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Mom is Harassing My Man


My son, husband and I moved into my Mom's house last September. There
were certain situations going on in New Jersey and we didn't have anywhere
else to go. Ever since we moved into her house, my Mom refuses to get along
with my husband. At whatever chance she gets, she's badmouthing him behind
his back and insulting him. Why? Because she thinks that he should be a
responsible husband and father. Which he is. It's not the poor man's
fault that the job market sucks here in California at the moment.
However, he is trying very hard to find a job. He's even resorted to
retail since no computer firms are calling him back. And he's a computer

So, after almost a year of tension, and me getting caught in the middle
between the two, my Mom finally got into it with my husband. She started
going off on him, and told him to "get out."

So here's my issue. I love my husband dearly, and I miss New Jersey SO
much. (I moved out there by myself when I was 18) But at the same time,
my 3 year old son is in preschool here in California. However, I can't
STAND living with my over-protective, criticising and insulting mother any
longer. On the same note, there's no way we can afford ANYTHING out here
in California unless we have amazing jobs. (I'm with a staffing agency at
the moment.)

What do I do?

Stuck Shawna

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Stuck Shawna,

Have you had a sit down with your mom to discuss this? It is her house, so the best you can do is try and reason with her. But you love your husband, you respect his efforts, and you have a three year old son that you clearly love, so you've got some important things to feel thankful for in the face of a tough situation.

If a talk with your mom doesn't yield real results real quick, you need to figure out how to move out. You, your husband and your child are a family and if your extended family is causing problems, then you need to get out. Your husband has been looking for a computer technician job for a long time. It is time to think about a career change for him. You may want to pair that with moving to a high growth area to make the search for work easier. There won't be a better time to move your son for a long time, so this could be a good time to take your family and strike out to find a place for your family to set down some roots.

If you do decide to move out, you're gonna have to plan very carefully and you're gonna need some money, so your husband will need to augment your paycheck by getting any work he can to give you a cushion. Not going to be easy, but you've got to look out for your family.

Join The Conversation
FaeMuse FaeMuse 11 years
With just one side of the story, coming to any sort of judgment call isn't an easy task. DEAR handled it tactfully and the main point is there: a discussion is in order with Mom, but a level of tact and sensitivity are going to be required. Mom might be under a lot of pressure or stress from having her own daughter back in her house. There are adjustments that parents as well as children have to cope with. Shawna is her mother's daughter, and that's how her mother perceived her growing up, until she moved out of the house. Now she's returned with her husband and her young son, experience of living on her own, and leaving a difficult situation in NJ. Her mother can't just treat Shawna like she would a 15 year old. Even if she logically understands this, sometimes the lesson is hard to learn in practice and old habits die hard, as the saying goes. Shawna may be suffering from Mom's interference or words said the wrong way, even though she loves her grandson and her son-in-law. It's true, we don't know the situation outside the context of the letter. However, if a healthy family relationship is going to exist, communication is a key element to success. It's often not easy to be the one to bring it up or initiate a conversation about, but the outcome may be healthier for all involved if she expresses to her mother how she feels about those comments, and why it's impacting her marriage. Shawna should probably try to alleviate some of her own stress and her husband's by making time for her own immediate family. It doesn't have to be pricy or expensive; going out for a walk in the park or spending time playing at the playground can allow time for pent up frustration to work its way out.
yayita yayita 11 years
I agree with most of you, it seems like there is more info needed here to make an informed judgment/opinion. BUt what if the guy is freeloader? Maybe he just doesn't want to work and the mom sees this. The wife may be under his spell and think he is looking when he is actually being lazy.... Who knows!
sweet-pea sweet-pea 11 years
I agree with everyone who thinks we're being a bit too hard on the mother here. End of the day, it's her house,they are the guests and she's helping them at a difficult time in their lives. Mum is probably stressed too- it can't be easy sharing your home with a young couple and small child- even if they're family. It's not entirely fair, but when you're under your parents roof you once again become their child, no matter how old you are.
Toronado Toronado 11 years
You all have very good points. I think the whole situation would be easier to grasp if she had elaborated on it. I just can't escape the feeling that she's purposely keeping certain details under wraps to portray her husband as an angel and her mother as the wicked witch.
kylake kylake 11 years
Adriana, I agree with you, but life does not always work out like that.
Padraigin Padraigin 11 years
Sometimes mothers accept their children back into the fold because they enjoy playing the martyr ("oh, look what poor Doris has to deal with - her freeloading daughter and her loser husband...") Not that Shawna is freeloading and her husband's a loser, but there ARE mothers who like to make everyone around them think that so as to be the great savior who is oh so put upon. Other mothers have used similar situations as a hostage "I told you so" situation. And still others do it out of the goodness of their hearts and because family is family regardless. But if you are under HER roof, she actually DOES have a say in what's going on - unless you are paying rent and have a tenant situation with her. Get a full time job, not with a temp agency. Have your husband expand his horizons. You say he's "looking into" retail - come on, now. Retail job are not hard to find. Get two jobs, two incomes, and a small apartment. Sure you'll be broke for awhile, but you'll be living your own lives.
DeaconP DeaconP 11 years
parents want what is best for their children - unfortunately they dont always know what is best - and it isn't necessarily their place to say anything. i think you need to get out of there as soon as possible - that way you can leave without having to fight with your mom - she is the one who raised you, and opened her house to you and your family after all.
PrincessPixie PrincessPixie 11 years
EP, the issue is not that i am dating my bf, because this situation was apparant long before that. I own my house, and i sublet it to my bf. the issue is that i respect his father because he is his father. I think parents should be respected. the mother has taken in this family, and there is not enough information given to figure out whether the family is just trying to get a free ride. I lived in a house with two other girls a year after i moved away from home. one of the girls moved her boyfriend in. he did not have a job, pay rent or perform house duties. he was alays 'looking for a job'. he never found one. unfortuanely we had to boot them both out because we couls not pay the extra electricity etc. most people are very one-sided about their partner. my friend had no concept that he was a lazy slob. she felt the world was hard on him and he was an amazing godlike creature. I think that a mother who takes in a whole family is pretty nice. and if i had a child i would be working 3 jobs to pay for it if i had to, and no-one can tell me there are not always jobs available cleaning or waiting tables.
Adriana42 Adriana42 11 years
That's why you always go with that old rule: finish school, get a job, buy a house THEN marry and have kids.
lickety-split lickety-split 11 years
the mom would NEVER see herself. i'm sure she thinks she is being helpful and acting in the best interests of her daughter. (growl)
kylake kylake 11 years
I'm joking - my mom's a little "wired" as well.
kylake kylake 11 years
Wouldn't it be awesome if Mom read all of Shawna's comments? How much fun would that be to watch?
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
toronado, while you're probably right to some extent, i think that sometimes people regress when they are treated as they were as children. i have some family members that treat me like i'm 8 and when i'm around them, i find myself acting 8. the fact that she essentially ran away at 18 and finds her self forced back can't be a good feeling. i certainly feel like i have a better relationship with my mother, but i would probably go to drinking if i had to live under my mom's roof again.
lickety-split lickety-split 11 years
omg! i can't believe you think this is okay! my mother tried to pull this shit (at my house) about how my husband should act with out children and i let it go too long. it should never have gotten to where it did. if i had told her in the beginning; it's my marriage you don't need to agree with how we do things you need to respect it. we would never had had the major blow out we ended up having. seriously, i feel very strongly that only the people in the marriage should have a day in how things are handled. no offense to anyonw else, but this pisses me off all over again just reading what shawna is going through.
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
uh, PP, it doesn't sound like she is choosing to stay there. it seems to me like it was the absolute last resort. maybe it's bc i've read her posts on this. you can't kill your marriage for the sake of your mom. your mom gave you life, yes, but she should also want what's best for you much like you should want what's best for your son. essentially picking your mom over your husband is not in your son's best interest. your son needs a full time father, not a full-time grandma. what's best is for everyone to get along. if your mom's sole issue with your husband seems to be this job thing, i think she's being unfair at least when i look at it from your perspective. i also think you should look for f/t jobs. the job market sucks but you increase your odds of getting back on your feet if BOTH of you are looking for jobs. also, the difference with you PP is that you're dating this person. you're not married and you don't have a child with your BF. i think that if your boyfriend's dad was aware that you were dating, it'd be totally unfair of your boyfriend to force you to deal with someone who disrespects you and in your case, it's esp unfair to make you deal with him in YOUR house as you share it. parents who are unduly disrespectful to their children's partners must deal with the very realistic prospect of losing a good relationship with their child.
Toronado Toronado 11 years
Her mother entered the marriage as soon as they moved into her house. She surely didn't have to let them in at all, but, being a mother, she'd sooner have them there then see them on the street...especially with a kid involved. No, the mother isn't entitled to know every little detail but it's unrealistic and unfair to completely shun her when it's HER house. And I gather from the daughter's admission of having absolutely NO money that she's not even paying her mother any rent. If anything the daughter should be thanking her, not calling her "over-protective, criticising and insulting". The daughter says she "can't stand" living there, well, she certainly had no problem in doing, living on the mother's money. She's got a bit of a nerve, actually.
PrincessPixie PrincessPixie 11 years
I disagree. you mother is your mother, she gave birth to you and has rised you and let you live in her house, even with someone she obviously doesnt like. can't you stay where you like (obviously with your mother or you would't be there) and send your husband somewhere to work? my boyfriends father hates me to pieces, and he only thinks i am his sons flatmate. and i just try to stay out of his way when he comes to my house, rather than expect him to not see his own son in his house.
lickety-split lickety-split 11 years
respectfully disagree. the husband is her daughter choice, not the mothers. if he never worked another day in his life the grandmother should keep her mouth shut. what ever "issues" there are they are between the husband and wife, not the husband and the grandmother. it's never a good idea to let a third person enter your marriage.
Toronado Toronado 11 years
Don't forget, we're hearing just one side of the story, here. The mother is not here to defend herself. We might not have all the facts. For instance, the 'situations' in New Jersey are never elaborated on. It's no small matter when an entire family has to suddenly up and relocate to another state - to a parent's house, no less. Why, exactly, did they feel they had to move? Also, why does her mother feel the husband is not responsible? What is he doing to make her say those things? There is a reason she's laying into her son-in-law like that; he may or may not be the golden boy that his wife is portraying him as. It would be interesting to know just what elements of the story the wife is purposely neglecting to mention. There are surely a few.
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
agree with most of what Valeri said. while you need to stress that your family is a package deal, you do have to respect the fact that you're in your mother's house. i'm guessing these issues didn't just arise since you moved back to cali. your child is young enough that he doesn't HAVE to stay in the same place and just for the pre-school. he's also young enough to adapt. consider all your options. i recommend that for the sake of your mental health, your relationship with your husband, and the best for your family, find another option
lickety-split lickety-split 11 years
i cannot stress strongly enough that you need to draw your line in the sand with your mother NOW. your family is a package deal, she respects all of you or she sees NONE of you. you don't need to be in california badly enough to put up with her behavior. your son is 3, he will do fine in whatever preschool he goes to as long as mommy and daddy are loving him at home. think about this; your mother is judging your husband, your son's father and your marriage. that's bs. i've been there. write me off line if you want to shawna.
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