Dear E. Jean: I’m 23, recently bought my first house, and my mother moved in. I pay all the bills. In return, she orders me around like I’m a child and insists I come home every night before one! Do I have to listen to this?—Mom’s Little Cash Machine
Cash, my dear: No young lady over the age of seven listens to her mother. (Hell, it takes 30 or 40 years of scalding emotional labor just to get her voice out of your head.) Tell her, “Ma, I love you; but you raised me to be an independent woman, and I intend to come and go as I please without taking any twitpiffle from you.”
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P.S.: Here’s a big kiss for buying a house at 23, you clever woman! Also, Deborah Tannen’s book, You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation, explains why mother-daughter communication is so exasperating. (When Mom says, “Be home by one,” she’s saying, “I worry, I care”; however, what you hear is the high-pitched squawk of a controlling bitchcarp. You’re both right.)
This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.