom out here (she was 81 and half blind). It was tough to uproot her and bring her a thousand miles from everything she knew, so I had her stay with us for a couple of months at first. Oh boy! I can relate to much of what you're saying, Vicente. It was a real trial.

But when dad died, I used that as the trigger and explained to mom that our house wasn't big enough for all of us. She didn't quite see it that way, but I was firm. I got her an apartment about ten miles away, and she loved it. There were other people her age living nearby, and she made friends quickly. That might be a good approach for you to use when you talk with your mother.

A couple of those friends were still driving, so mom got to get around town a little, and she loved those trips. She also learned to ride the city bus to get around on her own. That was another benefit, since we lived far enough out of town that she would have been totally dependent on us.

Those were some very happy days for her, and she spoke fondly of them until she died fifteen years later.
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