Anonymous Mom: I Love My Mom But She Needs To Move The Hell Out Of My House

shutterstock_98118152My mom was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes when I was in middle school. As a compulsive eater, it didn’t come as much of a surprise to any of us. Neither did her complete disregard for doing anything about it. She just couldn’t spend an evening in front of the TV without her M&Ms and Doritos, and wasn’t about to start exercising. Being only a preteen, I didn’t have the voice to tell her that she needed to take care of herself. It’s only been the last few years, now that her health problems have caught up to her, that she’s made some efforts to get healthier. But she spent ten years ignoring her condition, and now it’s too little and too late.

Her chronic high blood sugar means that she now suffers from stabbing pain in her hands and feet called neuropathy unless she takes medication three times a day. She can’t feel anything below her mid-calf, and her hands are slowly becoming numb, too. Worst of all, though, is the Charcot Foot. The bones in her right foot have slowly become mush and now her foot is deformed. That, combined with sores in her sole that are slow to heal due to the reduced circulation, mean that she’s not supposed to be on her feet a lot. This, of course, makes it hard to find work.

Two years ago, the expenses of living on her own became too much, especially with all the medications she has to buy. My husband and I offered to let her stay with us while her feet healed so she could then be in a position to get a part-time job. It meant she had to move three states away, but she would also get to see my daughter, then only six-months old, every day. It was really nice for a while to be nearby. But then… it just wasn’t anymore.
I was only 24 when she moved in, only out of her house for six years, only married for four. I had just had a baby. I needed encouragement, companionship and respect. Instead, I got condescending advice. I don’t think she remembered that she moved in with us, not the other way around. She did not remember that I was now the “woman of the house” and she was the guest. The dynamics were twisted, and none of us were prepared for the repercussions.

It is nice for her to help me take care of my now-toddler and new baby. But that does not mean that she gets to make parenting decisions. We like having her around, but that does not mean that she should get offended when my husband and I want some time to be alone together. I’m not so great about keeping things tidy around the house, but I don’t deserve the patronizing comments that I receive daily, ones that steadily chop away at my confidence. I am well aware of my shortcomings. I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of two kids, keep the house clean, clothes laundered, and get a hot meal on the table most days without losing my sanity. Having to take care of another picky person who is critical of most things I do doesn’t help me much. But the worst part is that my husband and I are not so sure now that she has any intention of moving out at all.

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  • bl

    This sounds so difficult, but I have to say that what stood out the most is how impressive it is that you and your husband have stayed supportive of each other and really seem to be a team through all this. It’s tough because at the end of the day, are you going to kick her out if she doesn’t get a job or v apartment? I don’tknow if I could. I would express to her that you’d like her to move out; it would probably be easier to have the talk without your husband there. Frame it as a general having mom around cramps your grownup lifestyle, marriage, etc. Then I would stop making it so comfortable. Nothing malicious. Just stop bending over backward for her. Go places just as a foursome sometimes. Tell her the living room is off limits this Friday for your date night. If you’re driving her places, make sure she’s fitting into your schedule, not the other way around. Hopefully she’ll get the point and leave but if not, at least your lives don’t revolve around her 24/7.

    • kate

      Yes, this. And I don’t think she moved three states away “just to be with you”, so don’t use that for guilt ammo.

    • DeanaCal

      I agree with kate!!! She did not move three states away to be with you, she moved three states away so you could take care of her – big difference. I know you love your mom, but try really hard to squash that guilt – you don’t deserve it.

    • Benwhoski

      That’s the big thing here is that boundaries need to be set. I’m the same way in that I don’t know that I could actually kick my mother out of my home if she didn’t have somewhere set up to go (even if it through her own inaction), but if she’s around there _have_ to be boundaries that allow you to live your lives even if she’s there.

      Edit: This is not to say that I don’t think her moving out would be the best solution. I fully agree that it is.

  • Jell

    Let go of a little of that guilt you must be carrying. Mom’s an adult and although she’s ill it sounds ilke she isn’t doing much to help herself.
    It does sound like she would benefit from counseling– but then again so would most people.
    I would suggest setting a deadline with your spouse and then having a long talk with her. Prepare yourself to meet the objections she will have about moving out with counter proposals.
    Remember, you’re not kicking a frail old woman to the curb. From what it sounds like she’s still in enough health to work and take care of herself and make it clear that you will help her find the apartment and even a job if that’s what it takes.
    You can be loving and supportive of a parent without letting them take advantage of you. Your mother is taking advantage of you by shamelessly exploiting your good will.
    David Bowie said it best, “Loyalty is valuable, but our lives our valuable too.”

    • Jell


  • Bunny Lucia

    You mom seems like she’s becoming a parasite. If I were you, I would start looking for maybe assisted living places. I know she can take care of herself, but if she refuses to do so, then maybe you can find one who will do it for her.

    It seems like she should be on some sort of government assistance, maybe disability? Maybe Medicare? If she is, that should help pay (If not totally pay) for assisted living.

    This sounds like a horrible deal for you and your husband. I think the best thing to do is send your kids off to a babysitter for the night and straight up tell your mother “I want you out of this house.” Let her scream and cry and argue all she wants, but stay firm and tell her that you are tired of her being around, you’re an adult, and you want her out.

    If she doesn’t talk to you for years then so be it. You need to do what’s best for your family and having a parasite sitting on your couch making herself ill by not working or doing anything for herself is not what’s best for anyone.

    Best of luck to you! I hope everything works out well.

  • Crusty Socks

    If she won’t move out, here’s an alternative

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    You and your husband seem to really be handling this really well. I don’t know how old your mom is, but if you’re 24 she can’t be that old, meaning she should be young enough to want to work and pay her own bills and save for her own retirement. I think having a firm discussion about asking her to save for a deposit, looking for work and setting a reasonable timeline (like 1 year) so she doesn’t feel like its impossible would be a good idea.

    Good luck to you all and I hope this doesn’t cause damage to any of your relationships.

  • Andrea

    Wait a minute, she didn’t move three states away to be with you, she moved three states away so that YOU COULD HELP HER get back on her feet.
    I get that this is an incredibly difficult position to be in, but you simply must be firm. Yeah I know, easier said than done. However, you deserve (and must have!) the chance to have your sanity, your family, your marriage, your parenting skills and your becoming an adult without anything hindering it. I wish you all the luck in the world! Also thoughts, prayers, and good vibes!!!

  • JLH1986

    I would recommend having a frank discussion with her. That the situation was temporary. and it’s time. Then start making it less comfortable for her. Cut the cable, if you and the hubs want to watch tv watch what you want and let her do her thing. I’m of the mind that I would totally sit on the couch with my husband in my underwear if I thought it would make her uncomfortable enough to move out after we had discussed her moving out. Another commenter suggested looking into assisted living. There are many places that are quite affordable. Perhaps reminding her that if she needs that much help and you and your husband simply can’t provide that with work etc. that’s the best place for her to be will light a fire under her ass. All that said. Kudos for staying sane and working WITH your husband not against him.

  • JustaGuest

    Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any graceful way of getting someone out of your house because, well, if they refuse to see that they’ve overstayed their welcome, it’s going to be awkward to deal with. I tend to be straightforward, so I’d probably just bite the bullet and have the incredibly unpleasant conversation…but it’d still suck.

    (I am glad she’s taking care of herself, though – if she had an eating disorder like compulsive overeating, it’s obviously not something you just easily will yourself to stop doing. I’m sorry that it took such a toll on her health, though, so that you ended up having to take care of her.)

    Oh, since you and your husband seem to be on the same page (I admit, I was really afraid this was going to have an element of “it’s destroying my marriage,” so I’m glad you’ve kept yourselves strong), maybe the two of you could sit down and brainstorm your tactics? If you go into together knowing what you’re going to say, it might be easier for one of you to keep the conversation on track if she starts getting emotional. Just a thought.

  • jdchick

    “Mom, it’s been great having you, but now that you’re doing better, it’s time for you to get your own place and a job. Here are some places/jobs for you to look at. You have 30 days.” Repeat until she gets it. Boundaries are key. Firm boundaries. I’ve been in exactly your shoes. She will try everything to guilt you. Do NOT give in.

    • Psych Student

      I feel like this is practice for teenagers or adult children. Practice makes perfect? *crosses fingers*

  • wisegal

    My mom lived with us for a while, under much of the same circumstances you described. Rent free no bills. I tried to go back to work part time, and she complained I was taking care of her for “free childcare”. It ended with a huge blow up fight. I gave her $600 and a bus ticket to go live with relatives. We are back on talking terms now, but realize that we get along better in separate houses.

  • jane

    It’s time for her to go. You know it. Your husband knows it. On some level, I’m sure your mom knows it, even though she’s fighting it.

    Instead of giving her 30 days, you could say “mom, what do you think that you would realistically need to do to be able to move out?” Then help brainstorm a timeline. If she says that she’ll never be able to move out, then you need to start explaining that she has to, and explain her options (other relatives? other housing? assisted living? living on the street?). You can tell her that you will support her in whatever option she chooses, but her “temporary” stay with you was supposed to be just that, and it’s time to move on.

    Will it damage your relationship with your mom? Possibly. But if this really is a critical issue for her, my guess is that your relationship wasn’t actually that great to begin with.

  • guest

    She moved three states to be with you to help HER. You were doing HER a massive favor not the other way around. I’d sit her down and be like since you’re healed we need to get this show on the road and here is the timeline to do it in. If she complains who cares.. just think about how she makes you feel now and how nice it’ll be just you and your family there. Rip the bandaid off!

  • Tinyfaeri

    As hard as it will be, you need to be honest with her. It is time for her to go. Be gentle, but firm, and don’t leave any room for her to say she needs a little more time. Kudos to you and your husband for staying strong through a difficult time!

  • Momofthree

    Can she go back where she came? Do u have siblings or her sibling she can go live with? Mom you have 3 months, we are tired of u living here…u gotta go!

  • Amber Stacey Larsson

    You are all being a lot more mature than I would be. The next time she complained about the state of the house, my response would be that she is free to get her own place and organise it however she wants to.

  • Emil

    Be kind but firm and if she is hurt/resentful than you have to be okay with that. This situation is not sustainable and she needs to be told this sooner rather than later. This is your punishment for being a kind, responsible person. No way would I put up with this. I’m way too selfish.

    • OhHeyDelilah

      I think this is really true. If she’s hurt/resentful, then you can’t control that – you aren’t responsible for her feelings. All you can control is your own behaviour, and it sounds like you’ve been incredibly lenient and kind to her, to the point where it’s starting to have a negative impact on you. Just remember that being assertive – stating the facts, being calm and rational, IS a reasonable thing to do. If she chooses to take it negatively, to pick a fight or to get upset, that’s unfortunate and it’s sad, but it is not your fault, and, while it’s hard, you don’t have to take it on board. Be strong in your convictions and know that you’re in the right – you’re making a reasonable request, you’re sticking to the terms of your original agreement and you’re doing it with kindness. You have the right to live the life you want without someone else impinging on it. Good luck to you!

  • Blahblah

    That sounds so hard. Like, how do you look at your Mom and say “Get to steppin’?” because it sounds like you’ve tried very nicely to get her out and she’s decided she isn’t going. She’s too comfortable, maybe because she knows how she can bend you to her will. If she can live somewhere rent free and have everything her way, why wouldn’t she?

    I’m passive aggressive enough I’d just start putting suitcases in front of her bedroom door.

  • Justanidea

    This isn’t probably the best solution, but maybe it’d be a way to meet in the middle. Have you considered buying a house with a mother-in-law cottage? I’ve known a few people that have done this and it keeps the world sane.

    • G.S.

      I don’t think buying a new house is going to fix anything. The problem from what I can see is that there aren’t any boundaries, and Anon feels that she’s being taken advantage of and that the dynamics are twisted. To me, the idea of Anon uprooting her and her family’s life and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to accommodate a person who doesn’t give her the respect she needs and deserves is saying, “Alright, Mom, you win. I’ll let you have your way and you have all the power over me and my family. You don’t need to change anything. I can never say ‘no’ to you. If you guilt me enough, you even get a free cottage where you can chill when you aren’t busy telling me I’m doing everything wrong, isn’t that awesome?” It’s not fair to Anon, nor is it fair to her family, and nothing is solved at the end of the day.

      The mom should realize that she is living in her daughter’s house and should do what she can to respect and honour that. If that includes finding a job and finding a new place to live (like the original arrangement was), then that’s what she needs to do.

    • Sarah

      I have to agree that it’s a boundaries issue. My mother in law lives with us and its great. She doesn’t pay rent or any of the bill, but she helps cook, watch the kids, and cleans. But she doesn’t criticize my cooking or (lack of) cleaning skills. She has a free place to live and I have an easier home life. Win all around.

    • Jen

      Agreeing with the boundaries. It’s why I’d gladly take in my mom (so long as there was some space for privacy) or my in-laws but my father will just have to figure out his own place. Three of the four understand that they’re moving onto my turf, that we’re all adults, that this is a shared venture and respect goes both ways and would do all they could to make it a great experience.

      My father would try to take over, take charge, and take no responsibility. No thank you. I’m not entirely certain what we WOULD do, if left in a situation like the author’s, but I have nothing but sympathy and hugs for her.

  • alannah

    I hate to break this to you but even if you manage to get her to move out tomorrow, it’s very unlikely that she will remain self sufficient for any length of time. She has a seriously damaged body and her disease will only progress further. What are you going to do when the next health crisis strikes, she loses her job and is destitute once more?
    You should make it very clear to her that you are not going to be her retirement plan. She needs to speak to a financial advisor and a social worker to get a plan together for when she will inevitably lose the ability to work. I would strongly recommend that she gets a cheap place to live close to where you are so you can be involved without having her in your home constantly.

  • jendra_berri

    You’ve done her a real solid. You’ve taken care of her while she’s recuperated, given her the breathing room to find cheaper ways of getting her meds and now she’s in a better place. I think you’re in the clear, karma wise. You deserve your home back.

    Since she’s unlikely to make any move on her own, maybe do some research and present her with options and tell her to pick one, come up with her own, but that in two months you’ll be needing her to move out.

    She’s done this to herself and you’ve already been a great daughter.

  • brebay

    You need to get her on social security disability, she could then afford a small apartment nearby and a caregiver to check on her daily. SS lawyers get paid only if they win, then they take a percentage of the back pay (which goes back to the date she was determined to be disabled (so it can be years back). Also contact legal aid in your area, they often do social security cases for no fee.

  • BK

    I am going through the same thing too. I feel your pain. Our situation has been going on for 3 years. The entire duration of our marriage. We basically moved out and only go home to bring her the grocery list that she needs for the week. I was sick and decided to go home last week to sleep it off and I woke up to her telling my husband’s sister on the phone how My husband is a piece of Sh*t and I am such a B*itch. She also called her 10 year only granddaughter a “bitch in training” as she was mocking how she talks. Keep in mind we have done nothing but be helpful, respectful, and she never has to leave the house . . . she pays NO bills at all either. It has been a horrible situation and we are having the “talk” about her moving out into a senior home today. Wish us luck and I sympathize with your situation so much. That is how I found your story. Thanks for sharing it because we do not feel so alone.

    • Emil

      Good luck. Stay strong.

  • arrow2010

    The extent of the neuropathy sounds like MIL is going to have amputation soon.

    • Author

      Gee, thanks. I’m well aware of the situation, and I don’t need a reminder that my mother, MY MOTHER, may be facing some difficult situations soon. This is entirely unconstructive. And to answer your other comment, we’re not throwing her out on the street, or that would have been done by now. We want her to find some place where she can be self-sufficient.

  • arrow2010

    Also what this American cultural fixation of throwing the parent out on the street? In Europe, Japan, South Korea this is simply not done.

  • SunnyD847

    The advice about disability/social security sounds great. Also, you could start charging her rent but put that money aside for a deposit on an apartment for her. The day after I graduated from college, I woke up to find my mom by my bedside. She said briskly, “I think July 1st sounds like a good day for you to move out, right? Okay.” And that was the end of it. I probably needed that kick in the pants :)

  • Author

    *An update*
    This is the story’s author. My husband and I have talked to my mom, and though she didn’t take it well at first, she’s now set a date to move out by the end of the month. While she’s not staying nearby like I would have liked, she’ll be happy moving back to my hometown where my brother’s family lives. She’s found a nice retirement community and seems to be okay with it. We’re all sad that she’ll be so far away from us and my daughters, but I think it’s the best situation. Thank you all for your support and suggestions. I appreciate the encouragement.

  • kim

    I started out thinking I was gonna be on mom’s side, and you’re just being mean, but no. Mom’s gotta go, asap. What she’s doing is selfish, and not cool.

  • Steph

    I am scared this is where things are headed with my MIL. If nothing else, it’s nice to know someone else is in the same boat, and a lot if the other comments were helpful, too.