18 Feb
I Cannot Study Under These Conditions

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am attending college and still living with my parents. After my sister and her husband had a child, they decided to move back home while saving for a house. It’s totally ridiculous because there is no room here. Anyways, my father and I finished the basement so they could move in, and now pretty much the entire house is theirs.

Their child, my nephew who I love, cute as a button, if not cuter, makes absurd amounts of noise and throws his toys on the hard wood all the time, and this behavior is encouraged. They also play movies like they are at the theater, so i can hear every word through the floors. Ive asked my mother to regulate this as I cannot study, however that seems to have fallen on deaf ears..

My BIL has yet to wash a single dish in this house and my sister finds it very difficult to clean up after herself, throwing passive aggressive tantrums, or flat out tantrums. (My BIL is 37–yes 3-7–and my sister is 22.)

My mother wont say anything to either one of them because they are both so “sensitive” and she fears my sister will be a vindictive bitch once she leaves and wont let my mother see her grandchild.

What do I do, as to not hurt their poor little feelings, and actually get some piece and quiet?


This House is Not a Home



Okay, let’s start with some positives here:

1. Good for you for going to college and not getting pregnant by a twice-your-age man and moving back home with your parents!
2. Double good-for-you for helping your dad refinish the basement! I couldn’t bring myself to paint my own nails in college!

You sound like a super sweet girl, and I love that you’re trying to figure out a way to “fix” this problem without hurting anyone. But, that said, here comes the negative:

1. What’s happening in your parents’ house sounds pretty dysfunctional, and you alone cannot undo that mess.
2. It’s your parents’ home–not yours–so you don’t have the authority or right to affect any change, especially since your mother cannot bring herself to stand up to your sister and her son-in-law.

Buzzkill, I know. But wait, it gets worse, because when you add this mess together, I see only one or two bleak solutions.

1. Spend more time at the library.
2. Move out.

I realize moving out may not be practical or possible while you’re in school, but I’d encourage you to get out of that stressful environment as soon as you possibly can. And while you can’t control what your mother or sister will do to fix things, you can control yourself. Fighting this fight will be a waste of your time and energy. Maybe you and your dad can do a little reno work on the side and just get your own damn place.

Best of luck!

Kristine, TMH

6 Responses to “I Cannot Study Under These Conditions”


Comment by Desperate Dietwife.

It sounds like your sister IS a manipulative and vindictive bitch and your BIL just a vulgar opportunist: how come that at 37 he doesn’t own his own place??? Doesn’t he have any pride? (apparently not).

Your mother, by not asserting herself and asking for the most elementary rules of good bringing to be respected, is showing her feeble side to your sister, and have no illusion: your sister WILL, one day or another, do her in. Damn it, she’s already doing it!

The only thing you can do is move away: your sister will use your bedroom for her kid, but your mother will get the message.

It’s sad, but I see no other way out…

Karin Reply:

With the way the economy has been for the last decade and depending on where they live (some places were hit harder than others with foreclosures), I can see not owning their own place. And I can see living at home for a limited amount of time (we did it with a toddler and a newborn for 6 mo when my husband changed jobs and locations while looking for a house), but indefinitely living at home with my family – I’d feel guilty especially if I was making it hard for my sister to finish her studies.

I agree that the only way out, lw, is to move out – you aren’t getting the support from you parents/landlords. Find a part-time job and a sublet but be aware that you won’t find anywhere that’s silent.


Comment by MJ.

No you do not have to move out. You are still in school and should be able to stay at home until you finish. That is the norm – not the 37 year old living off his in-laws. Try wearing earplugs. Maybe at dinner time tell the family you are studying for an important exam or have an important assignment you are working on and asking if they can keep the sound on the movie down. No sense in trying to train the lazy BIL. Just try to make the best of a bad situation and get your education so you are in a position to be able to move out.


Comment by Avprobeauty.

Go to the library. Exactly. I used to live with my family- they were also dysfunctional like you described. My bro is a rude self absorbed 20 something who thinks the world owes him everything and my parents enabled it. I couldn’t take it anymore so I moved out 6 years ago and have never looked back- best decision of my life and our relationship has greatly improved, at least, with my parents.
You can’t change them but you can control yourself and what you do- maybe (emphasize maybe) once you are on your own, your parents will appreciate and respect you more – mine did.


Comment by StephanieG.

You are getting a great lesson in what NOT to do when you have your own kids. While having a live-at-home college age kid is ok in my eyes, letting your freeloading son-in-law move in and do nothing is no way to have a functional home.

If economics are such that you must live at home, spend as much time on campus or at the public library as you can. Pack some snacks and your lunch and head out first thing in the morning, then stay gone all day. If your parents question why you’re not home, let them know that you can’t study in the home environment, and since your current job is to study and get out of college, you’re doing what you have to do to get the job done.

The other posters are right – you will never change the behavior of your sister, her child, or her childish husband. Don’t waste your time or your effort. Just concentrate on the one thing you can control – your ability to study and get through school. Graduate with honors, get a great job, and move the hell out.

Then, 25 years from now when you have your own 20-something, look back on the lessons you’re learning now and don’t do your grown kids any “favors” by letting them sponge off you, especially at the expense of younger siblings who are just trying to do the right thing.

Good luck to you. It sounds like you have your head on straight, and I wish you the best!


Comment by monica.

tough situation, but i agree with the other commenters – you have to just control what you can control. i would try my best to deal with the situation without moving out until you are in a financial position to do so. take advantage of the library or maybe a friend’s house that is more amenable to studying. good luck!

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