Dear Mel Vol17

Dear Mel:
I have a problem with my mother who lives in the same town I do. She shows up unannounced all the time and loves to just take over my house or dealing with my kids. I have tried telling her she cannot just show up but it does no good. Even when I have tried to tell her she cannot come into my home she will just push past me. It’s causing problems in my marriage. She drives my husband crazy. I need some advice!
Mother Trouble

Dear Mother Trouble:

You have probably already tried this but it’s time to sit down with your husband and your mom and lay down the rules. She is not allowed to show up unannounced any longer or you will not be answering the door. If she has a key to your house, you might change the locks. You are going to have to be firm with her if you’ve done this before because she may not take you seriously. It’s not okay for her to be barging into your home or into your family. I’m sure she means well and maybe she’s lonely but if you don’t find a way to make her understand, she is going to continue to behave this way. If she continues to come unannounced after you talk to her, then perhaps you need to meet with her again with your pastor. She may not take you seriously.

If she shows up unannounced after your discussion with her, don’t answer the door. You may have to lock all your doors for a while. Put a note on the front door that says you are spending time with your family and are not welcoming unannounced visitors at this time. You’re going to have to be firm and consistent if you want your mom to take you seriously. Good luck!

Do you have some advice to share with “Overbearing Mother”? Please feel free to leave comments below and share your wisdom and experience.

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  1. I have to agree with Mel. I have been challenged to learn what it means to honor your mother, and have concluded that God intend for us to never speak evil about them or curse them and if they need help, cared for, it is our duty to care for them. They should not go hungry or homeless if we can help them.
    We should look at them as adults, the same way we look at all other people. We shouldn’t let someone cross our healthy boundaries, that includes parents. I gave my mother boundaries that I needed to stay healthy and honor her, and she chose not to abide by them. That is her choice. You have choices, she has choices, you are adults.
    I hope this helps.

  2. Wow!! I almost feel like an expert at this one!!!
    I had the same problem with my in-laws. EVERY. DAY. Especially after I had my son!
    It got to the point that I would drive by my own house after work…sometimes they would be waiting for me. If they were in the drive, I didn’t come home till they left. NO JOKE.
    I could not come home and relax, turn on the TV and chill out without a constant barage of questions or a monologue (I didn’t participate) about the local gossip.
    Conversations with my Father-In-Law are always the same and it drove me NUTS!! “How are things at the bank?”
    “What’s the interest rate on a one year CD?”
    “Same as yesterday.”
    My husband and I were seeing a couselor at the time, and this was one of the issues we discussed. Our counselor demostrated for us on a sheet of paper how my in-laws were supposed to be OUTSIDE the circle of our immediate family. Not that they were not allowed in our lives, you understand. Just that as the marriage vows state….leave your family and be united with your spouse.
    After her explanation, we cooked dinner and had them over one night. My husband and I sat down with them at the table and he drew the same diagram the couselor did for them and explained to them that this was our home, and our lives they were infringing on. I then explained to them that my home is my fortress. It’s the place I get to (if you’ll excuse the example) run around without a bra on, amoung other things that we tend to do when we are alone in our homes. We told them that Mondays were simply off limits. First day of the work week…just too much to deal with.
    I’m probly going on and on about this, but my mother-in-law (still does this from time to time) would show up at the house with ingredients to cook dinner. Proceed to cook and leave me with the dirty kitchen! LOL!! I handle them much better now, but ….whew! Can you imagine!!???
    Anyway, we politely requested that they call before showing up and that they understand should they get no for an answer. They then simply started calling everyday. LOL!! They got a LOT of no s.
    A few years have passed during which I had to eat a little crow. My Father needed a place to live and my husband allowed that, no questions asked. Bit different of a situation. My Father knows a family needs time together, so most of the time, he made himself very scarce.
    My in-laws have somewhat gotten back into showing up unannounced, but it’s not too terribly bad anymore. It’s something I have to pray about on a regular basis, becaues they really don’t stay too long when they do come. If I am not interested in the company, I just let them visit with their grandson and go wash dishes or fold laundry or cook….I just flit around the house. When I do that, they realize I’m not interested and I’m NOT going to sit down..and they leave.
    On the flip side, I’m very blessed with them. They have bought my son’s school supplies since he began school. My mom-in-law will show up with new shoes and clothing for him. And my heart has softened toward them a bit. I realize they are older and won’t be able to do the little things with him that they do now. I can only imagine what it must be like to be faced with your own mortality the older you get.

    I’ve rambled, and I apologize, but I hope it at least helps to know you ARE NOT alone!!


    • Wow Ang, that would be so hard! But I am glad that you have it worked out now and that they spoil your son and your heart has softened towards them. Boundaries can be so hard to establish!

  3. If your mother is willing, have her sit down and tell you why she feels she has to be such an intimate part of your life right now. Is she feeling a loss or lonely, does she have a fear she can’t express? Maybe she needs another social outlet or something to do other than invade your home.

    If she just wants to be ‘the boss’ or thinks you can’t do it then establishing some firm boundaries is going to be the most healthy thing for you and your family. If she is not willing to abide by your boundaries you need to be loving and firm. Pray with her and for her. Explain to her that her behaviour is harmful to your family and to her relationship with you. If she keeps popping over you may have to be ‘on your way out’ when she arrives. Make sure to lock the door behind you. Offer to come visit her now and then if you are comfortable with it.

    Prayers for you…

  4. Oh my! Am I reading my own writing?? I have the same issue! (Except it’s my mother in law and she doesn’t live by us). Thats actually the reason I just posted about healthy communication. I do not deal with unsoliticed advice well, or lists left around the house of what I need to do better… I’m sorry! You’re not alone.

    • Oh wow Laura, I wouldn’t do well with that either. Actually, I’d have a hard time not writing a list and leaving it for HER 🙂

  5. I feel like many here when they say they are reading their own stories, my mom would do this all the time, adding her 2 cents and favoring one child over the other. She would tell me how my husband wasn’t good enough- in front of him often, til he finally walked away while she was there. I finally had to tell her that if she was not going to accept my husband and love both her grandkid’s equally she was no longer welcome. This was done after explaining to my child why grandma doesn’t keep her promises. it broke my heart. I never wanted to do that again. unfortunately my mother and I no longer have a relationship. I hope you can work something out with your mom.

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