- This topic has 11 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 4 days, 15 hours ago by Anonymousse.
JunoSeptember 22, 2023 at 7:03 pm #1125606
Hi. Need some help handling a delicate situation.
Around the end of 2018 my mom “moved” far away to be near my grandparents and her siblings. The move also gave her a break from my unstable ypungest sister. I say “moved” because almost as soon as she left, she started visiting. And visiting. And visiting. Her visits would last for weeks. They never had a set time, she just showed up and stayed til she left. One year she visited off and on for 23 out of the 52 weeks. It wasn’t just a visit; it was taking her to the doctor, taking her to see her friends, taking her to see all “the kids” (adult children with jobs and social obligations), taking her shopping and many other errands. Needless to say, her visits caused a complete pause in my life so I could be available to execute her errands. I had to flake out on garden club, book club, friend visits. Her visits prevented my inlaws from visiting as she was occupying the guest room. Her visiting prevented us from helping my daughter-in-law’s brother who needed a safe place during Covid (which strained relations for a while).
Then my middle sister (who left work to live with my retired, financially independent mother) started joining mom on her visits. They’re ungracious guests. Mother leaves piles of dishes which I am perfectly happy to wash but she insists she will and then proceeds to leave them for hours. Their dogs are up at all hours to go out. We don’t have our dog on the couch (she’s old and large so I sit with her on the floor) but they insist we allow their dogs on the furniture. They leave lights on all over the house. Mom has burned pans, broken things, lost things. She has snooped through our cabinets and closets. All this time, my youngest sister, my kids, my niblings would all visit her at my house, noticed I seemed frazzled or tired but sorta had this “aww, it’s not that bad” attitude. But she’s my mom, I do love her. So I just let them keep staying.
Last year it came to a head during one of their mid year visits when my husband committed the unthinkable sin of asking them (in casual conversation) how long they’d be here. They became silent, then indignant. They packed up and left the next day. They proceeded to tell everyone in our family that we had been inhospitable and made them unwelcome. Not just here among us, but to our extended family. My aunts, my cousins, my grandma. Everyone. Needless to say, their following visits were finally to the homes of everyone else. Though it’s a good break for me, in just 8 months (from late summer last year to June this year) they managed to wear the entire family out. I’ve had almost all of them (sis, kids, niblings) tell me that they are burnt out on the visits and realize how much I was dealing with. Vindicating, yes, but the problem remains.
Middle sis dumps mom at one house and then goes and visits at another and they just flip around like that for several weeks. She tells mom that she has babysitting jobs but she confided in youngest sis that it’s not true. It’s just her getaway.
We love my mom and like being able to see her. But she just absolutely needs her own space to reside in while she’s here because, let’s face it, she’s not visiting, she’s living here part time. I’ve suggested AirBnB, renting a garage apartment, buying a small rv (which she’s always had an interest in) and staying at the nice rv park near me. Nothing. She just hems and haws while continuing to burn pans and butt in.
How, how do we get them to stop? There’s just no nice way to say that we’ve all had it but, we’ve all had it. Now that everyone is on the same page, is there something we do collectively or does one person say something? We’re just spent and frustrated.peggySeptember 22, 2023 at 9:55 pm #1125607
Well, this sounds exhausting and likely expensive/costly for everyone too. I think you have “done your time” and they seem to be leeching off others now. You can speak up if you want. I would tell your mom and other sponger sisters that you love them, but have instituted new house rules,as you are ” finding life too busy and exhausting lately and
you are “short on quiet time and it is impacting your health.”
Tell them they are welcome to visit X times a year ( once,twice,4 times,whatever you decide works ) and they will be welcome for 3 days etc. ( your choice) and after that ,if they want to visit more, they must get their own accommodations and you will see them at specific times,like meeting for a lunch etc.
They will protest likely but be firm. Tell them if they show up at unscheduled times,you will not welcome them and will be busy with other plans. Then don’t let them/her in, lock up and leave the house etc. This is a huge overstep on your mom’s part and she needs to respect that it is not working for you. it seems harsh,but she is being an inconsiderate jerk. Tell her that the others are having issues with the visits too and she needs to talk to them and find out their limits if she wants to keep visiting and feeling welcome. good luck!
Hi, your mom is going to continue exploring whatever good will is left among your family members until she has burned all bridges and her relationship with everyone is shot. One way you can save her and everyone else from this fate is doing what should have been done ages ago and it’s this: say ‘no.’ When everyone tells her no, she can’t stay with them for half the year and needs to find a second home to live in when she wants to be in town, she will really have no choice but to finally change her behavior. But as long as someone – anyone – is saying yes, no matter how begrudgingly and no matter how much of an inconvenience she is, she will keep crashing where she has outstayed her welcome.
You write: “There’s just no nice way to say that we’ve all had it but, we’ve all had it.” The problem is that you’ve been too focused on being nice. And where has that got you? It hurt relationships with a large number of your family members – probably the thing you were hoping to avoid by being “nice.” Stop being nice, and be kind instead. Kindness is when you think of people’s best interest, and it’s in everyone’s best interest that your mother (and sister) get a home of their own. And they’ve proven that that is a last resort after everyone else tells them “no.”JunoSeptember 23, 2023 at 3:17 pm #1125640
Peggy- yes one time I told sis (that lives and visits with mom) that I was going to give mom a set of dates I could have her visit. She told me that was cruel and what if my kids did that to me.
Wendy- I know you’re both right and we just have to say no. Of course we all know it’s easier said than done but if everyone agrees on setting the boundaries that could really help.LisforLeslieSeptember 25, 2023 at 5:26 am #1125648
I’m sure there are times when I suggested visiting my mom and she said, “oh, no that won’t work because we have …” and you know what happened? NOTHING. I got over it. You are an adult who has commitments and activities and a social life of your own. You are not a hotel. The conversation will not be easy, but there are a few points in time when you have to reset your relationship with your parents. This is one of them.AnonymousseSeptember 25, 2023 at 8:02 am #1125656
If you are going to try and get everyone on board, don’t. Step back. This is not your responsibility. You “deeply offended” your mother when your husband asked how long she’d be staying. Does this mean you haven’t been hosting? Don’t start again, either. Focus on yourself and your life, your husband and roll your eyes and tell people they can say No if they come to you for advice. Otherwise, I’d enjoy my quiet house in peace.JunoDecember 1, 2023 at 12:22 pm #1126898
I don’t know what clicked or how, but mothet and sponger sis finally decided on buying an old but still nice and cheap condo. They will finally have THEIR OWN base to operate out of when theyvare in town. I suspect (or hope, really) that the decreasing enthusiasm with which they were met at other homes gave the pause for thought. Thanks for your help!AnonymousseDecember 1, 2023 at 1:09 pm #1126900
So you never spoke up???JunoDecember 4, 2023 at 10:29 am #1126926
E: I never had to, I was concerned that somebody had to say something. Like I mentioned, after the incident with my husband, they did not return to my house but began making rounds with the rest of the fam. It’s my hope that the lightbulb finally came on.LisforLeslieDecember 4, 2023 at 11:00 am #1126928
I highly doubt the lightbulb came on – people who don’t behave like good guests don’t magically realize they are bad guests. Either someone sat them down and said “you are a terrible guest, I can see why everyone has asked you to leave” or everyone did what your husband did and asked a reasonable question that offended them leaving them with no options without groveling.
What this really means is that you never actually established a boundary with your family – so you’re still at risk for having those unspoken boundaries broken. All you did was kick the can down the road.AnonymousseDecember 4, 2023 at 5:54 pm #1126939
Yeah, you didn’t address it. The problem isn’t solved and you still haven’t expressed your true feelings. I would do that.AnonymousseDecember 4, 2023 at 5:54 pm #1126940
Yeah, you didn’t address it. The problem isn’t solved and you still haven’t expressed your true feelings. I would do that.