General Etiquette > Family and Children

Don't want to eat your yucky food

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Knitterly:
It has been fairly well established (I think) that I have had some serious boundary issues with my mother.  Around Easter, I had a major lightbulb moment where I realized that by slowly and gently insisting on my boundaries, it has become much less of an issue.

My mother is still touchy, but it has become easier for me to be around her, as the guilt trips and manipulations are no longer much of an issue.

That said, I am about to face a situation and I need help figuring out how to be polite about it.

I am going to have lunch with her today.  She wants to just make sandwiches at her house.
Here's the problem:  Her house is gross.  Her food is gross.  There is usually mold on the cheese, the butter is contaminated with peanut butter (Mr K has an allergy), the milk is almost always expired, etc.
I grew up like this.  We would simply cut the mold off the cheese and milk is good for a week or three past the expiry, right? (wrong, but I can't really tell her that now without it being a big "thing").

This is one of many, many, many reasons why I am not comfortable with her watching LK.  But it extends beyond that.  I am uncomfortable with LK eating food from my mother's house.  Maybe I can handle the moldy cheese, but I don't want LK to eat it (mold spores go much deeper than the visible surface mold).  And although we've established through controlled experiments that it's unlikely that LK is allergic to nuts, we're still limiting her exposure.  And I have no idea how old those cold cuts are.  And toddlers don't handle food poisoning well.  And... you get the picture.

So what's the best way to deal with this?

I have found that one of the best ways to deal with my mom is to control the get togethers (ie, I call her up and say "I've got the car today, let's have lunch) - she's happy that she gets time with us and I am able to make my excuses and duck out quickly when it becomes too much.
But I know if I say "I don't want your food" or give her reasons why, it will still cause offense and she will get upset and it will become an argument. 

NyaChan:
I'd call her and say "Hey, I thought I'd pick up sandwiches for lunch today - I'm really craving [insert food].  What should I get for you? They have...."

citadelle:

--- Quote from: NyaChan on April 26, 2013, 09:11:58 AM ---I'd call her and say "Hey, I thought I'd pick up sandwiches for lunch today - I'm really craving [insert food].  What should I get for you? They have...."

--- End quote ---
Yes! I would offer to bring lunch as a treat, framing it as a kindness so that she doesn't have to fuss. If she insists on preparing food, bring ingredients (cold cuts, bread, cheese). The message won't be "I don't want your food" but "Let me help!" instead.

Good luck.

Outdoor Girl:
I'd just bring food with me, too.  Or, since it is a nice day, reasonably warm, after a couple days of rain, suggest a picnic in a local park.

'Mom, it's such a nice day.  I'll grab some subs and we can have a picnic in the park.'

delabela:

--- Quote from: Outdoor Girl on April 26, 2013, 09:31:08 AM ---I'd just bring food with me, too.  Or, since it is a nice day, reasonably warm, after a couple days of rain, suggest a picnic in a local park.

'Mom, it's such a nice day.  I'll grab some subs and we can have a picnic in the park.'

--- End quote ---

This is a good idea - you can suggest LK needs some fresh air.

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