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I’m hurting

(31 Posts)
ceejayjay Sun 01-Jan-23 23:18:31

My grown up Son works/lives at the other side of the country but gets 2 weeks off at Christmas & pops home to see childhood friends etc. His home visits & my visits to him are very much cherished, I’ve always loved spending time with my children & have been, and still am a devoted Mum. He came home Dec 16th but was away locally at a wedding until 18th. Mon 19th to Thurs 22nd I barely saw him due to my work commitments (couldn’t get time off) & him being really quiet & spending time in his room. I was worried he was struggling with a health issue he is managing & got myself worked up into a right state worrying about him to the point of making myself feel really ill. This year, as I was working Christmas Eve & Christmas Day he made plans to spend the Christmas period with his gf & her parents, but that was then extended to be away 23rd-30th December. I had an awful time over Christmas & couldn’t feel any joy from being alone, working from home, but mainly worrying about him & if he was ok. I had thought he would come back a few days earlier than the 30th as we had made a loose arrangement for him to do presents with his nephew on the 28th and he knew I was off work that date. He was out the first & second night he & his gf got back back home, gone before I finished work & the third night (tonight) we ordered a chinese takeaway after I finished work & 45 minutes after eating it he & his gf went to watch tv in bed. I feel it’s like a hotel to them, they came here for their NYE plans with friends. The house is an absolute tip, piles of their things everywhere. They are lazy about clearing up after themselves. I’m upset, confused & worried all rolled into one. He managed to have a good time, I’m sure, with all the plans he went through with. It’s just around me he seems super sad. I’ve always been really supportive & he knows this, so he knows he only has to ask & im there for him, whatever he needs. I’m lost with it all, would of said we were quite close before this Christmas break. At this point I havnt so much as had a Christmas card from him when I know full well that he made a massive effort with presents for his gf parents as I was the one who wrapped them all for him. Thankyou for reading.

silverlining48 Sun 01-Jan-23 23:29:45

As its late wanted to give a quick response.
I feel your pain and am sorry your son seems to be treating you and your home with so little respect. You really deserve better.
Sleep now and tomorrow is the time to talk to him about cleaning up the house at the very least, flowers.
Best wishes

Nell8 Sun 01-Jan-23 23:55:22

I'm sorry your son's visit didn't come up to expectations this time and you've been left feeling under appreciated. I remember that feeling when offspring put all their energies into their social life and leave Mum reeling in their wake with a pile of mess to clean up!

Do you think some of what you think is your son's sadness could just be exhaustion from all the gadding about? Also it must be quite draining to meet up with all his old friends and then have to leave them again at the end of his holiday.

I'm sure things will go better next time when it's less hectic. Chin up! x

nanna8 Mon 02-Jan-23 00:01:10

I can’t really say much but here is a (hug) 💕 and hope he comes to realise you are not a doormat !

MayBee70 Mon 02-Jan-23 00:13:01

You say he works a long way from where you live but it sounds as though his girlfriend lives locally. Is he having a problem with it being a long distance relationship? I can still remember when my son was splitting up from his long time girlfriend. It was many years ago but it broke my heart. You sound tired and overworked. I know, especially with my son, I used to worry about his problems more than he did: he’d bounce back while I was still fretting over him so I do understand flowers

Ro60 Mon 02-Jan-23 00:20:56

That transition from child to adult & responsible adult to older adult & older parent does take some getting used to: who makes the decissions? Who's responsible? Where are the boundaries?
It's a learning curve on both sides and then factoring in their partners.
The rules change - I found it a 're-setting period.
Then when children come along its re-routing again.
Don't beat yourself up about it - you partly achieved your objective - for him to have a good Christmas.
I'm sorry, but empathise with you about how it's left you feeling.

Grammaretto Mon 02-Jan-23 00:37:22

It sounds as though your son is still quite young without responsibilities. He is used to you mothering him and has no idea how to change his behaviour.
One of our sons was once like yours but he grew up! This year he came to stay for a month (he lives in NZ) with his DP and his DS and they looked after me. It was wonderful.

Your son has lots of friends too who he has to see and there wasn't enough time.

I think I would put up with his thoughtless treatment this time but in future make sure he understands that he can't behave like a spoiled teenager forever.

NotSpaghetti Mon 02-Jan-23 01:12:02

I have realised I mustn't get too excited when one of my (distant) adult children comes "home" as he has siblings and a grandmother to visit and also a range of friends all now living miles from each other.

He isn't in the house long enough to mess it up (!) but I never get the time I'd like with him.

What I do get is the chance to have a few meals with him and some hugs.
He always tells me afterwards that he's sorry he didn't spend more time with me but the other "pulls" I know will be the same next time.

I get mote time with him if I visit him as he doesn't have all the other distractions! I would try to visit him in future.

Try not to worry about it. He's come a long way, ostensibly to see you. If you can't get to him, next time just try to pick a day or two and say "on x and y I'd like to do z with you as I missed out on time with you last time" and see what he says.

Thinking of you. flowers
Good luck.

Boundary Mon 02-Jan-23 01:32:14

Forget about his girlfriend anyone he brings into YOUR home has to be respectful towards you, but she isn’t the problem. The problem is your grown up adult son. If you are not completely happy to do all his housework tell him. Don’t complain about the behaviour, but tell him straight what you want. Say something like: clean up the f*£&ing mess that you have made or you don’t f#*(ing come back. If he gets abusive tell him to leave your home. Is he doesn’t call the police and report it as a trespasser.

Boundary Mon 02-Jan-23 02:02:45

I had a weird relationship with my parents so I had a weird relationship with my children. When they become adults your relationship with them has to change. When I fixed the relationship the adult child that was doing well responded well and the adult child the that wasn’t doing well estranged himself from me.
I didn’t want to be the mother of a child that had a child because that doesn’t work

LRavenscroft Mon 02-Jan-23 07:39:14

When I read your post it reminded me of when I used to come back from college home. My mother very cleverly set the boundaries by saying that she was tired and not getting any younger. She would set dates when I was invited to set meals and expected to be there. It sounds as if you too are still busy with your working life and that your son is still quite young from the way he behaves. Why not use soft power and start setting boundaries next time you speak to him by saying you find it hard having to do such and such and wish you had help etc. Could he and his girlfriend be so kind as to make you a cuppa/clear breakfast dishes/load dish washer/pop out for some milk. They'll soon get the idea and why would you wrap his gf's family's presents for him? He should be doing that himself. Basically, delegate, delegate, delegate.

ceejayjay Mon 02-Jan-23 07:56:18

Thankyou all so much for taking the time to offer me guidance, some really helpful things to work on.

The main upset is coming from the fact that I’m so very worried he is struggling with his mental health as a result of managing a fairly new health condition. I’m feeling like he is a shell of his former self. It’s really devasting me standing by waiting to be let in so I can try to help more. I’ve done many things already like extensively researched the condition for ways to manage it, spent a few hundred pounds on things that might help him.

I have suffered with a mental health condition since childhood & this is setting me back. I’m recently divorced so there is no partner for me to share the burden with.

I just want him to be happy more than anything in the world x

Margomar Mon 02-Jan-23 08:31:45

I also have a son who comes home now and then and treats the place like a hotel - with a free bar! He will breeze in and out, go out drinking with old friends from school days and catch up with sleep. I’ve occasionally “had a go” about his “all take and no give” attitude- and he is obviously quite shocked and hurt when I do this. . I’m quite philosophical about him these days, shrug my shoulders, and say or think, we did our best , (his dad and I are still together after 54 years, we’re very supportive to all our children) you can’t win ‘em all, in most families there will be members who disappoint. He is still my son, I love him, and would never let him “fall by the wayside” but it’s inevitably sad the way he’s turned out.
I would suggest that you need to be more assertive and value yourself more - you are obviously very hardworking and doing unsociable shifts and you don’t deserve to be taken for granted. Perhaps a letter to him explaining that you were very hurt by seeing him so little over Christmas would help, with a suggestion that next time he visits, (with or without gf) he could eg take you out for a meal/coffee? Try and shift the balance a bit, so that he feels a little beholden to you, not the other way around.

sodapop Mon 02-Jan-23 12:47:28

Bit harsh Boundary

You are not responsible for your son's happiness ceejayjay he is an adult and needs to manage his own life and health issues. I think you need to take a step back for the sake of your own mental health. Margomar is right you need to be a bit more assertive regarding the way he treats you and your home. Good luck.

JaneJudge Mon 02-Jan-23 12:52:10

I also have had this scenario this year. I try not to let it irritate me as I know my home is a safe place and it's warm and there is food and love. It's something I didn't have myself when I was in my late teens/twenties (until I had my own family) They do fetch and carry for me though if I need anything fetching from anywhere or the younger one needs a lift, so maybe that is my compromise?

dogsmother Mon 02-Jan-23 12:58:29

I think too for your mental health you need to get a social life of your own going that puts him into second place. Only giving way to him if you both make plans together.
This way you won’t be hanging around waiting and watching he may even get inspiration from you. Although it’s easy for me to say this but whatever else it would be something else for you to think about as your son no longer needs his mum so much and to worry over him.

Caleo Mon 02-Jan-23 13:05:43

Your son is still treating you like his big Mummy. I have no idea how you can educate him. I hope the penny will soon drop that he is a big grown- up now who is partly responsible for Mum's happiness.

(Has he ever seen you crying?)

JaneJudge Mon 02-Jan-23 13:08:12

I suppose some of it may depend on how old he is but I certainly don't think it's unusual for people in their 20s who have no children to be a bit selfish or self serving

Theexwife Mon 02-Jan-23 13:50:20

Maybe he didn’t want to talk to you about his health condition at this time and knew that you would if he spent any time alone with you.

As for the not clearing up after themselves, people will treat you the way you let them, next time tell him what you expect from him now he is an adult, I am assuming he was a messy teen that you picked up after.

ceejayjay Mon 02-Jan-23 13:55:37


Your son is still treating you like his big Mummy. I have no idea how you can educate him. I hope the penny will soon drop that he is a big grown- up now who is partly responsible for Mum's happiness.

(Has he ever seen you crying?)

Not often. Though I was in tears as he left for his gf parents when I found out he was staying at least 5 days which included my own 2 days off (26th & 27th) He planned to head back when I was back at work which felt pretty rubbish actually. He didn’t call later or anything I messaged to see if he arrived safely after work as the drive was quite a distance. Is this telling ? x

Thankyou for all for your advise, stepping back is something I know I need to do for my own sanity I think x

BlueBelle Mon 02-Jan-23 14:34:24

I think you are expecting too much ceejayjay
You don’t say how old he is I m guessing mid 20 s maybe ?
He lives and works away so he’s left home and is an independent person in his own right and is used to looking after himself
When he came home with the girlfriend and you all had a takeaway, ideally they would have stayed and chatted afterwards with you but that’s not how it goes, off to his room with his girlfriend is much more the norm it’s also normal for him to be trying to make an impression with the girlfriends parents and with her by going to them and I expect being on his most Charming behaviour
Unfortunately mums of boys have to let go big time you will always be his mum but he has much more important things going on and I m afraid mums especially single mums often (while loved) have to take very much a back seat

Making yourself ill and unhappy is a bad move , acceptance is your only way forward

You ll always be his mum but most men have a natural instinct and need to move on and distance themselves from their childhood needs, it’s a natural inbuilt progression nothing to do with you or your parenting

Build your own life outside of your lad and expect nothing

ceejayjay Mon 02-Jan-23 14:47:01

BlueBelle he is 25. I’ve 2 other children 31 & 30 x

MayBee70 Mon 02-Jan-23 15:44:50

I do feel for you. When my son left home to go to uni his father left us for another woman. One night he phoned me with a problem. I phoned his father for advice and he said ‘ I can’t talk now we’re just going out’. The word ‘we’ when I was home alone worrying about our son upset me so much. I think you’re having so much to deal with at the moment and must look after yourself. As a friend said to me at he time’ you can’t help others if you don’t look after yourself first’ and she was right. She also persuaded me to take anti depressants for a while, which I did and they really helped. x

Boundary Mon 02-Jan-23 19:08:39

Live and learn Sodapop. I am sorry I must correct you because you are wrong.

In some situations only tough love will work and the harder you can go in the better the chances are of a complete cure before any further damage is done. For example if an adult child has a mental health illness (like depression, but there are a lot) and is experimenting with substance abuse (like cannabis, but there are a lot). The only chance a caring parent and health professional has of halting a serious downward cycle that can have catastrophic consequences is very tough love.

Caleo Mon 02-Jan-23 19:13:21

Ceejayjay, please be patient and I'll tell you something that happened to me when I was a girl of eighteen.
My boyfriend took me to visits his parents who were unknown to my own parents. I proudly told my mother I had cut the grass in their garden. I thought my mother would be pleased with me for being so useful and practical; but no, she was offended and hurt that I had never cut my own parents' grass.

I had no idea that my parents would have welcomed my practical help in any way. They had never given me any hint they wanted my help, rather the opposite.