Help with Adult Children....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by livelovebreathe, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. livelovebreathe

    livelovebreathe New Member

    I have a huge problem that just seems to be growing bigger every year. And, I need serious advice.

    I'm a single parent (low income).

    I work two jobs, and I go to school full time. I am raising my three children by myself and have been for the past 11 years when their father and I split up, and he moved far away. Out of sight, out of mind. No help from him.

    Now, I have loved having my children living with me. I've always done all the cleaning in the past, when I was a stay-at-home mom because I loved to do so. But, now I am working two jobs, and I am in school at the University full time, trying to get a higher education so that I can afford to live a healthy, normal life, not pay-check to pay-check and broke all of the time.

    The problem is, I also have to still do all the cleaning and the cooking and my kids just don't seem to get it- that I really need their help. I leave at 7am for work, and I don't get home until 11pm at night, sometimes not even until Midnight if they text me and say "Mom, can you go to the grocery store on your way home and get us more milk, or bread... (or whatever)...."

    I come home, and I honestly don't even want to be there. But I am too exhausted and tired to complain about it, I just go to my room and go to bed. Everything is a wreck. My kitchen will be full of dishes, messes, wrappers. My living room looks like people just live in there and never clean it. My dining room table is filled with junk, laptops, cups, empty water bottles. Trash bags are full and or piling up. Laundry is strewn all over the garage and floors of bathrooms, towels on the floor, and I have to wait until I have a day off to tackle it all. They know I don’t like it. My bedroom is my retreat from their messes. Everyone always compliments my room, it’s like a sanctuary. Clean, light comes in, incense burns, sounds of wind chimes, rain and waterfalls; ANYTHING to keep me sane living here with them.

    I have children these ages:

    1) a 17 year old (the messiest in the bunch) who is still in high school and also taking college classes and tries to keep busy with friends and volunteer work, and has had a few jobs -always temporary. When I ask her to clean up, or do chores she says "Why do I always have to do it?" or she does it half-assed or she just up and leaves the house and/or just grabs all her mess and tosses it into a downstairs closet and considers that it's 'cleaned up.' She is very sloppy and very messy.

    I've nagged her so much about it; she just ignores me most of the time or gets very angry. In the past, when angered she will wreck things, rip things apart that belong to me. I've gotten worried over the years to see her anger because she is very vindictive. I've had my jewelry ripped apart just because I grounded her from the internet for not cleaning her messes. I've had leather furniture ripped apart with a knife when she was 8 years old, because of her anger issues. It's not been easy. She feels as the youngest child that all her older siblings blamed everything on her and that she’s always been blamed for causing all the messes. In fact, she is honestly the most messy of the bunch, just constantly so inconsiderate, and it’s almost like she just doesn’t care what we all think anymore. Yet, she is the very one who’s always wanting mom to do things for her, take her places, buy her things. She will help if she is in the mood and if I am doing chores, and if she can get some money out of me. I always hear “How much will I get paid for cleaning the living room?” She knows I can’t even afford to pay my bills. It’s a struggle.

    2) a 20 year old with Asperger's Syndrome who gets anxiety issues. She's graduated high school, She’s super smart but can't handle being around others. She plays video games 24/7. When I ask her to clean around the house her excuse is "It's not my mess, it's the younger child's mess... why should I have to clean it?"

    When I've asked her to do chores she's said "I don't feel like I should have to since I am not the one who makes the messes..." She is the cleanest of the bunch, but doesn't do any chores, doesn’t work, and doesn't help around the house or pay any rent. She says "I can't, I'm broken..." and says she can't work or help around the house, she can't handle getting her hands dirty from touching other’s dirty dishes...she argues logically like a lawyer that she shouldn't have to... and when I ask her to help out because she lives here for free and doesn’t do anything at all, she will get depressed, flop down on the couch and pout. She has a history of cutting herself when upset, and has been in suicide hospitals for depression due to having Asperger's and being bi-polar. Upsetting her has been an issue for me as a mother as well. She would rather not be alive if she has to be everyone’s maid. But yet, she won’t go to college, and she won’t get a job. She stopped going to therapy and counseling, stopped all of her medications and says she thinks they misdiagnosed her bipolar disorder. She acknowledges the Asperger’s/Autism, but not the Bipolar disorder and I’ve been trying to get her to go back to Star, to call them and make appointments to get help but she just acts like she can’t do it on her own, and wants me to do it, but Star program refuses to allow me to make appointments or to talk to me because she is over 18. She won’t wear any other clothes than her favorite outfit, won’t use any other dishes than her favorite dishes, which no one but her can wash and clean as she won’t let anyone touch them. But she sleeps until 4pm, and jumps on her laptop and plays video games until 4am and then goes back to sleep, she rarely leaves the house, because she has anxiety issues around other people. The cutting and suicidal stuff happened when she realized she was different from others and not able to do the things that others she knew could do, like go out and socialize and get jobs. She feels upset because she knows she’s smart but she can’t get past the social problems, and can’t understand or read people correctly.

    3) My oldest daughter is the most helpful, however she is rarely home, and she is 23 and spends most nights spending the night at her boyfriend's house with him (even though she still lives with me) or at work. She is doing a job which she works but only gets paid once the entire job is complete as an independent contractor, She owes school loans and has been trying to pay those off, she still needs to save money for a car, and so she is not able to pay rent, because she is not earning enough to pay her debt and or buy a car. She is sometimes sloppy, but she will always offer to help and recently her argument is "Mom, I've always been the one helping all these years, I'm working now, and I'm not home hardly ever, these other kids need to get off their lazy butts and help!" She has a point. But the other day before she ran off to her boyfriends she left a mess in the bathroom and kitchen, which I had to clean up.

    4) Lastly, my oldest daughter's ex-boyfriend lives with us, he works part time. He has car repair issues and he never has money to help me with bills.... and he is usually locked up in his room playing video games when he is home. He helps sometimes with taking out trash or such, but he also leaves messes sometimes and constantly takes my one and only garage door opener with him when he leaves and I have to pull my car out, park, go around to apartment, and lock it up and go back to car, which upsets me. As this is my home and I should be able to use my garage door opener when I come and go.

    For myself, I am a very easy going person, I do not like to yell, I do not like to ‘manage’ others. I am a personality type: INFP, so I like little conflict and always try to keep the peace.

    But most of the time, they’re the ones having all the peace and doing what they please and I am the one feeling resentful, and angry, or walking away so as not to get angry.

    I also love my environment to be clean and tidy and like a beautiful sanctuary of relaxation, which can be seen and felt when my home is clean.

    However, I have 4 other people I live with all adults (except a 17 year old who is almost 18) and who all enjoy living with me. They eat the food I buy, the use the utilities, they use the tv, internet, everything and they do not pay any rent, and they rarely do any chores at all. Most of the time, all they will do is take out the trash and do the dishes, but usually it takes a whole week of piling up before they even bother, and often then they completely abandon the house on the weekends so I am left to do it all. I feel like I’m a mother, a maid, and a slave, and a cook, and they’re all way too big for me to be struggling like this without any assistance. I live in low-income housing, because I cannot afford to pay rent anywhere else, on my income alone, I can’t even afford this place or these bills. I’ve been taking out loans through school in order to just survive.

    The ex-boyfriend of my oldest daughter’s family lives over an 18 hour drive away across two states, he moved here to be with her, and to get a job and help me with rent… because he loved her, but they didn't work out, and he’s still here, struggling with pizza delivery and a car that keeps breaking down. I have no one in my family, who can help him at all, and his family isn't helping or he hasn't asked them. I’m just kind of stuck with another adult to take care of now. He’s supposed to be moving out as soon as his car is fixed. He won’t get a better paying job because he says he’s moving soon anyways. My daughter keeps him around because she doesn't have a car, so she uses him to drive her to work. I think he believes that since he’s her chauffeur he’s earned his keep.

    The entire situation upsets me. I don't know what to do. I have good kids otherwise, I just need advice. Help!?!
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I want to welcome you. I want you to know that I've had a couple of "slob" children. I want you to know that I wish you well. LOL! I am truly sorry, but, I don't have one single answer for you. Why? Well, mostly, any solution is going to require time and by jove you do not have spare time! I've been a single Mom with multiple kids to support and even tho I was in my 30's then I accepted that I could only do so much and keep working (yes, multiple jobs).

    Until you completely have totally decided that you can't take it...take it. IF and when you "really" can't take it...set a deadline and show them the door. The AS daughter may never "get it". The others will eventually want to be on their own and meanwhile they are working or going to school. You've done a good job. It is an endurance race. They are growing up and they can choose to be slobs for life...meanwhile, be proud that they are not in jail, they are not stealing from you, they are not doing drugs etc. etc. Hang in there. Sending hugs your way. DDD
  3. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Hi and welcome! I'm sorry you're having all these problems. It's great that you have relatively few problems with your kids. That's the good point. The other issue is how to get them to help. While I'm not fully in your situation (I have 1 adult child) I do have some suggestions for you and you can, as we say, take them or pass them up.

    Since they are adults and you have explained their situations let's address them.

    For the 17 almost 18 yo - since she is still a minor and not working and living under your roof she SHOULD be helping out. Period. She should not be asking "how much will I get paid for this" ever! You have a few options with her and they can be difficult but they are options non the less. You could deny her privileges, what ever you have that you can take away. Does she have a computer? Take it away until the work is done. A cell phone or phone use? Deny it/take it away. After all you are paying for it (the power and the bill). Does she use the car? Do you have to provide any "rides" for her ever? Don't do it! As for her "revenge" in ripping your things up, you can always put a lock on your door and there are many kinds of them that you can put so that she can't get in to get at your things. If she is that destructive you "could" always call the police on her too (I realize that is extreme but she has no right to destroy or vandalize your things). You could also request her to get part time work. I say this as she could have money of her own but, and I'm going to offer this for the others as well, they ALL could be helping contribute towards perhaps having paying for a maid to come in and help out too since YOU don't have time to do these things. Though it sounds like it's simple things that everyone should be able to look after themselves.

    Your 20 yo - I have a 22 yo that is in much the same position, though she isn't diagnosis with aspergers (I think she is on the spectrum beyond her BiPolar (BP) and borderline personality disorder too). She too is extremely smart, went to college and ended up having to leave due to suicidal issues and has never gotten back and lives just like your daughter. The difference between yours and mine is that she is on disability. That is what I wanted to ask of you. Have you ever thought of trying to get disability for your daughter? This way she has income, can contribute to the household (ie: rent - my daughter must pay not only rent but her share of all the other expenses as well including car insurance as she drives, cell phone bill for her phone, etc.) It is not an immediate fix but in the long run it will help her and it may help you too economically. My daughter feels and is the same way as yours in respect to she is clean and has issues with the others making messes. She too will use her "own things". I see many similarities in them, including the cutting and suicidal tendencies. It's hard to put on them to do things but I still ask of mine to help out as I have severe health issues and simply can not do things (as opposed to work/time issues like you). I still have messes like you do as well and have the battles and I have 2 younger ones that are complete slobs with BIG issues of their own.

    Your 23 yo - For her you could either ask her, if she is spending all this time already at her boyfriend's, to move in with him (1 less person to have to pay for in your house and 1 less mess). Or you could see if she would consider finding another job that would be more reliable pay to assist in paying towards rent. Again, she is living there as an adult and "should" be helping pay towards rent in some manner. That doesn't necessarily help with the mess but it will help lessen the overall burden on you. She also should be helping, whether she is there or not, you in picking up her messes after herself at ALL times and also helping when she can otherwise. If she can't afford her loans and save for a car (and she should be paying you something too) then her job is NOT adequate enough to support her needs in life.

    As for your oldest daughter's ex boyfriend - why is he there to begin with if he is an ex? He ABSOLUTELY should not be staying for free at all. Part time work is not enough to sustain his living needs. He can't afford his own life and he should be paying to live with you and contributing to the household expenses, period! He also should be always picking up after himself at all times and helping where ever and whenever he can too. His burdens should not be your burdens at all! If he is uses the electricity to play his video games then he certainly should be paying for the electricity he is using to play them and he also eats food so he should be paying for that food! Not to mention I'm sure he takes showers and does laundry. That costs as well. As far as the garage door opener being taken by him, that takes a lot of nerve of him to do. It is not his house it is YOUR house. What right does he have to take it? You need to get that back from him and never let him get his hands on it again, ever! Put it in your purse and never let it out of your sight again.

    Sounds like you are being taken advantage of and walked on by him for sure and at times by your children. You need to gain your strength and pick a time when you have time off and have a sit down meeting with them all. Gather them around and lay it on the line to them This just can not continue and unless you make it very clear to them it WILL continue! Only YOU can stop this.

    If everyone is contributing and helping clean up AND contributing financially, you will have less stress and worry over the bills and perhaps you might even be able to take some of that money and hire a maid otherwise to pick up the slack of the mess if you so choose due to lack of time. Or you could just outright CHOOSE to have a maid come in and tell them straight out that they are going to have to pay for one since they don't want to do the work!

    I don't mean to sound mean and nasty. That is not my intent at all. I'm just reading you post and seeing what I see and presenting it back to you. I hope what I've said helps in someway and/or gives you some food for thought.

    by the way, back to my oldest daughter, while she pays rent as I said and pays other things and has her issues of having to clean up after the others - over time what I have been able to do is work with her and now I "pay" her to help me keep up with the messes in the house cleaning. So it's a win win situation. She can "tolerate" cleaning up after the others much more and is not so bitter and resentful of doing it and because I don't have to have the messes cleaned by a deadline it allows her to do it when she "feels up to it" (but always done) and in her way (she will use gloves or what ever she needs to "touch" others things). I don't have access money to do this and it's not a whole lot I give her but it's a fair amount negotiated with her.
  4. livelovebreathe

    livelovebreathe New Member

    Thank you so much for saying that. I do know my girls are super good girls, I am super thankful that they're bright and artistic... and so easy going. Everyone has always loved to be around them, including me. I know the reason 'rules' don't seem to stick is I'm just not home enough to enforce them. I get home so late and am so tired I just have no energy to get upset. I have been telling myself the same thing you just told me... I may just have to live with it until I can get more time or money to change the situation. I would so hire a maid if I had the cash! :)
  5. livelovebreathe

    livelovebreathe New Member

    Thank you for this. My daughter with Aspergers doesn't receive any kind of benefits. I've wanted her to go back to counseling and get help there, figured they could show her the ropes on how to apply for all of that, disability or social security or whatever she might qualify for... so she could have some way to support herself.. but again it's like "mom, hold my hand and do it for me" all the time and I just find it hard to find time... even though we live within walking distance of the counselors she can go to (at the star program) for adults. Basically the County Mental Health offices. I understand and I've promised her soon I will take her over there, perhaps this coming Monday... she needs to call them this week, I have their number and go through the screening process, since she quit on them, they'll have to reassess her again.

    I'm going to make a new post in a moment with an update.... since this morning I couldn't take it anymore and I lost it... The info will be in that post under these.
  6. livelovebreathe

    livelovebreathe New Member

    So, a situation happened today... because I was working from home.... I went down stairs, on my 'lunch break' and saw the biggest messes all over my living room and kitchen... I lost it... I am too drained now to rehash it, earlier I talked to a friend in chat... this is our conversation. Even though I work from home sometimes I am on calls back to back and can't get up and leisurely do chores too.... I just felt too depressed to go into the office... my house is not 'super' bad,.. you know it's just ... it's time to do everything again: Dust, dishes, vacuum, trash, etc... it's all piling up and my kid's junk all over the house and plates with food still on it on the table from yesterday just made me lose it... anyways... here's the conversation, and the drama of my life today:

    Shawn, I have a mommy question for you
    one only a mother can answer.

    ask away

    Me: Okay... so... I need advice


    Me: My kids are lazy, and they never want to do chores... I am so easy going, that I work, I go to school, I come home, I clean, I do all this... and I am getting to the point where I am feeling angry and resentful, because I just feel like they don't treat this place like a nice home, but more like a dump... it's always getting thrashed and no one wants to help, it's always "i didn't do it,.. or it's not my mess..." etc... everyone makes the messes... My issue is, I get home so late, and am so tired.... I can't deal with it, I don't wanna yell or scream or make demands... or anything I just want to come home to a peaceful place, and not be the sole contributor to all the rent and all the cleaning, since I live with adults. My kids are 23, 20, 17 all soon to be 24,21,18 this year... and one 22 year old ex boyfriend of my oldest, is living here... they eat my food, they use my house, they make huge messes and I am the only one that seems to care... help!?
    I don't know what to do.. I hold it all in, and it bottles up and then like today I just explode on them and tell them they're all gonna have to move out I can't take it anymore.. and they're all upset at me now ... shaking and crying and they just totally jam session cleaned the house.. and I feel so guilty and bad that I yelled at them. I never do that. I just want their respect about this home and not have to let it get so dang bad all the time...

    set rules and stick to them!
    I had to with my daughter and she is 21
    I don't even work and I was killing myself to keep up! and I finally put my foot down

    Me: I've tried to set rules, it never works out.... I don't know .. .I think it's because I'm never home... and when I come home they know I'll be too wore out and tired to nag them at 11pm or midnight about the messes.
    it's like "mom's not home, lets party" all the damn time.

    yeah not good and you need to say its my way or the highway!
    tough love its hard to do

    Me: the thing is... I'm struggling just to pay rent and bills and they don't even help with rent or bills... just lazy and stingy with their money.

    but you are a strong woman

    Me: Yes, but I am not a yelling person, nor a demanding person, I can't manage people.. I don't like to tell people what to do.. I hate that at the bottom of my core. I just want them to 'want' to have a clean home, to 'want' to do nice things like help me out... but they're so self centered and in their own worlds they could care less about it ... seems like...
    I don't know how to do this. I need counseling I think haha
    Seriously... for depression related to holding in so much anger and resentment all the time against them. Every time I clean the house now I just feel like throwing all their crap in the trash. lol
    I hold all that anger in and just keep being sweet nice mom.
    I'm about to explode and go viral on their butts.
    I told them today "I rage quit!"
    I said, I do not want to live where with you all anymore, you all need to move out I am done being everyone's slave.
    I lost it.
    I don't think they knew what to do.. I am sure they were upset to see me get that mad, I never do that to them... never.

    well you need to lose it
    my daughter is the exact same way!
    And I have had it!

    Me: I called my boyfriend crying, I said "Honey, I lost it on the kids." He said 'Are they finally cleaning the house?" I cried "Yes.." He said "Good, good job baby." haha

    awwww I love that
    I do the same with my husband call him crying

    Me: I said "But I feel so guilty, I yelled at them, I don't like yelling, and I made them cry and they looked scared and I don't like to see that, I feel so guilty... I feel like they're going to be angry at me now.." He said "They have no right to be angry with you... they are the ones who pushed you too far..."

    exactly he is right!

    Me: He told me he was proud of me for getting on their cases, but I just bawled and said "That's not me though... I don't want to live that kind of life, I don't want to yell at people... and I don't want to feel anger or upset and I don't want to live with people who take advantage of me... it hurts. I'd never do that to anyone, and my kids know that and they see how push over I am and they take liberties and they take advantage why would they do that? Don't they love me?" I was soooooo upset.

    yes my daughter gets upset and cries
    but I finally stood my ground

    Me: haha I am such a mess today all crying.
    I think the reason I don't like to yell is because my mom used to yell at me and my sister all the time for way less than I yelled about today and I used to feel like yelling was so inappropriate... and when I grew up I'd never be that way. I think that's why... ugh.
    I just don't know how to get them to empathize with me... or want to keep this place clean... they're spoiled with me, why would they want to trash my home all the time... just doesn't make sense how they would even want to be in the living room with as messy as they make it.
    My room is always super clean... and when I'm home they all wanna be in here where it's clean haha
    That shows me they don't like the messes but they don't mind making them and don't wanna clean them.
    Maybe I should try to find a person who is like a family counselor
    and get all the kids together with me and go see that person.
    I need intervention! These kids need boot camp!

    i agree counseling might work well
    they need to realize what you do for them and if putting it in their face is the only way then that is what is needed
    I really feel for you!
    i have been there
    again the old me before my accident would of let it happen and I would of been just like you
    the new me since my brain injury is no longer like that

    Me: I think I should tell them how hard this struggle is for me... taking loans out just to pay rent... and trying to work two jobs and go to school and coming home to so much messes makes me not even want to bother continuing all this unnecessary stress... that to me it's just not worth it to take out loans to pay rent, when the people who are benefiting (them) aren't even making it worth my while!

    Yes you should!
    and if they are able they should really be helping you in one way or another
    seriously - if it can't be financially then it needs to be to keep that house spotless and cooking

    Me: I am not home enough to enjoy this place that I pay for, I would be happy in a one room studio.

    yeah... exactly....

    Me: they seem to think since I always pay rent and bills that I am not struggling.. they don't see the scary nature of the truth, because I don't want them to realize how I live paycheck to paycheck and how one little thing goes wrong and we'd be homeless.. I don't want that stress on them.. I try to keep everything taken care of, I take out loans, work, borrow from Rico... etc.. I'm really way over budget all so they can have some place to call home that is nice and not cramped.
    it's hard in California, it's super expensive here...
    and even low income housing like this is expensive.
    (for me) but I appreciate your listening.. ugh sometimes these kids have no idea how much I love them and how much I let them get away with so they never have to feel bad or guilty or restrained or anything.. I just want them to respect our home.They're super good kids, don't do drugs, are not in trouble with the law, are artistic and all that but damn are they clueless to their messes.. haha

    You a truly like a wonder Mom even if you don't think so
    they are so blessed and fortunate to have you and they need to appreciate that!
    I am sad that they take you for granted
    some one needs to bring this to their attention such as what if Mom was unable to do all this? then what would we do?

    Me: awe!

    you go above and beyond lady!
    they are adults and you are still caring for them as if they are young children
    time to make them step up some

    Me: My own mom told them that they're lucky to have me as a mom.


    Me: I think they know it.. I think they do... their friends always tell them too

    but they need to show it
    that is the thing
    and they are not
    and it is hurting you and causing you undo stress

    Me: Yeah... they probably have no idea it's upsetting me as much as it is, since I try to hold in my upset and don't show it... and I just let things slide so much and not nag.. I don't nag at all. I feel I shouldn't have to resort to that...

    well you shouldn't and wouldn't if they were stepping up

    you need to remind the kids they are now adults and should consider taking on jobs and such to be able to help out especially if you all are going to live together
    with expenses being so high in Cali it takes all people in the house that are able to work to help

    Chat Conversation End