Things Your Mom Can Do To ‘Earn Her Keep’ Besides Paying Rent

I ran across an article today on how to charge your mom rent. I have to admit, my knee-jerk reaction was, Who charges their mom rent? I would never feel right about it, because my mom has always taken amazing care of myself and my family. But I totally understand that dynamics are different from family to family and there are some that would be totally fine with it. Although I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking actual dollars from my mom, there are some things I would gladly accept.

For instance, she could stop passive-aggressively questioning my parenting choices by communicating with me through my child:

Hi honey! Did your mom feed you lunch today? I know she’s so busy – I don’t think she’s been to the market this week! Are you hungry?

She could also stop taking credit for every developmental milestone my son achieves.

Oh, he’s saying the alphabet? We went over that last week!

Yes, I’m sure we (his parents) haven’t been over that with him at all in his three years on this earth that he has been in our constant care.

Oh – he says please! I taught him that yesterday!

Re-read my above statement.

She could stop correcting the most basic things I do that pretty much every adult who is awake can accomplish:

Are you boiling water? There’s too much in that pot.

She could stop constantly reminding me that I haven’t lost the baby weight yet.

Oh honey! How sweet you’re feeding your mother your pasta! Your such a good boy. But you eat your food! You eat your food! Your mommy’s on a diet.

No, I’m not – but thanks.

There seems to be a theme here; silence is golden. I guess I would be totally comfortable with my mom paying me rent in for the love of god and everything holy please shut up but I mean that in the kindest, most loving of ways.

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  • jane murphy

    Lurve. :)

  • Rachel Sea

    My eventual plan is to own land enough that I can have a house, and two granny units because it’s long been decided that I will be the caretaker for both my parents, and my mother-in-law, and I’ll be damned if I will have any of them living in the main house with me. I love them, but I swear there would be bloodshed if we had to all love each other under the same roof.

    • Andrea

      Can I ask, why has it been decided that it had to be you? I’m sure there are good reasons, I’m just curious.

    • Rachel Sea

      I’m my parents’ only living child, and my mother-in-law trusts me to take better care of her than her kids would.

    • Andrea


    • ElleJai

      I’ve got my parents, step-mother, and two aunts who will all be my responsibility if they decline in old age. Four of these people are thankfully in the same area, but the other is on a farm over an hour away. I haven’t decided whether everyone is moving to the farm yet but I’m tempted!

      I’m the only child between three, and the eldest niece for my aunts. I’m also the one who calls up for a chat, visits, and helps with anything going, so I get all the peoples :D

    • Rachel Sea

      Yeah, I’ve got aunts I’ll probably care for also, but that’s more uncertain. One could go with me or another niece. One of them is nearby, but I really, strenuously dislike her (she thinks I’m going to hell for marrying a woman). One lives across the country, but I’m the only niece who talks to her, and I could probably persuade her to coming out here when she’s no longer self-sufficient.

      Looking at the eventual workload is the only thing that makes me wish I had siblings who could share the burden with me.

  • Tea

    This is why we’re going to build a spare cabin on our farm, so family can be close, but not too close.

    That, and for as long as everyone is able-bodied, we can rent it out and no one can decide to spontaneously move in with us.

    • Eve Vawter

      You are building your spare cabin on your farm for me to have a guest house to visit in and a place to pet llamas

    • Tea

      It’s going to have a brewery attached to it too :D

  • Evelyn

    I sympathise. A couple of years ago my mother and father moved to a house down the road from us after being in the other side of the country from me for the preceding 15 years. OK, I live in a much smaller country but it was still a case of only being able to visit my parents twice a year and now we see them several times a week. The baby sitting and having them a part of my kids life is great, there is so much I can do now that I couldn’t previously and it is lovely for my kids to have more family as a part of their lives. What isn’t lovely is my mother trying to fix my already happy life and trying to help me raise my three kids (which I managed to do perfectly well before her arrival). The thing that gets me most is her assumption that positive things in terms of child rearing only occur when we are in her house and under her eye. I am fed up with her telling me … sorry, telling the kids in an obvious manner that I am supposed to pick up on … that it is about time the learned how to do something that they have already learned and do regularly under their own roof. For example I don’t need to hear that it is long past the time I started cooking with my children or got them to help out around the house, that has been happening for some time. When we saw them rarely they were happy to assume that parenting went on when we were far away but now that they see us all the time, but only when we are visiting them so not doing the kind of things we would be doing at home, my parents assume that everything they see is our entire lives. I can’t walk into my parents house and kick them out of the kitchen (that they are using quite often) so I can bake scones with the kids, we can do that in our own home. Yes, I do get my kids to help a bit with whatever the grown ups are doing at their house but just because I don’t tell the kids to get the hoover out in someone else’s home doesn’t mean they don’t help at home.

    • Maria Guido

      The passive-aggressive communicating through the kids is the worst! I think it’s just hard to be around parents sometimes, even when they are wonderful.

    • Evelyn

      Agreed. If my mom has a problem she could say it to me, preferably out of earshot of the kids. It isn’t as if I would blow up at her for criticizing her; I have been painfully tactful to avoid the easily triggered tears since they arrived in my teenage years. (Inspired way to avoid the hassle of teenage tantrums from my mum, become ridiculously over sensitive and take everything personally before bursting into tears.) I also get the interrogation of the kids to check up on how I am parenting. The kids might give you an answer on how they think I raise them but, for goodness sake, they are children. Their perception of events and time are a bit wonky, “we haven’t done that for years” could be last week and “sometimes we do this” could be an event that happened once, five years ago.

    • Melody

      This!! When they check up on you by asking the kids.
      Grandma: “When was the last time you guys were at the science center?” 5 year old’s reply: “Oh we haven’t been there in FOREVER.” And “We always stay up way past midnight.” Facepalm.
      Also, I take everything super personally before bursting into tears always. Don’t feel alone.

  • DatNanny

    I’ve always told my mom she’ll always have a home with me as long as she’s able to change diapers and do laundry.

    *Sarcasm disclaimer: Actually, she’s great, and when that time comes I would shelter her and take care of her whatever the situation may be. But I have to keep her on her toes in the meantime!

    • ElleJai

      I used to tell my grandma that I’d pick a home with kerosene baths for her. She laughed and said something long the lines of it being too high end and not to go to any trouble!

      My grandma was the best, but you just had to keep her on her toes too. If you didn’t she’d be doing it to you :)

  • EX

    It’s amazing how I can relate completely with Eve’s post about her mom and your post about your mom at the same time. Moms are complicated.

    • Maria Guido

      I was thinking the same thing! I adore my mom, I really do. But she also drives me batty.

  • Kelby Johnson

    Charging family rent is a touchy subject. I’m not sure how I feel about it honestly. I would never charge my own mother rent… but I would charge my mother in law rent…lol

  • CW

    My DH, oldest DD, and I lived with my parents for a year when DH was attending grad school. We didn’t pay rent per se, but we did sit down with my parents and figured out how much extra it was costing them in utilities, groceries (I did buy some food in addition), and other incidentals to have us live with them. That was the amount that I paid to them. The goal was for it to be a net wash for them financially.