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Lazy Mother HELP!

Hey Joe,

You can call me Jade.
I’m an eighteen year old daughter of a lazy mother. Currently in college, I am worried about my little sisters and father that I have abandoned at home. I feel selfish and guilty for leaving, because now all of the chores and responsibilities are left to my father. When I come home to visit, my father’s eyes are a bit redder, a bit more sunken in, his back is a bit more slumped, his hands are a bit more shaky, and his face is a bit more wrinkled. It hurts me so much to see him slowly deteriorate in front of me. He is becoming lifeless, humorless, and quiet. My mother quit her job and has been unemployed for a while now. She claimed that she “needed a break”..but from what? After work every day, she would resume to watching television in her room.

What frustrates me the most is that my mother constructs this illusion to her family and friends that she is being an ideal  mother! She impresses them by calling them up on days that she actually does the laundry or actually picks up the kids from school. (Which are very rare occasions). She would be admired and pampered with compliments and sayings from her friends, “How do you do it?!” Well…quite frankly, she doesn’t do it. She doesn’t do anything!

When we bring her faults to her attention, she would quickly become offended and walk away, denying any evidence of her laziness. Her defense being, “Remember that time I cleaned the house for you?” or “What do you mean I don’t spend time with you, I just took you all out to the movies last weekend!” Money is her tool of manipulation, as she buys my sisters games and toys for their affection.

Today, my father is putting my mother back through school, carrying on with all of the housework, and serving as the only source of income to the household. He has threatened to get a divorce from my mother multiple times in the past, but she pulls a guilt card on him, saying “what about the kids? We need to stay together for them” It’s a tough situation because although my dad is frustrated with her, he’s not heartless. If he were to get a divorce, she would have nothing…no money, no family, no job.

I want this family to mend somehow! I don’t want my sisters to grow up having a mother that won’t be one. It’s scarring to have a mom that is in plain view, yet you can’t seem to reach her or connect with her. She just turns her back, teasingly, as she continues to engulf herself in the fictional dramas of the television screen.

I don’t want to lose my father. I don’t want his health to fail him. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose my mother either, and I would never want that for my sisters.

What should be done? What can I do?


1 Comment

  1. Joe Smith says:

    Wow, Jade…that’s some heavy shit to be dealing with at 18. Let’s take a look at the big picture, summarized: Your parents both worked. Your mom “needed a break” and quit her job. Your dad still works, and does all of the housework now as well. Your mom spends his money on the family.Your dad threatens to leave, but she plays the stay together for the kids card because of your little sisters. Did I miss anything? I believe that’s it…
    It sounds to me like something happened that caused your mom to feel like it was okay to “need a break”, and then take a permanent one. Has anyone asked what caused her to need a break? Perhaps something serious at work may have caused her not to want to go back? I’d try to find out.

    With that aside, here’s my advice: I would ask your mom exactly how long of a break she’s planning to take. Regardless of the answer, it needs to be followed up with “Whenever you go back, are you going to let dad take a break from everything?” When the shoe is placed on the other foot, people often find that it fits a bit too tight. Tell your mom that you’re worried about the example she is setting for your sisters. It seems to me that you managed to grow up with a pretty good head on your shoulders. Explain that to your mom, and contrast it with what she is teaching your sisters. Out of curiosity, how old are your sisters? If old enough, perhaps you could explain that the constant strain on your dad is hurting him, and that they should help with the housework if they are old enough. As for your dad, he needs to tell your mom that the only way he’s willing to stay together for the kids, is if she goes back to work to help support them. It’s not fair to him to carry 100% of the burden that he’s only 50% responsible for. If she doesn’t tell him to leave her. It isn’t cruel, it’s a motivator! It may be the only way that she will realize that she needs to grow the fuck up, and pay her own way in life.If he does end up having to leave your mom, be supportive of both, but remember to remind your mom that this is something she caused, it didn’t just fucking happen. The responsibility lies squarely on your mom here.

    Please follow up, and let us know how things work out. You’re an awesome kid, Jade! It’s wonderful that you want to help your dad the way you do. Stay strong for him, and call home often to give him some support!

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