It’s sad but true, women will put up with a lot of crap. But it seems like one thing is very universally unacceptable — when an adult man lives with his mother.
Remember in Sex and The City when Carrie discovered that her latest guy shared a beautiful apartment with his parents?
Samantha: He lives with his parents?
Carrie: It’s their apartment.
Samantha: So not sexy honey. Dump him immediately. Here — use my cell phone.
Season Three, Episode 15.
Carrie didn’t dump him immediately, because she liked him, his parents were friendly and brought them food and he was a struggling business owner.
Once she realized, however, that Power Lad was still a child in the household, governed by his parents’ rules, and that he was not saving money but actually spending it on really good pot, well it eventually ended.
I haven’t had one of these, but this guy is just out of school, has his first real job or is looking for one. He’s recently discovered, “Dude, they want first and last month’s rent and security before I move in? That’s a lot of money.” Yeah dude, better get a bank account.
Acceptable: If he is saving for his own place.
Unacceptable : If his Mom still does all his laundry, cooks all his meals, he drives her car and he routinely buys rounds for everybody at the local bar.
2. Break Up Guy
So the marriage/relationship didn’t work and he moved out of the home, leaving the kids (if any) with their mother. Suddenly he’s homeless. You can’t sleep on somebody’s couch forever and his married buddies are not taking him in long-term . . . so . . . he moves in with his mom.
Acceptable: If he is providing financial support to his kids, someone has filed for divorce, and he is actively looking for his own place.
Unacceptable: If he visits the kids at the marital home “overnight.”
3. Norman? Older guy taking care of his elderly or sick mother.
This guy still lives in his home town, and may even have a good job and his own place. But his mother is getting older, or has taken ill. Maybe she’s widowed or divorced, either way she’s alone and probably should not live that way. So he, like a champ, gives up, sublets, or keeps his place — but he moves in with this mother. He is probably a good guy, but depending on his mother’s condition, this could go on indefinitely.
Acceptable: If the mom is really sick.
Unacceptable: If the mom goes out more often than he does.
4. Ethnic/Large family/family business guy or filthy rich blue blood guy
This guy works in his family business. So does everybody else. They all live in the large family home. If you were to marry him, you might live there too for a bit. Ironically, this also happens in blue blood very rich families or royalty, “Chad” will move back to the main house while interning for “Daddy’s” company. Except in that case Chad’s bedroom could probably accommodate most of the ethnic guy’s family and their business.
Acceptable: If he wants to have his own family one day.
Unacceptable: If he buys a dog. (There’s no way he’s thinking about leaving if he’s recently acquired a dog.)
5. Grad school student guy. This is a guy getting an advanced degree, perhaps a professional degree. He studies all the time. He lives with his parents because he can’t justify paying rent only to be conscious there a couple of hours a day. He reasons, “Why pay for a city apartment just to study and occasionally sleep there?” — especially true for medical students or interns. This arrangement is almost always temporary, and, frankly, worth the investment. One day he’ll graduate — and probably get a damn good job.
Acceptable: If he is actually in school.
Unacceptable: If he is merely planning to get back to school. Look for that acceptance letter.
You see, a guy living with his momma should be given an opportunity to explain. It should not be a deal breaker– at least not until you know the underlying reasons and can access the likely duration of the living “arrangement.”
But here are the red flags I don’t believe anyone should ignore:
1. He has a basement “room” completely set up where he pursues his personal interests — music, computers, lifting weights. Yeah, this dude has set up house. He ain’t going nowhere.
2. He works from home, yet there is no home office, desk, or computer and he has no cell phone.
3. He’s mentioned that he hopes to inherit the house.
4. He has never actually said he plans to move. Pay attention to the silences. The silences are very important.
Just Me With . . . no momma dwellers at the moment: one is estranged, “If I’d Married My Stalker,” the other is a very special friend, “We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy — Almost F*cked to Death”
I hadn’t been well. I hadn’t been taking care of me. I admit. I was depressed. I was underweight. I hadn’t been sleeping, I hadn’t been eating. This was mid-separation but before divorce proceedings had begun. It was also before we had a visitation order and my then husband did not take the kids out much, instead he would visit our marital home. I don’t remember why the kids weren’t there. It may well have been the first time he did take them. I honestly have no recollection of why the kids were not home — that never happened — so I had a visitor. Our relationship is not relevant to this story, but he is a good guy and he spent the night. It may have been the first time I’d had a visitor since my separation. It had been a while.
We didn’t get much sleep.
I was in actual pain the next day. Afraid I had contracted a horrible disease I called my best friend, who happens to be a gynecologist. She said it was probably just irritation. Did I mention it had been a while?
It got worse. I started spotting. Damn, this can’t be good, I thought. When I described the latest symptoms to my doctor friend, she said, I needed to be seen immediately. (She’s never been my personal gynecologist, that would just be too weird).
By this time, I had frequent and painful urination, along with the bleeding. I was so uncomfortable. When I finally got to my gynecologist, I was given a diagnosis of urinary tract infection and a prescription for antibiotics. I’m a little prone to urinary tract and bladder infections. I had them while pregnant and had them as a child. I knew the drill. Since I now had my antibiotics, I’d assumed I’d get better.
I started to have flu symptoms . . . fever, chills. After a couple of days, I’d become a little disoriented, had trouble driving , and was sensitive to light. I felt like crap.
But mothers can’t get sick so I tried to play it off. Plus I was taking antibiotics, I just needed, I thought, for them to kick in.
I got progressively worse. I got more feverish and my head felt like it was splitting. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink. I hurt all over. I’ve taken care of the kids before with the flu, but this was debilitating.
Finally I called my mother to help me with the children because I had trouble getting out of bed. She took care of them during the day and I stayed in my room — feverish. She checked on me a bit but her attentions were with the kids. Confined to my room, I got progressively worse.
During this time in the separation process, on some days the ex would drop by to see the kids in the late afternoon. He did so, relieving my mom for a couple of hours, but I don’t think I got out of bed. He left by nighttime.
But it was Just Me With . . . my five kids. I was the only adult in the house. And I was very, very sick.
Taking Tylenol and forcing fluids did not bring down my fever and the antibiotics seemed to do nothing. I still had painful frequent urination and was barely making it to the bathroom. Laying down caused excruciating pain in my head. Sitting up was still painful but not quite as bad. So I sat, without television, reading material, or music. I just sat on my bed in a darkened room, shivering.
My first set of twins told me they had checked on me that night. They said when they peeked in my room I was sitting up with my eyes open and my arms flat and motionless at my sides, palms up. My eyes must have rolled back into my head because my children told me that though my eyes were open, they only saw the whites of my eyes, and I was not responsive. They said I had no color in my face, that I looked completely white.
“We thought you were dead, mommy.” They said.
Ugh. My poor babies. They thought they were in the house with their dead mother.
“So what did you do?‘ I asked later.
“We ran back into our room and got under our beds.”
My poor babies. I think they were maybe eight years old at the time.
Later, “Baby B” twin convinced “Baby A” twin to go back and check on me again. (“Baby B” twin is always convincing the other kids to do things . . . there was an incident with an open window . . . but I digress . . .) When “Baby A” twin looked in on me, I was on my bed, but I had slumped over, with my arms still at my sides, and eyes still open.
So I hadn’t laid down —- I had tipped over. Yeah, I must have looked dead. My poor babies.
Frightened even more, the girls reportedly stayed up all night until they saw me get up to go to the bathroom early in the morning. I do remember going to the bathroom. I remember seeing them down the hall and not being able to speak.
When my mother came again later that day I told her I had to go to the doctor. But my mother doesn’t drive. My dad had dropped her off and left. He didn’t answer his phone. So . . . I drove myself. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I could have, should have, called a neighbor or friend, but I wasn’t thinking straight. My mother didn’t know how sick I was, since she had spent most of her time with the kids. I think she was just relieved that I agreed to go back to the doctor. Luckily, he doctor’s office was less than two miles away, though I distinctly remember considering pulling over to rest.
When I finally arrived, my doctor took one look at me and said,
“I think you need to be in the hospital. How did you get here?”
He was horrified that I had driven myself . They sat me in a wheelchair while the nurse got a hold of my dad who drove me to the hospital. I stayed for four days. I had a kidney infection. I had never been that ill in my life.
If I hadn’t gotten to the doctor, I very well could have died right there in my house, alone with my kids down the hall.
My poor kids, traumatized by spending a whole night thinking their mom had died in her bed. To this day, years later, they check on me at night. If I am sick they check on me often.
“Mommy, are you okay?”
I eventually recovered, though I was weak for quite some time. My body was run down by my depression, the physical problems that resulted from it and my complete lack of self-care. I was a mess.
In a way, it was a learning experience. I had to have the discussion with my children about where to go and what to do and who to call should they be worried that something has happened to me. They should never have to suffer through the night thinking their mom is dead. It still makes me shudder, my poor babies. The whole experience forced me to realize that I would indeed be the only adult in the house for an indefinite period of time and that the kids need to know what to do should something happen to me.
I’m all they have. It’s a little scary.
Plus, I felt guilty. My serious illness and the traumatic experience to my children were triggered by my having a “visitor” whose liveliness caused a urinary tract infection, which progressed to my kidneys, and landed me in the hospital.
I couldn’t catch a break.
So ends the tale of me almost getting f**ked to death. And you wonder why I’m a little hesitant to get out there.
Just Me With . . . . a lover, a kidney infection, and reports of my death slightly exaggerated.
I later told my visitor that he could claim bragging rights to almost f*cking a woman to death. He was not amused. He’s a good guy.
The Hallmark Holiday of Mother’s Day is fast approaching. The advertisements for flowers and candy, and brunches and jewelry, are popping up more quickly than the weeds in my yard. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against honoring motherhood, sisterhood, and female nurturing. It’s all good. But I have long maintained that it works best for the mothers of adult children (preferably child-free) who are in the position to do things for their mom that their mom might actually want and in this way show appreciation for everything their mother has done over the years — the kind of appreciation you usually only understand after you’ve grown up. Before my kids came, and back when I had disposable income (sigh), I used to take my Mom to a fancy brunch in the city. It was nice.
At the other end of the spectrum of motherhood, mothers of babies and small kids usually love the home- and school-made cards and trinkets and hand prints of the little ones. I know I did. These new moms usually also hope their husband or significant other will give them “a day off” of mothering. A little ironic. Moms of intact families often want to hear this from their men:
“I’ll take the kids, I got this. You do nothing, I mean NOTHING — no cleaning, no meals, no laundry. We will bring you food.“
That’s a beautiful thing, if someone can do that for a mom. Of course, those newer mothers, if they are lucky enough to still have their mother alive and close by, have to go to the mother thing for her, so it is not a day to stay in bed all day watching trash TV and surfing the net.
Single mothers of course, have a whole different thing going on. They might have to haggle to even see their own children on Mother’s Day, depending on the calendar, the court order and the relationship with the Ex. And, unless the kids are grown, any celebration must be engineered, paid for, and cleaned up after — by her. A single mom might want a day off, too, but having the kids celebrate Mother’s Day elsewhere . . . well, that’s not quite right, either. And like the married mom, if the single mom has a mother, she has to do for her, too. Conclusion? Different situations call for different celebrations.
But let me take you back to a time when I had a husband and either one or three babies. Can’t remember. I think just one, but it wasn’t my first Mother’s Day. My then husband (kinda like the sound of that . . . but I digress) went out and got me a card. Kids weren’t old enough to do it on their own. It was nice of him. He didn’t always know how to do things like this. He was brought up without a father so he had no role model in the home for how a husband should treat the mother of his children. I don’t give him a pass because of this, it’s just a fact. It’s a fact easily remedied by reading, looking at TV, or copying what he sees good husbands do. It’s not that hard.
Another fact? Attention to detail was never his strong suit.
Like I said, different situations, different celebrations . . . even different cards.
Clearly my husband shopped in the wrong section of the Hallmark Cards display.
He got me a card that said,
“Happy Mother’s Day!
Our family is so much better . . . now that you’re in it.”
Yep, that’s right folks, he got his wife, the mother of his children, a card for a Stepmother.
Alrighty then. I mean, damn, I think I was still nursing somebody at the time . . . and I got a Stepmother’s Mother’s Day Card. And no, he didn’t accidentally mix up the card he bought for his own stepmother. He had no stepmother.
He bought that card for me.
I read it. I read it again. I read it TO him. He gave me one of those embarrassed laughs and apologized, but not profusely. I kept that card for a time, but of course, did not display it. I just couldn’t believe it. I mean, damn. I was a new mom, and it kinda hurt. I do give him credit for getting me a card. I know there are some guys who don’t do that for their wives. I probably would have been mad if he’d done nothing. But there are plenty of men who do the right thing — with precision. So many things would have been better. Flowers, a single flower, even those nasty flowers that are sold on the highway — would have been better. No words, no careless mistakes.
He took the time to get me a card.
Didn’t take the time to read it, though.
It was long ago . . . but it still smarts a little bit.
Just Me With . . . The Worst Mother’s Day Card . . . Ever.
Postscript: I thought this was the most insensitive thing he could have done on Mother’s Day. I was wrong. See “How I Found Out That My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married”
The day I became a mother — otherwise known as my son’s birthday — is today. He’s 15. I haven’t had a good week with my Ex-husband, and my episodic depression is rearing its ugly head, so I’m a little more pensive than usual. I think back to my fears when I was pregnant that first time. I’d read too many magazines and seen too many articles, not unlike what we all see today online, about how having children takes the spontaneity out of life, that romance dwindles. I was an employment attorney at the time so I dealt daily with glass ceiling issues and the “Mommy Track” — so while I was ridiculously happy about having this planned child, I was also afraid that it would ruin my career, finances, body, sex life, and marriage. Maybe I was just being a nervous mother-to-be after having been child-free for so long, maybe it was just the pregnancy mania. Maybe somewhere deep inside I had reason to be insecure. Never in my wildest nightmares, however, would I have imagined not having a birthday dinner with my son on his birthday because it is Daddy’s day for that. That was never part of the plan.
So now, I wait. I had to tell the Ex that I got a cake so that he wouldn’t beat me to the punch. (It wasn’t supposed to be like this). And the boy will be so tired from having had school, sports and straight with his Dad; he probably won’t have much time for me anyway. Still, I’ll go through the tradition of a cake and small gifts. I’ll have his friends over another time. I made a Happy Birthday poster last night. One of the sisters helped decorate it. I don’t always do things like that, but I’m feeling so vulnerable these days, and I’m noticing that we don’t celebrate things enough, especially since the separation and especially since the move to smaller digs. So I made a poster. I wanted to find a newborn picture of him to attach. It was a little bittersweet to see those pics of me, the Ex and the newborn baby boy. We were so happy. We had no idea what we were doing. We had no idea what was down the road.
But now I sit. I grew him in my belly, I birthed him, I nursed him. Yet my rights are determined by a mutually agreed upon (ha!) court order. Damn. Told you I was feeling a little blue. But I’m alone now. I’m allowed. I’ll pull it together for the little celebration. In case you’re wondering, the Ex and I have, in the past, shared some holidays/celebrations, but it stopped working, it really never did. Why that is the case is beyond the scope of this post. So now it is what it is. I am, of course, thankful for a healthy, happy first-born. He changed my life. He’s a good kid.
So Happy Birthday, Boy. But this is more than his birthday, it is the anniversary of the day I became a mother, and all that that implies.
Just Me With . . . a birthday cake.