Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I’m 24, dating, employed, but I’m living with my mom for another year

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice I’m 24, dating, employed, but I’m living with my mom for another year

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  • #850785 Reply

    Hello! So this issue has been bothering me for about a month. I’ll try not to ramble.

    I come from a tight family of 6, with me being the 2nd oldest of my 4 siblings. We have a great relationship with our parents (except my older sister, but I’ll get into that in a bit). My parents had a great marriage, a marriage that me and my siblings hope to achieve one day.

    Sadly, my father passed away a year ago in May and it DEVASTATED all of us, especially my mom hadn’t been single since high school, now she’s a widow at 50. I was 23 at the time, moved home back from an out of state university, just got my (current) job and had been planning to move in with my best friend in October. My mom asked me to live at home so she wouldn’t be in the house alone, which of course I said yes. She was a great mom to me, and I honestly wanted to be home after all this because it gave me comfort from all the grief. I couldn’t bear to leave her alone.

    After my two younger brothers went back to college, it was just me and her. She is great company and we get along well. Most conversations go back to my dad, but that’s okay because we can BOTH talk about grief. In the meantime, I kept myself busy socially, but it sort of tough reconnecting with people you haven’t talked to since high school (except for 2 bffs). I joined a dating app and met my boyfriend, and I’m basically doing the best I can of this situation.

    It’s now August, and I’m beginning to feel this sinking Sense of sadness. I make plans, I hang with friends, but when I’m alone I feel like I’m wasting my life away. I’m not sure if it’s me staying at home or being in my hometown where people have their own lives, but I’ve been unable to shake this feeling of depression. The thing is even if it was the living at home thing, I’m not moving out until December 2020.

    My mom is still amazing. She’s one of the only people I know I can talk to anything about. But the thing is…I can’t move out until December of next year. It scares her knowing that I’ll be moving out and she’s going to have to figure something out. I’m actually the one who said December of next year. Whenever we talked about the future, she made it clear that she isn’t ready to be alone and that she was grateful that I was home. It hurts me to move out, but I’m also my own person and I’ll want to start a new chapter in my life.

    None of my other siblings can move in with her either. Both of my younger brothers are in college and I would NEVER ask them to put their education on hold to come home. They visit enough and call our mom, so they’re doing their best. My older sister can NOT live at home. Although she is poor and would benefit from moving in finically, her and my mom CONSTANTLY butt heads with everything. My sisters drinking and frequent lying irks just about everyone, but my mom is very blunt and doesn’t usually handle argument well. Long story short, my sister and I swapping places is a bad idea.

    I guess what I want to know is…what can I do to make myself happy until I move out? I’m trying to get rid of this sinking feeling of loneliness that comes with living in a house built for 6 with only 2 people living in it. I’m doing well on paper, so how come I can’t find myself being truly content? Any advise is appreciated!

    #850786 Reply

    First, i’m very sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is incredibly difficult. So many hugs for you.

    Second, I’m so sorry your mother is making you feel responsible for her happiness. Unfortunately whether you move out this December or December 2020 your mother’s situation is the same. She has to learn to live life w/out her husband. Hopefully she still has work and friends that can help fill her in time, and she can focus on hobbies.

    If the situation is no longer working for you then you need to move out. Your mother will cope and she’ll continue to love you. Right now she’s using you as a crutch and the only way that’s going to change so that she can flourish on her own is for you to move out. I wish you a lot of luck in what i’m sure will be a difficult conversation.

    #850792 Reply

    You say you were 23 when your father died and moved back home from an out-of-state University. Does that mean you dropped out of grad school? That sense of having derailed your life to comfort your mother may stem from this. Are you in a job which is good for you and leads to future prospects, or just marking time for another year plus? I think both you and your mother should separately see therapists. She likely lives another 30 years. She is going to have to take control of her life.

    #850795 Reply

    You may want to consider that you mom may never feel ready to live alone. There are plenty of people who may feel that way, when a loved one dies, when they get divorced or break up, when their kids move out. But life keeps moving, and not everyone is able to avoid living alone. Sometimes by doing something when a person is not ready is when they become ready. Think about it — is there really a point where you mom is going think that living alone sounds fun? Probably not.

    But she’s an adult, and as adults we all have to do things we don’t want to do. I empathize with her (and with you). But you also can’t give up your happiness and life because she feels lonely. Why not come up with ways that you could be there for her in other ways — could you transfer to a closer school? Make time to facetime with her a lot?

    You’ve done what you needed to do for her, but now’s the time for her to relearn her independence and let you do what you need to do for you.

    #850797 Reply

    Counseling would probably help.

    Your mom will have to learn to live by herself. If she isn’t moving in that direction then having you live with her isn’t benefiting her for the long term. She needs to be searching for a social circle beyond you. She needs to find things that give meaning to her life and things that help her build meaningful friendships. You cannot be your mom’s companion. You can be her daughter and she can lean on you some but you can’t be her one and only. She needs to look into meeting up with people who share some of her interests. That could be a hobby or volunteer work.

    #850814 Reply

    Sorry about you loss, I watched my mom die at the age of 46 and I was 24 and finishing up the last 2 weeks of college, that was the toughest week I ever had to endure.

    My best advice for your mom’s dilemma is?

    I would suggest a nice small dog, not the big ones, and it has to be a dog because cats don’t come to you when you call them and you cant teach them tricks, they think they are gods and will come to you when they feel like it, mainly for food and attention at their own will, lol.

    A dog will bring her lots of joy and companionship, it will make her go for walks 3 to 4 times a day and will just bring her lots of joy and happiness, and trust me when I say dog people talk to their dogs, she will have something to talk to and small dogs at awesome to sleep with at night or watch TV with as they love to snuggle up with their dog parent.

    #850819 Reply

    I agree with Logan. Im so sorry about your loss. 2 years ago I lost my Father too (i was 21 at the time) , It destroyed my mother who quickly sunk into depression. 2 years on, many conselling sessions and a puppy french bulldog later and our familys spark had come back. We miss my dad like crazy every day but the dog really gave us all something to devote our attention and love too. Your mum will be OK, but you need to be OK too, show her what stregnth is.

    #850822 Reply

    You need to be a dog person to enjoy a dog. If you aren’t a dog person then the dog is a burden and will be neglected.

    If a person is a cat person they and the cat will be two peas in a pod.

    My mom used to be a dog person but as she developed dementia she became a cat person. The dog was ignored and her and the cat would be curled up together all of the time. I felt very sorry for her dog. It has now died but I think it’s last few years were sad. The cat and my mom are still together all of the time. When she is sitting the cat curls up in her lap and when she sleeps the cat curls up with her on her bed. When the dog jumped on her bed it was banned to the outdoors (porch, garage and cellar accessed via the porch) and it was also not allowed on the furniture so wasn’t allowed to sit in her lap. You really need to go with the person and who they are.

    #850825 Reply

    I think therapy would be beneficial. I can’t speak for everyone, but the first couple years after I finished school weren’t my favorite. Maybe other people have very different experiences from mine, but it was a huge transition for me filled with a lot of uncertainty and trying to find my new normal as an adult. If I’d experienced such a big loss around the same time, I can’t even imagine how much more difficult and depressed I would’ve felt. I suspect what you’re feeling is deeper than simply living at home, so I think a neutral third party to talk to about how you’re feeling would be a great step.

    As far as your mom goes, well, you can’t be her support system forever. She’ll be okay. If you were planning to move nearby, you can still visit regularly.

    #850826 Reply

    I’m more of a dog person, but my apartment only allows cats. So that’s what we got. And yes, he might not be as exuberant in his affections as a dog would be, but he’s still a playful kitten who has no problem giving the snuggles when snuggles are due. Anyway, I ramble. My point is that if you are an animal person, then getting a puppy or kitten (whichever you prefer) is a good suggestion. Therapy too. Because like others have said, your mom might not ever be truly ready. But I’m sure, in her heart, she loves you and doesn’t want you to putting your life on hold indefinitely for her. It’ll be bittersweet, but you will both know on some level that’s it’s the right path for you. Just be there for her in the ways you can. Call often. Visit. Be a good child to her; but be your own adult.

    #850865 Reply

    It’s normal to move back home to support a grieving parent, but 2-1/2 years is an incredibly long stay and an incredibly long time to put your life on hold in a place you don’t like. I suggested therapy for both because: it just seemed that daughter did this partly out of her own grief and emotional needs and a sense that Mom would fix all of that as would retreating to her childhood home; and while most parents grieving the lost of a spouse would appreciate the companionship of a child to get over the worst bumps, it has been my experience that both parents push the kid back out the door in 6 months or less recognizing that 1) it’s bad for the child to put life on hold for too long and to retreat into childhood and 2)that they need to learn to stand on their own two feet and will become dependent upon their child if they lean on them for too long.

    THe situation that LW describes is not a healthy one.

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