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Question
Posted by: Embarrassed | 2011/01/20

Embarrassing habits of my mother

Hi

My mother is 69 and she lives with me. I am single at the moment. When we are alone we wear old clothes to slop around the house in (I suppose like we all do). However even if I tell her in advance that someone is coming around be it a service provider or a friend or even a man I am keen on, she dresses the same. I was cringing in embarrassment as she wore a stained old (almost sheer) tank top with no bra (and she needs to) and cut off pair of cotton trousers (also stained). She sits in her chair and kind of hides or waves to whoever it is. One young service provider has not time for her and she says he is rude, but since she dresses like this I wonder what she expects? I told her this morning that I was so embarrassed and I don''t care what she wears around the house when we are alone but I expect her to dress properly and look decent when anyone comes around. She took it really badly and told me I am rude (I''m 45). I said we have been through this before. Your cupboard is full of clothes. She wants to now stay in her room. I said if you want to make like an old woman then you can have what you want and go into an old age home that smells of urine, unwashed bodies, soup cooking and shuffle up and down the passage. She has her own car, beautiful clothes (I work for a retailer) and is an attractive woman. There is zip wrong with her mind or body. She also likes to wipe herself as she feels she only has to shower every 2nd day even when it is like 36 outside. I am sick and tired of this. How do I handle it? Speaking to her gently does not work, neither does writing to her, neither does SMS, so I finally said you are an embarrassment and must shape up on your personal hygiene etc.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

You are, apparently, certain that she is physically and mentally fit ( has she inded had a proper check-up to make sure of this ? ) It sounds very like either a depression or a dementia, or both. If so, then this is a behaviour problem.
To let go and be sloppy when alone at home is any adult's privilege, but it is usually to spruce oneself up a bit when visitors are expected. Rather than nagging her, have you tried calmly asking her why she does this when it clearly distresses others ? ( And part of the problem may be that while she doesn't feel bothered, and maybe most visitors are not bothered, maybe its your own sense of pride that is most wounded ? ) Does she feel it's not worth bothering ? Does she not enjoy dressing pleasantly in the good clothes she has ? Do you take her out - to visit friends, shops, whatever ) - and does she dress up then ?

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5
Our users say:
Posted by: Jamie | 2011/01/20

I shower every second day and no one has ever complained about my personal hygiene. Who says you have to have water running over you to be clean? My hubby and I also ''wipe'' on alternative days. Pretty clothes aren''t always comfy- maybe you should get some good quality, comfy ''sloppy'' clothes. At 69 years old she''s lived her life and doesn''t have to care but I do understand where you are coming from.

Reply to Jamie
Posted by: Romany | 2011/01/20

To Someone who will hopefully be old one day

Respect is a two way street. I understand Embarrassed''s concern.

Why don''t yu make an effort and NEVER slop around in your old clothes? Maybe she will catch on?

Reply to Romany
Posted by: Someone who will hopefully be old one day. | 2011/01/20

QUOTE
I said if you want to make like an old woman then you can have what you want and go into an old age home that smells of urine, unwashed bodies, soup cooking and shuffle up and down the passage.
She was right you are rude and disrespectful.Threatening her with putting her in an old agre home is hardly kind, loving or mature - shame on you. Be grateful you still have your mother.

Reply to Someone who will hopefully be old one day.
Posted by: Mouse | 2011/01/20

Hey,

My mother is similar. She is 60, so perhaps they fit into the same generation. She is a widow. She will be in her short, seethro jarmies with broekies on and go and greet the gardener, driver and maid. We work from home so also have people in and out the house.

When we go out she will put on shorts, tee shirt and takkies. She buys mainly mens clothes as she says ladies clothes do not fit her. It''s her taste I suppose. She grew up on a farm and was a tom boy.

I try to let it go, but it also bothers me. At least she does shower and wash her hair daily. Hope it works out for you.

Reply to Mouse
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/01/20

You are, apparently, certain that she is physically and mentally fit ( has she inded had a proper check-up to make sure of this ? ) It sounds very like either a depression or a dementia, or both. If so, then this is a behaviour problem.
To let go and be sloppy when alone at home is any adult's privilege, but it is usually to spruce oneself up a bit when visitors are expected. Rather than nagging her, have you tried calmly asking her why she does this when it clearly distresses others ? ( And part of the problem may be that while she doesn't feel bothered, and maybe most visitors are not bothered, maybe its your own sense of pride that is most wounded ? ) Does she feel it's not worth bothering ? Does she not enjoy dressing pleasantly in the good clothes she has ? Do you take her out - to visit friends, shops, whatever ) - and does she dress up then ?

Reply to cybershrink

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