Author Topic: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.  (Read 5256 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Setsu

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« on: November 23, 2012, 12:44:13 AM »
Okay. I have a boyfriend. I live with him and my mother, stepfather, and half-brother. We moved from CA across the country to NC to live here. Overall everything is wonderful but there are a handful of things that we would love to address, and neither of us are quite sure how.

We'll start with MY mother.
The main issue is that my boyfriend (we'll call him Erik) works a part-time job. I have not found employment yet, though as per my agreement with my mother, as soon as the paperwork comes in the mail for my being added to the car insurance, I will change my license from CA to NC and then apply to the local community college for classes. My mom runs a home business, owning an appliance repair company that Stepdad and Babybro are the technicians for, so she is often busy and loath to leave the house for errands. I do not mind running errands for her, she does not mind letting me use her vehicle to run them, I am a licensed driver, all is well. The problem is twofold: The errands that need run are all in Rtown, which is a 30 minute drive from Ltown, where we live. So it is a minimum of an hour to go run an errand for her, plus however long each errand takes to complete.
The other part of the issues is that she never asks me to run these errands alone, on Erik's work days. She usually asks Erik and I go together on his days off. Almost every day off we are sent on errands that cumulatively end up taking 4-5 hours, where we pull out of the driveway around 11am and pull back into the driveway around 3 or 4 pm. This gets kind of exhausting for Erik, who is beginning to feel as if he does not have any days off at all.
And when I say "run" errands, I mean "run." As in, she will come knock on the door to wake us up at 10 in the morning (She knows that I have clinical depression as well as a sleep disorder, making me literally unable to function at the moment when woken before about 9am) and say "Okay Setsu get up get breakfast take your pills get dressed so you guys can go into town for me I'd like you out the door by no later than 11!" and we are then rushrushrushed to get awake, eat, dress, much sighing during tooth brushing and restroom breaks, and sometimes we are rushed out the door so much that we have to promptly return because we forgot something!
I'm wondering, is there any way to bring up that we'd like to maybe have a day every once in a while to just sit at home and relax (not that I won't cook or clean or do laundry) a day where we don't really have to go out and do things, without making it seem like we are not appreciative of the fact that she lets us stay in her house rent-free for the time being? These errands began as a request, "Hey guys if you don't mind could you go to town and do X, Y, and Z for me?" but now it's more like "Oh Erik you're off today? Cool! Here's the list for X, take these to Y, drop this off at Z, and here's some cash to pick us all up some lunch while you're out. Bye and drive safe!" So there's really not much room for saying "I really was hoping to stay home today" Should we just suck it up and take it as our "rent" to run these errands on his days off?

The other issue with my mother is, Erik has a strong distaste for onions, or onion-like foods (leeks, shallots, chives, all right out. He likes garlic, though.) He doesn't like to call it an allergy, but the smell and taste make him a bit queasy. My mother's cooking can be summed up with "put onion in everything that I don't put sugar in" so this is a problem for her. She's adjusting okay to not putting onion in things, but we are sure to hear about it. When she cooks dinner, sometimes she'll put "just a little bit" of onion "for a little flavor" which is frustrating, because the "flavor" is the part he doesn't like!
Other times she'll leave the onions out altogether, but we hear about it all night, throughout the dinner. Sitting at the table we hear "And not a single onion to be seen in this dinner!" or "Gee it's tasty but I bet it would have tasted better if I could have put an onion in it!" Which is quite embarrassing for poor Erik, who then feels bad because she is making it sound as though not putting onion in it has ruined dinner, or he is called out for picking the big bits of onion out of dinner. "Oh you don't like it? Oh no he's just picking out the onion" followed by a heavy sigh. How do we handle this? She doesn't seem to understand that he really cannot stand the onions, and takes it as personal victory if she can manage to get him to eat something she's put an onion in. On a few occasions she'll watch him take the first bite expectantly, and then ask "Do you like it?" and if he nods or says it's okay, she goes "Hah! There's onion in it! Just a little, but there's onion!" We're not sure what to do. We explained before he ever got here, before we even packed our things to come, that he could not, would not, eat onions, couldn't stand them. And she said that that was fine, and she would manage.


Now for HIS mother.
Erik is an only child. His mother is having a lot of difficulty in accepting that he has moved across the country. We understand that, and he is doing his best to reassure her that he's not run away forever and he has no plans to cut her from his life. He calls her almost every day, if she doesn't call him first. They text back and forth every single day, almost all day with the exception of when he is working, as he does not even have his phone on him at work, it stays in his locked locker.
The main issue comes from her going through these incredibly sad phases, where she will do nothing but text him how sad she is, how it's his fault he left her, how X or Y thing won't work and it's his fault because he's not there to fix it. She even will say "Your dog is sad and misses you he was in your room today." It really seems as though her whole goal is to make him feel bad because he left. And it's working. Generally he doesn't know how to respond to these things.. he'll tell her he feels bad that she is sad, or that the thing isn't working, but what is he supposed to do or say to her? "Oh, okay, I'll be right back ASAP" seems to be the answer she's looking for. Sometimes she'll even ask when he's "coming home." We'd love advice on how to deal with her when she's being like this.
The other problem is that she asks about money CONSTANTLY. She asks if I have a job yet at least once a week. She asks how much he has in the bank. She asks how much his paycheck was, or will interrogate him about his exact hours in an attempt to math up his paycheck herself. She asks if he wants her to put money in his bank account. He will tell her that he's okay on money, and she'll ask how much he wants. He'll tell her "If you want to give me money, however much you'd like to give me" and she'll put however much and stipulate "No spending it on Setsu okay? This is for YOU." We really have no idea what to do about that..

Any advice from anyone on any one of these would be amazingly appreciated. Even if the advice is to grin and bear it.

Lynda_34

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1145
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 01:04:06 AM »
As far as the onions, call it a sensitivity.That is the latest thing and he has to state that it makes him feel nauseated.  Just a little bit of onion can make him feel queasy.  Skip dessert or wait an hour or two before dessert.  He can start drinking tea to calm his stomach.  Maybe if she sees concrete proof she'll be more understanding.

Errands.  Let your mother know what days he has off and tell her this is the day you can do errands, the other day he has off is for the two of you to spend on your relationship.  Then get out of the house from say 11 am to about 1 pm.  Go to the local fast food restaurant. They probably have Wifi or the local library.  Just get out and go somewhere.  In warm weather the park and just sit.  Be gone about two hours, you're just hanging out and being a couple. 

Even consider a movie.  One of the area cinemas where I live has every Tuesday $5 a person and you get  free refills on the popcorn, even as you're walking out of the theater to go home.  I love movie popcorn and always buy the large and get a refill. Matinees are also cheaper than the evening show.

His mother is a tough one. I know nothing about my daughter's finances however I managed my son's for a couple of years because he was just terrible at it.
I don't ask my daughter anything about her money,however I do occasionally just write her a check and tell her that evens up what my son has been given.  My son is still a work in progress but he is getting better at managing his money so eventually I'll be out of that loop.

Vague answers are good, "I'm doing ok, she's still looking, got a few leads, was lucky I had enough in saving to do "something" to the car, help her mother since I don't pay rent etc.

If she offers him money, he can thank her, maybe send her a note to tell her how he spent it, even if it was on you. (He can send the note especially if she spent it on you or with you.) Also you can send her the note and tell her how he spent it on himself and enjoyed whatever it was he did.

Good luck with all of it.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 01:10:43 AM by Lynda_34 »

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5723
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 03:09:19 AM »
If I understand correctly, you and your BF are living in your mother's house rent free and not paying for groceries and she cooks for you?

With that I have a really, really hard time getting together a lot of sympathy for the 4 hours of errand running starting at 11:00 you need to do on his days off. (It sounds like you still have all other days off). That said here are my suggestions:

1) Proactively offer to run errands on the days Eric is working. Show up dressed and ready to go and ask your mom what she needs for that day, so you don't run errands.

2) Plan things out of the house on his days off. It sounds like you are at home all the time when you are not out on errands and your mom may want her house to herself for a bit.

3) Plan things outside of the house on days he is working. This ties in with the errands. Say you are going out and can you pick up anything. Find some comfy places outside of the home.

4) Cook (don't just offer. Show up with a menu and a plan and cook for the entire family and leave out the onions)

5) Move out.

6) Eric does not need to eat anything that makes him ill. He can make himself a sandwich for dinner.

Non rent paying members of the household simply do not have the same rights as rent paying members (before anyone jumps on me, this does not apply to spouses etc...)

I have no suggestions for his mother. Let him deal with it.

Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6084
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 04:22:52 AM »
What is your mother doing while you are running these errands? If she is working or must be on call at the home office, I think you have no complaints about relieving here of some of her pressures. It is the least you can do. Consider it your 'job' to help her and pay the 'rent'. Most people have a schedule which includes taking care of personal needs, working 8 hours (not 4) plus commute Tome, then coming home to duties of taking care of cleaning and laundry and cooking. There is a short down time. There are rare 'days off' because of errands and other duties during days of no work. No sympathy from here.

You are running some of these errands together. That counts as quality time with your husband. You may need other time, but this counts.

You can do more of the cooking yourself, or buy food and prepare it for the two of you.

Ignore his mother's whining. It can be done. Just change the subject. Don't react to it.

You have been dealt a tough hand right now, but you need to play it with a little more grace and appreciation for the help you are getting. It might even help your depression. Being productive helps me. No promises there. That is between your doctor and you, so it is a thought, not medical advice.

Move out, but that sounds cost-prohibitive now. So I think you should develop a better attitude about pitching in and doing your share, which includes the cleaning and laundry you say you are doing.

zyrs

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2037
  • spiffily male.
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 06:06:20 AM »
It is very awesome of your mother to let you stay there rent-free, but I can definitely see where the days your mother chooses to have you run errands could be taking a bit of a toll.

After all, how can either of you find a full-time job if every one of his days off is scheduled for errands? 

It would be best if you were proactive as Deetee mentioned and went to ask your mother what errands she needed run each morning while Eric was working. As you both look for full-time employment make sure she knows ahead of time the days he has interviews so there isn't a scheduling conflict with an interview.

The easiest way to stop your mother's PA comments about the onions would be to slowly take over the cooking duties while you are home.  Then at the add onions step, just split off a portion for Eric that you do not add onions to.  This way, your mom gets her onions, Eric doesn't get something that nauseates him, and you get to practice all your family recipes for when you and Eric are out on your own.

I don't have any thoughts on how to help Eric handle his mother, but I do feel for him.  His mom on the one hand wanting him to come 'home' and trying to make him feel guilty about leaving, your mother trying at ever meal to make him feel guilty about onions, not having time to seriously find a better job on his days off.  I bet he is frustrated.

I do not like 'dried grapes' (raisins) but have no problem with fresh grapes or other dried fruit. 

Knitterly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1566
    • That other knitting blog
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 08:14:41 AM »
I agree with pevious posters.

If you proactively ask about the errands on the days Erik is working, he will have less to do on his days off and can spend that time looking for full time work (you don't mention that this is something he wants, I'm just sort of assuming here based on the part about his own mother).

I wholeheartedly agree with zyrs above me regarding taking over cooking.  Not only will it take some pressure off your mom, it will quickly solve the onion issue and also allow you to feel like you are contributing to the smooth functioning of the home.

You are living with your mother rent-free and seem annoyed that she is treating you like a child.  But she's treating you like a child most likely because living with her rent-free allows her to think of you like a child.  It's a hard mindset for a mom to break out of.

As for Erik's mother, all I can suggest is next time she asks him when he's "coming home", he can take a confused tone and say "I am home, what are you talking about?"  Maybe set up a plan to visit her as soon as time allows.  When she nags him about you working, he can tell her that the plan is for you to enroll in school as of X date.  She has no right to his paycheque information and he needs to start gently telling her so.

I have a little suspicion that part of her problem may be jealousy that you both see your mother all the time, but see her never or rarely.  Does she skype or have video chat available to her?  Maybe that would help her adjust a bit better. 
In any case, he needs to be gentle but firm.  Reassure her that he loves her, but also make sure she understands that she raised him to be a good and competant man and now she needs to step back and trust that she did a good job.

Steve

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 904
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 08:21:36 AM »
I also have to agree with the previous posters. You and your boyfriend are living there and not paying anything. That means your mother is taking care of one extra child she did not adopt or give birth to. She is probably out a lot more cost than you know on this.

And she expects both of you to contribute to the family business that pays for all of it. She sounds pretty reasonable to me. You both are a child in her home, so she can put demands on you as such.



Margo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1679
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 09:03:18 AM »
I agree with previous posters that it is not unreasonable for your Mom to expect you to help out.  11 -3 or 4, even if it is your day off, isn't much. I work full time and I often spend at least that amount of time on my days off running errands. Of course it is more frustrating if you have to do it on someone else's timetable not your own, but it is your Mom's house, so it's her rules.

I would recommend being more proactive yourself. Approach her on the days that Erik is working, and ask her what things need doing, whether it is running errands, or cooking or cleaning at home. On a day when you know Erik is off the following day, plan ahead. Speak to your Mom, let her know you'd like to be able to spend some time with Erik so ask her to give you the list of errands *now* so you can get them done and free up some time to spend with Erik. Ask if she has any other concerns (Is she sending you out together because she worries about you driving alone, for instance?)

You could also agree with Erik that you & he will get up earlier - f you were able to get out of the house by 9, you would be done by 1 and would have the afternoon free to do what you want. I appreciate that you have medical issues which may make this difficult, but presumably you will also need to be able to get out of the house earlier once you are working or studying?

Do some of the cooking. It's not reasonable to expect your mom to change her diet, if she likes onions in everything, do as zyrs suggests, make a separate portion for Erik, which doesn't include onions. You can also consider cooking (either alone, or with Erik on days he is off) and freezing individual portions so Erik can heat one up, without having to have 2 people trying to cook at the same time, in the kitchen (assuming your mom is OK with you using some freezer space)

Organize yourself to take on more in the way of cleaning, cooking, laundry, housework generally, so that your Mom can see that you are doing your bit to help make the household run smoothly.

It sounds to me as though your Mom may be sending you out together because she needs her own space, and/or doesn't feel she knows Erik well enough to really relax while he is there, so plan ahead to spend time out of the house on his days off.  This could include offering to run errands.

If the errand running is tiring Erik out then leave the house together, then drop Erik off at the local park / library / wherever he feels comfortable, run the errands, and then pick him up on your way home.

I would also suggest, if you don't already do this, setting a routine for yourself that involves being out of the house for a period every day, at around the same time. This could be to go for a walk or run, if that appeals to you, or to go to the library, do some job hunting or whatever. If you build up a pattern of always going out for an hour from 10-11 (say) then it's easier to continue that when Erik is home and you & he can go out together to have a little 'alone time'

Finally, consider sitting down with your Mom and discussing this. You might be able agree that  there is, perhaps, one or two days a month when you & Erik spend his day off together and don't work except for normal household chores. 


In relation to his mother, my first question is how much Erik minds his Mom's questions.I personally don't think his work hours or paycheck are any of her business, but if he wants to share, that's up to him. If he doesn't, he needs to learn to gently deflect her questions. If she asks what he paycheck is, he can be vague. "not as much as I'd like to to be, like everyone's, I guess" or "not so bad, we're getting by" or "great, I had lots of overtime"  then beandip. Similarly is she asks about his hours. He doesn't need to be specific. He can just say "I'm pretty busy". It sounds as though he is already doing this when she asks him about how much money he wants from her, so he has the technique down.

Her comments about spending it on himself not you... I think he either ignores those (and spends it how he wants. Once she gives it to him, it's his) or he says "It's really generous of you to want to give me money, mom. But you need to trust me on how it is spent. If you're not OK with the idea that I may spent some of it on Setsu or for both of us then please don't send it"

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21603
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 09:42:54 AM »
Because of your physical needs I imagine your mom feels  more comfortable if he goes with you on errands and since he lives with you sharing the family  load seems reasonable to her.

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2431
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2012, 10:41:15 AM »
Personally, I find it perfectly reasonable to require a day's notice if she's going to ask you to do more than run to the corner store for a few small items, and I also think it's reasonable for you to limit which days of the week you are available to do so.

You could let her know that your BF has [day(s)] off in the next week and that you are not available to run errands for her on that/those days, but you'd be happy to do so on a day when your BF is at work.

bonyk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 812
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 11:07:24 AM »
I agree with PPs; you need to be more pro-active.  Approach your mom on E's days off, and offer to help with the business and run errands.  Are the errands such that your mom has advance notice?  If so, make up a schedule of days when you can make the run.

Days to sit at home and relax are wonderful, but how often does your mom get them?  Honestly, they are not often a part of grown-up life.  I think (without knowing your mom at all, so take this with a huge grain of salt) that if you offer to take some of the load off of your mom, she might reciprocate with thinking of your time as a bit more precious.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28731
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 11:26:20 AM »
A little off-topic but why is changing the license from one state to another necessary for going to classes but not for running hours of errands?
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

mich3554

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1294
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 11:35:58 AM »
A little off-topic but why is changing the license from one state to another necessary for going to classes but not for running hours of errands?

If I had to hazard a guess, it is due to residency issues.  Tuition as a non resident is a lot more money and having an out of state license implies non residency.

Setsu

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 11:39:05 AM »
Thank you all for the responses! A few of you have brought up some good points that we will keep in mind.

Many of you suggested I start to cook. I actually was given the responsibility of cooking dinner every night a couple of weeks ago, including helping decide what groceries to buy (we make up a list of dinners to cook at the start of each week and then grocery shop accordingly) however we recently all moved to a bigger home, and she has sort of taken over the cooking again. I will ask if she wants me to reassume the responsibility.
Some of you suggest making separate meals. Many dinners I cook are prohibitive to adding onions the way she wants unless I make two completely separate dishes start-to-finish because she wants onions added to the first step. She does not want me to cook two seperate dishes, nor will she allow us to cook food for Erik and myself and then different food for her, stepdad, and babybro. She greatly values having everyone sat together at the dinner table eating the same food. Even when I cook she will insist I add "a little bit" of onion to dinner, which I tend to do when she asks because it is her house, her food, her everything. One night for example I made fried rice, which was a simple dish to seperate out onions with not-onions as I had to cook it in two batches anyway, so I made one batch onion free, one batch with onions, and I even separated a portion out to add spicy things to for stepdad and babybro who love spicy food while the rest of us can't handle it. She sulked the whole dinner because it wasn't one big portion for everyone, openly stating "I'd have rather just had one thing for everybody, not this everyone has a different kind s***" This also forestalls suggestions that Erik just eat something not what she cooked (a sandwich was the example) because it will cause a sulk/pout and she will be offended and upset.

I can try and be more proactive about doing the errands on his work-days. The only problem I can foresee with that is that, on a few occasions when I'd needed to go into town on his workday on my own and asked if she needed anything done she just shrugged at me and said "not that I can think of" and then the next day she woke us at 9:30 to give us a long list of things to be done, many of which could have been done the day before. We'll see.

Almost all of you have suggested we go out, to a movie or the park or library, for our "quiet relaxing time together" and while this would be great for me, it would be the opposite for Erik. He has severe social anxiety which he struggles with at work, and so for him if there are other people around he simply cannot relax. At all. My mother knows this and yet still insists that we go out and do all of these errands.

As for what my mother does at home while we are running the errands, we often return to find her playing a computer game, or taking a nap, or watching the TV. I would understand if she sent us on the errands so she could relax and do these things, but she will often do them regardless of whether we are running the errands or she is meant to be running her home office. She does get a lot of time to relax and rest and not work, as most nights Erik does laundry, his chore is to unload the dishwasher every time it's been run, and I do dishes many nights (including nights where it was meant to be Babybro's turn, but that's a whole 'nother issue)

I understand that as an adult days for at home "relaxing" are few and far between, but I don't mind the household chores, it's the leaving-the-house part that I wish to have a break from, for Erik's sake. I am aware of how difficult it is to be a grown-up, I lived in my own apartment with my ex-husband, had two part-time jobs at once, and had the whole house to keep as ex did nothing once he got home from his own job. I did that for 4 years. I know exactly how much we cost my mom staying here rent-free, but she also knew how much we would cost, and we did not show up on her doorstep crying, she offered for us to come stay with her, so I don't feel it's exactly fair if she is doing this to make us "pay" for these costs incurred. I don't think that is the case, I think she doesn't realize how difficult it is for Erik to go out into town and interact with strangers, as he "does it so well" for work.

For his mother, he does not tell her his paycheck amount, nor his exact hours, which often leads to her sulking and texting him things like "We always shared everything and now you're keeping secrets I'm so sad" She does have Skype and they chat occasionally, but her laptop is quite old and does not handle it that well and the calls drop or make strange sounds and things, so it's frustrating for both of them. We have suggested they save up and get a cheap little netbook-style laptop for that purpose, and they are considering it.

I am working on being able to wake earlier, as I am sure I will need to for studies and/or a job, eventually. I have an appointment with my PCP to discuss the sleep issues and possibly get a referral to a psych. I can force myself to wake up earlier than 10-11 but I spend the day feeling exhausted and nauseated and just generally unwell, regardless of whether I go to bed at 8PM or 4AM.  Hopefully my PCP can address this.

Also, other than the sleep issue my physical needs are just fine, and she has me drive alone for other things so I don't think either of those are the cause for this.

Twik, that is exactly why: For proof of residency for classes, elsewise I will have to pay out-of-state tuition, which would generally more than double the cost of classes. My license from CA is still valid as proof that I am capable and allowed to drive here in NC.

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: How to talk to my mother, and his mother.
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2012, 11:42:34 AM »
You said your boyfriend works part-time.  Does he work only a few days a week, or does he work many days a week with just a few hours a day?

It kind of sounds to me like your mother is treating your arrangement as a sort of employer-employee one, with you and your boyfriend running these errands for her as a way to reimburse her providing you and him room and board. 

Sure, everybody needs a day off now and then.  Unless your mother is requiring you to run these errands 7 days a week, and unless your boyfriend is working 7 days a week, I don't see how you don't get at least ONE day off together.  Could you please clarify his work schedule and how often you are asked to run errands for your mother?

Now here's the kind of harsh part that I'm thinking.  However this arrangement came about that your boyfriend would live with you and your parents, it needs to change soon.  That, to me, is the biggest problem here of all.  It always surprises me when I hear about parents who let their unmarried children move into their homes with their boyfriend/girlfriends.  Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I tend to think that if you want to be grown up and live with your partner, you need to do it under your own roof.  That would solve a bunch of your problems, I think.