Hard time living with mom.

cornflakegirlApril 4, 2009

I know this is not exactly a forum for this topic, but it seemed like the best fit. I hoping to get a little wisdom here.

I'm living with my mom and struggling to get along with her. We've never had a particularly close relationship and I don't really get along with people in general- I hate to admit that but it's true. I first moved in to help her look after my dad- quit my job and sold my house. Ever since then things just seem to keep getting worse.

There are so many things I want to say about mom and I just don't know where to begin. I guess I will begin with the issue at hand. I want to use her kitchen to cook breakfast and dinner for my daughter and myself but I was really hesitating because I knew if I did I would have to make meals for my mother as well. Please understand that I'm perfectly fine with sharing food, don't mind the added cost and effort at all. I just knew that once I started doing that, then she would start cooking food for us. Before this we were eating mostly out and not eating very healthy foods.

I should explain that my mom keeps food- meat- in the freezer for months and sometimes over a year before she cooks it. She will not throw it away since that would be a sin, so she cooks it and tries to serve it to us. It usually does not smell very good. She will also cook spagetti sauce or stew in the morning and leave it out all day and then serve it for dinner. She will not sanitize her dishes in the dishwasher and uses the same sponge over and over for who knows how long. The last time I ate her dinner I got very ill and threw up all the next day. Nobody else got sick but I really did. I don't know if it's because of cancer treatment I had that maybe make me more sensitive.

I've tried talking to her about this and her response is always to make me feel like I have some kind of phobic problem. She thinks that it is good for me to expose my system to various germs and such. The problem is when I get sick, and I'm often sick, I can't work and I am really trying to hold on to my current job.

It seems like everyday I go through the same routine. She makes something and I decline it for both me and my daughter and then she sighs and make me feel so bad.

I kind of blew up this morning and yelled at her and told her again what I think about how she cooks but not in a nice way. I didn't curse but I did raise my voice. She made something and I said no thanks so she got all pathetic as usual which make me feel like such a witch. So like a witch I got mad and I made her cry and she said that she was really sorry and that she will never cook us anything ever ever ever again. I don't think I can use her kitchen now. I don't know how I'm going to feed my daughter now- guess it's back to fast food. Am I being unreasonable? How can I fix this? This really is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Hi - whew, I'm not sure where to start with this. There must be so much more to this than meets the eye, and you've said that. But all I have to go on is what you wrote, and ask some questions if you're willing to share.

First, why do you live with your mother? Is she letting you and your daughter live with her because you need to (financially or other) or because she needs you to (financially or other)? I know you said that originally it was to look after your dad. But what's the reason you're still there? Are you contributing (financially or otherwise) to living there? How old is your daughter?

If you wanted to good breakfast and dinner for you and your daughter, why would you not include your mother in that meal? Would you not sit down, the 3 of you, to dinner together? Or are you really leading completely separate lives, as it sounds?

If that's what works for you and your mother, that's ok. But it doesn't sound that it's Ok with your mother. It sounds as though she may want you to "live" together, rather than just coexist in the same house.

Did your mother do the same with food while you were growing up as she does now? If so, well, you survived! If not, could it be that she's starting to decline mentally? To be honest, her food habits don't sound all that dreadfully terrible to me, nor does it sound terrible that she wants to cook for you and is hurt when you criticize her efforts. I believe that I'd react the same way you said she did.

It sounds as though this really isn't working out, and I'm wondering if your relationship would improve (or at least if you'd both be happier) if you and your daughter moved out. You said you sold your house. How about buying another one? In many places houses are at very low prices now; perhaps this is the time to take advantage of that with the money you have from selling the other one. It seems as though you and your mother are toxic to each other. That can't be a happy situation for any of you (including your daughter).

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 6:47PM
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Hi suzieque,

Thanks for the reply. I left my job to live with my mom and then shortly after my dad died I developed cancer and could not work. When I was done with treatment I did start working again and we did move to an apartment for a year but had a hard time making ends meet. The job I have now pays a lot less than my old job. So we moved back with my mom.

I don't pay rent although I plan to when I get back on track with my bills. I have a lot of hospital bills. I'm in no position to buy a house now and I'm thinking that with everything that's happened in the market lately and I would not qualify for a loan. I really would love a place of my own though.

We all sat down to dinner the other night and it was nice. I made pork and beans with rice. I offered dinner the following night but she said no thanks. I would not mind if we did this every night and every morning but I am adamant about not eating her food. I'm sorry if you don't understand that but I just can't because I can't afford to be sick. If her reaction the couple of times that I've talked to her about this, had been you know, maybe it's not a good idea to leave food out that many hours and then serve it up. I'm talking from noon to 7 pm. That's 7 hours on the kitchen counter. But both times she said I was being a total kook, so I know that she will continue with this.

When I was growing up there were six of us so the food did not sit in the freezer for years. I don't honestly know if she left it out. I know that she put raw eggs in my milk. I found that out when I was a teenager and thought that might have been why my stomach was always so upset at school, so much so that I would skip lunch.

I sold my house a long time ago and lived off of that money when I was unable to work. You are right, we would all be happier if me and my daughter moved out. I will work on saving some money and maybe that will be a possibility someday soon. In the meantime I will try to patch things up with my mom. I don't know what else to do. My daughter is 16 btw.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 7:47PM
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I'm so sorry for your illness and wish you the very best; my best friend is struggling through the cancer battle now and I understand all too well the impact.

And I do now understand your need to be very careful about your health, including the food you eat. Bless you. It certainly does seem like a difficult situation with your mom; I wish I had some wiser words. One thing I do know - she is your mom and she loves and cares about you. She may not always show it, but most of us, regretfully, don't always show our love. We must remember to do so, as life can be fleeting.

I, too, have a mother, and although I don't live with her (oh my!!!!!), I know that it can be very trying (and I'm sure she feels the same about me). I know I'm not being very helpful and am not contributing to making your situation better. But perhaps getting on this board now and then and just venting your heart out would help!

My very best to you, your dear daughter, and your mom.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 7:57PM
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Thank you for your kind words suzique. I'm sorry about your best friend and I'm hoping that she she is well soon and finished wither her treatment. I remember that was such a scary time and I cried every day. Now I barely think about it.

Please don't think that you were not helpful! Both you and venting helped a lot. Now I just need to go talk to my mom.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 8:20PM
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You live with your mother, in her home, and, sadly, for you, she can be as crazy and offensive as she wants to be. You can talk to her all you want, but she doesn't have to change her behavior. It's time to get a place of your own, and maybe she's trying to tell you that in her own charming way. You should be able to find a nice inexpensive apartment, rents are sure coming down here in Maryland.

It's hard, under the best of circumstances, to live with another adult when that adult is also your child, and it's even harder with a teenager in the mix. For your daughter's sake you need to move out. This must be just awful for her, seeing her mother and her grandmother at each other like this.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Hi momj47,

You are right and I do need to move out. I had a talk with mom- and yes I did apologize- and told her that I would move but I asked for a year to save some money so that I can hopefully buy a house. She had no problem with that. I will do my very best to be a good girl and I will pay 200 a month rent.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 6:48PM
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Good luck.

It's hard being a mother and it's hard being a daughter and it's even harder to be both, at the same time, which is what you are having to be now. You are walking a fine line, we just hope you don't topple off.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 10:07PM
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In the meantime, have you tried explaining to your mother that the cancer and subsequent treatment has compromised your system? Perhaps if you said something like, "Mom, I know that when I was younger and you cooked for us I was fine and didn't get sick, but now my body is extra sensitised to the smallest germ and can't fight them off the way it did when I was healthy. That's why it's important for me that dishes get sanitised in the dishwasher, and that food is either served immediately or refrigerated until serving time- my system is weak and can't handle it."
Though, that said, if your Mom is anything like my Mom was, she never would understand that my sinuses were sensitive to perfume and cigarette smoke, and that I _wasn't_ opening the windows in the car specifically to p!$$ her off....
But, good luck :-)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:09AM
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I think it needs a little give and take. First off, dishes don't need to be sanitized in the dishwasher -- many, many people don't even own dishwashers!

Secondly, meat in the freezer for a year is most likely just fine. The only thing that may happen is freezer burn. Meat in the freezer for months?? There is nothing wrong with that.

Leaving food out -- maybe not the best idea but still probably not going to make you sick unless in rare cases. My suggestion is to ask her to please put it in the fridge because you'd feel better about it. Ranting and telling her she is going to make you ill is not going to work.

My dad always drove me nuts because his idea of washing the dishes was to run them under hot water and scrub with his hand. Not my idea of "washing dishes" but honestly, no one has gotten sick from a dirty dish.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:34PM
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