I’m a single mother of 4. My mom came to help me with my first child 20+ years ago and stayed ever since. Before coming to live with us, she was always sick and has never been financially independent. I have always helped her and as soon as I finished school first thing on my plans was to build her a house which I did. I got a loan built the house which is now paid. Since she’s been with us all these years, she has let my youngest brother live in her house. My advise to her has always been, it’s ok to let him use the house but charge him a minimum rent so you can save that money for any house maintenance. She has not done so, instead, any money she has she sends my brother. When my kids were younger, I used to pay her since I needed to work full time and she stayed home and care for the kids. However, now the kids are all grown and there’s no need for babysitter; however, she’s still living with us. I stopped paying her since I cover all of her expenses. I try to have at least one nice family vacation every year and she’s included. I also provide for her to go travel in the summer to go visit with her other children. My issue is that I have been working from home for the last three years and I have come to realize she has taken over my home. I had not realized this before since I was always at work and usually worked very long hours. But now that I’m home all the time, I want to run my home my way but she’s not flexible and frankly doesn’t even hear any of my complaints. The problem we have is that we’re opposite personalities. She’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. She’s always singing or playing a video on her devices with the volume at the highest setting and I like quiet peaceful atmosphere. She’s very disorganized and a hoarder, I like to keep things in order as much as possible. She tends to be very critical of others, I like to stay away from drama. I know our opposite personalities can also be a plus that provides the kids with a well balanced home. But even though I work from home, I still work very hard to provide for my home and expect to be able to enjoy the fruit of my hard labor. I was hoping maybe this summer she would have decided to stay at her house when she travelled for the summer. Instead, we are now more than ever bound to be together for a long time until it is safe to travel again. She is also high risk under the pandemic conditions due to her diabetes and other complications. My kids are also home since the two oldest had to return from college due to the schools closing during this crisis. All four kids are now doing school online. I continue to be employed but would really love to get along well with my mom and make this difficult situation a time to bring the family together. Yet, I feel everyday more and more desperate because I yearn for my independence and full control of my home which my mom has taken from me and refuses to give back. What do I do? I love to hear how others might have handled similar circumstances successfully.

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Is the second house in your name? If so, tell her that either she can live in it or you sell it.

Yes, she provided childcare for you, but you also state that you have always helped her out financially. I don't think you should have ever paid her for childcare. I think she's taken from you far more than she's given to you.

I really hope that second house isn't in her name! Because then it's hers, and she will probably leave it to your brother, right? Since she refused to charge him even a nominal amount of rent, you've probably been paying all expenses associated with that house, correct? That is just plain wrong. Younger brother owes YOU a lot of money!

You have earned the right to now live by yourself the way you want. What is your mother's financial situation?
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TAke tours of assisted living places. They will give you free lunch etc. Make it fun and enjoyable.
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You didn't notice that your mother had taken over your home during the last twenty years because - I'll be frank - her presence and her input were convenient to you and you weren't there very much.

Now her input is not required, and you are there very much, and she is in your way. And she's not flexible?

Number one: do you have the proverbial "room of one's own"? If not, sort that out. There must be space in your house, and if not MAKE one - by turfing out students if need be and making them share - which is inviolable and preferably sound-proof. Especially when you're trying to work, you do really need that; and you want it to be a self-contained sanctuary.

You don't have a building on the grounds - garage, shed, summer house - that you could kit out? That extra separation can be a very helpful psychological border.

Number two: try to untangle the sources of frustration so that you can see the distinctions. One of them will be your mother - her extrovert, rather chaotic personality, the emotional pressure of her (I expect) being delighted that you're home so much! But there are others, and it can be all too easy to associate them with your mother and make her the villain of the piece when in fact she's nothing of the kind.

You are confined to barracks, is another obvious suspect. You are not at liberty to pursue your profession as you're used to doing, because neither I suppose are your colleagues, clients and so on. There is economic uncertainty, which for financially literate people like yourself is very uncomfortable. Speaking for myself, I also wouldn't overlook the mixed blessing of having the young people at home: delightful adult company though grown children are, they are still in your space, and you do feel it as pressure.

How do the children (still and forever children to their mother!) get on with their grandmother? Do they enjoy spending time with her?
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MargaretMcKen Apr 2020
All true, but now that OP is stuck with what is happening now, what would you suggest - apart from the shed?
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I just read a similar thread with a Father.. now if we could match them up, two people could get their houses back for themselves :)

I know my Grandma lived in with a daughter for a while but then moved into assisted living. I wasn't involved in the process but know it took much more than one conversation to accomplish.

I wish you good luck. It may take a good mixture of toughness, honesty & sensitivity.
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This has been going on for 20 years plus.. Kinda hard to stop now... :(

Is the house you built for her under your name? If so, tell he she needs to move back there, if you are comfortable with that...If she doesn't want to.. tell her you do not need the stress of another home since she is not occupying it, and put it on the market. sell it... Look for Indenpendant living for her, and tell her the sale of the home will help pay her rent. Make appointments to different places near you, so you can visit her close by and on your schedule, if you both agree on a rental living area
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