28 Mar
Help! My Mom Is Smothering Me!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Help! I’m suffering from “mother smother!” My mom stopped working 30 years ago to raise children. Now that we’re grown and gone, her volunteer activities don’t give her enough to do. She’s married (to my step-dad), but wants me to be her source of entertainment, shopping buddy, and travel companion. No matter how much time I spend with her, it’s never enough! She ignores my suggestions about finding a job, or pursuing new hobbies or friendships. I want to spend my free time with my husband and my friends, not as a social director for my mom.


Need to Breathe


Dear Need to Breathe,

First of all, it took  your mom THIRTY YEARS to rear her children?!  My goodness, why did you grow up so slowly?  I thought after 18 or 20 years, she’d be done, no?  What are you not telling me about this parenting scam that we were all tricked into?

And second of all, as a mom whose kids are on the cusp of teenagehood, which will lead to being all grown up, I  must ask: how dare you? How dare you refuse to spend every single second with your mother? The woman who gave up her career, her ambitions and possibly her figure to change your diapers, care for you, cook for you, worry about you, and provide for you?

Third- what? Oh. I’m being told that my Mouthy Housewife license is about to be revoked because I’m “ranting” and “personalizing” again.  (I think they’re just out to get me.)

But okay, point taken.

You love your mom and enjoy spending time with her, but you have other commitments and, well, a life of your own.  You know, like the life that your mother had before she had kids.  Ahem.

I assume that you have already considered joining the YMCA  with your mother. She will certainly meet other people there and may go during the day, while you’re busy reading laundry tips. And what about church?  If she doesn’t attend regularly, why not drop some hints about eternal damnation to get her to services promptly?

But at the end of the day, I think you owe it to your mother to be straight with her, and not drop hints.

Talk to your mom and tell her that you value your time together (make sure to phrase this in your own words, you know how suspicious mothers can be!) and that you would love to have a standing special event for just the two of you– a brunch, a shopping trip, a walk in the park every few weeks, but that you have other people in your life who deserve your attention as well.

If your mother lives relatively close to you, consider having a dinner night at your house, or hers, on  regular basis.  Invite some women who you think would be possible friends for your mother. (Ask your friends if their mothers or aunts or mothers-in-law are available! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many will volunteer to deliver theirs to your doorstep! )  If she likes them, great! Friendship made. If she doesn’t like them, great!  Friendship not made and your mother will think twice about inviting herself over too often!  The important thing is that your mother and you will both look forward to your special time together and she will hopefully learn to respect that you have commitments to the other people in your life as well.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH



6 Responses to “Help! My Mom Is Smothering Me!”


Comment by Betty Herbert.

I don’t know the answer, but I truly sympathise. My mother retired last year and is now simply bored, but won’t admit it. This means that she obsesses over my life in minute detail. We are currently locked in a passive/aggressive battle over the fact the I refuse to detail what I’ve eaten every day. The only answer I’ve found so far is to take control of the whole thing – I don’t answer every time she calls, but I make sure I call her regularly for a chat. And I book things into my diary that she just can’t come along to. But it’s by no means easy.


Comment by knowitallnanna.

did my daughter send this question in? You can tell me….


Comment by Lady Jennie.

Ha ha “knowitallnanna” cracks me up. I must say I thought this was a very wise response.


Comment by Plano Mom.

This is an excellent time to call my mother. And thank her for having a LIFE.


Comment by Fletch.

I understand. When my mom was alive I moved 3000 miles away just to get away from her motherly tentacles. I felt she was impeding my ability to have a life. This is not meant as a guilt trip, just a real observation: she has been gone five years and I desperately wish I could feel those tentacles wrapping themselves around me. So there you have it, moms, can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.


Comment by amy.

This question made me giggle as at the moment I am the social director for my twin 13 year old girls. Yes, they have tons of friends but it is usually I who they want to do things with (hmm, could be the fact I have a vehicle and a wallet..) or at least taxi them around TO their friends.

I bet your mom is just missing the days when you needed her so much (as I too will no doubt feel). But great advice on helping her find her own friends and activities. Like the idea of a daily set in stone weekly ‘date’.

I need to call my Mom now.

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