Wedding Woes

Talk to your mom.

Dear Prudence,

My younger sibling and their partner and baby live with my mother because of the insane cost of living in our area. My other siblings and I feel like my mother is being taken advantage of. She works full-time, and yet when she comes home, she is constantly watching their baby. Whenever we want to spend time with my mom, they show up too. My kids get no time with Grandma without the baby there as well. At the house, they have the entire downstairs, but have now taken over most of the upstairs with their stuff, and they never clean up after themselves. Recently, my mom had guests stay, and they left the baby to be tended by the guests while they slept. That was the final straw for most of us. Is it our place as siblings to step in and call them out? I feel unsure about it because it should really come from my mom, there are some mental health concerns, and because I also get help from family with rent and it feels a little hypocritical (I’ve been given a good rent deal but we have an actual lease, all the bills etc. are in our names).

— Worried for My Mother

Re: Talk to your mom.

  • Talk to the mom.  

    If mom has mental issues / cognition then it's one thing.   But you can't tell a grown adult how to conduct themselves.  So while it can be infuriating to watch it unfold, it's also not for the LW to tell others how to behave.

    What LW CAN do is say, "Mom I want you to come over for dinner just you."  The LW can put parameters into the invitations when the other 3 people aren't welcome into their territory but that ends at the LW's doorstep.  
  • Talk to your Mom. Does she feel overwhelmed? Does she want to change the situation? 

    It sounds like LW is a little resentful of all that Mom is doing for the siblings. And maybe it is unfair or uneven. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your Mom to come over alone, to go somewhere with you/your kids without your sibling & their kids, but it’s not okay to tell your Mom how to live in her own house. You can’t tell her to invite your kids over and not expect your sibling/ the baby to be there too. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I see a glass house here. I guess talk to mom and encourage her to be honest about how she feels about this, but you can't get mad if she decides to totally stand up for herself and quit paying your rent too. 

    But no, your siblings can't step in and kick this one out or stop grandma from babysitting. 
  • The "mental health concerns" part gives me pause.  But, if mom has the mental ability to make her own decisions, then the LW needs to be speaking to her first.

    Like, "Mom, I'm concerned about XYZ.  Why aren't sister/BIL doing more around the house?  Why do you watch their baby all the time after you have had a long day at work?  Are you okay with this arrangement?  How have you been feeling?"

    Now, if mom is frustrated with the situation, the LW/siblings can offer their help and support for mom to speak to the younger sibling.  

    But if mom doesn't care or doesn't want anything said, that's her choice and everyone else needs to butt out.
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  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Okay, so mom has “mental health concerns” that warrant stopping her from babysitting but that also make it okay to pay LW’s rent? Doesn’t pass the smell test to me. Sounds like everyone is potentially taking advantage of mom. 

  • I'm not sure the mom is helping to pay the LW's rent.  From the wording, it sounds more like a family member...maybe the mom, maybe someone renting one of their properties out to the LW for a discounted rent.  Like if the market rent is $2K/month, the LW is only being charged $1500/month.

    For themselves, they only refer to that person(s) as "help from family".  Which could be help paying rent.  But then they also talk about "being given a good rent deal".

    A few years ago, I put in an offer on a duplex.  One of the detractors for it was the seller had family members living in one of the units only paying $400/month, instead of the market rent of $1,000/month.  And there was 7 months left on the family member's lease!  A new owner needs to abide by whatever lease terms are already in place, so that was a $4200 income loss right out of the gate.  I priced my offer accordingly, but was outbid.  Incredibly foolish of the seller, if you ask me.  It's one thing to help family out, but why would you handcuff yourself to more than a month-to-month lease?  The seller absolutely could have sold their duplex for more money if there wasn't a longer term lease in place for such a low rent.
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