I love my Mom.  I know she has made mistakes about things, but I also know she has always had the best of intentions.  That took me about 50 years to figure out.  But….my Mom can also drive me crazy.  Because even though she has known me my entire life, she still does not understand me.  Or chooses not to understand me- I’m really not sure which……

She pet sat for us last month when we were on vacation.  She loves to go to the theater, we live in the city.  We needed someone to take care of the girls.  This was a win/win situation. And I really do appreciate the help.  Truly.

But…….

My Mom’s hobby is shopping.  Seriously.  Shopping.  She DVR’s shows on the shopping channels.  Mom only uses the internet is to look for things to buy.  The only reason she wishes she didn’t sell her big suburban house is because it had lots of rooms to store the things she purchases.  She literally has gadgets for everything.  And multiples of everything.  When I go to her condo, I want to bang my head against the kitchen cabinets- because she has so much stuff, it is impossible to find what you actually need.  (This problem also causes her to rebuy things that are already in the house….it’s a vicious cycle)

Now, if you read yesterday- you know I am a serious purger of goods- I hate clutter.  I hate things that take up space.  I am clearly function over form.

So what happens when a person who values objects stays at the home of her daughter who hates things?  Well- Mom buys things that she thinks will be helpful.  And daughter doesn’t want them, but feels a little bad, because she knows her Mom is trying to be helpful.  But maybe no one actually needs to be helped……

Case in point- the laundry basket.  I have a rattan hamper- it is just attractive enough to sit in my bedroom and not make my eyes sore, it is just large enough to hold clothes for a few days, small enough to fit in my bedroom, and light enough to carry down to laundry room.  My Mother bought me a different laundry bag- because mine didn’t make sense to her.  Hers was “better”.  For ten minutes she extolled the virtues of her laundry system over mine.  She exclaimed “Isn’t this great?”  to which I answered, “Not really.  If I wanted that I would have bought that.”  She made a hmpf sound.  I felt a little guilty- after all, she just pet sat for me- she didn’t have to do that.  But I’m 53 years old- I can figure out my own laundry solutions.

I also know, that in the end, it is about control.  My Mom still wants to control everything I do.  I get that- to a point.  I am a control freak (I know- you guys are shocked to hear this)  I like things to be my way- because I know everything, and I’m always right…… (My Husband has actually said to my Daughter- just listen to Mom- she’s always right)

But…..

No one can control everything.  There is a point when you have to let your kids make their own decisions- you can guide them- but the final choice is theirs.  Kids have to learn how to make choices- list out pros and cons, figure out the worst case scenario…..They also need to learn to adapt if something isn’t working, know when something is seriously wrong and needs to be scrapped- learn how to take control of their own lives.  This only comes by trial and error.  A parents job is to help them pick up the pieces if something fails- to support them emotionally if the choice they made was wrong.  If my laundry storage system goes awry, I should be able to call my Mom and cry, without her saying “I told you so”.

So what’s the point?

  1. Don’t buy your kids things just because you think they need it or will make their lives better- ask them first,  They’re allowed an opinion.
  2. Don’t feel guilty about saying “No” to a parent- it’s not healthy to say “Yes” to anything you don’t want to do
  3. Let your kids lead their own lives.  They’ll probably be fine.

72 thoughts on “Who’s in Charge Here…..

  1. This was great to read this morning. My mother is an overstepper. We have the relationship switched though. I’m the spender and she is the clutter control captain. Why do you need that? You already have a _________. And she is right, has a point at times. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. my Mom is gone but she used to make me crazy saying she could make things faster in the microwave versus me on the stove. I’d always win and she’d say the microwave was underpowered.

    underpowered? really Mom? LOL

    I avoid this with my daughters by giving them gift cards and let them get their own stuff. that is unless they keep dropping one hint after another about something they want. then I say “why would anyone want that?” I laugh when they roll their eyes.

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  3. I completely get that – but with the other parental unit…and strangely enough, it’s based in faith instead of things.

    I left the family faith a LONG time ago because it just didn’t make sense to my analytical mind. I’ve since then done a rather in-depth study of most of the major religions peppering the globe before deciding they’ve all gotten a piece of the message right, but are sadly lacking in the delivery of said message.

    So I do my own thing in the faith department – which bugs the living crap outta my Dad, who is now getting close to his own end of life. He keeps trying to bring ‘this little lost lamb back to the fold.’ He can’t understand that this lamb is NOT lost, but simply on a different path.

    Now, thankfully, we live 3 hours apart, so I don’t get daily visits and pontification, but it does tend to make family gatherings a bit strained.

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  4. I think Mothers try to do their best and in their minds, they are helping. I know it’s frustrating for you. My ex-MIL (mother-in-law) would do things like that all the time. My own mom didn’t so it was hard for me to get used to her thinking she knew best. It took me a long time to just accept that about MIL and graciously accept her intentions.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve come a long way baby! LOL My MIL was just like the MIL in Everybody Loves Raymond – you know, the tv series? Exactly like her!
        I learned how to deal with her when I was at my wits end. I accepted her for who she was, let her do what she wanted (b/c there was no telling her ‘no’ and we got along just fine. She had no idea that I would ‘yes’ her to death and do what I wanted. Of course, that’s all gone now with the divorce, although we are still in contact. But it’s a new relationship which I enjoy!

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      2. Funny story. My daughter had never seen Raymond. One day I was taking her to a children’s programming thing at museum of broadcasting here in NYC. We caught the tale end of an ELR episode and my daughter said….”that red headed woman reminds me of grandma”….. I called my husband immediately……

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  5. Though I’m well into my adult years, I live at home because of health issues. For the most part, it works out pretty well. There are things I can help my folks with so they’re not doing all the “heavy lifting” and they help me out by letting me live there with them . However, there are times when I so understand what you’re going thru with your mom. It’s kind of the opposite but kind of the same. I’m the one with all the clutter and she likes things all nice and neat. Now, I’m trying to change my behaviors a bit, reorganizing and cleaning out my room, but there’s had to be a LOT of compromise over the years on both sides. Good luck with your mom and working out those compromises and boundaries. It’s not easy!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I tried very hard not to see myself in this post. With 2 grown children one of which lives close by it is hard not to “help”. They will tell me in no uncertain terms to buzz off though. My mother lived next door to us for years and would give input very few times, but I know at times it was as if she really didn’t care what we did and that too was very humbling. We all have our family issues I guess. I do try to only buy things as presents for birthdays or Christmas so I am getting better.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My mom stayed with us a few months ago and decided to rearrange my silverware drawer. I appreciate good organization as much as anyone, and I tried to like it. I didn’t. I couldn’t adjust to it, so I put them back (to the same layout I had been using for roughly 20 years). I now think about it whenever my spoons are slightly off. It really rankles me, but I just try to remember that she was attempting to help even though it irked me. (And frankly still does!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great thoughts! The mom daughter relationship is kinda complex I find. There’s so much I don’t get, but I’m thankful for her. Now that I’m a mother I’m also seeing things from the other side. It’s definitely healthy to set healthy boundaries in any relationship. Thanks for sharing xx

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  9. My mother is currently trying to de-clutter her house. My dad was a packrat and saved EVERYTHING, useful or not. Through her current experiences, we are all learning a valuable lesson about STUFF. She has been offering me (and my sister) things she thinks are useful, and we patiently explain to her why they are not useful and need to be purged. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have found this to be particularly prevalent to the Depression Era mindset. My dad grew up with scarcity and rationing. Of course, there are a lot of people who are packrats who did not grow up during the Depression.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This is funny. When my nana left this space to start another journey my parents and I spent days simply throwing things away that nobody wanted. When my parents relocated the moving company had to call for another van, despite the fact that I had been carting car loads of stuff to charity shops and the local tip for days. I also only keep in my home, clothes I wear, objects I love and tools that help. My daughter hoards my son is clinical, I was looking for a pattern there appears to be none! I guess we have to be honest about advice and gifts, as you say, both in the giving and the taking. Your thoughts on control and letting the kids be is on the mark, although it is a little disconcerting when after years of being right, you are quite often proved wrong! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My Mum hoards food, she lives alone and has a larder with rusting/ bulging tins that have aged beyond recognition. Every time we visit, her (large) freezer is packed so full there is no space for me to store ice cream for the kids. She gets so annoyed if I throw away two year old out of date produce or left overs in the fridge that smell like dead animal, instead of thanking me she accuses me of poking in her stuff. I think it’s based on fear, being a child of the WWII rationing in Scotland. Like you I am always right about everything…do you also find it strange when others disagree?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My mother passed away years ago, but I fear of becoming that way to my own married son and his family! Ha! The family was talking the other day and someone said the Millennials have a different view on family heirlooms — that they dont want all that antique stuff filling up their apartments and homes. So before I move along I will ask around to see if anyone wants my unicorn collection, for my kids surely dont! (PS just signed up to follow you — nice to meet you!)

    Liked by 1 person

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