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Dear Lola,

I am having some difficulty with my mother. Lately, I feel as though she is taking advantage of my being a nice person. She will call me and ask me to bring her food from local drive thru restaurants, and then not offer to reimburse me for the meal when I deliver it to her. Since I live very close to her home, this has become a weekly favor. My mom is also asking me to come over to visit and then expect me to help her with the cleaning around her house. It’s all very simple things, like dishes and folding sheets, but I have my own home to take care of also.

How can I tell my mother that I don’t want to continue to be called for favors?

Nice in Nashville

Dear Lola

Dear Nice in Nashville,

Normally I would answer with my usual light-hearted humor, but this question seems like it is more serious than my usual fare. I am therefore going to hold off on my banter and give you some much-needed clarity of the situation.

Your mother is lonely.

She calls you to ask you to bring her dinner once a week. Perhaps she is doing this because she wants one dinner with another human being each week, preferably her lovely daughter. So many mothers and daughters cannot get along well together, and you are very lucky not to have this problem. Since you have not indicated that you invite your mother over to your home for dinner, it seems like she is attempting to drop a major hint about her desire for human companionship. If bringing takeout each week is too costly, make your mother a meal and bring it to eat with her. You can also purchase some groceries and cook the meal together at her home.

Your mom fed you for years, repay that love.

Your mother may also need some assistance in maintaining her home. People get overwhelmed by the size of their home as they begin to need more frequent breaks and afternoon naps. You also have a home of your own to maintain, so I would recommend setting up a scheduled time that you come over to help your mother. This should help you to focus on it being about helping your mother when convenient to both of you, instead of a task you dread. It doesn’t appear she is asking you to clean up after her all night parties, but sheets can be beastly to fold with only one set of hands – especially when those hands are tired after years of cleaning up after you!

Mothers don’t last forever, enjoy these times together.


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