Follow
Share

I am a 40 yo single mum, my mother has moved in with me to help with childcare 9 years ago following my divorce. My mother is a difficult, headstrong manipulative person, who is always right of course. She is an ex school principal and hence 'knows' how to parent and tutor my son more than I do of course. Since I have been the bread winner I was absent from home more than her and she ended up caring for my son quite a bit (in her own way which I tolerated but over time it really started weighing on me). She had originally suggested moving in to help following my divorce and at the time I agreed and I now find myself trapped in my own house. I no longer want this arrangement. I have a sister but we never broached the subject of mum's care and she never offered / I never asked any help. My mum is 65 and only minor health concerns (thyroid, incontinence, spine problems). Being at the head of this family, financially supporting my mum and getting on with her over these years is really taking toll on my mental health. My son is now a pre teen and whilst my coping style is to keep quiet and let the tide pass, my son breaks into arguments with her which to me sound quite awful. Mum says son is putting up a show for me and problem is with my too permissive parenting. My therapist suggested I break to mum that she needs to move out. I am full of guilt as grappling with having to 'chuck out' someone who supposedly sacrificed her life for me (her own words). Any thoughts how to broach the discussion? She is retired so likely (she left her job to move out with me and I have been supporting her all these years) I have to support her moving out financially and going forward too. How much time would be reasonably to give her to think over what arrangements she wants, provided we live separately? Any red flags / advice you would give for the next steps? I think the next 5-10 years she will be OK health wise, but after that the arrangement may need to be re-thought again as she will age further. Thank you

Find Care & Housing
The first step I always take before a big change like this is prayer...then with a clear conscience try to work this out.
it will always weigh on your mind that you told your mother that she has to leave....your mother. She will always feel really bad inside that you did ‘‘this to her, her own daughter.’


The therapist’s job is to work with you to resolve problems.She/he can’t tell you what to do. What seems right to them may be not right to you. Financially your mother is dependent on you...it’s very hard to live on social security.
I wish you the best. If your mental health is at state you’ll have to do something.

i wish you the best no matter which way this goes.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to kaykay2
Report

Does your mom know that you are in therapy? If so, that will make my suggestion a lot easier. I think you should arrange for your mom to attend 1 or more of your therapy sessions. It should be okay with your therapist, particularly since it was her suggestion to have your mom move out. You are fortunate that your mom is in sufficient physical and mental health that she would be able to function on her own. You don't mention what income she has i.e. a pension from her job as a school principal and/or social security (if her husband, your dad, has passed away), any investment income she may have. Just because you've been supporting her doesn't mean that she can't support or at least help to support herself. She moved in to help you with your son. He is now at an age where he should be mature enough to stay at home by himself for a few hours. You don't say if you work the night shift. If so, you may have to hire a baby sitter for 11-7. Your mom can't MAKE you feel guilty. No one can. You can only allow yourself to feel guilty and then, that's your choice. The bottom line is that if you don't take care of yourself first, you can't do a good job of caring for anyone else - including your son. What does your mom do to keep in contact and socialize with others her age? Does your town have income-based housing for those over 65 or with a physical or mental handicap? If you mom really cares about you, and you are honest with her either 1:1 or during a joint session with your therapist, she will realize that circumstances have changed and it wasn't meant to be an indefinite living situation when she moved in, just an opportunity for her to help out, get to know your son, and in return she received room and board and whatever other benefits she may have received. If it wasn't working out for her, it sounds like she would have made her wishes known a long time ago. Once she's on her own, maybe she'll meet someone, choose to travel, look for a job at a senior center, library, or volunteer at a school. You're giving her back her life. She would no longer be obligated to put caring for your son first in her life (assuming she was doing that before). If your sister lives close by, you may want to include her in some of your therapy sessions for family counseling. Best of luck to you!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to AginginPLaceLLC
Report

I think you have to be very blunt, that the current situation is taking its toll on you. Help her find a place to live and you will visit but get her out of your environment. Be tough and ignore her outbursts. And possibly, you may have to seek other housing as a means of getting her out of your hair.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Lockett2166
Report

Perhaps your mother could get a job. One of my girlfriends, who is 65, just got put on full time at our closest Amazon warehouse. When she applied she said she wanted to work full time. Her 3 month probation ended yesterday and now she is permanent full time. She is paid $17.00 an hour I think, with raises at intervals. I don't know the system in the UK but perhaps there are places that help women returning to the workforce. I know here in the US there are several agencies to help you.

I remarried at 65. I started working for the government at 45 and after I retired at 65, I went back part time and worked until I was 83, didn't work at 84, worked the summer I was 85. They asked me to return to work at 85 because they were having problems finding young people who would show up for work if the beach called or they just didn't want to get out of bed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MaryKathleen
Report
lusak2011 Aug 19, 2020
Wow, MaryKathleen! What was the part time job? You mention the beach...

I agree, she can view herself as 65 years old or 65 years young.

This discussion is teaching me so much about my own future possibilities and how to live life 'later in life'! This forum is a godsend. Thank you.
(2)
Report
Mum left her job as a teacher. For those of you who think teacher retirement would be sufficient for income to live alone, it is not. Eeven if she worked until her full retirement years, it is not enough to afford the cheapest apartment.

But she really gave up her life and future income to help her daughter. I am horrified by those who want Mum out, after she gave up retirement.

Live on Social Security? You must be joking. Social Security is based on how much was taken out of your paycheck for SS. In my state if you work as an educator there is no SS.

Some countries take take care of their elderly family members in the home. America is losing empathy for anything.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Quilts
Report

Why wasn’t mom saving her income if you footed the bills..or perhaps she was but still wants you to pay? Yes she was in effect paid for her childcare and housekeeping with your financial support but that should not have also included what sounds like perhaps dissension about child raising and also controlling you, perhaps your son learned his disrespect by watching the two adults in his life argue? One thing I haven’t seen addressed so I will skip to that ..just because he is now preteen it doesn’t mean he does not need supervision. Often this age is the absolute worst for Getting into trouble. Unless he is very responsible there should be an adult who can watch over him if you are not home when he gets there from school..or there during day if he is home so not alone completely, sometimes this can be facilitated ( covid I know could change this) with after school activities or sharing these duties with another parent in similar situation. Or if mom is close she can do it ..with payment , this should be in lieu of any support from you. Any support should be phased out over at most a couple years and since you have this prewarning ..also she needs to start planning for her future.care. You are doing well with dealing with this so keep it up
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Mymomsthebest
Report

Imho, your mom has overstayed, though I do see that you apparently posted additional issues after your initial post. Hopefully you can come to a fair conclusion as your mother is a 65 year old woman, who had put a successful career behind her. She would require support. The e-learning assist was suggested by Grandma1954 and that's a good idea!. Prayers sent.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Everyone, huge thanks for all the replies and support. We talked with mum again today and it was less strained, it's like this shocker of my initial discussion opened up flood gates of communicating about issues which never got discussed over many years, and brought relief. All of the below suggestions have logic. I think for us a lot of progress will be 'in the head' first - how to relate to each other in a more conscious way and with changed circumstances after running on autopilot for years. A lot of things can be improved before drastic changes are made re living arrangements - for example how mum and son 'fight' (I explained to mum at length where I saw this was off and 'her part', and I also agree that my son will need to learn to respect her and respect the boundaries of politeness), how she talks to me / 'at me' etc. We made some promises but of course these will have to be tested in real life.

Conceptually, I like the idea of living in a MIL type of set up - i.e. close but with some independence.

Mum did stress that she needs 'my moral support' to rethink her life and her view of self in this country - I agree with the posters that I cannot simply show the door to a 65 yo immigrant who never worked independently in this country in midst of covid. She is a smart woman and surprisingly, after 2-3 hellish days of tears etc we are able to talk more openly and constructively. I also believe that I am able to handle these discussions less emotionally and finally am less terrified of her reactions and attempts at manipulating me with guilt thanks to therapy. I will talk to my therapist re what she thinks about possible join therapy or separate one for mum.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to lusak2011
Report
Grandma1954 Aug 17, 2020
Thinking about this a bit more...would your mom do well working with other kids this school year? She could "tutor" or help teach kids that are going to be having "remote learning" yet again. There are kids that need the presence of an adult to help them focus. And if one or both parents are working from home, or are working in their workplace they might welcome a person with her knowledge to help their kid cope with "e-learning". Particularly kids in lower grades and ones with problems working on their own. She potentially make a good deal of money.
This would also give her purpose and refocus some of her talents.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Obviously your mom is aware that you do not "need" her for childcare at this point.
I would tell her that while you love her and you appreciate what she has done you are in a "better place" where your life is concerned and you want to be on your own with your son.
Since this has been such a long live in relationship I would be generous with a "move out" date. (3 to 6 months would be very generous)
Help her start looking for a place of her own. If she qualifies for housing the 3 to 6 months might be necessary if there is a wait list. Otherwise a Retirement Independent Living Facility if she would be up to Community living or an apartment or house of her own.
Don't know if this is even a possibility but....
Another option if it is possible if you can make your home to have an "In Law Suite" with separate entrances with LOCKING🔑 doors that might work. If that is possible she does not have to move, you get your privacy and also control of when and how often she visits. This arrangement would also allow the ability for her to age in place and make it easier for you to help care for her IF that is what you would wish to do.
At 65 she is very young and can and should be out and about with her friends and have a live and activity of her own.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

I depend upon You, Holy Spirit to help me set Godly boundaries in my relationships. I depend upon You to guide me in the proper use of these skills to nurture loving relationships while purging myself of toxic folks who only bring unnecessary drama and chaos to my life.  

Inform your mother that her behavior is not welcomed and it is time for her to move on. Guilt trips are just a manipulative way for someone to enslave you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Christservant
Report
disgustedtoo Aug 17, 2020
Doesn't strike me as a very Christian way to handle the situation...
(0)
Report
This is a tough one. You basically got your mom to leave her job to be your full time nanny and now that the child is one of those mean teens, he has a mouth with her and her day care service has kind of outlived its' purpose.

If she retired to move in with you, I would think she has retirement income and you would not be her sole provider. If she has managed your kid and your home all this time, you didn't really support her - whatever you did (rent/utils/etc) was a sort of payment for her household duties. If you talked her into retiring with an income too small to live on, you have to have some responsibility in helping her ongoing (that would be the fair thing to do). Instead of putting her somewhere where you may be trying to finance two households, why not find a bigger place so your family has more private area and she will, too. Maybe a house with efficiency apartment/garage apartment totally separate from your house. Then as health problems arise with age, you won't be looking for another arrangement until she simply cannot live alone or needs a lot of in home care.

Giving her a separate place means stop using her for your household needs. You will take care of your own living area, meals, laundry, etc. She will take care of hers. Also, it's time to address your son - you make it clear that g'ma came to live with you and help because of him. She gave up her job (and future income) for him. He will treat her with the respect she deserves and no more mouthing at her. Find consequences for his actions: Remove the cell phone, the gaming, or whatever is important to him. You finance those things since he is too young to work, so remove them. And if his dad in the picture, work it out with dad to be on the same page. It is so very important in the terrible teen years.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to my2cents
Report

It is nice to hear that at least some calmer discussions have been had. Timeouts to think over what was said is good too.

Shane's suggestion to perhaps find a shared living arrangement that allows each of you your own space sounds intriguing. It should be a place that allows you to share costs, but keeps your lives separate. She should be encouraged to continue exploring her own wants/needs and expand her horizons. She is still very young and relatively healthy, she should be spreading her wings and trying to reap the benefits of being retired and free to do the things that interest her.

Given that financial resources might be tight for her (and yourself), this would be a good compromise - you share the costs (you did benefit from many years of not having to pay for child care costs - sure, some of that benefited mom too, but should be considered.) You shouldn't have to compromise your own finances and shortchange yourself for your own future needs and a shared but separate living arrangement might be beneficial to both of you. This way you wouldn't really have to "float" her for a few years until she might be able to afford living alone. Whatever income she has can be used to help cover the cost of the living arrangement, and pay for her own needs/wants.

The biggest issue, it seems, is really a need to push back on her to allow you and your son to live your own lives as you see fit, without being told what is right/wrong! You are an adult, and even if she doesn't agree with what you decide for yourself, it is none of her business. Voicing her opinion is one thing - that you could learn to ignore. Shoving it down your throat is another thing and should be stopped! You can say you welcome her insights, but not control. Sometimes wisdom comes with age, but sometimes parents can't give up that "parent" role.

As for your son, thank her for the care she provided and tutoring/learning as well, but stress that he is growing and becoming more independent and needs to have some freedom and space to make decisions of his own. Sure, kids all make bad decisions from time to time (don't we all, even as adults!!), but we are there to support them and correct them when needed. When they are getting older, this should not be all the time! They do need to learn from mistakes (hopefully they've learned enough already not to make any HUGE mistakes!) I used to take the approach that if you build a wall to restrict your children, they will attempt to get over, under, around it or knock it down. Don't build walls, build confidence, build the ability to make good decisions. I told my kids I didn't really have any "rules", just strong advisories. Those were to understand that for anything you say or do, there might be consequences, so think carefully before proceeding!

Hope that some positive results come from having some good discussions. Hopefully you both can find a good compromise to move forward with.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

Why do you have to support your mom all this time and going forward? I don't get it. You have already paid too much dollar wise and emotionally. This needs to stop. At 65 lots of people have jobs. You might be surprised the relief you feel once you get her out of your house and life. She hardly sacrificed her life for you. You are being guilt tripped by her. Some people raise children to take care of them when they get old. We don't need to do that in USA. I'd say you have more than paid back the 18 years of your childhood. You don't owe her 30 more years of support. You need to think of your own life and your retirement one day. What about you?
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Goody2shoes
Report

I am not sure I fully understand the scenario. If you mom was a principal and retired at 56, surely she was eligible for a pension. If so, how/why are you supporting her? Does she not chip in at all with any expenses? Also, it seems that you've had a full-time nanny for the past several years so that I can see where she would resent (and perhaps rightfully so) your desire to ask her to leave after she's done a substantial amount of co-parenting with you. She's 65, hardly decrepit so you can alleviate your guilt about that item. I'm 64 and caring for two over 90s and working full time. She is likely able to care for herself. But even under the best of circumstances, it's difficult for two adults to live in the home.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Tynagh
Report

You deffiently have let her overstay.

You should be up front with her and schedule a time for the two of you to be alone, You might go to lunch then let her know you appreciated her help but that your son is old enough now and you have decided along with your Therapist that it's in the best interest for everyone, for your mom to have her own place.

I would let her know of a few living places that you can go check out with her.

They have Senior Apartments that only allow people 55 and over to rent.

This would be the best solution fir now and when the time comes that she can't live by herself, then at that time she can move into a Senior Home that depending on her income which should be covered by her Social Security.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report

She should be receiving retirement and if your mom has been working in the school system, she should be doing quite well -- so I don't understand why you are saying you are supporting her. Childcare is very expensive so you should appreciate all she done for you. I also do not understand, in your own words, "my son breaks into arguments with her which to me sound quite awful." It sounds like you have a lot of family dynamics going on that is beyond the scope of this forum and it is my guess (MY OPINION only) your son may also need therapy.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cetude
Report

Your mother has been helpful when you needed it. Recognize and appreciate her for this. But you are also entitled to your own life, and so is your son. You'll have to treat this very sensitively, as you'll be taking away her "job," separating her from her family as well as asking her to move to her own apartment. Your son as a pre-teen may need only very light supervision (depending on his maturity), and when he is a teen, he'll want to be even more independent. You can talk to your mother about how your son's needs are changing and ask her to give him more space. Would things be better for you if you can get them to stop arguing? Or do you need more space too? Also talk to your mother about her own aging. 65 is still young and she may be able to live independently for another 20 years or more, but do you know what she wants when she needs more assistance or becomes incapacitated? Be sure all of her paperwork is in order with Power of Attorney, living will with her medical directives, will, etc. If you will not be able to care for her when she is incapacitated, she needs to have a back-up plan of moving to assisted living or having aides to assist her. Try to find a place that is close so that you can visit each other often and look out for each other.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to NYCdaughter
Report

Start by thanking mum for all the help over the years. Explain that your son no longer requires a sitter while you are at work. Suggest that it is time for her to regain her independence in her own home, but that you would enjoy visits _______ times (week, month, year?). Offer to help her look for a nice place and help her to move. Set up a time in 1 week to look at places, most places in the States allow you to "tour" online.

btw, my mom started to do the same thing when she sold her home and moved in with us "temporarily" for 6 months (which was supposed to be only a few). I ended up typing up house rules and she decided she was ready to move out. LOL she now lives in a villa 1 hour drive from us. I try to visit weekly.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna
Report

I am going to give a slightly different perspective here. That of an immigrant. I am 67 years old. Older than your mother. At the age of 58 I moved to the Netherlands to marry a Dutchman, leaving my business, kids, friends, etc. He had the resources and offered me "retirement". I thought that, because I had managed organizations in other countries and traveled quite a bit, that my transition would be relatively easy. It was a shock to go from one culture to an other and to go from working 50-60 hours a week to being retired. I am still - 9 years later - struggling to learn Dutch. I have some friends and have joined the local American Women's Club which help. I am involved in quite a number of coaching and organizational projects on a volunteer basis. But I still feel myself an outsider here. The last 3 years I was mostly in the US taking care of my mother who passed away last fall. Now I am back full-time in the Netherlands. I am in good health and have kept my skills fresh but if I was suddenly told - in the midst of a pandemic - to move out and find a job, I would be devastated. And I am known in my circle for being "the rock", the one who can handle anything. So I think compassion for your mother's situation is needed here. Emotionally this is not much different that hearing that your spouse wants a divorce. I really, really recommend joint counseling.

It is not about who owes who what. It is about how to reconfigure living, communication and power arrangements so that all flourish. How to reset expectations. How to open up a discovery process and uncover and develop multiple solutions. I don't know what you can afford but I do think that she deserves support from you. How much, for how long, and in what form is something to explore together with the help of a therapist and, potentially, a financial planner.

I have recommended this book before because I used it in my professional work leading people, teams and companies through transitions. I found it useful in personal settings as well: "Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when the Stakes are high.". It offers a framework to clarify your own needs and story and to communicate with strength and love about core issues. One of the first steps in the process is to create safety for the conversations to take place.

I wish you strength and clarity. Reclaiming your independence is not easy especially when you are dealing with probably the two most primary and precious relationships in your life: your mother and your son. I am only one time zone away from you. If you want to have a conversation, I am happy to talk with you.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Ljanoe
Report
GardenArtist Aug 17, 2020
Ljanoe, thank you for sharing your unique insights, as well as a calm and reasoned approach.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
It is good you are discovering what your mother is really thinking and feeling. As well as being aware of your own needs. You both have benefited from each other many years. It sounds like now change is needed. Your mother is very insecure and is trying to emotionally bind you to care for her indefinitely. If she has assets, use them now to help her get re-established in being independent. Get power of attorney in case something happens so you can oversee her affairs later if needed For now, make sure she is accountable for her monthly expenses so you can gauge what financial needs she has. Don't be quick to say you will financially support her. You are young and need to provide for yourself and son. Sign her up for state assistance, food stamps, whatever. Help her get a part time job. These things you can help with now. Help her practically transition into having her own place or job. Hold her hand in this process and then she will feel more comfortable in moving out. Start with her own financial resources to guide your decisions. I hope you continue to get counseling and support to be firm and decisive. Journal your thoughts and move forward with what you feel is best. You have the strength and fortitude because you care so much.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DianaMarshall
Report

Let your mom know that you are thankful for her help these past years, but now it's time for you to stand on your own & re-establish a relationship with your son as he's approaching a difficult time in his life. Since your mom was employed prior to moving in & hasn't had to pay out anything since then, she should have money to obtain a small apt. Set a date, maybe 2-3 months & help her, if she wants it , to find a place. Help her move out & and supplement her income only if you feel you must. You do not owe her anything as she needs to be self-sufficient. Remember she supplied help with child care while she had room & board paid. Speak with your therapist about the possibility of having a meeting where she could help mediate between you & your mom about leaving your house. Since mom is in fair health maybe a part-time job would be good for her as well as provide her some financial support. If you use her for childcare after she moves out, pay her for it. Stand firm, but let her know you care for her. Recommend a therapist for her suicidal thoughts, but it could be emotional blackmail on her part. Good luck. 🙏
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to ToniFromRVA
Report

Your mom is a master manipulator. Wow, I can't believe that she would make this all about her. That is not a healthy relationship in the least.

I think that her comments about not being able to trust you and wanting to kill herself would prompt me to call the police and have her committed as a danger to herself. I would also no longer trust her with my child.

Perhaps making it clear that you have the final say over your son could help alleviate some of the stress. But your son needs to know that he can not be ugly to grandma, he should not be privy to your feelings about her either. He needs to be respectful of his elders or suffer the consequences.

If your mom doesn't want to lose any quality of living then she needs to sell her assets and pay her share, you are not obligated to financially support her for the rest of her life in the manner she chooses. You are not a spouse and she is not entitled to that kind of support. Sorry mom, I refuse to not have any assets to care for my son and myself in old age so you don't have to do anything you don't want. Life happens and things change, but that doesn't place the burden of her future on you.

If she decides to kill herself, you had no part in that, it was her choice and hers alone. I think that people that use that bs to control their "loved ones" should shut up and get it done already. It's hatefulness at it's finest and shows what a true piece of crap they really are to use that game as a means of control. I would tell her that she crossed a line with that and she can get out and live on the streets. That is how I feel about that hateful behavior.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

Shane, I think your very, very balanced analysis is insightful, and should be a guideline for the OP in moving forward.   I'm especially impressed with your analysis of how the OP leaned on and expected support from her mother while the son was growing up, and I think that's important.

The OP would have had significantly more problems if her mother wasn't available to backstop her while the boy was growing up.   That needs to be acknowledged and included in the restructuring of family relationships now.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report
lusak2011 Aug 16, 2020
Agreed, and we discussed that. My son was very young when I divorced and I had to work to sustain us. My work involves occasional travel so mum was 'on tap' to be there when I was away from home too.
(1)
Report
Hi all, huge thanks for interest in my thread and all the support. So, further update after 48h of timeout we spoke with mum again. She is devastated, she told me she called suicide helpline twice yesterday and cant stop thinking about it. I know she had bouts of suicidal thoughts earlier in life after her divorce and she sought counselling for that. Somehow, this bit did not find much emotional resonance in me. I did not feel like she was blackmailing me emotionally (I had more therapy in the past days and have dealt more with my fear of her reactions which helped). I told her if she cannot cope with her feelings she needs therapy. She asked if I can help pay for that (sigh... this is so typical of the past dynamic !!!).

Anyway. A lot of emotional talk and tears from mum. We both recognised all the good that came from our partnership over the past years. She asked me what it is I want her to do (kill herself maybe? see above). I said no. I don't want her to kill herself but I want her to start turning her focus away from me and my son so much and more into herself. She told me she is paralysed by fear for her future, terrified of me and that possibly she cannot trust me after what I have done (ie, had the talk). Again, I tried to 'just listen' and mentally put the responsibility for these feelings back to her, not to me. We then talked a lot about the childhood stuff and the past, how over the years we found each other in these situations of mutually rescuing each other. I said we should come above that now and more consciously choose our futures.

Then - to open up another can of worms - I openly asked her for how long she expects me to financially support her. Another big shock and more tears - which told me she probably expected unconditional/full support for as long as it is needed. She said with me and my sister she never had thoughts like this and that whatever was needed she gave it and would take the last bit away from her and give us if needed. And since we are family we should be the same. I am not sure about this bit though - she is our parent hence her attitude is understandable. Yet the other way around? Without sounding like a monster I would benefit from some views as to 'how much support is enough' and is it immoral to put a boundary between the resources going from adult child to the parent. She said she would not want to lose in quality of life if living separately.

I think overall the fact I have initiated re-negotiation of the relationship shattered both of us but ultimately it is not necessarily a bad thing. We said we will talk more again after few days.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to lusak2011
Report
Kittybee Aug 17, 2020
Good job, you! You're doing great. Keep up the good work!

Just remember, a parent has very clear responsibilities toward their children that are not automatically transactional. This is not about what you "owe" her for fulfilling her responsibilities in raising you. She also chose to help you raise her grandchild - again, her choice, but with no agreement at the beginning that the years of helping you would result in this arrangement for the rest of her life.

If you want to talk about it as a business arrangement, you HAVE paid her for helping. This was not free for you. You've paid her by supporting her financially for years.

Hang in there!
(0)
Report
I have conflicting thoughts on this situation.

Is/was there no discussion throughout the years between you and your mother about her future? Did mom assume she would live with you forever?

While you say you supported her I’m thinking it was more of a symbiotic relationship if she provided day care to your son for a decade. Childcare is expensive.

Now your son is pre-teen, at the age of spreading his wings and pushing boundaries. You say you’ve heard them bickering and you don’t care for it. Perhaps a discussion with your son is in order about respect and patience. This is a great time as these skills will help his character development.

Your mom left her original country when she saw you needed help. No matter what her profession was. She too made sacrifices. You accepted this as it helped you immensely. I’m sure she provided emotional support to you as well going through your divorce.

My advice would be to help mom sell her property back home and use that money to find mom an apartment near you. Or maybe you all can move to a mother/daughter set up (a home with a MIL suite; separate exit, etc.

I would not feel right just telling her that she will be on her own soon and the faster she works this out, the better. Imo you owe her some assistance and should help her find options. It may take a year to do this or two months, who knows? But in the interim start talking about what issues are bothering you with your mother and vice versa and try to work out some sort of compromise so everyone can live with while you figure it out.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Shane1124
Report
lusak2011 Aug 16, 2020
Agreed Shane, so right and wise words. See my above update to the thread. I am not minded to set a timer and push her out asap. It's more we need to renegotiate the terms of the arrangement. To your question - very little talk took place over the years, a lot of things were assumed / left unspoken. Big part of this is on me in the sense I was terrified of these talks and very anxious of mum's explosive reactions and criticism. This has always been the case. Therapy helped me rise above it (per my last update above, in the last talk, I managed to just listen and be as much even keeled and not emotional or terrified). I feel we are not out of the woods yet with this 'project'...
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
I think you are too young to have to be dealing with this . Many of us are a half generation older and even the not fun. She is young enough to be on her own, in whatever way she chooses. What happens later can wait until then. She could be fine for 25 years, but you need to take your life back. I am assuming you mean you will not abandon your mom, you will still help, but to expect her to live with you is unreasonable. I dont know if these things are different in UK than US.

People here always say you should not feel guilty and you shouldnt. That said you very well may, but that should not change your desire to do whats best for you and your son.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Karsten
Report

This is an interesting and enlightening discussion.  I want to stress that I'm not criticizing anyone's position; each poster has offered different and valid insights, and has helped me evaluate what I would do in a similar situation.

My approach is  a bit different, a kind of mid-course correction, based on what each of you have learned, where you are now, where the world in terms of the pandemic is, and how you can build on your individual and collective experiences.

Your comments to others' posts suggests to me that you have good analytical insight.   If I were in this situation, I'd continue to have the heart to heart talks, frank but polite and sympathetic discussions, and explore opportunities, both for separate living and living together.  

Each of you has benefited from the existing situation; acknowledge and build on that; don't discard the value of learning from experience, but I think you already know that.

These are difficult times under any circumstances, and finding a place for your mother now could I think be detrimental for all of you.   What I think could apply is what happens in business (in my experience) when people aren't getting along:  you sit down, outline the problems, and each suggest solutions as to his/her approach and an integrated approach for the 3 of you.    Then you try out aspects of the solution, reassess and move forward.

This doesn't mean that you discard any thoughts of Mom living independently, what it means is that you approach in a more dispassionate mood, so that each of you can analyze your feelings in a less strained environment.   You're not locking any of you into any commitments except to analyze the situation.  

And one of the topics would be how to integrate your mother back into a life of her own, perhaps in some kind of remote teaching capacity.   Your description suggests to me that she's an intelligent, accomplished person.   Teaching during a pandemic is undergoing some revolutionary changes; she may have insights, whether or not she's more or less computer savvy than existing teachers are. 

There are far greater issues addressing the welfare of the children and their interaction not only with each other, the teachers, families, but also with the material they're learning.   A major component of student interaction, the challenge and excitement of learning and sharing,  is being shelved, hopefully temporarily, but that's a gap that needs to be addressed.  A seasoned educator may be able to offer some good insights, and that's where I see your mother potentially playing a role.

Notwithstanding that, there still will be teaching or tutoring opportunities when/if the pandemic is controlled, and thereafter.   She could also teach noncredit courses in adult education, again, looking down the line to future plans.  Having an educationally challenging future may help each of you adapt to the next several years.

As an immigrant, she also has qualifications to assist others, not only in teaching ESL, but in other methods of adaptations.   This can be very rewarding, something which not only is helpful but mandatory for successful integration into a different country.  

Personally, I think she's much too young to focus on all the issues of aging other than for planning, but that a vital 65 year old still has good years ahead of her, and could leverage her teaching experience to create and employ those opportunities. 

So focus on those positives, reinforce her self esteem (and yours and your son's), and the 3 of you can move forward, while still planning for the elder years.  Just don't let aging dominate your thoughts; keep it under control.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report

Can you wait till after Covid-19 is under control? If not find a one bedroom house for rent and help her apply for assistance.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to LCPELC
Report

Hopefully your future discussions go well and you both can work out a good arrangement. I'm only going to ask about this:

"But she often says she is lonely and lacks communication."

You indicated she transitioned well and learned the language (which is great, because English is one of the harder languages to learn, it is such a mish-mash of many other languages!) She has made a few friends, traveled, taken courses.

I would suggest doing some research to see if there are groups associated with your old country - with members who immigrated like you and your mom. If she could meet up with some, even online, she might connect well with them, even though she, you and most of them don't want to return. While it is great to assimilate, and "fit in", it is also nice to have those who share a similar background and understand.

It is something that happens often in the US - when immigrants come in, they tend to end up in areas where there are others from the "old country." This can last for several generations, depending on how well they assimilate. Irish, Italians, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc. They find some comfort in being with others who share the same background, but over time and generations can meld into our "melting pot."
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

What if? What if you move on with YOUR life and she move on with hers? What if she pay her own way in life, which is the norm, and you stop shouldering the burden of paying for YOUR life AND her life? What if? Those are the what if questions that really matter here, not the ones that make you fearful of getting sick or needing a babysitter who you can easily hire at a much less expensive rate than your mother is costing you, let's face it.

Being held emotionally hostage to your mother is very unhealthy and she should really be ashamed of herself for doing such a thing. But hey, I'm sure nothing is 'her fault', it's always someone else's to bear, isn't it? These types of people use guilt and manipulation as a weapon, and leave us feeling like pawns in a game........and emotionally exhausted all the time as a result.

Give your mother 2 months to find her own place AND to figure out how to finance it. How can YOU save for YOUR old age when you have to pay HER way through HER old age? You can't. And what about your son? Saving for his college won't be possible when you have to finance your mother's life. You've already done enough, now it's her turn to pay her own way and be the adult here. She can sell her place back in her home country to finance her own old age where she lives now. That would be the route I'd take if it were me dealing with my mother in this situation. It's fair and reasonable, whether she agrees or not.

Don't back down and be cowed when you have your next conversation with your mother. You're not trying to be mean.......it's time to be independent and live alone with your son. That's the route to take; it's nothing personal, mother, it's just time to live apart. I will always love you, it's nothing at all to do with love.

Wishing you the best of luck taking your life back and putting yourself and your son first! It's OKAY to do that! You're not the bad guy, no matter what you're led to believe!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report
lusak2011 Aug 15, 2020
Hi Lealonnie1, I agree with you. When you look at it deeper, our arrangement was a way for us to hide from hard topics we each need to resolve for us. For me, my divorce was quite brutal and I ended up with a very young child after about 2 years of intense and draining breakup, so I never had a chance to consciously think through parenting. Also, children grow and have grandmother care for a young toddler is different from caring after a pre-teen who is argumentative, feels 'ashamed' of being picked up by granny from school etc. For example, I was never a good cook and my mum ended up doing probably 90% of our home cooking. Is this right? Probably not. Equally, mum has always been very active and I know she is very anxious of growing old, facing retirement, loneliness and all that later life brings. So she 'jumped' at the chance of 'rescuing' her daughter. We ended up in this co-dependent relationship where she took on what should have been 'my' job to solve - parenting my son, and I took on the emotional work she should do for her stage in life.

Also, a friend of mine has suggested I may have 'caregiver syndrom' - probably many people posting on this forum have this - ie poor awareness of our caregiving limits and when we give too much. I am finally waking up drained from being 'responsible' for her emotions and our co-dependency. It is a beautiful but brutal awakening.

Maybe posters here can share good resources to read up on how people feel when face retirement? Also the advice re social groups for mum is a helpful one, thank you. Also and importantly, rather than (as typical) me taking on solving mum's problems I should focus on me, my son, and what house keeping and child care strategy needs to be if mum is to live separate.
(0)
Report
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter