Well, she is my mom. I have a strong sense of family. My grandfather lived with us, so I guess I grew up with a bit of skewed sense that it's natural to have parents move in. I've probably been too lenient with the situation out of a sense of obligation.
Anyway, we talked some today. She was actually receptive to what I had to say. She said that she's been wanting to go to the Senior Citizens center to use some of their equipment. She has peripheral artery disease and had to have a bypass surgery about 20 years ago. The doctors have said that some leg exercises would help to keep her mobile. She went today and seems to have enjoyed herself. I was proud of her to take that step. She's more introverted than I am. She said that she'd like to go a couple times a week - that would give me some time to just have MY home to myself. I hope she will continue this.
We talked about the eating out. She even mentioned that dh and I never get to go out by ourselves and that she should maybe take dd for the evening once a month so the two of us can go out alone. This really surprised me. This is probably the most generous gesture she's made in 4 years.
However when I told her that the dish I was making tonight was a rice-based casserole that dh loves, that I hadn't fixed in a year because my mom *doesn't like RICE* (how can someone NOT like rice?!?!), her reply was, "Oh. Well, I'm not hungry anyway." Went on my merry way making dinner and the next time I went out to her rooms to check on dd in the side yard, she was eating some of her junk food. THAT'S the problem when I do this... cook what we like that she doesn't. It seems to me to be a passive aggressive way of getting back at me for doing so. It's like "Well, if you won't cook what I like, watch me eat crap and kill myself a little more". But guess what, dh was so happy with dinner tonight that I didn't really give a crap what she did. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. She's an adult and can eat what she wants... even if it is Ding Dongs for dinner.
One thing about the car I wanted to clarify. My mom picks up our dd from school the majority of the time. This is a huge help to us. We couldn't be a 2 car family. What she said was that she felt most comfortable driving the Mercedes. (Of course... they drive beautifully.) We don't make payments. We bought the car, we own it, we can sell it when we want to. She just drives it. When my precious cargo, dd, is with her, I want her in a car that is safe and my mom feels safe in. I just wish mom would realize that she's driving the nicest car we have and appreciate that fact.
We're not going to ask her for any money toward the utilities, etc. Honestly, we can afford it. Yes, technically we could save more money, but we do fine. We don't have debt, carry a mortgage by choice, have adequate savings, investments, etc. And technically we could cash in some investments to buy her a place, but we've already built onto our house for her. It's not that we're in dire need of her helping... it's about feeling appreciated. This is something dh feels strongly about. Where he is from, everyone takes care of their family and this would just not fly with him. I respect that. The amount she could give us would just not make a difference. It would be a gesture, only. If she would just say thank you once in a while, it would be worth a hell of a lot more than she could possibly contribute.
On a positive note, she said she'd try harder in general, try to be more patient with dd and I told her that if I hear her or if dd tells me that she's raising her voice or threatening her (for example a few weeks ago she threatened to throw away some of dd's toys because she hadn't picked them up
) that dd would not be allowed out there with her. I reminded her what Gentle Disciple is (IME) and that threatening is not part of the package. I told her that if she asks dd to do something and she won't, then to come get me if she can't handle it gently. My mom actually enjoys the time with dd, so I hope it's incentive for her to try to be more patient.
I think those were the highlights of the conversation. I think we progressed some today. It's a matter of time. We'll see what happens. Gotta get the kiddo to bed.