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Mom's Moving Us in

By February 23, 2011 - 11:14pm

Call me Dee Dee!! :)
I'm 19 years old, the oldest out of two daughters (my sister is 13). My mother, now 46, has been the only active parent in our lives. My sister and I have two different fathers; mine left before I was born, and my sister's dad lives out of the city. With her entire life being most of a struggle, my mom has now finally found a man who appreciates her and loves her ever so dearly. He has been divorced for over 5 years and shares joint custody of his three children (the eldest being 12, and the twins are 7). My mother and her boyfriend have been together for 2 years, and they are now in the action of beginning to move in together and "merge the family".
Seeing how I'm the oldest child and that I've been raised by a single-parent my whole life, this is actually taking a tole on me (as well as my younger sister). We are truly happy for my mother, but when it comes to the two families merging as one, my sister and I havent really been able to adjust to the idea yet (though we have to start packing this weekend).
I've never been the type to open up and talk to anyone. Being the eldest daughter of a single-parent somewhat forces you to grow up ahead of many other kids your age. I'm so used to thinking more logically than emotionally, and also planning things out with my mother, from solving/improving financial situations, to even talking to my younger sister about boys lol. Now that I'm dealing with trying to get into a university, dealing with a pre-teen sister, getting a job, upgrading my courses, and getting a license, I now regret how I've never been able to express my feelings. As a consequence I'm now a pretty short-tempered person. If I feel attacked/cornered, angry or frustrated I now either explode into what I consider a temper-tantrum (I yell, cry, and even tense-up) or I just completely shut down (I move myself away from the situation and sit alone. There I contemplate on the situation, take a deep breath, and bottle it up). I'm fully aware with how terrible either ways of dealing with a situation are, but once again, when you're the oldest of a single-parent it's hard to just open up all the time.
Too make matters worse, up until now, I'm usually home alone. My Mom's boyfriend literally lives across the street; so even on weekdays she would take my little sister over to her boyfriend's house and stay either a couple days or even a couple weeks. This has caused my mother and I to now have what I consider to be a 'fading relationship'. We aren't anywhere close to how close we were years ago, when we talk, 70-85% of the time, we end up fighting. She claims that she goes over to her boyfriend's house so often in order too "get away sometimes". When she was my age, she left her parents' and moved here to Canada with her sister. So, in her defence, she wishes for me to be more indpendent and less reliant on her (I put myself in night school to upgrade my marks, and I work a part-time job 5-6 days a week. But at times, I do go to her expecting dinner to have been put aside for me and/or at times I ask her for bus fare. But I do pay for my own cell phone, clothes, and give her half my pay cheque once a month). Because I still go to her at times (and because she and I now fight so much), her boyfriend now sees me as a "selfish teen-cliche, who doesn't care about anyone or what they have to say".
And so, now that my Mom wants to move in with her boyfriend and his family, I fear that either the situations in the home would get worse, or that I may just have to go and live somewhere else on my own. Seeing how I, ironically, wish to be a child psychologist, I don't want to start living on my own, keep a job, and pay for 6 years of university so soon. I'm now literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.....

By HERWriter Guide March 2, 2011 - 12:19pm

Hi DeeDee

I'm so happy to hear you were all able to sit down and discuss this as a family. Being welcomed home anytime with open arms was my concern and I'm delighted your mom and her boyfriend have made it clear that "their" home is also YOUR home; that's very important!

I hope a shared apartment works out with your best friend. Listen to the tips you Mom's boyfriend gave you (and my tip is that both of you contribute X amount of dollars every months for household goods like butter, milk, bread, aluminum foil, toilet paper, laundry stuff etc that you'll both use) and set up some household rules so that your new place will run smoothly and no-one ends up arguing. You'd be amazed at how friendships can suffer when living together with no agreements set in stone.

I have great faith that you can do this and am so glad you have your family behind you. Well done and keep in touch!

March 2, 2011 - 12:19pm
By March 1, 2011 - 7:56am

Hey Susan,
thank you very much for your input! Unfortunately, I've talked to my mom on a private level, multiple times, but she sees the conversation to be more about me than what she thinks is best for us. According to her, my way of thinking is more logically than empathetic. She feels that the whole move right now will be better for our family, seeing how they plan on saving up together and getting a house later on in the future. In her eyes, telling her how I feel about this issue shows her that I'm more about myself than for the family. When I've gone to her about how I feel, she also thinks that I'm looking at everything at a more pessimistic value, and that I should realize that I'm a very lucky girl (compared to what she had to go through when she was my age).
So, after reading your advice, I began thinking about the pros and cons of each option. Finally I came to the decision that maybe it's best for me to just take care of myself on my own. My best friend ironically needs to move out of her grandparents' house because they are moving out of town, and she needs to stay in the city for university. The both of us are now looking for a place to move into, that will benefit the both of us.
When I brought this idea to my mother, at first she and her boyfriend were a bit hesitant. They didn't want me stuck in something I may not be able to handle, and they also felt as if maybe they've pushed me away. I explained to them that in all honestly, I do want what's best for my family, but I also want what could be best for me. Surprisingly enough, my mom offered me the furniture we have at our house, and her boyfriend gave me tips on saving up for first and last rent when I find a place. They've also made the agreement that if I am to move out, they must approve the place, and no matter what I am welcome back with open arms.
Though I'm nervous, petrified, and also excited, I'm taking this idea very deeply into thought, and also very slowly.
And so, thank you so much once again for your input. I feel like a bit of the weight has lifted off of my shoulders. I just hope everything works out smoothly. I know it's going to be hard, but I believe it's a life experience I will learn from and value.

March 1, 2011 - 7:56am
By HERWriter Guide February 27, 2011 - 10:49am

Hi DeeDee

Thanks for your post and welcome!

I think you have a few challenges in your life that no kids should have to go through - but you seem to have gotten through them pretty well.

Are you able to get time with your mother so that you can talk about YOU without the distraction of other children, her boyfriend or the move? I think you may have been forgotten a little, in all the new stuff that's going on. I think it's ok to tell her that but don't do it in a way to make her feel defensive.

Start your sentences talking about things in the first person, like "I think it would be great if..." or "I would really like it if...." or "I would love to..." rather than starting with "you are..." or "you don't...".

Tell your Mom that you feel your relationship with her is "fading" and it makes you feel scared and sad. Blended families are hard for the oldest children because they see so much emphasis on the younger kids and their transition. Also, the older kids have often had it the hardest, for the longest. So when a blended family emerges as they enter adulthood, the younger children can do quite well whereas the children entering adulthood lose the time needed to bond with the new family dynamic, because they are working, in school and fending for themselves. I really do understand how you feel and I agree that you have had less of a chance to be a kid than the others.

I understand you wanting to stay at home (and it's great you are paying some money to your Mom) but at 19, it's not too young to find your own place. It could be a good idea for several reasons:

One is that there will be far less friction when you visit. Another is that you'll be your own boss and living your own life. You can rent a house or apartment with a bunch of other students, make great friends along the way, and save money by having room-mates. People do this at your age in the millions. You are not a child anymore - you are grown woman (even though you are still so young!) so taking care of yourself is something you really CAN do.

However, you'll have to make sure you are made to feel a real part of the family. If you do move and you visit, you need to be made to feel like a member of the family (with the right to eat there and do laundry etc) and not made to feel as some kind of guest. You are a member of this family, no matter what your age is. And quite frankly, as great as this man is to your mom, he needs to keep his criticisms of you to himself. It's not his business to bad mouth you or stick his nose in where it does not belong.

So these are your choices - move out, become independent and pay your own way. You are perfectly capable of it at the age of 19, you'll just have to make certain sacrifices like all people do.

Or you can come to an agreement with your Mom that you will continue to live with the family, pay your own way and not be pushed away just because you turned 18. Family should not work like that.

Please talk to your Mom about all this and do it over lunch or coffee etc - just the two of you.

Let me know what you think!


February 27, 2011 - 10:49am

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