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.
Then do that.
Okay, I think people have misunderstood... This is exactly what I AM doing. I call and say "Hey mom, I'm going to be in your area, let's go out for lunch." I have arranged it, I have the car so I can escape if I need to, etc.
The problem today was after already making arrangements, she decided that we;d just have sandwiches. That means she's making food at her house. And sandwiches are either going to be cold cuts or cheese or something like that, involving food I don't really trust to be clean.
So in order to try and deal with it, I suggested "let me grab a pizza". But she didn't want that. Since the whole point is to have lunch that I suggested, going over having already eaten is downright strange if not rude.
We ended up going out for lunch after I suggested gently a few different ways that I wanted to eat out and not have sandwiches. The problem is when I go to pick her up after having made arrangements to meet for lunch and she decides that she wants to eat in instead of eating out.
Eventually she is going to notice that I flat out refuse her food all the time.
I'm hoping that controlling the times we get together and being the one to suggest doing this or that will help her not notice that she is never watching LK. Ever.
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...."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.
Ultimately, this is what worked today. Framing it as a kindness and not wanting to put her out of her way, etc. We ended up at a lovely little sit-down cafe.
I think next time I will do as you suggest and bring the ingredients and make it myself, again framing it as a kindness.
I can't understand why you would worry about upsetting your mother over letting your CHILD eat your mother's mouldy food, that could potentially make her ill.
I must be missing something.
If you can frame something in such a way to avoid an argument and avoid causing offense, wouldn't you want to do that?
Yes, it's a safety thing. Yes, LK's safety comes first. But that also doesn't give me license to just stomp all over the situation like a bull in a china shop without any consideration at all for feelings. It is possible to address the situation and still be nice and polite about it. I was really looking to find that balance.
Some of the suggestions here (see above) helped with that and we came out with a really nice solution that preserved the relationship
I've found that really putting an effort into how things are framed has helped me to build really healthy boundaries, especially with my mother. Sometimes I need a little help figuring out the best way to build the boundary in such a way that it doesn't look as much like a boundary as it does like a kindness... kwim?