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How to get family to stop leaving everything to me

(39 Posts)
Summermary Sat 20-Jul-19 07:53:38

Good morning ladies. My DD lives with me, with 2 Grandsons 9 and 2). I don’t think I have made her help enough over years. She has medical problems that cause pain, tiredness, headaches, bad tummy. However she has soooo much stuff. In her room her wardrobe glows out into floor. She uses my room as storage (kids clothes, Xmas gifts). I have kicked all the stuff in my room into boxes in garage and two thirds of toys in garage which I rotate. She almost has a teenager attitude as I get told if she’s going out. I know I have let things slide. I had a chance yesterday to have a conversation with her but I honestly did not know where to start. She paid more attention to her phone and the chat didn’t happen. I don’t want to cause a war but I know I’m being a doormat. Any ideas please? She is also having issues over contact with ex and I had to step in as all his/Solicitor’s letters were not being answered. I pretty much brought 9 Year old up so am very protective of him.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 08:07:56

I think it is very easy as a mum to get into this situation. Tell her you are getting tired and need more help around the house. Does she cook any of the meals? Could you ask her to take responsibility for certain things? Could she cook meals on certain days? Could you suggest if you cook she clears up afterwards and vice versa? Try small steps. Well done on being there for your GSs and your DD.

Sara65 Sat 20-Jul-19 08:19:34

I sympathise, I can see how easy it is to slip into this, one of our daughters came home for a year with a child after the break up of a relationship , and just slipped back into the role of daughter

I admit I let it happen, things like, I’m ironing so I may as well do hers, yes, I’m fine to put the little girl to bed if she goes out, eventually she was out every night, and I seemed to be raising baby.

She left eventually, only to embark on another doomed relationship, and I’ve always said, if it happens again, there would be a lot more rules

For you, it’s hard, because it’s gone on for so long, and your daughter has health issues, but you aren’t getting any younger, and it’s hard work

I personally wouldn’t be able to stand the mess, start with that, reclaim your space

Hope it works out for you

harrigran Sat 20-Jul-19 08:28:31

You have allowed this situation to carry on so it is going to be difficult to rectify. There should have been ground rules from day one especially with little ones to care for.
Talk to your DD while her phone is on charge so that you get her full attention.

sodapop Sat 20-Jul-19 08:46:33

These situations creep up on you don't they and you suddenly realise how much you have taken on. It's quite rude to be looking at your phone when someone is talking to you. I would find a time when you are not going to be disturbed and ask her to switch off the phone for a while. Another occasion for small steps, prioritise which things you want to change first and set out a time scale for completion. For example, if her stuff is not boxed up and moved after two weeks then you will put it in bags and dispose of it. You need to follow through to show you mean business. Tell your daughter you are finding things more difficult now, our adult children somehow expect we will be always be able to do things in the same way as we did when they were small children. Time for tough love Summermary

Summermary Sat 20-Jul-19 09:54:29

I have asked her to cook and been met with it would be Chinese or Dominos! The suggestion of her clearing up would be a start. I do get tired and fall asleep if I get in a comfy chair.

Summermary Sat 20-Jul-19 09:56:11

Just figured replies don’t go where expected! The cooking reply was to mumofmadboys 😀

EllanVannin Sat 20-Jul-19 11:19:44

There could be a mild depression going on with your daughter's unwillingness to assert herself in any way. Start by telling her how you feel and see what sort of a feedback you get. Try and get to the root of the problem.

I had this in the very distant past where I more or less took over the upbringing of the two GC at the time until much to my annoyance and dismay my D went back to her husband------and to his controlling behaviour which I saw but she sadly didn't until years later when her mental state took longer to heal.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 11:33:41

Does your DD work at all? Have you a DH at home?

Grannyknot Sat 20-Jul-19 11:51:07

I'm really going to stick my neck out now and say why do we always think that people are depressed when perhaps they are just ... plain lazy. However, I agree with Ellan when she says you should tell her how you feel in an assertive way.

This has worked for me in the past:

your.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/using-DESC-to-make-your-difficult-conversations-more-effective.pdf

But mostly, I want to say you have my sympathy. flowers

paddyann Sat 20-Jul-19 12:09:15

just tell her if she wants to behave like a teenager you'll treat her like one .Put a rota of jobs to be done on her bedroom door.A basket with a sign on it saying "your stuff -your room".We had this for a wee while when my son came back after a bad breakup.He was in an awful place ,very depressed and at one stage suicidal.We let him revert to being 13 for a few months but once the medication and chat sessions with his amazing GP started to help we started retraining him as an adult.Took a while for him to understand that I was still working full time the same as he was and looking after his daughter half the week and eventually he grew up again and the dishes got taken back to the kitchen and he ironed his own shirts for work etc .You might have left it longer than we did but it may just work.As to your 9 year old ...I feel as if his almost 10 year old daughter is mine ,she calls this home and it will be her home as long as she wants it to be .Its not the childrens fault their family disintegrated we can only give them the stability they need until its fixed .

Grammaretto Sat 20-Jul-19 12:42:19

You have my utmost sympathy flowers

DoraMarr Sat 20-Jul-19 16:19:25

I think you should pick your battles. Her bedroom is her concern, so just close the door on it and let her deal with her stuff herself. Good idea to put her overflow stuff into the garage- she should not be treating your room as storage space. Then decide what you would really like to happen.
Does she do her own laundry and that of her children? If not, would you like that to happen? Does she do any of the housework in the communal rooms, e.g dusting and vacuuming the living room, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the kitchen floor? Decide what you want, then write down a list, and tell her what you expect her to do. You don’t say wether she is contributing to household expenses, but if she isn’t, she should, no matter how limited her finances. she is behaving like a child, and is not being a good role model for her children. Enlist the nine year old’s help, and give him some household tasks to do while you make the evening meal- setting the table, tidying the living room etc. Even the two year old can help tidy away his own toys. You say your daughter has medical problems, but not if she is receiving any therapy, and perhaps this is something she needs to sort out for herself. Finally, if she pays for a pizza meal once a week accept it, it will be a night off meal preparation for you.
Good luck!

Summermary Sat 20-Jul-19 22:53:37

Sarah65
It is easy for daughters to stay or slip back into that role. Sounds like you had a i situation. That’s a shame about her relationship. It is hard work and I am
trying to reclaim my space.

I have let the situation go on for way too long Harrigran. I make allowances because of her med conditions and took on more with the 2 year old as daughter broke her elbow last year which took ages to mend. Unfortunately the phone charger is long and on her chair, so the phone is always accessible!

Sodapop, the situations do creep up on you. I think it is awful to go on your phone if you are with people. She has to get rid of the garage clothes before winter because they will not fair well in the garage in cold weather. I know she
will get a mental block dealing with the amount out there. I still have more stuff
to add to the boxes as well. It reached a point where I could not walk up either
side of my bed because of clothes, books, gifts etc. I so wish I was like my friends
mother who would tell the kids that if stuff was left on the floor it would be out the window and she did it. I think I would be afraid of the repercussions.
Help! When did I turn into a doormat???

There may be some sort of depression. She gets anxious and incredibly stressed over the on-going access battle with the ex. It gets to me too.

EllanVannin that must have been so hard for you seeing your D go back to a controlling husband.

D doesn’t work because of the med conditions. She does a few hours voluntary work with animals. No DH.

Thanks for the DESC Grannyknot.

Working on a list of jobs paddyann.

I worry about her room because the 2 year old shares it and she does not clean it. She doesn’t do her own laundry, or any other job. Maybe empty the dishwasher. She says she can’t be around when I hoover because of the dust. She does contribute to food for her and the kids. She has had therapy in the past.

Thanks ladies for all the help. I really appreciate this.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 23:17:06

Small steps and praise her for anything she does. Tough on you especially as you are by yourself. Do you have other children? Maybe keep a journal and that will hopefully record a slow and steady improvement. I guess her confidence is probably very low as well. Well done to you for being there for her and her kids.

SpringyChicken Sat 20-Jul-19 23:46:57

Your daughter may be in the downward spiral of 'the less you do, the less you want to do'. I think you have to change your behaviour to bring about changes in hers.

You need to take the initiative (kindly but firmly) - stop doing her laundry for starters. If she's well enough to go out, she's well enough to load the washing machine. Insist that the 'overflow' in your room and hers must be sorted though - a box per day shouldn't be too arduous - the keepers to go into her room, everything else to be disposed. As she is so keen on her phone, could some things be sold on EBay? Once a little space has been created, she might get into the swing of it.
If no progress is made, say you will begin to sort it out yourself and carry through the threat. It's important not to back down.
Only you can judge how much of this situation is down to her medical problems, marital problems etc but she is indulging herself somewhat and it will continue for as long as you allow it. Be strong!

GrannyAnnie2010 Sun 21-Jul-19 10:26:39

When you cook, don't cook for her. When you do the laundry, don't do hers. If she gets in a takeaway, don't join in... and so on. Just look after yourself and your grandchildren.

Finally, tell her that if she doesn't keep the bedroom tidy, you'll take action. Then, one day when she's been particularly slovenly, take the bed out of that room and leave it out in the garden. Put all her stuff on it, and then talk about her responsibilities.

It's not going to be easy but, if you want her to face her responsibilities, you have to face yours.

Alternatively, just stop calling yourself a doormat (because you're not), and change things one unwashed mug at a time.

Nanastomant Sun 21-Jul-19 10:40:41

I know exactly how you feel I have a 28yo DD and 2yo GD living with us I do all the babysitting house work cooking etc.. my DD doesn't even ask anymore if I'll babysit and just goes.
It's definitely hard to talk to them as they don't listen. Only plus side with us is that's she's hoping to move out soon.
The only thing I would say is you need to talk before you end up having the war and it causes an irreparable damage to your relationship. Good luck

deanswaydolly Sun 21-Jul-19 10:49:13

Another simple idea would be to put a lock on your bedroom door so at least you have a little place of sanctuary while dealing with everything x

Purplepoppies Sun 21-Jul-19 10:50:20

I take my hat off to all you lovely mums who have welcomed your adult children back into your homes (with or without their children!) I know I couldn't live with my daughter again for any length of time.
The only advice I can offer OP is to try and divide the tasks fairly and stick to your guns. If your daughter was in her own home she would have ALL the responsibility wouldn't she?? Good luck 💐

Dolcelatte Sun 21-Jul-19 10:51:48

I don't think this situation is helping either of you. Can't she move out? She must be entitled to housing benefit or other financial assistance. Are you in a position to help her to get advice with this? Is her father still around, can he help?

This will not work long term and will just lead to increasing resentment. What will she do when you can't cope any longer? Having an illness is no excuse for a failure to grow up.

I know it's difficult but you need to tackle it now. It must be exhausting to have a child who hasn't grown up and behaves like a sulky teenager, but add in two young children, whom you take responsibility for, and I honestly don't know how you manage. You will make yourself ill if you are not careful.

Dillyduck Sun 21-Jul-19 11:12:24

It's time she grew up, moved out and took responsibility for her own children. I know that sounds hard, but why should she take over your house like this. Yes, I get that she has health issues, I've had some terrible health issues too, and eight operations, but throughout all that I've cared for a disabled mum and a son with learning difficulties and run a business.

25Avalon Sun 21-Jul-19 11:14:56

There's an old Chinese saying: "make yourself a doormat and people will wipe their feet on you". I'm afraid this is what has happened but for good reasons on your part. Maybe being a doormat is part of being a wife and mother idk but it has happened to me too and eventually you resent it but getting out of it is easier said than done.
I am wondering if getting in a professional to help declutter might be a good idea? This way no arguing between you and your daughter and if she is feeling depressed and lethargic it won't take much effort on her part. I am sure you will all feel psychological better to have such a clear out. Then things can move on from there.

Jillybird Sun 21-Jul-19 11:19:29

So, I'm going to come at this from a different perspective: I was that daughter! My mother, however, was not like you! I left my husband because I was starving, literally. I borrowed the money for the fare and arrived on my mum's doorstep with baby and dog. I knew she wouldn't want me, but my dad had said "there's always a home here for you" just before he died, so I took him up on it as I was desperate. She made me get rid of the dog, which was fair enough, I thought. He went to a good home. I was suffering from a huge depression - it was about as much as I could do to get the baby and myself dressed some days. So I think you must accept that may be the case, however, your daughter really must make a contribution. I had to make dinner every night as my mother worked. I didn't have the money to buy it, so I had to prepare and cook it. I'm sure that was fair and can't understand where your daughter would get the money to buy in take-aways? I also did the vacuuming and other dusting, etc., I had no money at all, so whilst there were no mobile phones at that time, I couldn't have afforded one anyway. How is your daughter funding hers? And how has she so much in the way of clobber? I had one dress and one pair of trousers. I eventually was awarded milk tokens so at least that paid for that. By being more forceful, you will actually be helping your daughter to pull herself out of her torpor - she must take on responsibility for something. You are not being horrible, you are helping to "bring her up". When you are training children, you give them small jobs to start with in order that they begin to learn to contribute to the family, you need to start that way again with your girl. Tell her that as from Monday, she is responsible for feeding all of you, and let her get on with it - even if you have to endure some rotten meals to start with! You have to be cruel to be kind!

Gingergirl Sun 21-Jul-19 11:31:23

Hi and I think this will be easier for you, when you’ve really convinced yourself that she does need to be treated like an adult-even by you. Then, you will be able to lay down some ground rules, remind her, you’re getting older and energy is less these days, and if she wants to stay there, she must pull her weight by contributing with......cooking (not takeaways), cleaning, etc. If she dismisses this, I agree with a rota system. It’s regrettable but in this day and age many of us have been drawn into ‘spoiling’ (as previous generations would call it) our adult children. Think about what you want....and deserve...and stick to your guns. Don’t intervene in her personal life -she needs to learn to be independent-don’t allow her to use your own personal space any more (her things can go in the garage)....and if all else fails, you would be justified in reconsidering the whole set up. This is being a parent....encouraging our children to stand on their own two feet and be self sufficient and ultimately, fulfilled people. That will never happen, if as parents we fight all their battles, big and small, for them.