Ask Amy: Mom, confronting mess, needs to lose it
Dear Amy: My son married “Anna” two years ago, a few weeks before the birth of my grandson. They will probably be living with us for the next five years (at least) because of my son’s student loans.
My husband and I work full-time jobs and make a comfortable living.
I watch my grandson when I am not working. My son works full-time and Anna is taking online classes.
My house now looks like a day care center. Shoes, toys, clothing and takeout cups are strewn everywhere. Dirty dishes in the sink, and (worst of all) dirty diapers are left in a bag on the front porch — rather than walking 10 extra steps to the trash cans.
I cook two meals each day, clean the downstairs, mop and vacuum at least once a week. After two years of this, I am exhausted and frustrated.
Anna used to help me occasionally, but recently — she stopped.
It just seems as if the more we do, the less they do.
I feel as if I am walking on eggshells each day dealing with this.
How can I get them to be more helpful? — Exhausted
Dear Exhausted: “It just seems as if the more we do, the less they do.”
There you go. You’ve cracked the code.
First of all, your house doesn’t look like a day care center, because there, the adults clean up at the end of a workday.
I suggest that you stage a good, old fashioned breakdown. Stop walking on eggshells and LOSE IT. Lose all of it.
Get your husband on board, and practice in advance if you need to.
Take the couple on a tour of the downstairs: “Please pick up those cups and throw them away. Are these your dishes in the sink? You need to wash them. And these toys — please put them away.”
Move onto the porch, where you brandish the bag of dirty diapers.
Then give them the low-down: “Dad and I work. Every single day, we expect to come home to a tidy house. Every day. Furthermore, you two need to figure out how to get a meal on the table for the rest of the family. You can start by cooking for the household on Monday nights.”
Then you need to ride them like a carousel horse every single time this happens. Every time. The idea is to basically scare them into respecting the needs of the household — and then thank and praise them sincerely when they do.
Perhaps you should consider helping your son to pay off or refinance his college loans. Five more years is a very long time to ride this carousel.
Dear Amy: I’m in a monogamous heterosexual long-term relationship.
We live together. We aren’t well off financially, but we aren’t broke either.
My boyfriend is miserable at his low-paying job and recently expressed a desire to do “cam work” online as a quick way to make a lot of money.
To be clear — yes there is nudity involved. He says he won’t reveal his face and once he makes a certain amount, he’ll stop. I sympathize that it’s a tough time to look for a new job, but I told him I don’t support this idea and it would make me very uncomfortable. He says I’m being prudish and rigid and that it’s no different from regular modeling.
What do you think? — Not a Prude
Dear Not a Prude: If you define “regular modeling” as someone showing off a cozy sweater in a J.Crew catalogue, then I’d say doing “cam work” is actually radically different from that.
Nude cam work would, I assume, involve your guy posing, etc. at the request of viewers, who could then “tip” him. Your guy would become a virtual sex worker. I can understand why this would make you uncomfortable, because your partner would be participating in an experience where he was being objectified for the gratification of strangers.
You’ve been honest about your discomfort and he has branded you “a prude.”
You don’t control him. You’ll have to see what choices he makes, and then make your own.
Dear Amy: “Worried Mom” wondered how her college-age daughter could be occupied during a COVID-19-inspired “gap year.” Thank you so much for suggesting that she take classes at her local community college! These institutions are a wonderful low-cost educational resource. — Grateful
Dear Grateful: I hope that — during this challenging time — many four-year students will discover the value of their local community college.