Living with my daughter
I recently retired and am living with my adult daughter and her children. Things are basically OK except that she has frequent outbursts that have the whole house walking on eggshells. I feel so bad for the children. What sets her off? Could be anything or nothing, it seems. The excuse is always that the house isn't clean. Yes, it is. I do dishes every day, multiple times. I do the laundry. The eldest daughter vacuumes every day, the house is picked up, no toys all over. She is constantly YELLING at the kids, screaming/yelling and I can't stand it. Instead of guiding them to get dressed, or whatever it is, she yells and yells and yells, not actually doing anything. Screaming over and over at the 4-year old to get dressed. That child is very badly behaved, talks back, causes almost all the fighting between the kids (I know because the others are school aged and when the 4-year old is at daycare, there are rarely problems).
For example, last night. The eldest had cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed, I had done dishes twice, made lunch, did two loads of laundry. Daughter came home from work and shortly started in that, "nothing ever gets done!!!" What exactly? I'm not sure. I see in her what my ex-husband did to me. The house, or the kids, wasn't a REASON to be abusive, it was an excuse. Last night she went off that she has no place to relax. I said your bedroom. She said that there were things all over it, the kids, etc. I said MAKE it your own. Quit letting the kids use it. She said their clothes are all over. I said quit putting the laundry baskets in there (I don't know what is clean or dirty), bring them out and they'll get put away. I said I do not go into her room other than to get dirty towels off the bathroom floor (because the kids use her bath and shower). I brought with me a large, 3-basket laundry cart that is always being emptied and washed.... if things are put into it.
I just don't know how to make positive changes here or if I even can. She has wanted me to move in for some time. I sold my house but I still have a rental house I could move into. It's not that I am STUCK here but, I thought it would help both of us.
Sounds like everyone is suffering.
I would see a family councellor. Someone that can work with you all in detail... and follow up... with specific and practical plans.
Things will not improve if you don't make changes.. because we all build automatic pilots... and your grandchildren are suffering the most... they don't deserve it. They deserve support. They deserve people that will tell them how to manage themselves and life.... which is not being done. The environment is not supportive as an example for them. They need peace.
They need help ASAP a stable environment, and someone that can help them stay calm, listen, learn, etc.
They need these skills to be successful in life... you are doing them injustice by not helping them... it will effect their entire life.
You need to have someone external to work with your family ...Your situation IS in a state of emergency.
Please seek help ASAP. a THERAPIST. AN ART THERAPIST. A DOCTOR. A FAMILY DOCTOR. A GROUP SUPPORT... A STUDENT... SOMEONE. TO FACILITATE CHANGE.
Good luck.... everything will be alright.
You just have to all agree... that you are ready for FREEDOM and HAPPINESS in your lives... and believe that it will just take some training.
Change seems daunting...scary..impossible...but that is because you are all in one reality... treading water.
Changing this family.... will be triumphant. You will glow knowing that you helped direct your daughters and grandchildren's life's towards health and happiness. I think that a halo... is when we feel powered by what we have done good in this life. You will forever be blessed, protected, strong minded. States of mind are earned... good and bad. This will be hard work... but the most worthy thing you do.
Focus on the world that you all deserve.
Try your best to take care of yourself.
If it were myself.. I would stay with the grandchildren and help out around the house during the week... and then take weekends at my apartment... pampering.. and planning my retirement.. relaxing etc. Or whatever works with all of your schedules.
I would create a routine with the kids... it helps them find balance. From the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep.... get them on a routine.
I might go to the apartment on week nights... and give my morning routine both for the kids and the household chores to my daughter in the morning and say that you will be back the next day at noon. Again.. .depending on what works with your schedules.
This will help stabalize the environment. Your daughter will have a plan to follow.. instead of a massive TO DO list running through all of your minds... it will be organized. She will know what she has to do. She will know what the kids have to do...and in time.. the kids will know what they have to do.
These are just a few thoughts that might help. But THERAPY is a MUST... as a TEAM.
Your daughter seems stressed out, big time.
Has she always had this explosive temperment? Or is this something new?
How old are the children?
Can you have a meeting with the kids and come up with some guidelines to make the house run more smoothly?
There are many questions, but - yes - getting her room back to herself so she could have some quiet time would be a good start. (Maybe even change bedrooms with the kids)
You really seem like a caring loving mother. It remembers me my own grandma. I love her so much.
Look first things first, your not a house keeper your a family member, I understand you like to help, but there's no need or point in doing so.
I don't agree that you should find another house, but that's my perspective and I see already that you are a big help to your household. Besides your grandchildren would be heartbroken if that happen. In my idea of family, family stays together.
I agree with the post above from Luvbird and Susiedqq, your daughter seems to be in lot of stress and doesn't seem to be able to handle it on your own.
It's not your fault, but it happens and probably more when your so overwhelmed in life with kids, work and etc..
I agree that you should talk to her very calm and firmly, and try to make her realize that she needs care and help. Therapy is based on creating routines and will help her a LOT and everyone as well.
I hope that you are all well.
If your daughter just wants things to go her way all the time, selfish, bossy, and mean... she needs therapy to change.
But if you think that she is suffering, and not her normal self... overwhelmed for too long... and its gone out of control
something to consider in addition to therapy is to send her on a YOGA RETREAT. Or even just a regular Yoga Class... to help her center herself.
To give her a place where she can immerse herself in a peaceful culture. Reset her balance... and manage everything with more ease.
Supported by some organizational changes at home routines.
Wishing you Health and Happiness
Thanks for the responses. I don't know if I can do this anymore. This morning she is yelling and screaming at the kids. They are being NORMAL KIDS, not excessively fighting or yelling, just squabbling as kids do. I was making a morning smoothie and she comes into the kitchen and starts slamming things, taking the empty cereal bowls off the table, etc. I said I would clean up in a little bit. She SLAMS the garbage can right next to me and starts in that no one does ANYTHING AROUND HERE!! Says that she worked last night and can't get a couple hours of sleep with the kids. I didn't know she worked last night. She asked me to wake her up if she wasn't up by 10pm. When I did, she asked if the 16 year old was home yet. Yes, she came home at 9:30. She hadn't said a thing about working so I assumed she had asked to be woken up to check on the 16 year old. I went to bed then.
She is working full time, Mon-Fri, as a Hospice nurse. She also works on-call for a nursing home. She isn't hurting for money. She told me she made $80k last year and will meet or beat that this year, her goal is $100k. I do grocery shopping a couple of times a month, like $250 each time and I'm on unemployment of $1800 per month (took a severance package at work). I have enough savings to last me until I am 59 1/2, when I can then touch my IRA, if I limit myself to $1500 per month.
About the rental property... It's not an apartment that's available to me to stay at, I own the small house and I am renting it out to someone. I bought it about 5 years ago when housing was really cheap in anticipation of moving there when I retired. I retired 3 years earlier than I intended to but should still be OK.
She has pretty much always been hard to get along with. She alienated her brother and sister with her lashing out at them (my two other children) for years and only recently re-connected with them. She's never really been like that with me but now, it seems like I get the full brunt of her anger. She is divorcing and her ex is an azhat too. I know it's a trying time but, her behavior isn't all about the divorce.
I can't fix her. I am nervous, on edge, unhappy.
1. I presume she's aware this behaviour really gets to you?
2. Why did you move in with her?
3. Why did she agree to it?
4. Making WHOM a smoothie?
She screamed at the kids IN YOUR EARSHOT. She slammed the bin right next to YOU, not the kids.
The answers to those questions are pretty obvious, don't we think? She obviously had the idea that you moving in would mean she'd get a sort of husband figure come wife. Note, you're there making yourself a smoothie and - be honest - ignoring the fact there are cereal bowls that need taking to the sink/dishwasher, etc. So what did you assume the arrangement was going to entail? You continuing to live at her expense as a lodger rather than pitching in 50/50 with her? Not saying you SHOULD. But surely you two should have sat down prior to moving-in day to discuss all the logistics?
Can you see how, if she had been believing you were going to be her part-salvation she would be BOUND to be feeling hugely duped/short-changed/resentful by now?
"working full time, Mon-Fri, as a Hospice nurse / also works on-call for a nursing home / She is divorcing and her ex is an azhat too" / HAS THREE KIDS
Oh, good grief! Madam, do you think as her mother you ought to try to fix this crossed-purposes and -expectations thus crushing disappointment and resentment situation and all that stems from it quick-sharpish before it proves the final straw that broke the camel's back whereby your (maybe-not-as-strong-as-you) daughter has a nervous breakdown, something that no money-throwing or running away could possibly address and which would leave you carrying the entire can until she'd stopped gibbering and shaking in a ward somewhere?...which isn't something you could handle, either, given that, I strongly suspect, you're still grieving and trying to heal too?
You two need a sit-down pow-wow, no kids. URGENTLY.
And why are you so scared of/awkward around each other?
This is what I would do.
On one full piece of paper I would write... What her words (complaints) and actions are.
On another piece of of paper I would write...What YOUR actions are. I would write out all of the details of what you do to help out. Prove her words wrong.
On another piece of paper... I would explain how this all makes you feel.
Using these simple headings... will help you stick to the facts... and stay focused...making your points clear, simple to accept. Undeniable. Irrifutable.
It doesn't have to be a letter, as much as a collection of facts. It will register. She wont get caught up in words. Because someone that wants to over react and fight, will find reasons to in your words. The less said the better.
Then ask, that she takes time to think about this... and to ONLY respond on paper. This will give her a chance to offer solutions, changes.. that she will define for herself.. and live up to.
While she is dealing with that... i would create another piece of paper... that defines, outlines... how things SHOULD be. Just a point form list... of nice images of how you see her, how you see the house running, how you see yourselves communicating with one another... how things COULD be.
Perhaps she is fixated on money...which is sad. Don't accuse her of anything, just ask her.... to start understanding herself...and working towards being a better healthier happier person... least of which means.. not abusing you... or taking you for granted anymore.
I think that this will help as a communication tool. By giving it all to her on paper... and not expecting a response until she is ready.. gives her time to process everything and be proactive... instead of reactive.
Doing this will give you a sense of control over the situation.
You will know you are putting truth out there to be managed
Life is too hard to manage in our mind...and that is what is happening to her. She has too much that's being managed in her thoughts...cycling all the time.
Perhaps when your writing the last letter...the response to hers...is that you give her a binder, dividers and paper. ..to start organizing her thoughts....instead of thinking about them all the time. It helps keep balance. And it helps us relax.
I do it. It's great.
In the letter when I ask for a letter in response.. I would add that...
I am not looking for excuses sweetheart because I already understand you... I have been understanding and patient. I want YOU to understand YOU. So that you make the choice to change... for you... and for everyone else. We only have one life to live... we have to have a peaceful journey.
In the last letter.. the one that dreams how life should be... you could put together some inspirational quotes on motherhood. Or make a craft that reminds her of the opportunity she has as a mother. That children are a blessing. The power of mothers. What life is. ..
The entire idea behind the letters... is that you are presenting her with MIRRORS. Mirrors of how she is... and mirrors how how she can be.
What makes it more powerful.. is that everything is very practical and specific... you will be making things so easy for her.... she just has to be open to it to see where she is, and choose where she wants to go, who she wants to be. That is the power of truth... and the power of art... that I hope helps you.
I think that you daughter is stuck.. in one reality.. and is all she can see...are the things that she sees. When life... is always so much more. You have the power to open the windows....to more.
I still think that she needs to see a therapist. There is a lot going on.
After she reads the letter.. I imagine she will feel broken.. all the strength that she uses to keep it together every day will just decompress... taking the anger away.... and let the sadness in.
The morning time or when she wakes up is the time for the letter.... when she is rested.. and semi clear minded.
This period of sadness, and being sorry... is when your wishes...will be heard. Include therapy in that wish list.
"I can't fix her. I am nervous, on edge, unhappy."
You have just listed 4 reasons why you need to find your own place.
Then turn around and ask her how you can help her out. (It sounds like she really doesn't need someone to buy the groceries.)
She sounds sleep deprived, overworked, and overwhelmed - plus she is now parenting pre-teens. You are feeling helpless and without direction.
Not a good mix. Step back and reassess WITH THE HELP OF A COUNSELOR.
We spoke some about this yesterday. I told her I don't feel comfortable stepping in with the kids. I am respectful of her role as parent and don't feel it is my place. She says I don't do enough with the kids. I am here every day, all day. The two boys are here all day as they are out of school. They play outside, they play video games, but she means taking them places. I've only taken them to the movies. Sorry, that's not me. I am very introverted and even when I lived alone I never went anywhere other than forcing myself to go to work. She has bitterly complained that I didn't go with them to two tourist spots near-by recently. I told her that because of a physical condition I couldn't walk and stand around all day without being in pain and I didn't want to put a damper on things. She knows this but I don't think she thought of that being why I didn't go.
I do housework, laundry, dishes, make lunches. I don't make dinner as I have tried that and she wasn't appreciative (and I cited what she had snarkily said in the supermarket about my suggestions).
She says she is stressed, has $10k in legal fees. Her ex (a certifiable narcissist) has dragged this on as long as he can and it's costing her. Nothing I can do about that, gave her $3k already and I don't have the money to help more. She is going to get at least $80k from their house (should be 60 days) so to me, that is something that will be taken care of.
We sat down and did a dinner menu for the week. She already had things listed from shopping we did but two of them I don't even know how to pronounce, let alone make (her ex-husband is a different nationality/culture as are these dishes). She said she'd make them. I will get the kids ready in the morning as they start school this week. They want to go to the after-school program so she'll pick them up. Actually, she says that they can't be picked up early. Some school policy that if they don't stay the full day 60% of the time, they lose their spot.
So, I add making dinner and getting the kids ready in the morning. I'll do all the housework, laundry, etc.
To enhance your experience and the childrens.. you could create your own discovery program. This is what life is. Yours included.... DISCOVERY.
Check online for LIBRARY DISCOVERY PROGRAM and see what different libraries are offering. Check out the design of their program. Look for print outs.
And create your own program
It will be a wonderful experience for you... and a wonderful experience for the kids.
They will remember you forever... and be inspired to do the same with their kids.
You have POWER in this situation... instead of being subject to her anger... you can be in control of your own destiny, fulfillment and life experience.
You have a wonderful opportunity in front of you.
I like to create different theme days. One day it could be photography, another day it could be space, another day farms.
You can find books, music, stories, drawing, craft, experiments, youtube videos, movies, games, activities, recipes... resources to help you and fill the day.
CREATE A CAMP. BE A TEAM PLAYER/TEACHER. HAVE FUN.
My local library has a wonderful discovery program for all ages.
Its all about creating challenges.
The challenge that I found a few weeks ago was a card that listed different activities, as each one was completed you coloured in the spot until the entire card was filled in. The activities were things like....
Design a new library card. You could change it have the kids design a family logo, or crest. Or their own private detective card. Or anything they want card.
Create your own challenge outdoors. Maybe they could create a garden, or paint some rocks and design a garden, or try to run back and forth, or hop, or skip
Read a book your friend recommended. Maybe you could suggest books to one another.
Decorate a rock or a stick.
Take a picture of something that reminds you of a book youve read.
Write a poem.
Write a letter.
There are over 30 different activities on this card, and kids all over the city have been working towards completing the activities this summer.
You can do the same. You can give them an incentive like a prize at the end of the summer, maybe a trip.
There are millions of different projects that they can do. YOUR GIFT, is that you can design the program. As a grandmother you must have some idea of what you wish the children had awareness of in their life, things you with they did, things that you know will help them in the future, skills. You have the power to open their mind. A gift that they will appreciate, because every kid loves to learn... it makes them a better person. It might me tough at first... but they will love you the MOST for it. And you will have fun... if you have an attitude towards fun.
Summer is the time when kids need to be working on projects, and having fun engaged in experiences and activities. They just need help to see it. They see these things as school... but its not school... its life. Pressure in school for grades.. gives learning a bad name. So its up to you... to ignite their thirst for knowledge... and discover the world. Go the the library... and work on projects.
Have a contest.. where you each draw a cartoon version of yourself.
Sing a song
Have a card tournament
Try a new instrument.
Create a band out of home made instruments
Analyse a film or song... ask yourselves... what is Justin Beiber REALLY saying? And any other artist and song of interest.
Draw your dream vacations and then tell us about it after dinner
Have a indoor camping experience
Create a collection of poetry.. submitted by each of you
Presentations on their favourite animal.
Presentations on a country they have always wondered about.
ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE AND FIND ANSWERS.
Have a water balloon day, with water games and other activities... challenges like targets, and obstacle courses. That is a good prize day to offer.. if they participate in a few others, like a friday frenzie with pizza and partying.
You have one month exactly... to show these kids...a lifestyle of learning and fun.. discovery of life... and loving themselves and what they are able to do.
We CREATE FUN. We don't stand in line for someone to make it for us. You will be teaching these kids this power...one of the most valuable lessons you could teach.
hmm I see, does she even have a clue how unhappy you are? What did she say when you spoke to her about all of this?