Post # 1
Ugh, so this is a difficult post to write, but I would like as many opinions on how to handle this situation as possible, so I’m going to try my best to get through it. My mother is not well… she is a severe alcoholic/drug abuser. And when I say severe, think of any alcoholic you’ve seen on “Intervention” and multiply that by 100. Yes, her behavior makes those people look not bad at all by comparison. She abuses prescription drugs including but not limited to Oxy, Percoset, Fioricet, Ativan, Serequil and the like. When she drinks, she drinks hard liquor, no mixer straight out of the bottle and more than one bottle, she also smokes marjiuana, and is in no way fit to be around a newborn.
However, she is deadset on traveling to Colorado (She is in PA) and coming to stay with me for a MONTH after the baby is born to “help me with the baby.” After my DH witnessed what I experienced the last time I tried to visit with her for a couple of days and she ran around naked for 6+ hours because she sh*t all over her clothes, in her bed, the bedroom floor and the bathroom floor and walked into my room twice naked, angry and refusing to put clean clothes on, my DH will absolutely not stand for her being in this house without her own personal “sitter.” I can’t watch a newborn constantly and HER constantly, and she could very easily burn down the house if not supervised. I mean this is a woman who last year got so messed up on pills and alcohol she jumped out a second story window (not trying to commit suicide, but trying to get past her husband downstairs to walk to the liquor store. Yes, she thought she could land it and walk a mile and back to liquor store) when instead she broke all the bones in both her feet, one of her legs, one of her arms and suffered a minor concussion. I have so many stories just like this one.
So long story short, I want her to be able to come see the baby, but only for a couple of days, and only if her husband is with her. She is always on her best behavior around him. The only problem is, I have NO IDEA how to tell her without hurting her feelings. She is very sensitive, and this could very well cause her to fall into another long, self-destructive binge. Any advice on what to say?
Post # 3
Ughhh, what a nightmare:( I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with this. Is she “aware” of her problem? By that I mean, when she’s not totally out of it, can she acknowledge that she has a problem and can be a bit to handle? If so, my advice would be to find a moment like that and just explain yourself as honestly as you can.
If not, I’d say let her husband take responsibility for it. I can’t imagine she can get herself to and from an airport, so if he books the trip she’ll have to go along with him. Maybe even have him tell her that they’re coming for a longer period of time that they are, then just “change the plan” once they’re in CO. I have dealt with a similar situation and usually we just try to play it off like “no, <grandmomma>, we’ve ALWAYS planned on leaving this day- you must be remembering it wrong.”
Again, so sorry you’re have to worry about this:(
Post # 4
I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this. It must be terrible to see yoru mother put herself in such a state. Is there anyway you can talk directly to her husband about it? He must understand how she can be and maybe he could insist on going with her, without her ever knowing that you requested he come? Another angle might be trying to gently explain to your mother that you are so grateful she wants to come help, but that this is a time for you and your DH to get used to your new role as parents and so whle you will happily accept her help, you would prefer if she stayed in a hotel so you could get into your own routine and have some privacy as a family. If she’s staying in a hotel, Ì imagine she won’t want to stay for an entire month and you making it about your needs as a new family and not about her substance abuse problems.
Post # 5
I am so sorry you are going through this. I would refuse for her to be in my house for longer than a day. No matter what. You dont need to worry about her (even if she was in a local hotel) and a newborn. If you did decide to take her in, I would search her up and down for drugs, empty the house of alcohol and OTCs, and ban all smoking. Give her some rules and if she breaks any of them, get her out asap.
Post # 6
@PandasWifey: Can/Will her husband come? I agree with @MRSLMA: So sorry you are dealing with this with your mom.
Post # 7
What a tough situation. You told the story about what happened the last time she visited for a couple of days and that sounds like too much to me to have around a newborn.
How unreasonable would it be to hire someone, a nurse or other medical helper, to be there when your mom visits? I would want her watching the baby every second when grandma was around.
Post # 8
I’m so sorry you are dealing with this! My husband is a grateful recovering addict so I know the kind of antics and insantiy that can prevail as “normal” when you are dealing with an addict.
If you are set on your decision to have her come out for a few days with her husband (remember – you don’t HAVE to do even this if it makes you uncomfortable but you seem OK with it) then I don’t think you need to walk on eggshells. Presuming you are set and comfortable with your decision, then I think you can just be blunt and honest.
I have to share with you though the most important thing I’ve leraned about addiction. We as the loved ones are never responsible for their behavior. They have a disease and until they take responsibility for it and get help, the insanity will continue. We did cause it, we can’t control it, and we can’t cure it. Nothing we say or don’t say or do or don’t do can make them better or make them worse. It’s all on them. So being honest with her isn’t going to cause her binge. Her addiction will cause her binge. She may even say it’s because her feelings are hurt, but they become experts in manipulation and blaming others. You have to do what’s right for yourself and the other relationships in your life that are still healthy. I know it’s easier said than done!
Post # 9
Honestly? She sounds toxic. I don’t think you should have her come at all. You saying she can’t come won’t cause her to spiral. That is her addiction – manipulation! I’m very sorry that you have had to deal with all this and hope your mother is able to get the help she needs someday.
Post # 10
1. I’m sorry you have to deal with this dynamic in your family.
2. I don’t think you should concern yourself with her “sensitivity”. You are a new mom, and your first responsibility is to care for your new baby.
3. I don’t think she should be permitted to sleep in your house with a newborn. If you can afford it, I suggest that you chip in for a hotel/motel for 2-3 nights and let her stay there during her visit. If she wants to stay longer, she can pay for additional nights. Regardless of their relationship to me, I would not be comfortable allowing such a volatile person stay in my house with an infant.
4. Again, if she wants to be sensitive and have hurt feelings, that is HER PROBLEM, not yours. You should feel much guiltier for exposing your baby to this sort of behavior than for offending your mom. The safety of an innocent, helpless baby trumps the hurt feelings of an out-of-control adult.
5. I don’t think you should get into searching for drugs, etc. Either you trust her, or you don’t.
Post # 11
I agree with some PPs, one of the consequences of her actions will be that she won’t be allowed to do an extended visit with her grandchild. Unfortunately you have to be the bad guy, which can’t be fun for you, but your first loyalty needs to be to your child. Only when faced with the consequences of her actions will she “hit rock bottom” and decide to allow help. I have some personal experience with this and I know that it can be so hard to seemingly turn your back on a family member that needs so much help. But forcing them to live their choices is really in their best interest.
Post # 12
@PandasWifey: If I remember correctly, you’ve had quite a difficult pregnancy, correct? I really think that it’s admirable that you’re concerned about how your mom will feel (and TOTALLY normal!). But you have already had a really stressful pregnancy and cutting out additional sources of unavoidable stress will probably be the most healthy option.
If it were up to you, what would the best REASONABLE scenario be? Mom and her hub staying at a hotel? Not coming at all? Etc. Whatever your true feelings are, that’s what I would go with.
Post # 13
This sounds like a very tought situation and I’m so sorry you are going through this. Simce her behavior doesn’t seem to be a secret I would talk to her husband and tell them to stay at a local hotel and visit during the day with his supervision. If this is something that you feel too stressed to handle, I’m sure your husband would step in. You need to worry about you and the baby, someone else has to take care of your mother. While your mother might be upset since your husband is the only one who can handle her then I would just try to work with him.
Post # 14
Wow, lots of responses to catch up on, and some great advice. I appreciate it so much. To address some of what everyone said:
@MRSLMA: You are correct about my having a difficult/stressful pregnancy thus far, and also right in your assumption that having her around will only increase that stress. She will be more of a harm than a help for sure. The saddest part is she has the best intentions – yes she knows she has a problem – it’s been this way for as long as I’ve been alive, but she always still THINKS she can control herself until she finds out she can’t and at that point the people she loves are already hurt.
@chastenet: I like the idea of discussing this with her husband without her. He and I have a good relationship, despite the fact that he is a bit of an enabler. He is well aware of the problem and might not mind “volunteering” to go with her for a couple of days. Thanks!
@phillygirl629: I have learned the same thing about addiction. Again, my mother has been this way for as long as I’ve been alive and my two sisters and I have tried so many times to help her… but you just can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves, so our efforts only end up enabling her. We have accepted the fact that after this long, she is never going to change and she will most likely die before her time because of the addiction. Since I’ve moved and don’t see her as often, every time I do see her I wonder if it will be my last. At the end of the day, she is still my mother, and a part of me still loves the person I know she can be when she’s sober. She is one of the most loving and generous people I’ve ever known, beautiful, smart and funny…. I often wonder what I would have grown up as had I been raised by “the real her.” I want to give this baby everything I would have had if she had been a capable mother (I was raised by my father), a house like the one she made for us, and the same self-lessness I’ve seen in her during the few good times.
That being said, as much as it scares me, I don’t want to deprive her of the chance to meet her grandchild. I just want it to take place in the safest environment possible.
@ElbieKay: I didnt’ even think about the sleeping situation 🙁 If the baby cries and no one wakes up but her she might try to go “help me” and take care of it, regardless if I tell her not to. Frick, I almost wish I could just lock her in her room at night if she comes! This is so difficult.
Post # 15
Wow, this sounds like such a tough situation. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. Your child’s well being and SAFETY is your very first concern. I would absolutely not allow your mother to stay in your house if you feel she could put your baby in danger. Plus, you will have enough to worry about trying to take care of a newborn, and then trying to add baby sitting your mother into the picture. Sounds like too stressful of a situation to put yourself through. I like the other’s idea of putting her in a hotel for a couple of days and having the husband come along. Is there a chance this could all just blow over and she’ll forget about coming to stay for a month?
Post # 16
@PandasWifey: Ah good. I’m glad that you have that knowledge although it doesn’t make it easy. Often the newcomers in my support group will ask for advice on problems they are having and we always say, we don’t have the answers. But learning and understanding some basic things about addiction can make you more confident in making the tough decisions and staying true to yourself in the process. It sounds like you have the tools so you will get through this situation, no matter how it turns out!