I just really need to get this off my chest, sorry for the vent.
So I live with my daughter and my boyfriend. Recently his mother and little sister (12) have been staying with us. His mother recently went through a divorce and she is disabled, so she thinks that she won't be able to get custody of her daughter if she is living by herself. The place she was living before she started staying with us was unsuitable for kids (it was a warehouse). I gave the two of them my daughter's bedroom temporarily and she has been cosleeping with us. She usually cosleeps with us anyway, so when bf's mom started asking to stay over, it wasn't a big deal because we had an open bedroom. But I feel like the permanence has creeped up on me. The bedroom they are staying in still has my daughter's toys in it and decorations on the wall. She can't get to her toys because they are buried (literally) in dirty clothes and whatnot and my daughter at one point got very upset after the 12 year old messed with everything that was on the wall and rearranged it.
There are 5 people living in a two bedroom apartment. It is way overcrowded. We are looking for a bigger place, but I am scared because I feel like once we move it won't be "my" place anymore and I will have even less control than I do now.
The electricity bill has skyrocketed since they moved in. When his mom first asked if she could move in, she said she would pay for her share of the utilities but I haven't seen a penny. When I expressed my concerns with my boyfriend, he said to figure out the difference between the bill and the one for this month last year and he would pay the difference. But now he's broke so he can't help with the bill either. Bf's mom and sister are not conservative with electricity. When I woke up this morning, they had already left the house but there were 3 lights on (in bright daylight), the TV on and a fan on that no one was using but I am paying for.
They also don't clean up after themselves. The kitchen is always full of dishes, including the table so they end up not eating at the table but in the living room and leave their dirty dishes everywhere. They leave sharp knives dirty and dangling at the edge of a counter (I always wash my knives as soon as I use them and I keep sheaths on them). I just feel disgusted with their habits but I also feel like I would be a jerk if I except them to do everything my way. I want dirty dishes stacked neatly, I don't want the sink full of bowls and cups. I want people to scrape their plates and throw away napkins, put the milk back in the fridge, throw away garbage. I feel like I'm living in a pigsty and I fear that moving to a bigger apartment will just mean a bigger pigsty.
I don't want to live with BF's mom permanently. But here are the complications:
1) BF thinks he needs to live with his mom to take care of her.
2) When I left my daughter's dad, BF's mom let me sleep on her couch. I stayed there for 2 months. I was extremely grateful for a place to stay but I'm going to be honest the place was disgusting and I got my own place as soon as I could! She gave me a place to stay when I was homeless so I feel I owe her the same, but the problem is she wants it to be permanent.
3) I am on section 8 housing, so my rent is very low. If I kick bfs mom out she would have to pay much much more in rent somewhere else and I don't think she can afford it. I would basically be sending her out into the cold. She could qualify for section 8 but the waiting list is very long. To be honest I think half the reason she want's to live with me is to take advantage of my section 8 :(
So that's my story, thanks for letting me get it of my chest! Any advice you have would be welcome.
Sounds very frustrating and I am sorry you have to go through that.
I can understand that you feel indebted to your bf's mom, but there has to be some boundaries laid out or it will only continue in this manner.
I recently left a housing situation where there were no boundaries and the other household members lived like pigs as well. I left because of multiple reasons, but one of them was no respect for our living space.
Is it possible to have a house meeting and say that you want to make sure everyone is treated fairly, etc. So that way no one feels like you are pointing the finger at them directly?
Best of luck to you and I feel your pain!
Be careful- you could lose your Section 8 if you add more people to your house. They have some very strict rules for Section 8. And if you are able to keep Section 8, you will either need to find a 4 bedroom apartment or, depending on your daughter's age, she may have to share a room with the 12 year old because you may be only eligible for a three bedroom if they're not a certain amount of years difference in their ages (I can't remember- either 5 or 7 years) and Section 8 will not let you keep your voucher if adults are sharing bedrooms with children. Voice of experience here...
If he wants his mom to live there then he needs to pay for her. Also your house your rules. Their behavior is unacceptable and taking advantage of you and your daughter. YOu need to think of your daughter and the enviornment this is creating for her.
My thought was the same as kblackstone's, and this arrangement violates the terms of your section 8. But beyond that, if you are going to stay together, I believe you have to have a family meeting where you discuss the issues and come up with rules for the house for everyone related to electricity, cleaning etc. I definitely think you need to show her the bills, remind her she agreed to pay towards them and tell what you've told us about lights and tv being left on. These things aren't free. It might be more real if you could show how much it costs. Here is a site that talks about kilowatt hours and has a calculator.
I did have a family meeting last night, thanks for the suggestion! Bf's mom has promised to make an effort with turning things off and following my guidelines with the dishes, and she's said that she wants her daughter to have better habits too so she has a reason to set a good example.
We also agreed to split the bills three ways evenly. I originally got stuck with the electric bill because when my Bf moved in the electric was about the same as the internet, so to make it easy he paid the internet and I paid the electricity. Now we are going to split both 3 ways.
Oh, I'm glad that seems to be settled. It could turn out to be a great thing to be able to help each other with child care and stuff. I think any time you move in with someone new, there's some wrinkles to work out.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.