Dear Margo: People Don't Have To "Get Over" Everything

The history with my mother is a rocky one, how do I tell her she can’t move in? Margo Howard’s advice

People Don’t Have To “Get Over” Everything

Dear Margo: Twenty years ago, I lost my job and couldn’t find another one. My savings ran out, and bit by bit, I hocked everything until I was left with only the clothes on my back. My mother had a three-bedroom house, but she was dating for the first time since my father died, and when I asked if I could stay with her until I was on my feet, she said it wasn’t “a good idea,” as “Ed” sometimes spent the night. I stayed with friends, moving from week to week to avoid wearing out my welcome.

With nowhere to turn, I joined the military. The soonest I could leave for boot camp was four months. To tide me over, I got a job at a fast-food restaurant. I had run through all of my friends’ couches and needed a place to stay for just three days until I got my first paycheck. Mom said that even for that short period of time it wasn’t “convenient” for me to stay with her. For three nights, I slept in a field. On payday, I rented a room where my neighbors were prostitutes, drug addicts and rats.

Today, I have my own home and a good job. Mom now lives in an independent living complex. She is quickly reaching the point where she will no longer be able to live on her own. If her options are moving to a nursing home or living with me, then she’s going into a nursing home. I simply cannot forget our history. What shall I say when she asks why I won’t let her live with me? — Cannot Forget

Dear Can: I would tell her “it’s not convenient” and perhaps she should call Ed. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I have always thought we earn the treatment we get in life. Don’t spend a minute feeling guilty. This is a selfish woman with seemingly no motherly instincts. — Margo, guiltlessly

Write Her Off for the Time Being

Dear Margo: My husband and I had our first child six months ago. I work from home and have a relatively flexible schedule, so I’m able to care for the baby during the week with some help from friends and family. My mother works part time and offered to cover one day a week to help out. However, since she started, she has complained to anyone who will listen about how far of a drive it is. She also has made other negative or snarky comments about the effort she’s making and what other things she could be doing instead. The situation came to a head recently when she claimed that my husband and I did not show enough appreciation.

Needless to say, I suggested we end the once-a-week arrangement. In a mildly “colorful” conversation, I told her it was difficult to bend over backward thanking her when she is constantly complaining, and that I didn’t know what she expected from two new parents trying to adjust to their new lifestyle.

Two weeks later, we drove to my parents’ town for my 30th birthday dinner, and she didn’t show up — only my father did. I’m at a loss as to how to quell the family drama and move forward. — New Mom

Dear New: Sorry to state the obvious, but who’s the baby here: your infant or your mother? As for managing the family drama, you did the right thing by bagging the weekly granny duty. (Her loss; I would give anything to be within a car ride of “my” new baby.) Moaning and groaning certainly detracts from her “gift” and is the polar opposite of “gracious.” Your mother’s childish behavior will either fade into the background — or it won’t. I am guessing you could live without the drama quite nicely. — Margo, acceptingly

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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62 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  Margo’s advice is spot on.   I would have had a difficult time keeping contact with a parent under the circumstances you describe.  While I am all for parents pushing freeloading adult children out of the nest…that wasn’t what was happening in your situation.  And, even with the most loving relationship, taking a parent into your home who is no longer able to live on their own is no picnic.  You might help her find *assisted living* arrangements which is a step short of a nursing home.  But when a person requires more assistance than is provided in an assisted living facility…it is more than a question of giving them a bed to sleep in.  It is providing full time nursing care.   

    LW#2:  Your mother does sound immature.  Good for you in ending the childcare arrangement.  I suspect her *complaining* to her friends is just part of her general attention seeking, aren’t I so wonderful, modus operandi.   And, I suspect that if you grovel, you will be back in her good graces.  Its up to you to decide whether you want to grovel or not.  I would be inclined to ignore her snubs, keep the channels open and wait for her to move on to some other self-created drama .   

    • avatar Brenda S says:

      LW #1 On the mother who may need to go into a nursing home, I suggest another option.  There are group homes that can last the period of assisted living or others that will take someone until their death.  Doing something like that would require the writer to be more involved with the mother though. 
      In my case, I provided this for my sister when her health got worse.  She lived in a regular home with 2 other women.  I did have to lay out her medication for the week and visited with her twice a week.  The benefit of this though was that I did not have to worry about someone coming into her room and stealing everything she owned.  Before she went into the group home she spent time in the hospital and a rehabilitation nursing home.  They stole things from her constantly at the latter facility.

      • avatar Brenda S says:

        Forgot to mention that the cost of the group home compared to the cost of an assisted living facility rather than the cost of a nursing home.

  2. avatar toni says:

    Aah a mothers’ day column! LW1 it sounds like you flourished well in spite of adversity. Margo is on the money. If she has the cajones to ask you, sweetly decline.
    LW2: your mom sounds like a self aggrandizing drama queen. This is her loss. Try not to let her pettiness impact this special time in your life. (and since your mom didn’t say it, I will! Happy birthday!)

  3. avatar luna midden says:

    I always say that is at least 3 sides to every story…. but… the 1st letter… Parents that are even SOMEWHAT decent will take in an adult child for a while, as long as the ‘child’ is not a socialpath, murderer, addicted and/or drug dealer. If LW1 is totally on point, MOMMY DEAREST, probably felt ‘saddled’ with a kid. I wonder what or where was Dad.. and if in anyway she blamed HER child for not having a man? (I haven’t been able to go out,  date, be married, etc. etc. because I have KIDS!-lived with that.) Even under GREAT circumstances, taking care of someone uncapable of taking care of themselves is draining-for the body AND THE MIND! Someone who the caretaker knows doesn’t love her, nor it seems, ever wanted her… NO DEAL- NO GUILT!

    lw2-IF MOMMY DEAREST 2, or Grammy dearest 2- was doing all that complaining….. Maybe it might have been a little much for her, but considering she is still young enough to still work, it sounds more like she is going for Sainthood instead… you know… ‘I raised my children, still HAVE TO WORK, and NOW, I have to RAISE MY GRANDCHILD! When is it going to end? and of course, they do not help me at all by bring the baby to me, NO, I have to drive HOURS each day to MY DAUGHTER’S house in THAT AREA………’ 

    Granny should learn if she is going for saint hood, she has to keep the complaining away from the people who know the truth!     

    • avatar Dani Smith says:

      People are quite fond of the “three sides to every story” meme, but, in my experience there is generally two.  Not “What he said, what she said…..and then the truth.”  That phrase has always bugged me because it implies that neither party is portraying the situation in an even remotely accurate way.   I’ve witnessed a lot of fighting amongst people in my time and been involved in fighting as well, and all I can say is…there’s pretty much two sides, not three, and one person is usually clearly in the wrong, the one doing the brunt of the instigation (or sometimes downright abuse).  But that’s my experience.  

    • avatar butterfly55 says:

      Luna, it said that dad had died.

    • avatar Brenda S says:

      On LW1, the father had passed away and the mother had re-entered the dating scene.  She wanted her freedom without the burden of a son being in the house–interrupting her experience with the new guy.

      • avatar sparktest says:

        Just curious, where do you get that this is a son? It could just as easily been a daughter who went into the military to build a life.

  4. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: I completely agree with Margo. There is something (not family-related) from my (recent) past which I don’t believe I have to “get over” either, because 1 person in particular deliberately (and without any provocation on my part) grievously hurt me. I am moving on, but want *nothing* to do with that person (or people around her) ever again. Your mother will get adequate care in a nursing home, and I wouldn’t give it a 2nd thought.

    L #2: I’d ask her point-blank, “What is your problem? You offered.” And have it out with her. If her response is negative (probably will be), I’d relieve her of her “duty.” Tell her “If that’s going to be your attitude, mom, you needn’t help.” Of course continue allowing her to see the child, etc. Apparently she wants you to feel overly appreciative to her. She offered, I’m sure you’ve shown an adequate amount of appreciation.

  5. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Re: L#1: You did more than survive, you lived, and you made it without her. I don’t personally care what her alleged reasons might have been for her behavior…she and Ed could have been having furry orgies 24/7 and she could have still given you the basement. You owe her absolutely nothing…especially keeping her enfeebled, perhaps incontinent self in your home and providing her with constant care. Care. Why in the world would you?
    Re: L#2: Granny is being a martyr, this much is clear, I won’t argue. One would think a grandmother would want to see her grand-baby (one would think, but I know better). And childcare is expensive and difficult to manage. But…how is it that a young couple with a six-month old child, with one parent working from home must have their friends and family helping with child care…particularly given the fact that the work-from-home parent has flexible hours?  Really? They are actually quite fortunate that they have friends and family who have the time and desire to provide this service…not everyone does. The LW makes it very clear that her mother is the one entirely at fault in this situation, but…I found the whole “… I didn’t know what she expected from two new parents trying to adjust to their new lifestyle…” comment a little curious.
    If you’re going to have a baby, and you’re both going to be working (one from the home with flexible hours), it is possible to plan for the need for childcare and even to arrange for it in advance. Yes, having a baby in your life is an adjustment, no doubt. For a lot of couples, and singles…there are no available friends and family. Daycare or a paid sitter (nannies or an au pair are not affordable options for most) are necessary and expensive evils. I sense just a wee bit of entitlement in LW2…the whole “get with the program, mom, we just had a baby and we are o, so deserving of everyone’s undivided attention, and you better not utter a word of complaint or be unavailable because we’re adjusting, okay?“. 
    I suppose that the “I don’t know what she expected…” comment was a red flag for me. Millions of people have babies every day. In this country, thousands, and it seems that, lately, far too many see themselves as privileged and entitled because of engaging in a choice that is as old as humanity. Granny/mom also said she doesn’t feel appreciated. It’s just possible that little Mrs. New Mom doesn’t show any appreciation, and that the drive is long, and that Granny is tired because she works part-time (and she may have to…not everyone can survive on SS these days, nor can they work full-time because it interferes with benefits). Also, perhaps she’d like to see her grandchild during a visit that was a little more social and relaxed…we don’t know how demanding and specific Mrs. New Mom is about her requirements for childcare.
    And then New Mom ends it all in a “colorful conversation”. What? Does this mean she cussed her mother, said ugly things to her, told her she was a miserable, ungrateful bitch, and should be glad to be part of her daughter’s, SIL’s and grandchild’s lives? Do we know? Nope. Because we only have the side of the story belonging to “Wah, we have a six-month-old, and I work from home, and we’re still a-just-ting to being paaaa-rents, and mom’s such a not-team-player meanie”. O, please.
    Which is just MY take on this one. I had a MIL with my first who lived 5 minutes away and refused to babysit even in emergencies (not that I especially wanted her to…but her nasty vehemence was almost amusing). I found a daycare when I returned to work, outside the home, when my son was 4 months old. My now MIL worked full time, and volunteered to watch her step-grandchild and her new grandson at any opportunity…but we never took advantage, and always compensated by helping her out as needed, and with dinners (a lot of them home cooked), small gifts, home improvements, etc.. My mother? She’s seen #1 son 7 times, and #2 5 times, and that’s her choice, not mine. I don’t have much sympathy for New Mom, even if her mother whines and kvetches. Feh.

    • avatar Deeliteful says:

       My thoughts exactly about LW2. Now I don’t have to write it. Thanks!  

    • avatar Lunita says:

      I agree. This letter reminds me a little of my family. I have two older sisters, both of whom are married with children (I have none yet). They both live in very close proximity to my parents and, at least to me, it seems like my parents are very obliging and helpful and have not only watched each nephew (there are three between the two sisters) several times. My parents also do other things, like taking my oldest nephew to school twice a week, etc. Despite this, both my sisters have told me on separate occassions that my parents (more particularly, my mom) always sound like it’s a burden to them when they are asked to babysit. This attitude is apparently expressed in the response to a request: “mom, can you watch so-and-so?” followed by maybe an awkward silence, and then, “yes, okay.” This is the type of exchange I imagine from my sisters’ descriptions and yet I was left wondering why my sisters would think my parents (in their 50s and both of whom work full-time) would be ecstatic at the thought of babysitting my nephews, who are 7, 3, and less than a year old. Boys at those ages require so much energy, I can’t imagine they would be jumping for joy, even though these are their grandchildren and my parents undoubtedly love them.

      The whole thing just left me thinking my sisters a wee bit ungrateful for the myriad things my parents do for them (all of us, really).  Howeve,r my mom does act the martyr sometimes. Ah, family.

  6. avatar htimsr40 says:

    We have no idea why Mom was so “hard” on LW1, but I suspect there is MUCH more to it than the LW tells us.  I suspect that LW1 had worn out her welcome at her mother’s home and Mom was practicing some Tough Love.  And, it sounds like it worked.  The LW figured out how to survive for a few days … found a way to get a job and support herself … and developed a good life.  

    Here’s the Big Clue:  “To tide me over, I got a job at a fast-food restaurant.”  After telling us she lost her job and “couldn’t find another one” … we discover that she COULD find another one.  JUST a fast food job to “tide me over”.  I suspect she could have found that fast food job even sooner (let’s say, three days sooner), but wasn’t willing to until she was forced to.  What forced her?  Mom saying “you can’t live here for free”.  If she had taken a fast food job to tide her over three days sooner, she would not have needed Mom’s house for three nights.  

    When I was young, I slept in my car and in fields in tents.  I went from friend to friend.  I rented apartments near prostitutes and drug addicts.  I survived, I thrived and I don’t hold grudges because someone didn’t make life easier for me.  Everything that happened to me was because of choices that I made … and I suspect the same is true for LW1.

    • avatar kjholly says:

      Actually getting a fast food job 3 days sooner probably wouldn’t have helped a bit as most places make you wait until payday for your wages, and quite a few have the payday a full week after the hours/days worked.

    • avatar Davina Wolf says:

      I disagree.  There are some really disordered people out there who are pitiful parents and LW1 got one of them.   My  dad treats all three kids like escaped felons–we’ve gotten no parenting from the old goat.  In fact, he has refused to shelter or help in any way my brother who was brain damaged in a motorcycle accident at age 19.  Good old dad didn’t bother to get brother any rehab or job training after the accident and my brother has been living in a hut the size of a piece of plywood on public land beside a freeway for the last 40 years–he has had a very sad, hard life thanks to the nonexistent parenting of my “parents”.   My dad is a sociopath, and mother has narcissistic personality disorder.  Both parents are very impaired people who never should have had kids.  Counselors have told me that I should have been a felon. 

      Both of my parents are in their mid 80s and beginning to fail.  I will not be there at the end or after for funerals, will not send flowers, etc., for either one of them.  Period. 

      There are some awful people in the world who should never have had kids.   

      • avatar susan says:

        My Dad grew up a lot like you did and he was a fine man a great father.  I commend you for your inner strength and ability to overcome life with rotten parents.   Maybe they shouldn’t have been parents, but they had you and you whether you realize it or not are setting an excellent example.  Wishing you only the best.

    • avatar mjd4 says:

      My first reaction was outrage at the mom, but yeah, I couldn’t help but wonder at getting a fast food job after all friends’ hospitality was exhausted and all possessions hocked.  Not, “I was finally able to find a job – not a great job but enough to get me a crappy room”  But, “to tide me over…”  It sounds more like “I actually had to take a fast food job!  Can you believe it?”  

      Not that this means mom behaved well, either.  There could be plenty of blame to go around.   

  7. avatar mmht says:

    LW#1:  Margo is 100% correct.  If she asks tell her to find Ed to help her.  She made her bed now she has to lie in it. 
    LW#2:  My parents are the same way, they offer to help then to complain to everyone about them being “forced” into the situation and what a martyr they are.  You did the right thing by ending this “help” from your mother and if she wants to act like a 5 year old let her.  She is the one that started this, she is the one missing out on spending time not only with her grand child but also her daughter.  If it comes to another confrontation stand your ground b/c if you don’t she will continue to pull this. 

  8. avatar Kathy says:

    I think there is a lot more to the LW1 story.  She lost her job 20 years ago, and couldn’t find another one.  Really?  Not one job out there, huh?  So she went through her savings, hocked all her stuff and imposed on one friend after another until she slept in a field.  I see an immature person with stunningly bad problem solving skills who probably was a problem for mom and dad for years.  If mom had taken her in, she may never have found meaningful work, wouldn’t have found the need to join the military, and could still be camped out there on mom’s couch.  Perhaps mom knew best.  (The nursing home question is unrelated and just a snotty aside.  When it’s time for a parent to go to a nursing home, regardless of your relationship, it’s time.) 

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      A little over thirty years ago, I lived in Illinois during what amounted to a Depression, during the 1980’s. I was working full time and paying my own way through college…at a state school…because two weeks before I graduated high school, my parents informed that, despite being accepted at Rice, Knox, Oberlin and Yale…they wouldn’t be paying for my education or anything toward it over $500, because they’d abruptly decided to build their dream house and land…from the man they knew, but refused to acknowledge, had brutally sexually assaulted me for three straight weeks. I was not a problem daughter…no drugs, alcohol, jail time, boyfriend, pregnancy, truancy, fighting with my parents (I was a silent child and teen), and I’d graduated 31st out of 900 students. All financial aid in the late 70’s was need based even if the scholarship was academic, and my father was making over $70,000 a year….before his bonuses.
      We moved to the country, over an hour from Chicago. I do mean the country. Poor mother had to drive that horrid drive to get her hair done once a week. I kept jobs steadily…restaurant kitchen, aid at a center for the mentally retarded (and very violent)…each for over a year…retail clerk…sacker and cart pusher at a grocery store…and maintained a 3.75 GPA at college.
      Then the bottom fell out, the jobs dried up, and I had to quit school after my savings ran out. Single white females need not apply for aid. I drove farm tractors for a while. My situation was terrible…my mother had verbally and emotionally abused me since I was a toddler, my parents marriage was imploding, her alcoholism was making her even more narcissistic than usual…and I was going to school (my second to last semester) and working full time, and cleaning entire 2700 square foot dream house, and having my father telling me I wasn’t “doing enough” to help her. No, my sisters were not treated the same way. I drove a ’67 Mustang with rust holes  the size of a human head in the quarter panels, and fuel and oil filters, an enormous wrench and screwdriver for beating the carburetor into submission when the butterfly valve jammed, and cans of oil rolling around in the back. Sometimes the accelerator jammed, likewise the transmission linkage, and it had no front brakes to speak of. I made it last for over 18 months.
      I saved all of my remaining money, and got married. It was a mistake, and I knew it, but I was truly desperate. In the end…well, here I am…married to Rusty, #3 and forever (as long as forever is for us mere mortals) plus 18 years. I would never even think of going home. I have been gone 30 years, and no matter how desperate, awful, low or bad it got…I never went home to mama. Not a chance, no way, no how. I would have lived in a Dempsey Dumpster before going back to her, or asking her for money or help. Or slept in a field, or an alley, or whored myself out. 
      Listen to me, LW1. You made it. Mom’s a rotten parent. For all of you who have this persistent belief that it must be something a child has done that causes a parent to absolutely hate the sight of them…my mother’s big beef with me is that I was born looking more like her mother and mother’s mother….and my dad’s “ugly” family, than her own blond green-eyed self. The cruelty is lodged in my earliest memories…you’re fat, you look like cousin so-and-so on dad’s side, and she’s so homely, you’re clumsy, it’s your fault the teachers compare your (blonde and blue) sister to you, all you do is read…haha…you think that scrape on your knee hurts? Listen to my litany of pain…You can’t wear that, you’re too fat (a 22″ waist is fat? A body solid with muscle is fat?). I never wanted children….sigh…And so on…
      Some people should have been sterilized at birth, or barring that, given up their children for adoption. Secret, off-the-books adoption.
      Just Say No to Mom. Yowza.

  9. avatar John says:

    If both letters are read at face value, then Margo’s responses are perfect.  However, I join those who sense something odd in both letters.

    The first letter sounds like a mom giving some “tough love” to her child. As presented, it appears cold and heartless.  But what we are missing is how many times the LW “lost her job and couldn’t find another”.  How many other times did that person move back home?  How many other times was mom there to help out?  A letter from the mother might give a very different perspective.

    The second letter sounds like some resentment from both sides.  Mom may have offered to help, but didn’t fully realize the commitment or perhaps the entitlement from her daughter. And indeed, the daughter does come across very entitled.  We have a child and are adapting!  Help us and be grateful for doing so!  We may thank you a bit, but you should be the ones who are thrilled because you get to help us!  My guess is that a little more grateful and humble daughter might resort in a mom who’s not quite the drama queen.

    • avatar mjd4 says:

      Yeah, LW2’s mom might be a bit of a drama queen, but LW doesn’t sound they ever expressed any appreciation at all, just impatience with mom for not being happier to do it.  And outrage at the suggestion that they maybe say Thank you.  

  10. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: This letter just pissed me off. 
    Poor pitiful vindictive dramatic little you, looking for a reason to finally one-up your mother and justify that grudge. Wow.

  11. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – Oh good lord. You have a terrible tale of woe that you managed to survive and might even be a better person (in some ways) for it. Your mom will win no awards from me and she certainly made some mistakes but….she’s your mother. Get over yourself and step up and do what you have to do for her for chrissake. I’d love to hear her side of the story.

    LW2 – Keep on doing what you’re doing and the onus is on your mom to come around. When she does be gracious and accepting so you can all move forward. If she doesn’t then I guess she doesn’t and that’s her choice.

  12. avatar Cadwaladre says:

    I disagree with LW2 and Margo’s response.  Even if the mom was just being whiney – and it’s not clear she was getting much gratitude shown to her – that’s no excuse for LW to be rude and disrespectful to her mother.  Now the family’s torn apart and a baby has lost a grandmother – how does that help anyone?  How to quell the family drama?  Own your own part in this and apologize to your mother for having hurt her feelings.  Tell her you realize she was going out of her way to help you and you’re sorry if you didn’t make clear how much you appreciated her help.  Tell her you completely understand that it was getting to be too much for her, that you’re happy to make other arrangements, but that you hope that she will still want to be part of all your lives.  Don’t say anything about her behavior.  If she says she does want to babysit after all, you can either accept her offer or decline, saying you love her and don’t want her generous offer to become a source of tension between you.

    • avatar mayma says:

      Totally agree with Cadwaladre.  “Needless to say…. In a mildly ‘colorful’ conversation, I told her it was difficult to bend over backward thanking her when she is constantly complaining…”

      Um, you cussed out your mother?  The mother who is giving you free baby-sitting services?!!?  Even though you work flexible hours from home!?!?   And now you’re offended since she didn’t show up to a party celebrating you?!?  Good lord.

      • avatar independent says:

        It does seem, as you pointed out, that both mother and daughter are very melodramatic martyrs. Maybe that’s why they aren’t getting along, no willingness to be direct and open to opposing views. Both stubborn, neither looking out for the best interest of the child or seeing each other as equally important and valuable.

  13. avatar independent says:

    Brianna, (sorry if I misspelled your name, phone flashes repeatedly when I scroll up.
    Sounds like you had a hard life and are a survivor. Have you ever sought therapy? You seem to have a lot of insight to share. Since your posts are always so long I just wondered how far you’ve gotten with such pain.
    I find it interesting though that you are wholly black and white on the credibility and entitlement to resentment of the two women. If there are two sides to the second story there may be two sides to the first. Both can have crap mothers, albeit by degrees. I think one of the most damaging things people can do to kids with selfish parents is to disenfranchise their right to their feelings. It does not mean the daughter is not also selfish. But we just don’t know. Constant complaining and martyrdom behind the daughter’s back smacks of passive aggressiveness. If the mother is so burdened by the babysitting, she should be direct about it and set boundaries. She risks losing the granddaughter priviliges either way. But, presuming it is true, there’s no excuse for complaining about her willingness to babysit as if she is a helpless victim.
    As for the first daughter, I’m not sure–did the mother already ask to live with her? If the daughter truly was so miserable as people suggest it seems to me she’d never be so desperate to live with her. I know my grandmother never got that desperate and neither will I. If she’s being honest, she should be very direct and let the mother experience the rich consequences of her appalling behavior. That said, I have four jobs, so the fast food martyrdom is a little self indulgent. There but for the grace of God go all of us. I’m all for cutting toxic ties. If the mom truly did that, cut her off, don’t write Margo as if you are helpless. Empower yourself.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Okay, independent, as far as the Mom of L#1 is concerned, I find it interesting that so many people have what I like to refer to as “momism”, the belief that mothers always deserve a break, and that their child is always somehow to blame for whatever pain and abuse their mother has dealt them. I also find it fascinating that all of the same readers have seem fit to Monday Morning Quarterback LW1’s life…she could have gotten a job, a fast food job would have allowed her to survive, she was leeching off of friends. When I was struggling back in the 80’s, there were 100 person lines for 15/hr/week jobs paying $2.25/hour…that was minimum wage at the time. Presently, thousands, if not millions of people are living in cars, shelters and on the streets because there are no jobs. Should they all join the military? Do they all need to just “grow up”? Really? Things can be damn difficult.
      Nice that you have four jobs. I once worked 16 hour days as a nanny, housekeeper, laundress, cook, shopper, dog-walker and general errand girl…no insurance, no benefits, less than minimum wage, because that’s all there was. Period. End of story. I was sole breadwinner because my husband was laid off, and there just weren’t any jobs. At night, I applied everywhere I could. I was doing one of those jobs that, hey, Americans won’t do. And this isn’t some kid of can-you-top-this…it’s a statement of yeah. been there, done that, and I know how hard it can be. Unlike LW1, I never turned to mom for help…I knew it wouldn’t be there…or that the price would be way beyond my capacity to pay.
      Mom is indeed toxic. My mother is on the order of phosgene. I talk to her once a week, and I’m the only one of her three daughters who has the common sense to realize that mom may need some kind of care soon, and isn’t either figuring someone else will take care of it, or hoping she’ll die first. No, I’m not a martyr. I was relating facts…not issues. I’ve been over any past difficulties with my mother for years…but I suppose that on this site any mention of one’s mother being less than perfect is the sign of an unsound mind.
      As for L#2, I do believe I mentioned that Granny was being a martyr (yup, just confirmed that), and mentioned that I’ve had my issues with my mother and a MIL in the past regarding my own children. But I never expected the grandmothers to babysit. Momism continues until one becomes a mother, and one’s own mother or MIL dares to not want to take on the role of childcare because you are ill-prepared to deal with your new arrival. Then it transfers to Ms. New Mom. How dare she not want to spend her every moment with your bundle of joy…at your convenience? People were just berating LW1 for mooching off of friends when she was down on her luck…and the same people seem to think it perfectly acceptable for Mrs. New Mom to mooch off of friends and family…and her working mother….to provide child care for her six-month old. Wouldn’t you say, dear, that there is a bit of a contradiction there?
      One mother is providing care, but feels unappreciated (and, as I pointed out, we only have New Mom’s rather entitled-sounding appeal to go by)…and she is a selfish, spoiled, childish old bitch. The other wouldn’t allow her destitute child to come home for even a short time…and she’s a candidate for sainthood, and her child must be an ungrateful, useless loser who is the sole party to blame for her mother’s refusal to help and lack of empathy…even though she is now perfectly successful…without Mommy Dearest’s help.
      O, and Bye the Way, independent, welcome to the crowd who insists anyone who talks about their parents in a negative light by way of anecdotal example must be in need of therapy. Another self-made diagnostician. I actually see a therapist, and a psychiatrist and occasionally print these threads for her. She finds the quality and content of some of the comments intriguing…and agrees with me completely on one thing…hens will peck, looking for that spot of blood. A favorite method is suggesting, as if they were only giving helpful advice, that one seek “help”. You’re a little behind the times…and off the mark.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I can empathize with struggles and less-than-perfect life experiences, but I cannot fathom why someone would perpetuate a relationship with someone they compare to phosgene. Not once a day, a week, a month or a year. 

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          I am not a martyr, David Bolton. I am not suffering because of my mother. When I relate my stories of the past with her, I am not bemoaning my fate. I’m just explaining to the Pollyanna, all Mommies-are-Good-Mommies crowd that some parents are poster children for retroactive abortion. Their own. My mother stopped having any ability to hurt me a long time ago. Someone is eventually going to have to take care of her, practically speaking, and I can reasonably expect that the only sane person in our family (and the only one of her daughter’s who is rational on the subject) is me. Ergo, I am the one planning, and will be the one who makes the decisions that might be tough for others…but won’t be so hard for me. What, I should leave her to the poor welfare people? Do I have some reason to hate them?
          There is something else too. In life, one has to deal with a lot of toxic people. It isn’t always convenient, or even possible, to sever all ties to someone who could cause cancer in a rock. Such as my second ex, who is also my older son’s father. The courts (this was not about money) would not have seen things my way…we looked into all of the options. I’ve learned how to handle my little poison people…neither by shutting them out with a hazmat suit, or letting them infiltrate my mind until it shrivels up and dies. I just roll with their venom, and it rolls right off of me. This gets better results than cutting them out of my life (and having them banging on the doors to find a way back in…a nasty habit with all bio-hazards) or letting them infest my soul (allowing that I have one)…they begin behaving better in the vague hope that they can figure out just what I’m doing.
          My dad had his own, personal saying: “Love thine enemy, it will baffle the s**t out of him”. My dad was a funny, irreverent, sarcastic man who never had a chance to get over his wounds. I have. I’m not “perpetuating” anything. I’m dealing with life…not hiding in a cave and peering out at the world from my own, peculiar dark spot. My mother is part of that life, and cutting her off would leave my very much loved younger sister holding the whole bag. I could do that…but why hurt someone who never harmed me?
          Reality is for grown-ups. Poo-tee-weet.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            That’s some cross, Briana.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            Umm, no, I don’t see it that way. It’s what has happened. My sister has different problems than I do, and she has never been able to create a situation for herself in which she can just walk away from our mother, or quite say, “Mom is responsible for her own actions”, or deal with actuality in any situation in which mom factors. It’s my maternal family’s way.
            I’m not a martyr, as I said. Maybe if I didn’t feel love, and a sense of responsibility toward my sister, I would have been able to walk away a long time ago. And a certain accountability toward those who will have to clean up whatever mess my mother leaves. I don’t stand to gain anything materially from her…I’ve told her repeatedly to sell her jewelry so that she can do things like fix her roof, ceiling, water softener, purchase a reliable car (yes, she’s still driving…even if she is blind), get new glasses…and her house has a reverse mortgage that will have to be paid for by its sale, plus all of the damages it has accrued through her neglect. I would not leave that massive burden on my sister either…neither of us want or care about money or the material.
            I ain’t no Ms. Jeebus suffering for my mother’s sins. I love my sister, and sometimes I care. Despite what “they”say. “They” talk a lot. Other than talking to my mother on the phone, I don’t even try to help her…since she doesn’t listen, and won’t do anything to help herself.
            I think of this when I think of my mother, and many, many other things…
            “Teach us to care, and not to care. Teach us to sit still” —T.S. Elliot  “Ash Wednesday”

  14. avatar B.eadle says:

    Wow, what great letters for Mother’s Day weekend.  Thanks for the um…inspiration.

  15. avatar independent says:

    omg Brianna, do you not read the profound hostility in your letter towards my kind one to you? And the passive aggressive remarks? I’ve never seen someone attack another person who was being compassionate quite so violently before online.
    Nice that I have four jobs? What presumptions are you making about my four jobs beyond the fact that I am a hard worker?
    You do not know my background or education. Nor are you the expert on childhood abuse. You’ve laid your story out in exquisite detail. Now you get to find out that other’s had it worse than you, of course that is all relative to the person. It seems to me you want to be the most victimized, the hardest worker, the biggest survivor, the most beleagured, etc. You are certainly the angriest for someone who has worked through all her issues. And I do have a background in psychology. Your reactions, though you are certainly entitled to your own emotions, are profoundly disproportionate to the letter from me. I wonder if you can take a step back, be objective, and see that for yourself. I too am entitled to my opinions and I feel you should release your emotional investment in my opinions being different than yours. Many apologies that my letter caused you to feel disenfranchised or on the defense, however I can’t control your reactions. I only own that I was being compassionate, genuine and attempting to connect. You should not make such unilateral judgements about my experience being lesser to yours. That’s very controlling. I do not know what your intentions were but the anger expressed in your letter towards me is stunning.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Yes, I am angry, but you misread the source. It isn’t your opposing opinions regarding the letters that are irritating, it’s the advice to “see a therapist”. I wish that I had a dollar for every person who said that to someone (not just me…talk about something I’ve said dozens of times on this site) on threads here. You’re crazy. You must be “bi-polar’ You must be OCD. You need a psychiatrist. You need therapy. All of the readers of self-help books and sensationalist garbage, and watchers of reality shows who think everyone is in need of their amateur diagnosis learned on Oprah. I’ve defended many letter-writers, other readers…even the columnists themselves because of this trend. To repeat…I am far from the only person subject to this…and this is the source of my anger.
      The other source is the constant misreading of comments. Which you’ve also done. My comment about your jobs was in relation to L#1, not my own experience, and my reference to my own experience was meant to back that up (I pointed out that I was not trying to prove anything regarding who had a harder life).
      I wasn’t making any judgments about your experience. I was thinking about LW1. I thought that was the topic. Also, I just went back and read my comment. Just to be certain. You missed something entirely…the thrust of the column was directed at the readers who were attacking the mother in L#2, and the actual letter-writer in L#1. I thought I made that very clear. I wasn’t disagreeing with you at all…just expressing how peculiar, and little contradictory, so many of the other readers were being. Perhaps you should go back and read it again…or not. 
      Just as you said that I don’t know you…you don’t know me. I found your letter to be fine…except for asking me if I had ever considered therapy. I’ve been in therapy, essentially, for a long time. I am not an angry person (no, that is not denial…to bad everyone can’t talk to my therapist). I don’t like hen parties, and I intensely dislike those who can’t, or won’t read correctly. I didn’t see the first paragraph of your column as compassionate or kind…and I reacted to it with disgust. I didn’t oppose the rest…I was referencing the words of others. So much misunderstanding.

      • avatar independent says:

        I can see why, if people have said that to you before, you’d be disgusted. However, your experiential reaction caused you to misread my letter. I was not telling you to go to therapy. I said you had a lot of insight to share and asked you if you had ever sought therapy. My meaning was that it seemed clear to me you had. I do not diagnose people, I do not think diagnoses are helpful. When someone posts a story such as yours, followed by stories about being happily married with kids, you expect that certain things have occurred, one of those could be extensive therapy. Again though, I do not believe in diagnoses. The practice is, for the most part with PD’s, stigmatizing, confusing–particularly when you get into co-morbidities and/or mood disorders while excluding PTSD as its own independent phenomena, leads to over diagnosis. Diagnoses are necessary for insurance, but imo, medications and treatment modalities should be geared to resolving the characteristics of a pd or other rather than labelling them. I am not a lofty, condescending theatre-goer. All of this to say, I never rendered a judgement or a diagnosis. Im not qualified to diagnose. No one is from casual internet observations.
        I am also not a mom-fetishizer. I have my own reasons. But I don’t carte blanche believe or disbelieve someone’s letter on an advice column. If that causes me to be categorized that really has little to do with me as a person or the reality of me and my experience.
        I enjoy Margo’s wit and straight talk. I am here to enjoy people’s insights and do not wish to be the cause or target of personal attacks, by anyone. Yes, I am anonymous, but I, like most people now a days, am looking to spen my free time, which is sparse, engaged in pleasurable and relaxing activities, not conflict and antagonism. I will not respond to your comments anymore and if something I say rubs you the wrong way, I’d appreciate the same. Thank you.
        To each his own. I’m glad you are happy. I feel that people who have been at their parent’s mercy while young should have that joy restored exponentially.

        • avatar independent says:

          Oh, I lied, unintentionally. I reread my post–in the interest of being authentic I believe my sentence: I wonder how far you’ve gotten with such pain is the one that could be considered condescending. That was not my intention, but I prefer to apologize that it came off that way. At the risk of the same, I would like to say that I just read about the BPD allusion and I do not need to know, nor am I asking, however I do find it affirming that you did not let that bog you down and have found happiness in a healthy marriage. That is wonderful, and I mean that genuinely without condescension. I am not a fan of that label. I hope you will take that in the spirit in which it was intended. I’m not a fan of calling people stupid, but if your story generates cruelty from strangers or if anyone is receiving that from anyone else, I am not taking sides, as it says in the Bible (sage advice for all subscribers to any or no faith), perhaps ‘do not cast your pearls before swine.’ Even if others do not see them as pearls, people, being a survivor is a pearl. Good for all of you. I’m now gathering my pearls, as in my last post, and hauling ass. 😉 I do not know what Poo-tee-weet means, though I read the book, but I sign off with a rhyme, Toot Sweet, which I do not understand either. But I think it means ‘right now.’

  16. avatar independent says:

    And p.s. I hope you will share your letters to and from me with your therapist. Therapists are meant to validate emotions and the better ones challenge misperceptions. What I find most interesting is that we agree yet you restate your opinions as if they are different than mine. And trauma such as your lingers a lifetime and colors our perceptions of the world. We can be overcomers but we cannot erase the shadow of trauma. When I started working, wages were $3.25 an hour. From what you have described your experiences, at face value, lack the violence and terror inherent in mine. However, I am not the one attacking you or making wild, and dismissive, presumptions about your experience. I am not behind the times–what a bizarre interpretation. Nor am I simply an arm chair psychologist. I have a formal education in psychology, yet it certainly does not take an expert to reach out to someone online. The thing I hope you will share with your therapist is why you have a need to invest so much time and emotional energy into sharing your story, in vivid and lengthy detail on a advice column regularly and then print out people’s reactions to them. It seems to me, based objectively on your reactions to me of anger and diminishment, that you are here to engage in emotional entanglements, belittleing opposing opinions (which as I pointed out, we simply do not have about LW# 1, and create a stir you can report to your therapist.

  17. avatar independent says:

    One last thing, I made an error about the violence and terror in your letter. I missed that. I apologize.

  18. avatar poppygirl says:

    Wow, independent, you’re not kidding. Briana must have been shaking with rage when she posted. Briana, you are a cyber bully, condescending, indeed passive aggressive and insufferable in your attempts at coming off as intellectually superior. Teeth baring passive aggressive! ‘Dear,’ etc., your foul language in pa rage at your opinion of independent’s interpretation of lw2. Independent was impartial, willing to admit there are two sides, which is true. One side may be unjustifiable but YOU can’t know from a little blurb on an advice column. You’re not fooling anyone, you are more often than not villifying mothers across the board. You are a splitter. Mentally unsound and in need of therapy? YOU ARE IN THERAPY!! Plus, what independent may not know is that you listed all your diagnoses on an earlier self righteous rant: OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, borderline schizophrenia, and bipolar… anxiety? What about intermittent explosive disorder, codependency and narcissism? Ive read your posts for a long time and you are hostile and condescending and verbally abusive, a shade off from calling people stupid. ‘get it througb your skulls’ is a common one. You are the penultimate victim. Hats off, lady, nobody knows the trouble you’ve seen. You wont admit this even though it’s true, you are obnoxious. You are a narcissist. Plus, no one says borderline schizophrenic anymore. You have BPD. Call it what it is since you freely hand out axis II pd’s to posters and the targets of their tiny advice column blurbs. Schizotypal is the comorbidity for psychosis with BPD. You should invest in Dialectical Behavior Therapy so you don’t get so wrapped up in other people’s opinions. You get so abusive it’s obvious you cannot stand for anyone to suffer from an opinion other than your exalted oh so experienced one. Seriously, wth do you care if peoole don’t agree with you? What is it to you? Why can’t you just let people be or disagree without the verbal abuse? Everyone else does. Oh, I’ve been silent so long on your insufferable bullyinv and constant contradictions. But I’m letting you know now you’re nothing more than an insecure bully who needs conflict in her life. Print mine out for your therapist too. I bet you do some heavy editing when it comes to reading your own to him or her. How silly to take advice column differences of opinion to a therapist just to validate your ego. Bet you explode on your therapist if they dare disagree. And to all the posters who may take offense to my words, reread her posts and deny their belligerence. Ugh, get a life and stop fixating on other people’s right to be separate intellects from you.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      I don’t use “get it through your skulls”. And my point regarding independent was this: I am tired of people telling other people to seek mental health help on this site. Speaking of being a cyber-bully, why don’t you go back and read your post? Or mine, for that matter? In which I clearly stated that I was not trying to play any  games of “who has it worse”?
      No, I don’t explode at my therapist, or at anyone else. Another person who wants to diagnose  for free. There are a lot of people on this site who have very valid opinions and thoughts…and I’ve had very interesting exchanges with many who have disagreed with me (obviously you haven’t read all of my comments, or all of the threads, or you’d know that). I am so far from a narcissist it’s laughable. I was first called “crazy” on this site for offering a lot of compassion to people. It’s been a downward spiral since then…but so has the general tone of the site. I don’t take printouts to my therapist to validate my ego…I take them to her to ask her opinions of the threads in question…all of the comments. 
      This is what I mean about hen parties. See a perceived spot of blood, start pecking. Have at it, girls. Here’s your chance.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      A few more salient points: I’m not usually a “shade off calling people ‘stupid'”, I’m pretty direct about it.  I’m not a victim. “Borderline schizophrenia” is the old diagnosis on my very early paperwork…it’s since been changed. I’d send you a copy…but see the first point.
      Everyone else on this site let’s people have their opinions? You’re what they call a “laugh riot”. This board has become a haven for people just like you. Have a look at your post, then get back to me.

      • avatar poppygirl says:

        Ok, Briana, I’ll own it. I got angry too. I don’t remember other people being angry but they probably have been ugly as hell at times. People are brave anonymously. I was angry, sounded like a twat, hell, being a twat. So you admit you have called people ‘stupid.’ I have to say you HAVE said ‘I wish people would get it through their thick skulls.’ But I’m sorry anyway. No one likes bitchy people, pardon my language, and I sound like, was being a bitch. Please forgive. Can’t stand it, won’t do it. Not necessary. I just wonder why people stay on a site where they get called sluts or whores. What does it take to be ‘moderated’ here as promised below? Cut mine out, Margo. Thanks in advance.

        • avatar poppygirl says:

          PS, I think a lot of people, including you, are fond of labelling mental illness. I call out sociopaths a lot. We all seem to know too much, say too much but really know too little. Enough said.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            Unfortunately, my older son has a personality disorder, as does his father, and his grandmother. Only my son’s is diagnosed…but the source is obvious. It’s malignant narcissism. I’ve had to learn far too much about these things…they’re very, very dangerous. On the thread a week or so ago, when some readers were suggesting that an LW confront her friend’s abusive partner because “all of these guys back down and snivel when confronted by a strong woman”…I am paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it…I was disgusted and horrified. I spoke up from bitter experience. I usually do. What they were suggesting could have gotten the LW seriously hurt or killed.
            I’ve had a life sort of like that Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times“. It could stop being “interesting” in that manner any day now. I wouldn’t mind.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          Margo doesn’t moderate the site. Allegedly, the site coordinators do. It’s a pity that during one of the earliest sea-changes they saw fit to erase all archived threads…with no warning. Most sites either have the duration for keeping such information in the archives listed, or announce a purge ahead of time. Not his one. The reason that the earlier threads being lost is such a shame is that there were once dozens of brilliant readers on this site, who lit up threads with all sorts of passionate, witty, funny discourse. It was flamers, those who constantly engaged in personal attacks such as I described, and some extremely vicious and lacking in empathy people who made life miserable on this site for a long time. Their comments were never removed…but a lot of other people who responded to them…again, far from just myself…with reason, calm, logic and critical thinking…received warnings from the Community Manager and had comments “disappeared”.
          Most of those bright stars are gone. I stopped posting during the same period…and came back hoping for a more rational site. It was, because all of the columns seemed to be about ageism and the too-wealthy-to-care set. Nobody was posting anything of interest. Then it started taking on the surreal dimensions of a 14 year old girl’s Facebook page. The attacks became mindless. Don’t comment if you’re a man, or if you have a differing opinion than the majority, or if you don’t use words “I can understand”. or if your post is longer than one sentence. Really? And all of the cheap, two-dollar diagnoses (thanks to that book that tells you how to know if your neighbor is a sociopath, or the regular diagnosis of self-indulgent celebutards as bi-polar…the disease du jour…everyone thinks she’s a psychiatrist). Some of it is ridiculous, so much so that it makes my head spin.
          I have mental illnesses…but none of them are personality disorders. I am sensitive to crap that states that those with such illnesses are all “crazy”…or that every bunghole walking the earth is that way because he or she has a mental illness. I am rarely reactive, intensely dislike confrontation, live a very quiet life, and have the misfortune to have a high degree of resilience…I’m hard to get rid of under the best of circumstances, and there were a few on this site who really put their shoulders into it. I suppose that’s why I’m not dead or living under a bridge. I’d be a bitch to gaslight. I don’t have a high opinion of myself…I always think it’s funny when people say that, they really ought to talk to Rusty. That I have intelligence and that I use it are my best points…I research and study constantly. It’s what I do for fun. That and read, and water aerobics, and cooking and spending time with my family. And singing lessons.
          I’m sorry too. I felt condescended to, and that’s not a nice feeling. I have had enough of that here, and through-out my life…and I don’t react well to it. You can call me fat, funny-looking, weird, antisocial, just about anything…but suggesting that I need therapy or that I’m crazy after I’ve successfully lived with my leetle friends my whole life…and successfully become mentally healthy…will definitely agitate me. People are still so incredibly ignorant about mental illness.
          Anyway, thanks. I have my moments of beastiness. Again, I apologize.

  19. avatar poppygirl says:

    btw, independent, you are beyond me with your kind hearted apology to briana. Wow. I got the kindness in your post and I got that you weren’t putting her down when you told her she was insightful. Ugh. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and professional knowledge and experience. It’s clear that you also have had a tough life and are to graceful to list it here. And when you made that one comment you apologized for it. You are right, there’s nothinv worse than someone ‘diminishing’ and ‘disenfranchising’ someone’s feelings. I apologize on behalf of Briana for attacking you for no reason. Much as she is so hostile, don’t take it to heart. She does it to everyone. Apparently now to therapists.

  20. avatar WonkaWilly says:

    Why are you always so unkind, Briana? I’ve wondered that too. Though I’m not as exasperated as poppypants, it’s always bothered me. Everyone else seems to be so reasoned and even kind to you even though you are constantly lashing out. You are mean. You know, so many people have it tough right now. How do you think they feel when they come on here to express an opinion or try to be helpful and you annihilate them? You do it all the time. You are probably ruining people’s day. This isn’t your column. You really should be ok with people coming at issues from different angles. I get you’ve had it rough, can’t believe you survived all that. But you aren’t the only survivor. Lots of people post horror stories on here without being ugly to others or trying to beat them down in a one up battle. I feel sorry for you that you’ve been called out on it three times here, but you really do need to be accou table for your words. Just because you’ve had it rough and have some tough diagnoses doesn’t give you the right to be cruel. You owe some people apologies. You should start with independent. She apologized to you. And I don’t see any ugliness from her or him. You flew off the handle on that one. Can you admit that? If you can’t be kind or fair or even tolerant, you should not post on this caring forum. Life is hard enough without you reacting so harshly. You do have lots oc insights but you negate all of them when you attack.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      WonkaWilly: I guess third time is the charm. Go back and read my original comment. The only anger I register toward independent is toward her comment that I see a therapist. Given the number of times that readers on this site have decided that not just me, but many, many other readers and letter writers were crazy, bi-polar, in need of therapy, had OCD, needed a shrink, etc., I have become absolutely sick of all of the amateur diagnosis and “helpful” advice. Saying, “o, your so insightful, have you seen a therapist?” was interpreted as condescending and snide. Given the responses…can you see why?
      The rest of my comment is not directed at independent (I clearly state that my comment about her four jobs is not by way of one-up-man-ship…but people are so ready to take a swing), but at the bizarre dichotomy in the answers regarding the two mothers in the two letters. At this point, I am done.
       I apologize for misreading independent’s comment about therapy. I did not interpret that as kind or compassionate. My mistake.
      As to the rest of the comment, that was misinterpreted by the other readers, for what it’s worth. As to this being a “caring forum”, WonkaWilly, you haven’t been on this site when the real ugliness starts…and I’m not the one who perpetuates that. Not at all. Odd how I’m being accused of being unkind, unfair and intolerant…and I’ve so often been the only one whose displayed any of those qualities toward letter-writers. And been personally attacked for it. 
      So, to who else do I owe apologies? I am quite curious. While I’m apologizing to them…perhaps all of those who have called me a slut, a whore, a liar, too crazy to post, a sinner, hellbound…etc., will apologize to me. No, I don’t take these things personally…but I’m just wondering…since we’re talking about fairness, tolerance, accepting other’s opinions gracefully…when do I get my dues on this caring forum?
      I would guess “never” is a good start. Welcome to wonderland. Poo-tee-weet.

  21. avatar WonkaWilly says:

    Sorry poppygirl, I got your name confused with another poppy who posts here once in a while.

  22. avatar Jennifer juniper says:

    LW1 – There really is no need to couch this decision in bitterness and revenge for your mother’s past slights.  As you seen to have some sense of decency and care, it will only cause you heartache later on.  There are PLENTY of reasons not to have your mother come and live in your home that don’t in any way have to do with the horrible parenting decisions that she made.  Concentrate on those sensible reasons and put her crap in the past.
    LW2 – I realise that you were frustrated but you probably exacerbated the issue with your ‘colourful’ discussion.  You should have – as calmly as possible – and in the most sincere way you could manage, thank her for her help but tell her that as it seems to be SO difficult and causing her so much grief, that the baby-care probably should stop.  Basically acted it up a little.  Given her a nice shpeel about how you don’t want to fracture your relationship by causing her difficulties.  Then, at least the shoe is on her foot to respond positively in that she insists she wants to do it and stops the complaining (or at least lessens it) or she doesn’t say anything in which case you know that she really doesn’t want to do it to begin with (and in that case, you shouldn’t want her to either). 

  23. avatar Diagoras says:

    “She’s your mother” – well the mother didn’t seem to care much about that when she wanted to impress the boyfriend, did she? Giving birth to kids does not give you an excuse to treat those kids like dirt and then expect those kids to give you unconditional love throughout their adulthood. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. You reap what you sow. If you don’t want to put in a home when you’re old, treat your kids like human beings. I would never treat my kids the way these parents did. There is no excuse for not being able to get along with your adult offspring. None. If you can’t manage it, you did something wrong. Period.

  24. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW1: By all means when the moment comes, I’d declare that her staying with you is “not a good idea”, but that you’d be willing to store her ashes in a back closet when the time comes if she hasn’t made alternative arrangements with Ed. 

    LW2: Working from home with one arm, and diapering baby with the other would be preferable to dealing with your complaining nag-hag of a mom.  Somehow you’ll get through this … and down the road you can remind her that your success in dealing with initial challenges was no thanks to her.     

  25. avatar wvdonna says:

    When I decided I had to leave my first husband, I was hoping to move back home.  I was working as a substitute teacher during the day and doing the fast food thing at night.  My husband was a alcoholic and if anything his drinking was getting worse.  We’d been living like roommates for a couple of years.  The last straw was when he called me and said he’d heard our house was in foreclosure; he hadn’t been paying the mortgage.  I didn’t have enough of a steady income to be able to afford to live on my own, so I asked my parents if I could move back home. 

    My father went into a tirade and my mother said if I’d stayed home more, maybe he would have too, knowing I was working nights.

    I love my parents, but I will live in a car, field, tent, whatever, before I live with them ever again.  That episode just scratches the surface of everything I’ve gone through with them.        

  26. avatar independent says:

    Btw, I am not a therapist.

  27. avatar independent says:

    I wish to say that if people are called whores, sluts, crazy or stupid on this site, I do not wish to be a part of it. I guess I should not be surprised…I watch you tube videos and they can be the most innocent videos possible and someone will launch a random attack about something totally irrelevant. I don’t know about you, but my blood pressure can’t take the level of anger, sadness and and hopelessness everywhere–and how we cannibalize each other emotionally for no reason. Why do we do that? I don’t know. There’s a lot to be angry about in this world and it’s not socially appropriate to do it in real life. I think that must be it. I hope all of you find a site that’s feel good fun, life and self affirming and brings a little joy into your day. It’s up to you, but the anger on this site can dead end if you refuse to engage at all. People will move on to sites, like You Tube, perhaps. Ok, I’m off (before I have a stroke! 😉 ) Take care.

  28. avatar wendykh says:

    I think people are really wishing there weren’t parents like LW1’s mother out there. I cannot think of any reason a parent would not let their child stay home while waiting to go away to boot camp. Ridiculous. Even if they were a strung out drug addict you just don’t do that. Some parents really do basically say “you’re 18 now, it’s all your problem” and no longer give a damn. This woman may be one, especially if she was trying to land a new man… or the LW may be a nasty using freeloading thief… somehow my guess is on the latter.

    I would not let my parent live with  me in that case… but I wouldn’t let my dad either and I love him very much and he’s wonderful.  What I’m saying is no LW1 you do not need to take her in, but you don’t need to be mean about it either. Just say that won’t work for you and she needs more help than you can provide and make other arrangements.

    I’m not inclined to bash on LW2 either. There is nothing worse than when I ask someone to do something and they agree, and then complain about it or make sure I am well aware how much a struggle it is and constantly remind me how much I better kiss their ass for it. If they don’t like it then don’t do me any freaking favours! As for why can’t she and her husband manage… sheesh, they’re both working from home and have a six month old. For some reason people think working from home is easy, more specifically they they’re always available for household tasks since hey, they’re working at home! WRONG. That’s a great way to get no work done and not get any bills paid. My husband was able to help me working from home after our two youngest were born, but having his mom come over and help a couple afternoons a week was a godsend. I could take a nap, and he could get work done. I could wash some dishes, and he could get work done. I could take a shower, and he could get work done. Sometimes there just needs to be some help some people can concentrate and work. Especially if it’s work where you need your hands.

    Sure it’s nice to tell mom she’s appreciated. But haven’t any of you ever dealt with someone who was doing you a favour and constantly making ever so subtle comments about they’re so glad to offer this help to you, like they’re fishing for compliments? Haven’t you ever asked someone to do what would be for them a very, very simple task that would take very little time out of their day (the aforementioned example of driving kids to school) that would make your life infinitely easier and they act like you just asked them to be a gestational surrogate? And then they claim later that they help you so much and don’t be afraid to ask for help because oh they just love helping! And then if you ease off because you get the hint they don’t want to help so much, they bitch they never get to see the kids? That can get exasperating.

    LW2, your mom will get over it. Call her up and say you’re sorry for yelling at her/using foul language/hurting her feelings and you like having her help but you do not want to impose on her so please do not feel obligated, etc. Tell her that when you hear she’s complaining all the time you think this means she doesn’t want to help and you feel like she thinks she’s being used and it upsets you anyone would think that. Tell her if she has a problem with helping or needs time to SAY SO and it’s not a big deal. And then when she bows out when you really, really need her help to do some stuff, suck it up, take a deep breath, and just deal. Trust me, it’s not worth it to get all upset.  

    • avatar wendykh says:

      my guess is on the former, the former. Gah.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        You know…I was wondering about that…thanks for the clarification…and the comment about wishful thinking…

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      wendykh: ” But haven’t any of you ever dealt with someone who was doing you a favour and constantly making ever so subtle comments about they’re so glad to offer this help to you, like they’re fishing for compliments?” and so forth. Yes, I have…and worse. My mother was the sort who made you pay, in spades, for every “favor” she ever did for you. Such as fixing dinner. Giving birth. My middle sister is more the sort that you describe. It gets to, “Yes, thank you, you’re too wonderful, I get it, I should be grateful, I should be guilty for not realizing what a selfless altruist you are. Here’s my wallet, and my first born…I’d give you my life’s blood, but it would be inconvenient”.
      But there is another sort too, the one’s who think you should be wallowing in gratitude for helping them. This would describe a few people I have met…who when you just say “No” after the umpteenth time they generously volunteer you to either cease, or cancel, everything you are doing in order to rescue them from some dire predicament (“I have a hair appointment and Tiffy is a little under the weather. Can you keep her for an hour?” turns into Tiffy having a stomach bug from hell complete with projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea, with no way to contact mom who disappears for three hours or so) put on a sulky pout and claim that nobody ever has time for them, or does enough for them, or cares enough. This would also describe my sister, sans the bilious toddler. Why wouldn’t you want to be at their beck and call? They’re fabulous people!
      So, in retrospect, I think that L#2 has a combination of the two. Mother/grandmother has a bit of the, “Oy, how I suffer in helping you, and how unappreciative my ungrateful daughter is”, and daughter (LW2) has a touch of the “We’re new parents and we deserve all the attention we can get and who wouldn’t want to drop everything and take care of our precious bundle of drool and poop (remember, I had two such bundles, and loved them dearly…but facts is facts, and babies can be a lot of work…especially for an older person, and dependent on the amount of time that she is entirely responsible for all of the care). Mom’s being such a meanie!”. So, mom kvetched. If her daughter wanted her help, the wisest course was probably not to scream and swear at her and tell her what a jerk she was (that sounds close to right…given her description of the convo as “colorful”…and the aftermath of hurt absence). Probably deeper issues, but then, lots of mothers and daughters have them. Your advice is sound. Hopefully she’ll take it.