my mom keeps sending me job postings even though I’m happily employed

A reader writes:

I grew up with a classic helicopter Mom — overly involved and controlling of my life in every way. This has not stopped as I’ve grown into adulthood. All throughout college she would constantly send me emails filled with companies and links to apply for internships. I do, in part, have her to thank because it did motivate me to apply for internships (if not mostly out of annoyance to get her to stop). I ended up with great internships during my college summers and they nicely paved the way for me to land my current job.

I’m incredibly happy at my job. It’s in the exact field I want to be in, I really enjoy the work I’m doing, my coworkers are great people, and the company offers great benefits with lots of room for growth. I really lucked out for my first full-time position and can see myself at this company for a long time. Here’s the kicker — my helicopter Mom won’t stop sending me job applications! I still live at home to save money and she constantly makes comments like “I hear Company X is great, you should apply there!” Or “you should get a job with Company Y, they’re currently hiring.”

I’ve repeatedly told her that I’m happy in my current job and I don’t plan on leaving it any time soon, but she just laughs me off and doesn’t take me seriously. How do I get her to back off? I’m getting tired of having to defend my job when I should have a parent who’s happy her child is employed right out of college!

This is so not helpful to you, but this brought back memories for me of when I was in my early 20s and my dad used to send me job postings for jobs in PR even though I was very happy in my nonprofit job and had no interest in working in PR. He just figured it would pay more and they wouldn’t ask me to perform civil disobedience (he was Not Happy about that part of my job), and he chose PR because he thought they might hire me because I could write. Aggggh, I miss him.

Anyway. Have you tried explaining to her that it would actually harm you professionally to leave right now? I’m not sure how long you’ve been in this job, but if you’ve been there for under two years, it might help to explain to her that in your field, it would harm your reputation to leave a job so soon. (Throwing in the “in my field” is to discourage her from countering with her own contradictory experience. You can even bulk that up with “all my mentors agree that it would be harmful.”) It might also help to outline the path for growth that you see there and what timeline for growth is realistic in your field, in order to try to calibrate her expectations better. To be clear, you shouldn’t have to justify your lack of interest in changing jobs … but with a parent who’s so invested in your choices, it might set her at ease if she hears your reasoning and that you have a well-thought out plan, as opposed to just staying there because you haven’t received enough of a push to leave.

Also, have you asked her why she keeps sending you job postings? If not, I’d do that too. As in, “Mom, you know I’m happy at my job and not planning on looking around anytime soon. What’s with all the job postings?” And if you don’t get a clear answer, then probe more: “Is there a reason you think I should be looking for another job?” Who knows, it’s possible that she’s been on auto-pilot with the constant stream of life guidance and she hasn’t stopped to realize that what she’s doing doesn’t make sense. More likely, you’ll hear that she doesn’t think you earn enough, or that you could be moving up faster somewhere else, or that you should “always be looking.”

I wonder, too, if you’ve directly asked her to stop. If you haven’t, you should. You’re allowed to say something like, “Hey, can I ask you to stop sending me job postings? I’ll let you know if I’d welcome them at some point in the future, but right now I’m not interested in applying for other jobs, and this feels like a weird point of contention between us.” If her comments have been truly overwhelming, there’s also “I want to enjoy our conversations and not feel like I’m going to have to fend off career discussions. Can we table this topic? I promise I’ll tell you if I ever do want help or advice.”

If none of that works, then you’re left with the time-honored technique that all healthy children of pushy parents eventually come to: ignoring it. She sends you job postings, you delete. She tells you that you should apply for a job with Company X, you say “hmmm, interesting” and then move on.

There is one caveat here though, which is that because you’re living with her, you do have to consider that she might be motivated — at least in part — by wanting you to move out sooner. If she’s providing any financial support (including free or subsidized housing), that does give her a stake in your financial decisions that she wouldn’t otherwise have. If there’s any possibility that’s the case, it’s worth asking her directly: “Do you want me to change jobs so that I move out on my own more quickly?” If the answer there is anything other than a resounding (and believable) “no,” that’s a discussion the two of you do need to have. But you should have it openly, not through coded messages in job ads.

{ 327 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. H.C.

    Oh, the living with Mom part (which wasn’t apparent in the letter) def. does change my response too, partly because of what AAM mentioned, and partly because if I wasn’t living with her—I’d just automatically ignore Mom’s emails of job postings with a “Oh, thanks” reply.

    Reply
    1. H.C.

      oh, I read too fast – just saw the “I still live at home to save money” part on second read. But yeah, that part definitely changes it up.

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      1. Lisa

        Yep. Your mom thinks you have to live at home to save money because you aren’t being paid well enough. Therefore you need a new job that pays better so you can be an adult and live on your own. She’s still acting like your parent because you’re still acting like a child. If you want to change the dynamic, you’re going to need to assert yourself as an adult. The primary way to do that is to become self-sustaining, not relying on your parents to subsidize your housing costs.

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        1. peres

          AGREE! This is the issue. That and how to talk to your mother. This really isnt anything based on professional experience.

          And based on the OP’s letter, she sounds very naive and maybe her mother is just laughing when her daughter says “I can see myself here for years”, cause maybe it is really really naive, especially for the first job and having to live at home still.

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          1. Desdemona

            Or making plenty but living at home to save up the down payment on her first house? My fresh out of school colleague is doing exactly that.

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            1. krysb

              But there is a difference between living with your parents and being supported by your parents – though I don’t really know which LW is. The latter, though, does allow (for lack of better term) for a lot more parental control.

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              1. Desdemona

                I can’t argue with that, though I would say parent/child dynamics can be super difficult to navigate regardless of finances. My first mortgage was $200 cheaper than the rent my parents charged me while I was going to school; now that my parents are aging and becoming infirm, they’re living with me in my home, but my father still thinks he’s in charge of my life. And like the OP, he regularly recommends career changes for me, including suggesting jobs in areas where, if I did get the job, he’d balk at living, and offering his friends to hire me for their children’s open receptionist positions. I just bite my tongue and remind myself that as crazy-making as he can be, eventually he’ll be gone and (hopefully) I’ll miss him.

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                1. krysb

                  My dad does this with my car. I hit another car and dented the hood. Now, every time I see him, he tells me about how I should get it fixed. Personally, I don’t care and do not plan to ever get it fixed.

            2. ket

              My brother was doing that. Mom loved it as he helped with groceries and cleaning. Dad saw it as avoiding adulthood. Brother had to move out and rent, delaying down payment a bit, because of the relationship. It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making, living with your parents is living with your parents. How much money you’re making matters in other ways.

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            3. Anon anon anon

              It could be one of those situations where the mom has mixed feelings about her living at home. Maybe she’s happy about it most of the time but it also feeling the financial impact and having moments when she wants more space and time alone, or something like that.

              OP could ask about the impact of her living there and offer to help more with bills, chores, etc in exchange for an end to these emails.

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          2. New hiring manager

            Agreed with the first part of this. The “how do I talk to my parents?” and “how do I get my spouse to stop X?” aren’t really about the job world, they’re about your communication in your personal relationships.

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          3. Jenny

            It’s not necessarily naive to think she’d stay at this job for years, especially if she sees older colleagues who’ve been there for years (and since she said it has opportunities to move up). At my last job, many people started there right out of school and stayed for 10+ years. I don’t think we should dismiss OP as being naive.

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          4. taco_emoji

            Literally nothing about the LW’s letter struck me as naive, but I’m open to hearing why you came away with that impression.

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        2. aebhel

          Eh, that’s not necessarily true. Plenty of multigenerational households are perfectly successful; it’s a really tiresome and inaccurate idea that adults sharing living expenses with their parents are acting like children.

          That said, OP, it may not be possible for you to get your mother to treat you like an adult if you’re still living with her. One way to make it work is to make sure that you’re actually contributing to the household, not just coasting rent-free on your parents’ money–but in general, you need to renegotiate your relationship with your parents once you’re an adult, and that’s not always possible, especially in this culture, if you’re still living with them.

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          1. TootsNYC

            And “contributing” will be much more effective if it’s logistical, and proactive.

            Be the one who takes charge (without being reminded, ahem!!) of cleaning the LR and DR. Or the bathrooms. Or takes the garbage out promptly when it’s needed without ever being asked.

            Act like a grownup around the house. That’ll help.

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            1. aebhel

              Yep. When my brother was living with my parents, he cooked and cleaned and did most of the yardwork without being asked to; they didn’t charge him rent, but he was a contributing member of the household.

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              1. Hush42

                Yep, I live with my parents technically rent free while I go to grad school and work full time. But I cook and babysit my sisters and run them around to all their sports games and friends houses and what not. My mom make comments every once in a while about how she doesn’t know how they’ll make it all work when I eventually move out and can’t share in chauffeuring my sisters around as much.

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          2. Jessica

            I agree that there is an enormous difference between “Me and my parents split the bills 3 ways, and it works for all of us” and “I’m living at home and expecting not to have to pay to feed or house myself, because that’s what parents do for their kids, but I expect all the other privileges of autonomy”.

            Personally, I would not be okay with an adult, gainfully employed child living in my home, especially to save money for a down payment on a house. Sorry, but there are millions of people who live just fine in an apartment, and Kiddo can be one of them. (I don’t actually have kids.) I don’t care if it “makes sense”. Of course it “makes sense” to use OPM (other people’s money) for my own financial gain! That doesn’t mean I’m willing to be the one ponying up the dough. I don’t have enough dough for that.

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            1. Ahora

              I used to work with a woman who told her two grown sons (and by grown, I mean they were like 28 and 30, respectively) that it would be stupid for them to move out until they were married. Half of it was that she thought they’d be throwing money away on rent when they could save for a house, and half of it was that she did everything for them, so she didn’t want them living on their own and having to do for themselves when they could just have her do it all until they got a wife to take over.

              She was not my favorite person.

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              1. BeautifulVoid

                Oh, great, my mother-in-law has a clone. Mr. Void ignored her and finally got an apartment with me when we were 25 (and not even engaged! shock! horror!). His brother lived with her past the age of 30, when he finally bought a condo. As he is single, she still does his laundry for him and goes over to the condo to clean for him because he can’t possibly do it well enough on his own. Yeeeeeah.

                I love my in-laws and they could be a lot worse, but there’s a lot that makes me twitchy.

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            2. DDJ

              I’m very thankful that my parents let me move back home when I was 23, so I could save for a down payment. It meant that I could put 25% down on a house by the time I was 29 years old. Would I have been able to get a down payment together while paying rent somewhere else? Yes. I wouldn’t have done it at 29 though. But! I’ve known people who have lived at home well into adulthood because they’re “saving money to buy a house,” but they’re going out every night and spending money willy nilly. When I was living at home, I was putting upwards of 85% of my take-home pay into the down payment fund.

              But then, I was a contributing member of the household and DID pay rent/bills. So that makes a bit of a difference, I suppose.

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              1. Not So NewReader

                It’s different when the person is working at their goals to their utmost ability. Not saying that OP isn’t, this is just in general. If a friend wanted to stay with me, that would be fine as long as they were diligently working at their goals to become independent again. So the rule applies to many relationships, not just parent-child.

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            3. AKJ

              My mother started charging me rent the day I got my first job after graduating from HS, I was still seventeen. It wasn’t much, honestly, it was more symbolic – you are an adult now, it’s your responsibility to contribute to the household. Plus, my parents were not well-off and even my small contribution was helpful for them.
              I don’t have kids, but if I did I think I’d do the same thing. My mom charged me considerably less than market-rate, so I was still able to save money, and I got to live in a much nicer place than I otherwise would have been able to afford. It was a good deal all around, and my parents were trying to convince me to stay a little longer when I decided I was ready to move out.

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              1. TrainerGirl

                I lived with my parents for a few years after I graduated from college, and the rent I paid was more than their mortgage. I paid 1/3 of the utilities, cooked, cleaned, did laundry, etc. I was able to save money, pay off my car and bought a condo. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as long as you’re contributing to the household and saving money.

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              2. Julia

                I think parents charging their underaged children rent are horrible. They made the child, the child as a minor has to live with them (and didn’t choose to get born!), don’t charge it rent. Over 18 and graduated from high school? Different story.

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                1. aebhel

                  When families aren’t well-off, it’s a different story, though. I know a lot of people who had to contribute to household expenses with their high-school jobs; it wasn’t their parents bilking them, it was a matter of keeping the lights on and making sure there was enough money for groceries.

                2. AKJ

                  Well, to be fair to my mom, I graduated HS in June but didn’t turn 18 until September, so she only charged underage me rent for 3 months. I was working almost full time (30-35 hours a week), too.

            4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              Another way to make this work is for the parent to collect rent but to gift it back to the child (possibly as funding for their down payment?) when the child moves out. Of course, that only works if the parents don’t tell the child they’re planning to return their “rent” money.

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              1. Bagpuss

                I’m not a fan of that approach as it infantilises the child. If you want the money to be used for a down payment, why not be up front with your child? Tell them that you are willing to accept no / low rent provided that they are saving?

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            5. aebhel

              I mean, some people are fine with it, some aren’t. I moved out at 19, but my brother lived with my parents well into his twenties, while he had a good job, and he and my parents were both happy with the arrangement. He didn’t pay rent, but it wasn’t like it cost them any additional money for him to be living there, and it was useful for my aging parents to have someone around to help with the yardwork.

              I do think people abuse their parents’ goodwill sometimes, but I really think this is something that could be solved with an up-front conversation.

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            6. EOA

              I lived at home twice – once for three years out of college, at which I was able to save money that helped me in graduate school, and then in my late 20s, where I was able to save money for a condo. I was gainfully employed both times, and thankfully, my mother understood that part of being an adult is making fiscally responsible choices, rather than having arbitrary perceptions about “other people’s dough.” It’s beyond bizarre to me that you think parents like my own made the wrong choice in allowing me to live with them and save rather than forcing me to live in an apartment, which would have made the process that much more painful for everyone.

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            7. Jennifer Thneed

              In my area, apartments are probably as expensive as houses.

              Oh, and I’m talking about renting. I’ve always lived where lots of the houses are rentals. I really hate the “home vs apartment” way of thinking. (Conversely, it took me awhile to get my head around the idea of buying an apartment, where you couldn’t even pitch a tent if the place burned down.)

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          3. Specialk9

            Absolutely it can work! You know where it can’t? With a boundary flouter and someone not used to setting boundaries. That combo needs physical space, and often therapy, to work. So maybe one day they can live together, but not now.

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            1. Infinity Anon

              I agree. It can work, but if the mom is being too pushy about career choices, living at home does undercut the OP’s ability to push back. Moving out would clarify those boundaries.

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          4. Agatha_31

            OP says they live at home “to save money” though, so… well, of course it depends on what they mean by “to save money”. “I pay rent/my share of the utils/do my share of chores” just like you would in *any* shared living arrangement” means good, mom should butt out (or just say “honey I love you but we want our house back, please find other shared living arrangements.”)

            “I live at home to save money by not paying (or by paying/doing a significantly smaller amount than living elsewhere would allow) rent/utilities/doing my chores”, then yeah, OP needs to do something. Start contributing, and/or demonstrate to mom that OP’s job *is* going to lead, in a reasonable timeframe, to a point where OP *is* able to start contributing and/or find their own place, shared or otherwise, and deal with their own expenses.

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            1. TL -

              I mean, this could vary a lot from household to household but I know if I lived at home, even if I paid rent and split bills and did chores, I wouldn’t be covering nearly as much of the grocery bill as I would eat, my dad would still pay every time we went out, I wouldn’t pay for upkeep/maintenance equally – especially for the big stuff! -, I wouldn’t be equitable in long-term house maintenance stuff, my parents would pitch in more for little extras and treat because they enjoy that, and I would feel much more at home than I would in any other roommate situation.

              Which, I think, is pretty much how it’s worked out for most of my friends who have lived with their parents after graduating/employment. So even if you are paying rent/bills, you may not (probably aren’t?) contributing equally and you still have some interesting dynamics because of that.

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              1. Agatha_31

                Hah! Yeah, my parents were like that too, I actually had to live at home for quite awhile as an adult because I just could *not* find a self-supporting job (I worked in a part time no raises job from hell for nearly a decade, for instance). I realize how lucky I am that way, though at the same time, just being a very solitary person who wants to be able to be completely independent of anyone else I haaaaaaaaaaated it and was so thrilled when I finally got a job where I could afford my own place. True, I’ve always had to live in one-step-above-dives, but at least they’re *my* one-step-above-dives, you know?

                But if her mom is making “you should get a better paying job” noises, I think it’s worth covering your bases in the area of “I’m contributing to living expenses, so if you want me out because you don’t really want a roommate situation, then let’s have that conversation instead of the ‘change from the job you love because money’ conversation.”

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            2. Not So NewReader

              Good point, “So, mom, what is your real concern here?” Mom maybe providing a solution without stating what actually concerns her.

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          5. Anon anon anon

            Yeah. I think this is partly a culture thing. In the US, living with your parents as an adult isn’t as common as it is in some (most?) other countries.

            There’s nothing childish about wanting to save money. As long as your parents are ok with it. But I think the issue is that it tends to be more complicated than that. They still end up acting like parents – cooking you food and blowing up your phone with calls and text messages when you aren’t home by 10pm. So in practice it can delay adulthood. I guess it depends on your parents and how everyone handles it.

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            1. aebhel

              True. My parents were pretty laid back about it; their attitude was that we were adults, and as long as we weren’t causing them grief, it wasn’t really their problem what we were doing with our time (I moved out young, but my brothers didn’t).

              Sounds like OP is in a different boat, though.

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          6. Sas

            Well, I personally am not sure that plenty are successful. It would probably be more helpful if it was a grown son lived on his own and took care of himself. “Helping” with groceries or cleaning is a joke. He isn’t doing it all on his own? Anyways, to your comment, I don’t think it is discussed ENOUGH how harmful it can be that a grown man is living with his family and not acting like one. So, honestly, ‘it’s a really tiresome and inaccurate idea that adults sharing living expenses with their parents are acting like children”, I do NOT agree with that. But, the effects of interacting with an adult that is still a child can be very harmful.

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        3. Amy

          I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that living with parents = acting like a child. Living with parents into adulthood is a very normal thing in many cultures (including plenty of people in US–it’s not just a thing in other countries, it’s a cultural thing for many immigrant families as well). And plenty of people live with a parent for a while to save up money for a down payment rather than rent forever, if that’s a viable option for their family. Others would simply prefer to share housing with family than with an unknown roommate, if they’re in an expensive area where they’re going to need to live with someone either way. It’s pretty judgmental to assume that sharing housing with family automatically means childish behavior.

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          1. Newt

            Agree 100%

            Even in areas where it’s not the cultural norm to live at home, it’s still a reasonable choice for an adult to make. But I do think it relies on both parents and their adult children being on the same page about the whole thing, as well as on a reasonable split of household expenses and responsibilities, and on arrangements made for personal privacy. And even then, there needs to be some mental adjustments done by everyone involved to change the dynamic. Some people – on both sides of the equation – aren’t able to do that.

            I had a helicopter parent growing up, and I categorically could not have lived in that room as a full-time working adult trying to live an adult life. She barely treats me like an adult now, as a 30-something married DINKy living in a completely different country to her!

            Sometimes it’s better to split a flat with friends and take the financial hit, even if it slows down your ability to put together savings. If LW actually doesn’t have a high enough income to do that, there’s a good chance that’s a contributing factor to what’s motivating their mum.

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        4. TokenArchaeologist

          You are still an adult, even if your live with your parents. I say this as someone who has been there, and done that. Sometimes, being a “boomerang” is actually the mature, responsible, adult decision. The judgement that those of us who have gone the live with parents route get for doing it really doesn’t help. We do not know where LW lives, and LW is just out of college. It is completely possible that LW is in a super expensive market, where even a reasonable salary wont allow a single person to pay bills+eat+save+have a life, whether they are renting or buying. And if they are just out of college then LW might not have as many options for getting another job with better salary, depending on how long they have been at their position. Allison’s advice is perfect. LW, I would add that its useful to go into a conversation about your plans with some additional information about job market, salaries, etc. I know my MIL (who we lived with) did not realize what starting salaries actually look like right now. Providing some information on the job and housing market we were facing helped to alleviate some of the tension.

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          1. NeverGoingToFindAHome

            This.

            I live in an extremely expensive real estate market area and on a starting salary for my industry (which I am not yet even earning) I wouldn’t be able to save more than $300 a month towards a down-payment if I were paying rent. To gather up a down-payment for a shoebox apartment by myself, I would need to save for approximately 28 years. That goes down to about 2.5 years if I live at home and save up about 80% of my income. If I have the option (& the blessing) to live at home and pay minimal expenses, it just makes financial sense. My parents WANT to help me save, they just don’t want to give me my freedom. And that’s just a sacrifice I’m going to have to make.

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    2. Artemesia

      Grownups live on their own and when they don’t they often have to put up with this nonsense. Helicopter parents especially those who have won e.g bullied you into an internship etc, don’t stop. The only way to stop being managed like this is to move out. It would be worth it to be part of a house share or have a roommate in a small place, to be your own person.

      And your next job might be 1000 miles away or more. If you live in Seattle look for jobs in Portland or Chicago. If you live in New Jersey look at LA or Chicago.

      No helicopter parents will ever respect your adulthood while you are living under her roof.

      In the meantime, it is ignore, thanks, ignore, hmmm, ignore. And don’t discuss your employment with her.

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      1. Specialk9

        That’s a pretty black-and-white way of saying it. Making sweeping generalizations is of limited use because there behavior you think of as default and necessary… really isn’t. This current period of history is one of the first to abandon multi-generational living, and then only in some regions and socioeconomic strata. (And arguably the current social isolation is making many of us unhappy.) So I get your point, and agree OP needs out, but it’s not an absolute thing.

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        1. Julia

          This. What’s so horribly wrong about living with family to save money (for everyone – parents get nothing out of an empty room), share chores and prevent social isolation? Plus your parents and grandparents won’t live forever, so it’s nice to spend time with them as an adult.

          In areas where rent is expensive because real estate space is limited (hello, Japan!), families live together all the time. It saves resources and money – basically saying everyone must live alone discriminates against the poor.

          I hate this recent view that every adult MUST live alone, actual preferences be damned, and if you don’t like it or feel lonely, you’re a terrible adult. Nope, just human.

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          1. Ego Chamber

            “What’s so horribly wrong about living with family”
            In OP’s situation, with a mother she described as a “typical helicopter parent” who refuses to respect her boundaries or recognize her as an equal, it can be difficult if not impossible to manage in a way that isn’t stressful to at least one person. That’s what Artemesia was talking about: this specific situation.

            “I hate this recent view that every adult MUST live alone”
            Where are you getting this? Is it really, really recent? The typical progression I’ve always been told to aspire to is your parent’s family > roommates > significant other/your own family. Living alone (plus cat) is my dream, but that’s not a realistic dream for many income levels (including mine). I don’t know anyone who can afford to live alone, they all have roommates or an s/o to split costs.

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          2. Sas

            Read Ego Chamber’s response. Also, maybe you need to open your mind to the damage of said “described as a “typical helicopter parent” ” That is not typical parent. It is also often the parents of a grown person who involve themselves with all aspects of their adult man/ woman’s life. That behavior is abuse

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      2. Not So NewReader

        It’s a rule of thumb that someone shared with me and I have kept filed under good life advice.
        Any time we accept something of value from someone they will feel that they have bought some say in our lives. We buy insurance and they cover our bills, this gives them the right to say what tests/meds/docs we can have.
        People on food stamps jump through hoops, it’s almost a full time job to remain in compliance. Add in the rudeness of the office in my area and some people say they would rather starve. The food stamp program has bought that right to get deeply involved in people’s lives.

        OP, I am not saying it’s right or it’s wrong. I am just saying this is how it goes, people give us something of value they will probably expect something in return. Looking at it this way, is what you get worth it in value so that you can put up with or overlook all the stuff with the jobs?

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  2. Elizabeth the Ginger

    I’m sorry (again/still) about your dad, Alison. The fondness of you missing him while thinking of things he used to do that annoyed you at the time… it really got me this morning.

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    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Aw, thank you. I think I had actually intended to take the line about missing him out (it was almost commentary to myself while I was writing this), but it appears to still be there! So be it. I do miss him.

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      1. Spelliste

        Thanks for including it. I’ve been getting those pangs lately while taking my dad’s career advice two years after it was last delivered. (A lot longer since it was first delivered!)

        It helps to know you’re not alone. :)

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      2. Zinnia

        I’m glad you left it in too. I’ve enjoyed the posts you’ve written about your Dad, remembering his whole self, rather than just a rosy snapshot.

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      3. Elizabeth the Ginger

        I’m glad you left it. It reminds me not to be too annoyed with the things my parents do that irk me, especially the things they do out of love.

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      4. Not So NewReader

        I’m 23 years out and I still miss him.
        We honor them that way, you know. The flip side of the coin is x years after we are gone will someone still think enough of us to miss us?

        Reply
  3. Specialk9

    OP, best of luck to you in building a life and identity separate from a helicopter parent. Creating and defending boundaries is hard!

    Honestly, you likely need to get physical distance if at all possible. Your mom is not going to be able to see you as an adult if you still live at home. (Though obviously some people can make that work – but sounds like your mom can’t.) Likely you’ll have to live with multiple roommates till you make more money.

    Focus hard on getting your financial house in order – check out Budgets Are Sexy, Dave Ramsey, and Mr Money Mustache are all great blogs. I learned so much from personal finance blogs!

    Reply
    1. pop

      Yeah honestly, I get saving money, but no. No adult with a full time job should live at home to “save” if they can afford to rent an apartment with roomates. You are part of the helicopter parent problem, you are creating and allowing it to continue.

      You’re an adult. You have a job you like. Stop living rent free off your parents then complaining that they arent doing exactly what you want them to do. Grow up, move out.

      Reply
      1. Kiki

        This seems unnecessarily hostile (I say this as someone who moved into my first apartment at age 19). It’s not uncommon for adult children to live with parents in their early 20’s to save money. One of my friends lived with her parents until she was 26 and used the money she’d saved as a down payment on a house. Had she been using that money for rent, she’d probably still be renting. Sometimes I wish I’d done the same!

        Reply
      2. ProximaCentauri

        The whole notion that people haven’t “grown up” if they live at home with an extended family is overplayed. In large portions of the world (and frankly, in the USA until not that long ago), living with family until you were married was the norm. Given the debt load that college grads carry today, living at home a few years saving money and paying down that debt is probably one of the smarter financial decisions one can make. Telling someone to “grow up and move out” is a non-sequitur and dismissive, and we need to stop doing it.

        I think Allison gave good advice around sudden career moves is good. After that a polite “thanks, but taking a new position isn’t up for discussion” should suffice. Continue to do what you can to be successful, and don’t try to argue or justify your career to your mother.

        Reply
        1. pop

          Also, the norm was to get married at around 18-20, and then move out. And while harsh, you cannot complain you have a helicopter parent and then live at home and cannot even handle how to tell them to “butt out” of your professional life. It is like saying you hate hot temperatures, but cant leave southern Florida.

          Life lessons, how to build a core group of friends, how to pick yourself up, how to handle stress and limited funds, are built on the survival of being on one’s own in their 20s, living off of tuna and ramen.

          Reply
            1. pop

              I apologize if it was harsh, it was just the truth. As the OP seemed to be coddled and didnt see the issue, sometimes a direct comment from a stranger without kiddie gloves is needed. There was no putting down, just a blunt, direct critique of the issue.

              Reply
                1. pop

                  No, it was a stranger being blunt. Harsh is implied by tone by a reader, often one who takes something personally cause it triggers something in them.

              1. Yorick

                Your statements are true for you, but not everyone.

                Also, “I just tell it like it is, not my fault if you can’t handle it!” is tired.

                Reply
              2. ZVA

                No adult with a full time job should live at home to “save” if they can afford to rent an apartment with roommates.

                I’m sorry, but this isn’t “the truth.” This is your opinion! Which you are of course entitled to, but don’t try to present it as some kind of objective fact. I agree that in this OP’s case, moving out might make the most sense… but that isn’t necessarily true for everyone who lives with their parents.

                I lived with mine for four years, age 22–26. I worked full time, I didn’t pay rent, and I saved a ton of money. My family and I have always been very close and living together during that time only made us more so. Our situation wouldn’t have worked for everyone, but it was perfect for us. There are plenty of ways to learn “life lessons” and find fulfillment without being on your own in your 20s.

                Reply
              3. Trout 'Waver

                It’s a fallacy to believe the path you took is the only one that could have gotten you to where you are today.

                Reply
                1. Julia

                  I think many people who are actually unsure about their path in life push it onto others to kind of verify their choices?

              4. seejay

                This sounds like the typical BOOTSTRAPS argument that keeps getting flung about to the younger generation when they can’t hack it on their own the way people did 30-40 years ago. You know, the ones that weren’t saddled with $30-50k of school debt (at minimum) and had to take jobs paying $40k/year if they were lucky to even find one.

                Reply
                1. JamieS

                  I’m not sure what your point is here. So it’s literally impossible for a young adult to afford an apartment with roommates in today’s world? Most people live with their parents because it’s easier not because it’s literally impossible for them to live on their own.

                2. TL -

                  The average student debt is $25k. Mine was right at the average, all federal, and my minimum monthly payment was $150, I think?

                  Which I managed to pay+extra for years, most of which I made well under $40k/yr. And, yes, living with roommates in a not-fashionable part of town, and making other budget cuts.

                3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  @JamieS, in some locations, yes—it is literally impossible for new grads to afford an apartment with roommates.

              5. Agatha_31

                “I’m just telling it like it is” and “that wasn’t my intention” not only contradict each other when used in the same argument, but are both widely criticized for being completely beside the point when it comes to how what you’re saying comes across. Special9k offered constructive criticism. You offered criticism.

                Reply
              6. Anon anon anon

                Ouch. I don’t think the first comment sounded overly harsh. But I don’t see how she seems coddled. She’s working hard, planning for her future, and being realistic about saving money.

                Reply
                1. JamieS

                  Well unless OP is contributing at least as much as they’re costing the household they’re saving money at the expense of their parents which some would interpret as being coddled.

              7. Dankar

                I moved into my first (shared) apartment at 20, and moved to another part of the country at 22. I did not feel “adult” or “grown-up” until my last move, less than a year ago. It had nothing to do with where I was living.

                Immediately moving out and trying to fumble your way through the “real” world sometimes isn’t the adult decision to make. And living at home (if you’re financially solvent and contributing to your fair share of costs) doesn’t mean that you’re not living independently. It is entirely possible to share a household with your parents as you would with roommates as long as everyone is respectful of each others’ autonomy.

                Reply
          1. Myrin

            I can’t help but feel that you’re coming at this from a somewhat skewed perspective – I’ve never had to survive on my own (at least probably not in the way you’re imagining) or lived off of tuna and ramen and yet I have a core group of friends, know very well how to pick myself up, and have decidedly too much experience with how to handle stress and limited funds. Life lessons aren’t an achievement that can only be unlocked by following a certain, pre-determined path that works the same for everyone.

            (Also, your historical assessment doesn’t hold true, at least in my part of the world – marrying at 18-20 was indeed much less unusual than it is today but it was far from the norm and people didn’t move out either but moved into one partner’s family home.)

            Reply
            1. Allypopx

              Exactly true. And struggling isn’t a requirement. Plenty of people have support systems that ease their financial burden in one way or another. A few years ago I was working with a couple women my age who were going back and forth about how they didn’t make enough money even though obviously their parents helped them out. That was a little painful for me as someone who was supporting myself fully (I was…20?) but y’know what they are both doing really well now, and so am I, and we all just took slightly different paths to get there.

              Reply
          2. Knitting Cat Lady

            No, the norm WASN’T to get married at around 18-20.

            People married when they had the financial stability to do so, which usually was in the mid twenties. Church records confirm this.

            On top of all that vast portions of the population weren’t allowed to marry because they didn’t have the financial means to do so. And in some parts of Europe, e.g. Germany, there were restrictions on who could get married.

            The only people who did get married young were the daughters of the affluent. The goal was to get rid of them as soon as possible as they were considered a financial drain. So the usually were married off very young to men at least a decade older.

            Marriage age lowered drastically in the 50ies, as the boom years after WW2 meant that people reached financial stability considerably earlier. Once the boom levelled out the marriage age rose up to where it was previously.

            The fifties were an aberration regarding marriage age. Marriage age hasn’t changed all that much over the centuries.

            Reply
            1. Elizabeth the Ginger

              My grandparents married in their late 30s because my grandpa was a farmer and couldn’t afford to get married during the Depression or in the years right after it. My grandma was 38 and my grandpa 43 when my mother (an only child) was born.

              Reply
            2. Specialk9

              I didn’t know any of this! Thanks!

              It seems like the American 50s were an aberration in so many ways, but then became the mental yardstick for how things should be. It’s interesting to learn how not-normal that time really was.

              Reply
            3. non

              My grandparents married shortly after WW2, when he was in his mid-twenties and she was in her early 20s. They then lived with my great-grandparents (my gran’s parents) for seven years until they could afford a house. This was in London in the 40s.

              Reply
              1. Bagpuss

                Yes, my grandparents married immediately after WW2 (having literally not seen each other for 6 years, as my grandfather spent most of the war in the middle east. They got married on a 2 week leave and then didn’t get to see each other gain for a few months until my grandad was demobbed) . I think they were 26 and 28 at the time.

                They lived with my grand-dad’s parents for the first few years of their marriage – by the time they got their own home, my mum (their eldest child) was 2, and my eldest aunt a newborn.

                Part of this was of course due to the housing shortage after the war, (UK) but mostly it was financial.

                Reply
            4. Woah

              Thank you! I hate the argument that people got married before their midtwenties- yes, if looking at the wealthy. What the wealthy did in terms of marriage, money, and breeding decades didnt have anything to do with what the majority of people did…kind of like how the current habits of the affluent have nothing to do with the majority of people today.

              Reply
        2. Rainy

          If the situation isn’t healthy or isn’t working, though, moving out needs to be on the table. Some people have really great, mutually affectionate and respectful relationships with their parents, and living at home makes a lot of sense for them. If it’s not true that you have a positive, respectful, mutually agreeable relationship with your parents, you really *shouldn’t*, for your own good, live at home.

          Reply
          1. Blue

            I have a “positive, respectful, mutually agreeable relationship” with my ex-helicopter mom, but it took me moving out (and across the country) to establish and maintain that. I needed some autonomy and the ability to establish boundaries before I could really appreciate her as a person – and vice versa, to a certain extent. It really did make it so much easier for me to influence the ways we engaged, but I recognize that may not be the case for OP and/or the financial savings are a worthwhile tradeoff for them.

            Reply
        3. Engineer Girl

          But is she paying appropriate room and board? If not, then she is still a child. A full adult supports themself fully.
          I can’t tell from this letter if OP is taking on the full financial burden. And that does change the answer.

          Reply
          1. Yorick

            If they were taking on the full financial burden, they wouldn’t live there to save money.

            And someone is not a child just because they don’t have a full mortgage payment.

            Reply
              1. Bookworm

                Not to mention the many adults who struggle with serious illnesses. I have a friend who moved in with his parents while he was battling cancer, I know another who was supported by his wife when his ALS impaired his ability to work. They remained adults.

                Reply
                1. Trout 'Waver

                  @Engineering Girl. It’s not a red herring. Many people are living at home because they need additional support. You’re effectively saying that they’re children and not adults unless you’re proven otherwise. It’s none of your business and the judgements you’re laying down actively hurt people who are dependent on others either temporarily or not.

                2. Bookworm

                  @Engineer Girl

                  I agree with your point; my example isn’t really relevant to the discussion of young adults reaching independence. However, I do think the sweeping generalizations can be really hurtful to people who are struggling with that sort of thing. There’s no harm in being precise with our words.

              2. Specialk9

                Yeah seriously, guys! Before you post something like this, remember that of all the people reading this blog, some significant percentage are now living with parents, or have done so in 20s+. So don’t make sweeping generalizations that denigrate people.

                In this particular instance, of a recent grad who is living with a mom, dealing with big boundary respecting issues… In this case, moving out is likely wise.

                It’s not the right solution for all people in every situation. In some situations, living with parents is a generous self sacrifice and should be applauded as a kindness. In others, it’s a necessity and shouldn’t be a big deal. Etc…

                Reply
              1. Yorick

                But we don’t know that OP has an expectation that the parents will support her, the fact that she lives with them doesn’t tell us that. Maybe she can’t move out now and is extremely grateful that she can live there, or maybe they want her there.

                Reply
                1. Engineer Girl

                  That’s why I said I couldn’t tell. But if mom is financially supporting her then job ads may be a part of that cost.

                2. Brandy

                  Maybe they get along extremely well aside from this. We don’t know. The mother may think shes helping by passing along info. My mom would love for me to work for the govt like she does and sends me the job openings. I glance at them and delete if not interested. That’s just one part of a relationship.

                  And my mom and I live together because we’re both single women that get along so well. It would be crazy for us to maintain two residences. Shes getting older and Im there for her and she can do things for me as well. We argue over chores but its “Im doing that” “No I am” as opposed to arguing about chores and we split bills. We get more for the money. Other cultures live this way and I think its great.

              2. Amy

                I really don’t think so. I expect my family to help me if I’m having a hard time (which nowadays mostly means emotional support when I’ve had an awful day, but I know they’d be there for me if I was having financial trouble as well). I do the same for them in return. That’s what family does, and being able to participate on both sides of that exchange (giving what I can as well as getting what I need) is part of what I feel makes me an adult.

                Reply
                1. einahpets

                  My husband’s 2 younger brothers each lived at home until they were almost 30. One did it because he had jumped between colleges / degree programs for his entire 20s and when he finally landed on what he wanted to do he was in massive amounts of debt (which his parents had cosigned on). The other kept taking sales jobs that he hated and then quit after a few months, making the next job even crappier than the last.

                  They didn’t pay rent during those years they live at home, but they did save to go on a summer long backpacking trip in Europe. A trip my husband wasn’t invited on because they (accurately) assumed that our mortgage + childcare costs would probably keep us from affording to go along.

                  I’m not saying they were children until they moved out. But…were they really adults?

                  My husband and I have had conversations a plenty about it, even though our kids are years (and years… and years) away from college/adulthood. My 2 younger sisters and I have all been out of our parents’ house since graduating high school, supporting our way. Making tough decisions when they had to be made. We all know that if we hit hard times that our parents would help us out to the best they were able, just like we would help them. But assuming that we could just move in because we can’t make a decision to finish school / stick with a job for more than a few months? Never even entered any of our thoughts.

            1. michelenyc

              I paid rent when I lived at home after college. No it wasn’t market rent and I was still able to save money to get into my own apartment. I am one of the those rare people that doesn’t care if they ever own. Plus given the city I live in and where in the city I would like to live I could never afford it on my own.

              Reply
            2. Anon anon anon

              Well, it all depends on what the parents’ situation is. Maybe their mortgage is paid off. Maybe they inherited the property or it was given to them. Maybe it’s free housing that comes with one of their jobs. They might not have a lot of expenses.

              Reply
          2. krysb

            Related note: I moved back in with my parents for 6 months when I was 21. Within a week there was a note on my bedroom door that said “Get a job or get out.” So I got a job at a local car parts factory. I had to pay a nominal rent (about $200 a month). When I was totally over living with my parents, I had my dad drive me back to a town 90 miles a way (where I attended college previously) and drop me off. I had no job, no car, and no apartment. I got a job at Chick Fil-A making $6.50 an hour (in 2007), got an apartment, and a car. There were some hard times, but I have done pretty well for myself in the past 10 years.

            Reply
          3. Kiki

            >A full adult supports themself fully.

            But what do you consider “fully”? Is it just paying rent? Paying for their own college as well? Where is the line drawn?

            I’ve always thought this argument came across as classist. Everyone I’ve known who has looked down on people living at home had their college paid for fully by their parents, sometimes had parents help them with first/last/security on their apartment (or better, parents paid the down payment on their condo). They had a TON of help getting to the point where they could find a good paying job to support themselves but still considered themselves independent. However, they considered their peers who had to take on student loans or scrape by as “not real adults” for living at home as a cost saving measure.

            Reply
            1. Of course

              “Everyone I’ve known who has looked down on people living at home had their college paid for fully by their parents,”

              OOOORRRR some of us got scholarships and student loans and part/full time jobs while in school and still paid rent.

              Reply
              1. Allypopx

                Which I’m doing now, and it sucks, and the need to work has me still working on my BA at 25. If I had other options available to me I would definitely consider them now, or would have at some point in the last 8 years that I’ve been on my own.

                Reply
              2. Kiki

                >some of us got scholarships and student loans and part/full time jobs while in school and still paid rent.

                I never said that wasn’t the case for many people. I’m one of those people, myself. But I was specifically talking about people I have met who look down on people who live at home. And if you’re in the scholarship camp and you DO look down on people who live at home, I’d be curious to know why.

                Reply
                1. einahpets

                  I am in that camp. I mentioned my BILs and their situations above — if someone is doing what they did (taking advantage of their parents’ good will to live the life that let them buy expensive new phones / cars + take trips to Tahoe / NY / Europe, etc), I do judge. If it is to make ends meet, it is different.

                2. einahpets

                  Also, my MIL was just lamenting to me a week ago about how much she’d like to retire but can’t afford to now. So I’m not just judging based on how it looks, but the long term implications it can have.

                3. Quiet lurker

                  With regards to your last sentence, it’s misdirected bitterness/envy in my case. I admit I’m kind of jealous of people with parents who let them stay with them rent free, or support their children in other ways, because I don’t consider my parents supportive in any way shape or form and I really could have used some support.

                  But I’m aware this is my own personal issue so I don’t look down on people who live with their parents! (Not unless they’re as ungrateful and spoiled as one of my acquaintances, and I doubt most people are.)

                  I do think that there might be a hint of “well I had to fend for myself in sh*t circumstances, so why should you have it easier” in people’s attitudes though, as its a knee-jerk reaction I’m having myself. I’m aware it’s not great.

                1. Kiki

                  Yes, this too! I worked an almost full-time job while I was in college and sent money home to my mom and sister every month. Had I been living at home at the time, I could have given them even more.

                2. LavaLamp

                  I just turned 25. I still live with my parents. I’ve been their sole financial support for the past 2 years. And you know what? I don’t plan to move out. I’m HAPPY where I am. Shocking; I know.

                  I’m not a child though. I work a full time job, pay taxes, pay all the bills, make appointments, call for services, all the things every other adult does.

              3. Starbuck

                Are you saying that you do indeed look down on people who get support from their parents? That’s a shame. I can understand jealousy for a resource you didn’t have, but they’re not doing this AT you. It may be unfair, but I think it’s pretty silly to judge someone for using help that’s available to them.

                Reply
                1. Anon anon anon

                  Yeah. Life gives most of us a mixed bag of advantages and disadvantages. If you have advantages, it’s fair to use them. And just because someone has it good in one way doesn’t mean they’ve never faced any challenges or seen any kind of hardship. I think we’d all do well to judge a little less.

            2. Allypopx

              Yep! Sometimes a safe haven is all a parent can provide (if that). My mother would’ve killed to be able to have me live with her to save money because there were so many things she couldn’t help me with financially. My boyfriend is in his 30’s and in grad school and his parents are helping him out, but we live independently of them. They put his sister through med school. All people discussed here are adults, just adults with different means.

              Reply
            3. TootsNYC

              also–my sister and her family are on the lower end of the economic spectrum. Her kids lived at home for several years until they’d risen in the ranks enough to be able to afford a roommate.

              Sis couldn’t pay for college. But she could allow them to live under the roof that she was already paying for.

              So yeah, that’s a classist standard.

              Reply
              1. Kiki

                >Sis couldn’t pay for college. But she could allow them to live under the roof that she was already paying for.

                Thank you for putting this more eloquently than I did. This was the point I was trying to get at but didn’t explain it nearly as well.

                Reply
            4. Yorick

              Exactly. A lot of people who lived independently pretty early did so because parents were able to support them in some important way (tuition so no loans, deposit/down payment, moving costs, kept them on insurance or phone plans, etc). When parents can’t do that, some kids can’t move out as fast. But they’re already paying for the house, and it already has space for the kid, so why not help that way?

              Reply
              1. TL -

                In my experience, it’s been the opposite – I grew up in a small, rural, relatively poor town and the kids grew up and moved out (unless there were grandbabies in the picture) because there were no opportunities and because financial independence was really, really important as a marker of success. And sometimes there was no room or the parent really couldn’t afford an extra mouth to feed.

                Many more of my adult friends (mostly middle or upper middle or upper class) have moved home to save money. It can work well – my experience is that it works best when it has a specified end point or when the parent and child are close in financial ability to contribute. But I also know people who did delay maturity or even just an understanding of money until they moved out of their parents’ house.

                Reply
            5. Engineer Girl

              I put myself through school and live with 3 other roommates. I had roommates until my late 30s when I had enough money to buy a house.
              All of my friends were working class (many were the first to go to university). They did it though scholarships AND part time jobs. All of us lived in some mighty skanky neighborhoods in our youth.
              The issue isn’t living at home. The issue is contributing to the family in some way if you are receiving a benefit from them.
              If you are fully supporting yourself you have far more standing to push back against the mother’s intrusion.

              Reply
                1. Engineer Girl

                  I sure do. I didn’t get any. It took 6 years to get a 4 year degree because I had to work 32 hours a week and couldn’t carry a full credit load.

            6. JamieS

              Fully is every single solitary expense you have or would have if you didn’t live with your parents. That includes rent, utilities, insurance, phone, clothes, car repairs, spending money, college, the list goes on.

              Really? Most people I know who live at home are the ones who’s parents paid for their college (and other expenses during college) and are continuing to pay for them after college. I know nobody who’s parents didn’t pay for college who ever lived at home post college. I guess different experiences.

              Reply
            7. Specialk9

              “Everyone I’ve known who has looked down on people living at home … had a TON of help getting to the point where they could find a good paying job to support themselves but still considered themselves independent.l

              I’ve noticed this too. (And I was relatively advantaged so I’m not judging.) We humans simply are not good at identifying our advantages because we just can’t know what it’s like to grow up differently. Especially in the US, we have a potent (and untrue) myth of being self made, instead of lucky, often advantaged *plus* hard work. That’s all baggage that is hard to even see, much less shake off.

              Reply
          4. Morning Glory

            I financially benefit from my spouse making more money than I do. Would you say I am not a real adult because he contributes more to the household than I do?

            There are so many different living situations that adults can make work and still be happy, functioning people – life is complicated. The OP’s situation is clearly not working for her, but that does not mean that your blanket statement is true.

            Reply
          5. HannahS

            No, they don’t. Because if a full adult is only someone who supports themself fully, then what you’re saying is that every woman who lived with her parents until she got married and became a SAHM was never an adult. That would be pretty heinously sexist. And I’m sure you don’t mean that every disabled adult–which includes me, thanks very much–who wasn’t physically able to take a crappy retail job to live in a dangerous part of the city with five other people and eat ramen to support themselves after graduating into a terrible economy is still a child. “Do you make enough money to fully support yourself” is a terrible litmus test. It is uniquely tied up in the weirdly capitalist American Dream ™.

            Reply
            1. Engineer Girl

              At no point did I EVER say the word financial. Please don’t put words in my mouth.
              There’s plenty of ways to contribute to the family. Many of them do not involve money.

              Reply
              1. HannahS

                Except for the part where you literally said exactly that:
                “But is she paying appropriate room and board? If not, then she is still a child. A full adult supports themself fully. I can’t tell from this letter if OP is taking on the full financial burden.”

                Look, maybe it’s not what you MEANT. But it sure is what you said, complete with the word “financial”.

                Reply
          6. Jesmlet

            No, this is ridiculous. I live with my parents but I pay for my portion of the utilities, I buy and make my own food, do my own laundry, etc. I pay for all the incidental costs of me living in my parents home because I’d rather save up enough money to purchase something than throw away money and get no equity in return. My dad’s a finance guy so he understands and agrees with this decision and doesn’t need any of my assistance in paying the mortgage (which I’d be happy to contribute to if asked). That doesn’t make me any less of an adult.

            Reply
            1. TL -

              When I lived with my roommate, I let her borrow my car whenever she needed and drove her places when asked and she’d fill up the tank if she emptied it, which was fantastic and kind. But she wasn’t really paying for all the incidentals of using my car – the extra wear and tear does have a cost, plus all the costs of maintaining the car to make it available for to use.

              A lot of times what we cover as users is not what things cost to the owners, which is something we don’t often discover until we are financially responsible for something.

              (My roommate had owned a car and knew all about the hidden costs; I never would have let her pay for any of them and she also had her own separate contributions to the household that I didn’t bring, so it all balanced out.)

              Reply
              1. Jesmlet

                Totally get your point, but in my specific situation, considering the detailed 20 line spreadsheet I get quarterly and my dad’s obsession with parsing financial costs (he literally keeps track of every penny spent in every STORE/RESTAURANT they’ve ever frequented for the past 25 years), I do think what I’m paying is a pretty thorough accounting of my costs.

                Reply
          7. TrainerGirl

            OMG, if a 40 year old moves back in with their parents because of some financial hardship, do they immediately revert back to childhood??? I get that a lot of what’s being thrown around are opinions of people who feel this way because “If I had to do it, everyone else should have to, or else they’re a child!” but hey…life happens. And not paying “appropriate” (whatever that means IYHO) room & board doesn’t make you a child. If the goal is to get on (or back on) your feet, then saving all your money may be the sensible way to go.

            Reply
        4. Manders

          It’s a complicated situation. I do wish that people were more open-minded about what a “grown-up” looks like. That said, many of my friends who lived with their parents well into adulthood for financial or cultural reasons had their own set of problems to navigate–it does mean your parents and siblings are enmeshed in your finances, your social life, and even your dating experiences. Even healthy families with great boundaries aren’t going to be able to totally ignore these things when they’re all living together.

          I wouldn’t say that my friends who were living at home long-term weren’t adults, but our early adulthood experiences were very different, and their parents did get a say in their big life decisions. I had the luxury of making those kinds of decisions on my own and informing my parents after my plans were already in motion. The letter writer’s going to have to weigh that kind of freedom against financial stability (and both are valid concerns things to want, but sometimes you do have to pick one or the other).

          Reply
          1. Not So NewReader

            Yep, it’s all trade offs. But so is most of life, if we choose A then we do not have enough time/money for B. Looking back on my life, I am surprised by how many trade offs came up where I had to chose because in some instances I was not even aware that I was making a choice.

            Reply
          2. Julia

            True. But is that really considered worse than someone living completely independently? I would consider it a different kind of skill (navigating family stuff) and in many cultures, this is completely normal. Heck, I married a Japanese man and his parents were appalled we didn’t ask for their permission even though we were living independently!

            Reply
        5. TootsNYC

          You can act like a grownup even while you’re living at home.
          Start treating it like a home that you -have- to take care of. You know, clean the bathrooms regularly without being asked; make it your job. If the trash looks full, take it out immediately even if you aren’t on trash duty.

          That’s what “growing up” is–acting like a grownup.

          Now, some parents, and some adult children, can’t make it work because they can’t make that switch.

          Reply
          1. Yorick

            Many grown men don’t do the things you’ve said (I’m talking about husbands), so I don’t know why the children must do it to prove they’re grown.

            Reply
          2. JamieS

            That’s acting like a grown up? I consider that acting like you’ve surpassed your 3rd birthday. Arguably even a 2 year old can contribute to cleaning the house.

            Reply
          3. Specialk9

            This is so far off topic. The OP said nothing about cleaning or chores or how to define themself as an adult. They asked about boundaries with a helicopter mom while living together.

            Reply
        6. Artemesia

          And in large portions of the world people in their 30s are still treated like children in the homes of the paterfamilias and the matriarch. It is rare for adults to live with parents in the US and not be treated like children; it is certainly not going to happen for the OP.

          Reply
          1. Julia

            But you’re passing judgement on whether that’s right or wrong. If the LW was, say, Japanese, and that’s how her family and culture worked (seriously, I have a Japanese friend who’s almost 30 and living alone and her mother “forbade” her from taking a trip with her boyfriend), and the LW is fine with that apart from the job stuff, who are you to judge?

            Reply
      3. chocolate lover

        “Saving money” does not automatically equal “rent free.” Even in college, I contributed to the rent and other bills when I lived at home during the summer. It was obviously far cheaper than living elsewhere, but I still contributed. Not to mention there are other ways, besides money, to contribute.

        Reply
      4. Myrin

        That’s a very harsh response which seems to only view the issue in black-and-white.

        “No adult with a full time job should live at home to “save” if they can afford to rent an apartment with roomates.”
        Why not?

        I’m 26 and live with my mum and younger sister. The three of us get along extremely well, are very close, and work together as a cohabitating unit much better than any of us ever could with other roommates. You’re also assuming that “living at home to save money” = “living rent-free”. Well, in my case, all three of us pay the exact same amount for rent, utilities, food, what-have-you, and we’re also sharing all housework more or less equally. So I’m not living rent-free, but I’m definitely saving compared to what I’d have to pay if I needed rent a flat on my own or with roommates.
        It’s also not unusual in my culture for people to live with their parents in some capacity even when they’re adults and I find it pretty condescending to hear “grow up” when being grown up here really isn’t marked by whether you live with a parent or not.

        I definitely agree that OP needs to ideally get physical distance from her mother but I’m not on board with the accusing “you are part of the helicopter parent problem” and making unkind sweeping statements about people whose life situation you don’t know.

        Reply
        1. pop

          Your situation is more like “living with roomates” and I was in no way attacking equally shared rent with a group of women. I would not consider that “living at home.” I would consider that “we live together.” While the terminology could be debated, based on the OP’s statement I am 99.9% sure she pays nothing or minimally while living in her parents house. That was what I meant.

          My house, my rules. I pay the bills to be the boss. So if the mom wants to comment about her job not being good enough, she can leave, or she has to put up with it.

          It’s amazing how much flack I’m getting when sometimes someone needs to just be told something bluntly. And I am sure I am not the only person with that mindset.

          Reply
          1. aebhel

            You’re getting flack because you’re overgeneralizing as well as being unnecessarily rude and hostile. But sure, keep telling yourself it’s because of your righteous truthful bluntness.

            Reply
            1. Of course

              The same that could be said about “rightful truthful bluntness” could apply to the general criticisms about how he/she was too harsh

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              1. Observer

                This is the classic line that keeps people from pushing back on bad behavior. There is a difference between being gratuitously rude, and calling it out.

                Reply
              2. aebhel

                If people pride themselves on being blunt, then they should be able to tolerate bluntness in return, including being told that they’re coming across as rude and unhelpful. If pop wants to harshly criticize the OP, that’s their prerogative. But you can’t have it both ways; you can’t criticize someone in a blunt, borderline insulting way and then demand to be handled with kid gloves in return.

                Or, as the old playground maxim would have it, ‘don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.’

                Reply
            2. Ask a Manager Post author

              Pop and everyone responding to Pop, I’m going to ask you to move on from this because it’s becoming derailing (now that it’s at the point of arguing over tone). Thanks!

              Reply
          2. Mep

            This is a community to help people and its not coming across like you want to help. Its coming across like you want to tell her off because she doesn’t live her life the way you think is right (and that seems to be a very narrow definition of what is acceptable to you vs. what is not.) You are not the only person with the blunt mindset, but those people tend to be avoided because tone is important (along with the content of your message) and many people don’t enjoy being spoken to that way.

            Reply
          3. NaoNao

            The flak is being given because one always has the choice to be direct without being harsh. Some people seem to confuse “honesty” or “bluntness” with “no filter”. It’s amazing how many people think this is some kind of desirable personality trait or mind-blowing trick that others are just too “sheeple” to do.

            People who are tactful are making a choice to be kind. That is admirable.

            There are many with the mindset that being direct is desirable, but that one can also be kind. Alison is one of them, and she consciously cultivates and encourages a commentariat that is as well.

            The entire rest of the Internet, starting with Twitter, is jammed with people who are blunt, direct, and honest, bulldog style. They are welcome to it.

            Reply
            1. sstabeler

              The way I would explain why it’s not a good idea to round on LWs in AAM- at least when the comment isn’t much more than “you’re an asshole” is that -to use an anology- it’s a case of someone drowning (the LWs are in a situation they need help to get out of) and the commentators have a choice about if they throw a lifebelt or not (that is, give advice on how to fix the problem)- when commentators aren’t offering solutions (and yes, “apologise and hope they will forgive you” can be said solution if warranted) they are the equivalent of someone watching a person drown. (before someone flames me, it’s an analogy- that commentators that purely criticise are effectively standing by and not offering help, when the LW needs it)

              Reply
        2. Yorick

          Right. Why does living with strangers (or at least non-relatives) make you more of an adult than living at home?

          What if someone owns a house and charges you a pretty small amount to rent a room, and loves to cook and shares meals with you, and doesn’t mind doing most of the cleaning? Are you more of an adult because you live there rather than with your mom?

          What if you’re 20 and you live with 2 other 20-somethings, and the apartment is a mess and you all eat ramen? Are you more of an adult because you live there rather than with your mom?

          Reply
          1. krysb

            I think the line is that I would feel much more awkward knowing my parents can hear me having sex than having roommates that can hear me having sex.

            Reply
            1. Danger: Gumption Ahead

              Yep. And that is part of why I moved out of my family house even though I was the one paying the mortgage. Definitely didn’t save money, but saved my sanity and probably that of my family as well.

              Reply
          2. Anonygoose

            Well, one problem is not everyone’s mother actually does enjoy cooking and cleaning, or wants their children to live with them, and yet a lot of people (but not everyone!) who live at home think they are entitled to live at home as long as they want (again, this does NOT APPLY to every person living with their parents). Many, many, many parents would never actually kick their kid to the curb and yet still want them to move out ASAP.

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            1. Yorick

              I don’t think it’s fair to assume that someone who lives at home feels entitled to do so. I know you said you don’t mean everyone, but the implication here is that people are right to judge the OP because they might be one of those people.

              I know we’re talking about the US, but the fact that multigenerational housing situations are so common outside the US should really show that there’s nothing inherently wrong about living at home after 18.

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            2. aebhel

              True. In this case, it seems like it’s one of three options: that OP’s mother actually wants her to move out but isn’t willing to come out and say so; that OP’s mother wants her to stay there but only on the condition that she cedes control of all her decisions; that OP’s mother wants her to live there and genuinely thinks she’s being helpful rather than pushy.

              That’s why it’s important that they actually have the conversation instead of just continuing in the current holding pattern.

              Reply
          3. JamieS

            It’s not the living at home per se. It’s the not paying your own expenses. If you can find someone who charges you a nominal rent that includes cooking and cleaning (lucky you!) that’s not the same as living off your parents because in the first scenario you’re still paying what your expenses are. I recently moved because my new place has cheaper rent but I’m not less of an adult because I don’t pay as much now as I did a year ago. The litmus test is “are you paying your expenses” not “are you paying at least X amount.”

            Reply
            1. Yorick

              But when you live with someone else – especially in a situation where someone else owns the house and you have a room, the amount you contribute is arbitrary. Is paying your mom $200 a month because that’s what she asked you for enough? What if she didn’t want you to pay anything?

              Reply
      5. Adlib

        I wish someone had the guts to say this to my sister (other than me, I mean). She lived at home until 32, and finally moved out to Mexico, but staying at home that long with parents who were likely arguing with each other about getting her out of the house, did not do great things for her in the long term. (I was out as soon as I got out of college like most of my friends, debt and all.)

        Reply
        1. Rainy

          I left home at 17, and my sister lived with our parents on and off until her late 20s. The consequent ability this gave them to minutely observe and constantly criticize everything about her life has undercut her self-worth and self-determination ever since, and under stress she tends to revert to an attitude that mirrors what was modelled for us as kids, and her as an adult, so she has trouble keeping friends because she is extremely negative and critical of the people around her. I’m really sad about it, because every time it seemed like she was pulling herself out of that wretched situation she’d just fall back in.

          Reply
      6. aebhel

        This is rude and uncalled for. Multigenerational households are the norm across most cultures; just because it may not be the best choice for the OP doesn’t mean that they’re intrinsically dysfunctional.

        Reply
      7. JeanB in NC

        I disagree that “no adult with a full time job should live at home … if they can afford to rent an apartment”. This is unnecessarily dismissive and does not account for the multitudes of reasons this might be happening.

        Reply
      8. Yorick

        My bf is not from the United States, and he thinks it is SO STUPID that people move to dorms or apartments to go to college in the same area where their families live.

        Your view is not universal, and therefore it’s not appropriate to lecture people about not living that way.

        Reply
        1. Rebeck

          As a rural student who had to move to the city for university, all the kids from the city living on campus bugged the hell out of me: save those spots for those of us who can’t possibly live at home!! (One of my best friends was one of them. And she hated college and went home most nights.)

          Reply
          1. JamieS

            Maybe their parents didn’t allow them to live at home. Did you know every single townie who lived on campus and verified their reasons for doing so? Just assuming everyone had the option to live at home is an incredibly skewed world view.

            More broadly hopefully your college added some dorms to deal with the on campus housing crisis.

            Reply
      9. Maya Elena

        I think your comment can be characterized as blunt, and states a pretty stringent standard for “adulthood” that is open to debate, but does not meet the threshold of hostile or harsh- it is not insulting OP’s character or making generalizations about how his peers are (“parasite”, “lazy millennials”, etc.).

        Reply
      10. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis

        I cannot disagree with is enough. We moved “back” in with my partner’s mum. I was 27. Ours were exceptional circumstances – we were going to buy her house from her so she could downsize. It should’ve taken no longer than four weeks. The buying chain got delayed and we ended up sharing the house for six months. We’d moved in from our own apartment, so all our stuff (washing machine etc) was in short term storage (that had to be extended obviously). Which meant that, despite contributing rent to pay for utilities, buying and cooking our own food, and doing as much as we could to be independent adults with full time jobs, MIL still entered do our room without permission to do our laundry! (We did start by using a laundromat, she just learned our routine and beat us to it). And, because we didn’t know how long the buying chain would take, we couldn’t afford to move back out – no short term rents of less than 12 months were availiable in our area at the time – we looked.
        So, you don’t get to say we were not full adults by saving money, living in cramped conditions (4 adults in a 2 bed, 1 bath house) with the MIL. Generalisations do no one any favours.

        Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think living with parents can work and make a lot of sense for some people at certain life stages, but it’s definitely true that if the parent is a helicopter parent, it’s not a great idea while in one’s 20s. You need more distance first. (Later, once appropriate boundaries are in place, then maybe.)

      Reply
      1. Jules the 3rd

        I lived with my non-helicopter parents the first two years out of college. Safe, cheap housing in a rough town and time to connect with my parents as an adult after six years away (moved out early to a residential high school): priceless.

        BUT: I still paid them a nominal rent, enough to cover the additional costs of being in their home and eating their groceries. I think that helped set the relationship on an adult-to-adult basis.

        Good luck with boundaries, OP! They are awesome.

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      2. Adam

        And while finances often must come first, so I respect that, I feel you are missing out on a key stage of development if you’re still living with relatives in your 20’s. That stage of life is when you’re arguably the most free and living with your folks does put a damper on that since they set the rules in their home. Living in an apartment with roommates has its own set of rules (and challenges), but they are different and it is a different experience living with people who are closer in life’s wavelengths to you.

        Perhaps there are more families out there who make this work well than I realize, but I think it’s not the norm especially with a USA cultural mindset.

        Reply
        1. SarahTheEntwife

          That’s a very culturally-specific stage of development. It’s very common many places (including in the US!) to live with your parents until you move in with your spouse — or even to have your spouse move in with you and your parents. Some people are able to live on their own after moving out and never have a roommate-phase. Some young people rent rooms from older folks, which has a different but still imbalanced power dynamic. Some people end up living with horrible roommates and would have been much happier living awkwardly with their parents for a few years.

          Reply
          1. Adam

            Nuance is key of course, so the best path forward is going to vary wildly by individual circumstances and the OP knows theirs best.

            But personally, I have witnessed many friends and colleagues approach their 20’s and living situations in many different ways and of those who did live with their folks I honestly can only think of a one who was doing well in most respects of life while doing so. The one who did had a set plan of where he was going and only lived with his folks a few years post school to save enough for a down payment on his own place.

            The rest may not necessarily have been doing badly, but a clear malaise had set in where nothing was really going on in their lives. So I think that comfort/security can be a hindrance in the long run if you’re not careful.

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      3. Ren

        As a 30-something who lives with their mother and has always done so, I just want to chime in and say I agree that this is 100% different for everyone but that it can be made to work. My mum and I live together because it’s just the two of us. I’m an only child and my dad died right before I graduated high school. So to save money my mum moved near where I wanted to go to school and I lived at home. I still worked and I still contributed to the household when I could, because as my mum always said, she knew I’d do the same for her when the tables were reversed and she was retired while I was working full-time. My mum is older, she was older when she had me, so by the time I did get a full-time job (I work in a hard to get into industry) she was ready to retire. And she was right I support her. We split the utilities, property taxes, chores etc. we each pay our own bills. I buy all the groceries, but she handles the cooking, so we’re even there. Because it’s just her and I she put me on the house ownership just last year as a means of future planning – we moved from a more expensive area to what at the time was a much cheaper area so we’re mortgage free. I know how incredibly lucky I am. Do we always get along? Of course not, no roommates ever get along 100% of the time whether they’re related or not, but we get along most of the time and we like to hang out together, and mostly she’s respectful of my independence. She was the one who encouraged me to get out more and try to have more of a social life when my anxiety would act up, so really it’s thanks to her that I have a great friend group at work now (we do group Halloween costumes and everything, we’re THAT group) and that probably wouldn’t have happened if I was living alone. And on the other side of the spectrum, because she’s getting on in years (she’s almost 70) it’s good for her to have me around too, like this summer she had a seizure while I was out walking our dog – I hate to think what could have happened if she’d been living alone at the time.

        Reply
      4. Amey

        I totally agree that the OP probably wants to look at moving out because it sounds as though her mother is struggling to see her daughter as an adult while she still lives with her.

        I want to throw my own living with parents story into the mix though. My husband and I lived with my in laws for 1 year in our mid twenties. We were both well-employed and had been renting for four years but it would have taken us 10-15 years to save a down payment for a house. My in-laws have no mortgage and have always been very frugal and careful with their money. They invited us to live with them rent free for a year to save the remainder of our down payment (we contributed to bills/food etc.) They were also closer to work so cut down on our commuting costs. While we did this, all the money that we would have been paying in rent and anything we had left over went into savings. We were very mindful of the help that they were giving us and didn’t spend on luxuries and kept our socialising modest.

        We had a sometimes difficult year and 3 house purchases fell through due to pure fluke, but we were able to buy a lovely house at the end of it and were immeasurably grateful.

        I know my in-laws don’t regret it for a second and it means a lot to them to have been able to help their son get on the property ladder. It worked because it was time limited, there were clear ground rules and boundaries from the outset, and both sides kept to the commitment and the goal to get us out again as quickly as possible! I think it was more natural that we did this because we’d been living as independent adults already, we were a couple rather than a son moving back home etc, but we were also all just very responsible people who cared about making things easier for each other if the cost to ourselves wasn’t prohibitively great.

        Reply
    3. JD

      Yes, you need to move out. To an extent, even as an adult, if you live under your parent roof then you deal with their rules, desires and parenting. It is time to become independent and make your own life.

      Reply
  4. ahch

    Is it possible your mom doesn’t know how to interact with you other than from a helicopter mom perspective? Maybe she is just seeking to engage with you and doesn’t quite know how to interact with you as an adult. Also, think about harnessing her energy for job hunting to something that is useful for you like car shopping or searching for an apartment or finding the perfect winter coat for work.

    Reply
    1. Blue

      This! My mom is exactly like this and I’ve never been successful in getting her to stop, but I can usually redirect her efforts to something more currently helpful/lower stress. (Like helping me find a dryer instead of planning my pretty far-off wedding!)

      Reply
    2. DeskBird

      This. My dad was not a helicopter dad – but for most of my teen years/early twenties he only knew how to engage me from a perspective of trying to parent my life. Talk about getting promotions at work, my rent, buying a house, my mortgage, what do I pay for car insurance. He wanted to know about it, judge it and give advice. I hated it and went out of my way to avoid talking to him. Once where we got to a point where I could tell him about my life and he could just appreciate it because it was my life we got to a much, much better place and our relationship is better than it had ever been before. I wish I could give advice for making it happen – but mostly it came about because he retired and actually learned to relax and enjoy life.

      Reply
    3. Dee-Nice

      This is an excellent and insightful comment. I’ve found the premise behind it to be useful in so many situations. Before I get offended by someone I try to ask, “Is this just the only way this person knows how to interact with others?” Doesn’t make their way right, but it does allow me to stop taking it personally and think about how to actually fix the issue.

      Reply
    4. Snark

      Great point. There were some fireworks when I had to make it clear to Mama Snark and Papa Snark that our relationship had fundamentally changed when I moved out and went to college.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        You know that happens so often in families, I often wondered if that push back against the parents is supposed to happen because it’s supposed to launch us. It just seems that pushing against the parents is what helps some to propel themselves forward. If we did not have something to rebel against would we stagnate? It’s one of those questions with no answer because we can’t run two different outcomes at the same time.

        Reply
    5. selina kyle

      I would caution against using her energy to find something else. In my case at least, it meant my mother feeling a sense of ownership over the thing she helped me find (my apartment) and that anything I commented about it was a reflection of her somehow or that she got a say in how I lived there.
      Not that that will necessarily happen to OP, just helicopter parents need limits, not new tasks from what I’ve seen.

      Reply
  5. Manders

    This is an awkward conversation to have with your parents at any age, but it might be a good idea to sit down with your mom and have a frank talk about what both of your plans look like in the next few years. Do you want to move out of the house? Do you want to stay in town? What kind of salary would you be willing to move out of town for? What about her, does she have plans to downsize or retire soon?

    My mom was like yours, well-intentioned but not fully understanding of the kind of work I do, and she had a habit of making plans in her head but not actually telling anyone about them. I found out once that she’d been planning to sell the family house and move into a different one if I chose to go to a specific college that was offering me a good financial aid package–but she didn’t tell me this until years after I graduated from school, and my dad was also totally surprised to hear that this because she’d never told him about it either. If your mom has a similar habit of making secret plans and expecting other people to do all the right things so they can happen, you might find during your conversation that she’s already making plans that hinge on you not living at home in the near future.

    Reply
    1. A Non E. Mouse

      and she had a habit of making plans in her head but not actually telling anyone about them.

      You might be my long lost twin.

      Reply
  6. Helpful

    Moving out should be your next big goal; physical distance can help insulate you from the sound of beating helicopter propellers.

    Congrats on such a strong professional start! Keep it up and don’t let your mom distract you from your path.

    Reply
  7. Peanut

    Yes agree with above comments. Have a 6 month plan to move out if possible. Actions speak louder than words for parents. I also had helicopter parents but surprisingly when the bank of Mom and Dad ended so did the majority of comments. Good luck, sounds like you are well on your way!

    Reply
  8. Heina

    Oh my GLOB. I just dealt with something similar this past weekend. My mother’s bestie told me about how I should get a job in my same current role but in her field, which is a very detailed and complex industry that I know absolutely nothing about, since it pays well, has good benefits, offers a flexible schedule, and can include work from home options.

    In my current role in my current field, within a growing industry that I’ve been in since 2013, I am paid well, provided with good benefits, work a very flexible schedule, and can work from home as needed — or even wanted, depending on other factors. I am very good at this specific subset of thing I do and I love doing it.

    I guess my mom and her friend can’t get their heads around the fact that I struggled to find job after I graduated due to being in the midst of the worst of the Great Recession, not because I picked a bad industry, plus there’s no getting around the fact that running a single-income household with a disabled spouse who doesn’t get any government benefits mean that I will always have to be careful with my money and will never be rich.

    At least they’re not as bad as my dad, who told me to go into HR because of my degree (which he thinks is useless despite all evidence to the contrary) and in the same breath told me about how he and his coworkers called the HR person he had to deal with “That Asshole”.

    Reply
  9. Rainy

    I want to preface this by saying that I’ve spent the last ten years of my life living in reasonably expensive cities, so I know what it’s like for rent to be outrageous, but seriously…sometimes the cheapest way to pay is with money.

    If living with your parents to save money is costing you outrageous amounts of aggravation, time, argument…find a living situation where you pay rent in money.

    Reply
  10. Michelle

    How to manage pushy parents- I love it!!

    Moving out if you are able and ignoring it are your best options after you try to the things Alison suggested. Good luck!

    Reply
  11. CaliCali

    I think one thing to consider is that your mom may not like or approve of either your workplace or the field that you chose. Which makes no difference in terms of your actions — it’s your life! But she may have a hard time accepting it.

    Also, if she’s helicoptering, I doubt she’s actually in a rush for you to move out — maybe she subconsciously thinks you’re doing just a bit too well, are a bit too independent, and feels like she has no role in your life if she isn’t telling you what to do.

    Reply
  12. Lady Phoenix

    As someone who does live with mom, sometimes the work help can be useful but othertimes it doesn’t help at all.

    In this case, be direct with her: “I already have a job that I like. Please stop sending me job postings.”

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      This. Sometimes, OP, we have to tell people to STOP. Most of us hesitate here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we do not believe our words will be effective. We don’t believe people will listen and respond in the correct manner.

      You could couple this up. It could go something like this: “Mom, you gotta stop sending me job postings. Now, why don’t you tell me what actually weighs on your mind because you know the job postings are not getting the results you are looking for. Why don’t you tell me the actual problem?”

      Reply
  13. Higher Ed Database Dork

    My mom used to be really bad at this, but is has gotten better over the years. In my situation, she was taking any venting or complaints about my job to mean “I am utterly miserable and want to completely revamp my life and career,” instead of just “This minor thing annoys me and I’m venting.” My mom is an Overreactor! in every sense of the word, so she blew anything I said out of proportion. So all my complaints were met with articles about companies that were hiring, job applications, school applications (she really wants me to go back to school and become a doctor). It was her way of trying to help me, but being an Overreactor!, she thought that I needed a completely new career, instead of just maybe talking with my boss or picking up a hobby.

    I’m now in a job I love, and she still does this from time to time (“don’t you want to become a doctor?…”), but it’s mostly because she wants free health advice. So my advice to you is, try to find out the WHY, and maybe you can resolve the problem from there.

    But from one helicopter child to another – sometimes you just have to ignore it and gradually limit her involvement in your life! I know that’s way easier said than done, and moving out is the first big step in this, which is major. But it will get better over time!

    Reply
    1. Plague of frogs

      For my first two years of engineering school, my mom kept telling me I needed to drop out because it was too hard for me (she apparently missed the fact that it’s hard for everyone). By my junior year, she finally accepted that I wasn’t going to drop out.

      But during my first few years of work, she was right back at it–any complaining from me about my job was met with, “Maybe you should just quit!” or “Maybe you really aren’t meant to be an engineer!” It’s taken 20 years, but she finally seems to accept that I’m an engineer. But she still expresses surprise when I do engineery things well, and when she needs help with her computer she always asks for my husband.

      Reply
      1. Higher Ed Database Dork

        Mine does that, too! She’s also the type of person who, if something is hard, then that means you shouldn’t do it. She doesn’t have a lot of fortitude. I went through about six different majors in college because they were all just too “hard.” I’m thankful I’ve grown out of that.

        She asks my husband for computer help too, even though we’re both probably on equal footing when it comes to computer knowledge. She asks me for help with Facebook, though….

        Reply
      2. Woah

        YES. I don’t have contact with that part of my blood relatives anymore, but any time I mentioned something was hard or that I was struggling with X was met with “quit! do something else! you’re not smart enough! why put pressure on yourself!” and it did mess me up for quite a while, the first response when running into something hard should be “how can you get through this and what do you need to do it?” not “fluffernutters, how do i get out of this?!” and when it is parent taught to not rise to a challenge…it sucks.

        Reply
      3. Kvothe

        This must be a universal engineer’s mother thing…granted I think my mother told me I could quit if wanted to because she probably thought I was stressing myself to an early grave but she knows I’m stubborn as all hell so it could have just as easily been her giving me the kick I needed to get through the next round of exams

        …but like how bad must engineering school seem to outsiders if this seems to be a common occurrence? (at least in the AAM realm)

        Reply
    2. Not So NewReader

      OTH, OP, if sometimes it is not an over reaction to respond to someone’s complaints. If the complaints are chronic, if the person does not seem to have a solution or a way to minimize the issues or (pet peeve) the person complains to the point of not living life.

      You might find some answers by pretending your future kid/niece/nephew/etc. is YOU. How would you respond to what the adult child is saying? Remember this fictitious adult child talks a lot like you. What do you say to them?

      Reply
  14. LBG

    My parents had jobs, not careers. It was always about the pay with them. I never lived at home after I went to college, and never discussed pay with them, so they never had reason to inquire. Mom did ask what job I could get if I moved back to my small rust belt hometown once. I think she was sad to learn that it was not going to happen.

    Reply
    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      I have a family member (sister) with an adult daughter who is married, with three kids, and the daughter & hubby and family moved from Massachusetts to a southern state, where HE’S from.

      My sister is hoping they’ll move back. They love their life now. He loves his job. Ain’t gonna happen.

      Reply
  15. Broadcastlady

    She might want you to be paid enough to save money while also living outside of her home. My kid is 3, so we aren’t there yet, but having him live with me after he graduates college AND has a job isn’t high on my list of fun things. Especially if you aren’t paying rent and buying your own groceries. Your experience maybe different. Your mom may love you living with her, but it’s worth a conversation.

    Reply
  16. animaniactoo

    Q: Can you afford to move out? What are you saving money *for*? If it’s anything less than a downpayment on a house or a car and then you can afford to move, you need to look at moving out now and probably dealing with a lower standard of living. Taking longer to get to some milestones you’d like to have in terms of homeownership, etc.

    Many of us have btdt, and it involved roommates and the occasional “all I can afford is ramen” meal. But it comes free from parental interference in your life and your choices of how you live your life. And when I say free from, I don’t mean it necessarily ends – but the daily in your face across the breakfast table/while watching tv/while doing laundry portion of it does. Along with the reasonable stake of impact on their life.

    I don’t need my 24 year old to move out, but if I did, he could and I’d tell him he needed to go. As far as I’ve concerned, I was done when he got to the point where he could afford a place that he’d have to have 2 to 3 roommates and live in a subpar but not awful part of town. I’ve enforced that by charging rent that’s only slightly under what he’d need to pay for that setup and dealing with him primarily as a roommate rather than a parent-to-child in terms of our living arrangements and what I’m willing to accept from a roommate and do for a roomate.

    In the meantime, he doesn’t get to complain about what he can or can’t afford unless he’s ready to start doing something to change it. He’s got some savings and discretionary money, so it’s simply a choice of how he chooses to spend his money. Is that where you are? If so, you may need to look less at “how do I get her to change and back off” and more at changing what you can – your address.

    Or if she’s willing to support you saving money while living with her because SHE’D like you to be able to buy a house in 2 years, the tradeoff on her end is one you can ask for – you’re happy to accept the residence but not the job ads please, and in return if you’re not where you need to be in 2 years, you’ll move out anyway and rent at that point. It may be that 90% of her issue is not having a set date for the end of your setup with her, so that she can feel confident that this is not an eternal temporary situation.

    Reply
    1. Adam

      Yeah, this is the flip side of living with parents as an adult. If you need to, I understand. But the nature of things means that they will be more involved in your life no matter how chill they are. It’s just the nature of it. If they’re completely hands off, they are a rare exception.

      This is also true if they loan you money,
      This is ALSO true if they gift you money.

      Reply
    2. Not So NewReader

      Some parents are very happy with their kid at home. One friend was gifted a $20k piece of yard care equipment from living-at-home adult child. In another instance the adult child paid for an elderly parent’s taxes, household repairs and bought wonderful cuts of meat for dinner at a specialty market. If this adult child had not been at home then the parent would have lost the house.
      In both cases, it was the parent who told the story, the adult child never said one word. We don’t know what goes on in people’s homes.

      Reply
  17. Mephyle

    This may not apply in the LW’s case, but when well-meaning relatives and friends don’t ascribe the status ($) to your job that it actually has, they may ‘helpfully’ point you to jobs that they think are ‘better’ but in fact pay less than what you’re making. You can tell them “Thanks for the tip, I really appreciate you looking out for me, the job could be interesting but I couldn’t afford the drop in income.” Feels good.

    Reply
    1. SS Express

      I really like this observation. I have noticed in my own career that sometimes people on the outside just have NO idea what is and isn’t a “good” job. My first job out of uni was a super competitive graduate role at a prestigious company that has served me very well on my resume, but people not in the know (like my family) said things like “oh well, we all start at the bottom, at least you’ve got your foot in the door”. My husband left a graduate-level job at a law firm for an in-house counsel job in a government department a couple of years ago. It’s a much better role with much better money and a better career path, none of which his old firm could match despite really wanting to keep him, but a lot of people assume it was a step backward and ask if he’ll switch back soon.

      I’ve also switched to the public sector and it really is a good feeling telling people that the jobs they recommend sound awesome but we aren’t prepared to take the demotion and pay cut necessary or limit our advancement opportunities. It shuts the buttheads down and helps the genuinely well-meaning people understand that we already have the great jobs they’re encouraging us to get.

      Reply
  18. Adam

    My mom used to do this. Thing is she would not only send me job descriptions that held no appeal to me/had nothing to do with the sort of work I was looking for (no Mom, I am not interested in being a part-time day care instructor), but these jobs would also require me to move 1000 miles away from where I currently live.

    Why yes, the postings all just happened to be very close to where she lives. However did you guess?

    Fortunately, she cooled it when I got a steady job. I think Allison’s point about you living at home might be a piece of the puzzle. Out of sight, out of mind is a saying for a reason. As a broke millennial, I totally understand the sticky wicket of finances into today’s age, so do whatever is best for you. But the parent/child dynamic is not one that fades easily.

    Reply
  19. Dee-Nice

    Totally speculating, YMMV, but I’m wondering if your mom is stuck on some past version of you. At one point in my life I wanted to be in entertainment, and my mom found this really attractive, and never really let go of the idea of that happening for me one day. I really had to say to her, “Mom. I don’t want to be an actor. YOU want to be an actor.” She also had to come to terms with the fact that after I had been a fairly type-A overachiever in school, I mellowed into a not-particularly-ambitious adult who was never going to make tons of money.

    Anyway, there’s nothing in your letter to suggest that specifically, but I know I’m not the only person whose parents’ idea of them crystallized at about age 17 and never really updated. Living with one’s parents can feed into this because we can get caught up in old dynamics without even realizing it.

    Reply
    1. Higher Ed Database Dork

      My parents both did this (see above: being a doctor). I’ve made a few random comments over the years about how I would have liked to go into medicine, but I’m quite happy doing what I do now, and I love my work and my job. That still doesn’t stop my mom from trying to get me to go back to school for medicine.

      And my dad *still* thinks I should be a newspaper comic strip artist, because in junior high I wrote a dumb little comic strip in the school paper that ran for a few weeks. Like he still seriously tells me I need to do this, because I’m “such a good artist” (stopped doing art a long time ago). The most recent was a few weeks ago.

      Reply
      1. Rainy

        My fiancé’s dad frequently says (to everyone but him, thank dog, at least so far) that he wishes fiancé was still making [his art]. Fiancé wishes he could have broken into the very difficult and chronically underpaid industry that uses [his art]! We all wish it! But fiancé is an adult who made the very brave and difficult decision to go a different way because he did the math and that career path was very unlikely to work out for him.

        Reply
        1. Higher Ed Database Dork

          I totally feel for you and your fiancé – I wish I still did art as well, and actually started out in college as an art major, but there were just a lot of factors that would have made it a very difficult and unenjoyable life for me. Now I put my artistic creativity into things like fashion, and trying out different hair colors, and making little cards for friends. My dad doesn’t seem to get that I can find enjoyment and expression in art through different mediums – and he especially doesn’t get that I can do this without having to make money off of it. My favorite artsy hobby is crazy hair colors and the parents definitely do not like that one!

          Reply
          1. Rainy

            Fiancé has a degree in [his art], but the degree doesn’t guarantee a spot in the industry–he’s very good, as far as I can tell, and he loved it, but he’s also a very realistic and responsible person, and when art didn’t put a roof over his head or dinner on the table, he had to make a different path for himself, or else give up the other stuff he wanted, like a stable paycheck and everything that makes possible. :P

            I had to make that decision myself–my degrees were all aimed at something that doesn’t happen for most of the people who are trying to attain it, and I did the math and knew it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I miss the thing I spent over a decade doing, but my current career is working out really well for me, and in fact, my experience with my own education and ambition made me really uniquely well-suited to do what I do now. So it’s pretty great really.

            And in fact, one of the things that I remind people about a lot is that they aren’t just their work, they’re a whole person, and if they can’t satisfy a particular value through their job, doing it through hobbies is a really good way to construct a satisfying and enjoyable life.

            Reply
    2. Cassandra

      This. So much this.

      My father has never recovered from me dropping out of a Ph.D program (that was causing me physically-damaging amounts of stress). He just can’t let go of the Dr. Cassandra he thinks should exist but will never exist.

      He mellowed out somewhat when I began to be noticed professionally. It might pay, OP, to think through what your mother’s definition of success might be, by way of being able to checkmate her by showing her you’re meeting it.

      Reply
    3. JulieBulie

      “I’m not the only person whose parents’ idea of them crystallized at about age 17 and never really updated.” Oh wow, yeah. I had to move back in at age 35 for a few months, during which I felt as though I had been demoted back to age 19 or so.

      Reply
  20. Rusty Shackelford

    I do, in part, have her to thank because it did motivate me to apply for internships (if not mostly out of annoyance to get her to stop). I ended up with great internships during my college summers and they nicely paved the way for me to land my current job.

    Ah, this might be part of the problem. Because she told you what to do, and you did it, and it worked out well, so why should she stop now?

    As a mom who’s trying hard to keep her helicopter grounded, I agree with Alison that it might help if you let her know you actually have a long-term plan, and that you’re not just sitting around waiting for her to decide what you should do next. But it sounds like she’s probably not going to stop, and you’re going to have to get used to it (or move out so you’re less exposed to it.)

    Reply
  21. Yet Even Another Alison

    You may wish to get a roommate and move out of your parent’s home. Their home – their voice track……

    Reply
  22. Rachel Green

    My advice: move out and get your own place. Staying with your parents for 6 months to a year after college is fine and understandable. But, if it’s more than a year, I think that’s excessive. If you aren’t able to afford your own place with your current salary, then maybe your mother is right and you should be looking at jobs elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. Dankar

      I mean, I would never want to go back to living at home, but saying “You should look for jobs elsewhere,” kind of ignores the fact that OP says the benefits are great (better than higher pay for some people) and that there’s room for growth where she is. Why hop to another job if you think this one will allow you to get where you want to go in the future?

      Add to that the fact that a lot of entry level jobs don’t pay nearly what they did 20-30 years ago when adjusted for inflation, and you see why I think her mother might just be a bit out of touch. I would speculate she’s probably passing on jobs that OP’s not qualified to do yet…

      Reply
  23. Yorick

    I don’t think it’s our place to tell OP to move out. (I do think she should talk to her mom about whether that’s what the mom wants.) We have no way of knowing their family dynamic. I think it’s pretty gross for so many commenters to say that “real” adults don’t live with their parents and that OP should just “grow up,” and I’m saying that as someone who would never want to live at home.

    Reply
    1. Allypopx

      Yeah I feel like a lot of harsh judgements are being made off a really small amount of information, and it’s a little self-important of someone to assume they know what’s best for someone’s specific situation.

      But like a lot of letters, it does really come down to: open your mouth and talk about it.

      Reply
    2. Bookworm

      I agree. I think many people want to stand on principle, but without knowing more about OP’s financial and family situation, we really have no standing to comment on that.

      OP’s mother is an adult, who can decide if she wants to help support her child or not. OP is an adult, who can decide if it makes sense to trade some privacy/peace-of-mind in exchange for extra help saving. These are reasonable trade-offs to make.

      Reply
    3. selina kyle

      Agreed. Some places it just really is not feasible. And moving out really is not the core nature of her issue/question.

      Reply
    4. bb-great

      I think there’s room to acknowledge both that there are very valid reasons for young adults to live with their parents, that there are situations where it works well for everyone involved, and yet it might be good advice for the OP to consider whether it’s working for them. I agree it’s unnecessarily judgy for people to make sweeping comments about all adults who live with their parents, but given OP’s own description of their mom as “overly involved and controlling of my life in every way” and asking for advice on that topic, I don’t think it’s out of line to suggest in this case. (It does seem to be kind of derailing the conversation here in the comments, though.)

      Reply
    5. Statler von Waldorf

      I’ll +1 how gross some of those comments are. The comment section here has changed over the years.

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Eh, honestly it hasn’t changed all that much. From what I’ve seen so far, there are like two commenters being critical of the OP. Everyone else is disagreeing. I think sometimes it feels like it’s more people when the one or two outliers post a lot, but it’s really not many.

        Reply
        1. Statler von Waldorf

          And I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that after I criticize the comment section here I get put back back on the moderation list. I think I’m done here now.

          Reply
    6. August

      Agreed! I think it’s fine to throw “have you considered moving out? Some distance might improve the situation” out there, but OP specifically asked for a script on how to deal with her mom in her current living situation. All of these unsolicited opinions on family dynamics and what it means to be an adult are…a little mean, and not really relevant.

      Reply
  24. TootsNYC

    Speaking as a parent of “launching” children, and one who is an executive at work, and used to being proactive and “the buck-stops-here person” in other areas of my life–ESPECIALLY when it comes to my kids–I want to make one point:

    Do not leave a vacuum.

    Do everything you can to create the impression that you are **proactively** taking charge of your life.

    Don’t talk about “lucking out” anymore; you were strategic in applying to the job you have; you have a plan; you are setting goals at work and achieving them.

    I am all about the “it’s not my life,” honest I am–but when I see my daughter sitting around and not making any apparent moves to get some sort of work experience or gainful employment, even just for spending money or to establish some sort of work reputation with a manager, it is SO VERY HARD to zip it.
    Especially since she lives at home.
    If she were achieving some other thing, it might be easier to deal with.

    You’re working full-time, so that’s great. But make your own career plan visible.

    And make it sound like you are completely and totally in charge.

    Reply
  25. Lily in NYC

    This seems like a no-brainer to me. Just say thanks and delete the email. My mom is incredibly controlling and I’ve learned it’s not worth trying to reason with her about this stuff. I’ve set necessary boundaries, but receiving a “helpful” email doesn’t seem worth a “talk”.

    Reply
  26. Serin

    Many helicopter parents are anxious parents — they control because they think something awful will happen if they don’t.

    If your mom is one of these, I worry that if you follow the recommendation to give her reasons (“In my field, it would be professionally damaging to move on so soon”), you just validate her view that your career is something that she needs to control.

    I would ignore anything you can ignore (emails, notes slipped under the door, newspaper clippings by your plate at meals, etc.). And I would respond to direct face-to-face comments with a warm, cheerful, smiling “Thanks, but I’ve got this!”

    Meanwhile, if you need to vent about work, ask for work advice, puzzle over the behavior of your co-workers, strategize about work-related problems, etc. — do that where she can’t hear you. Make your professional life into a wall of slick, shiny glass with nothing for her to get a grip on.

    It often takes parents a while to catch up to the fact that their kids are adults. (My kid was probably out of middle school before I was fully convinced that toilet issues were no longer something I needed to provide for.) But when an adult child explains, the parent often wrongly sees that as an invitation to negotiate. What you don’t say, she can’t argue with.

    Reply
    1. Serin

      Forgot the most important part, stolen from Captain Awkward: After you deflect, immediately change the subject, ideally to something you know she loves to talk about. “Thanks, but I’ve got this. Has the neighbor’s dog come to visit your garden lately?”

      Reply
    2. Artemesia

      This. If you OP are going to continue to live at home, making the job a ‘wall of shiny glass’ is great advice. Never vent to Mom because that invites her advice. The ‘I’ve got this’ attitude needs to prevail. But with the helicopter parents I have known, putting hundreds of miles between you is ultimately the only way.

      Reply
  27. Observer

    Alison gave you some good scripts. But if these don’t work, find a way to move out. If you are not earning enough money to move out, even with room mates, then maybe your job is not quite as awesome as you think.

    I don’t think that “all real adults” move out of their parents’ home within 6 months of finishing college. I *do* beleive that “real adults” recognize when a particular situation is unsuitable and make difficult changes rather than complaining that someone else is not changing their behavior. That includes recognizing when a parent is going to continue to see you as a child as long as you are living in their house.

    Reply
  28. Second Lunch

    In my culture, multigenerational households are very common. 90% of my friends still live at home to save financially and because the value has been instilled in them that family is important. I understand it’s not as easy to just pick up and leave once you financially can because there are feelings and values involved.

    One thing you need to ask yourself is: How can you be okay with the current situation? Let’s say your mom never stops sending you postings, but you continue to feel happiness from your current job. Is that enough? Are you okay knowing that you’re happy even without your mother’s approval?

    If you don’t want to push back on your mom, then you need to decide that you’re okay with letting her continue to push her aspirations for you.

    Reply
    1. H.C.

      I don’t think this is helpful since she’s writing in about how to get her mom to stop, not to mention that LW describes her mom as “classic helicopter Mom — overly involved and controlling of my life in every way” so there are more issues than just the continual job postings involved—extricating herself from that situation as soon as it’s practical to do so would be preferable.

      Reply
      1. H.C.

        sorry for the double comment – forgot that HTML codes send it to moderation; also, didn’t mean to assign a sex to LW

        Reply
    2. H.C.

      I disagree with this advice, especially in light of LW writing in for advice to get mom to stop (as opposed to how to deal/cope with it) and describing mom as ” classic helicopter Mom — overly involved and controlling of my life in every way”. So there are definitely more issues at play on top of the continual job postings. LW extricating from the household when it’s financially/practically feasible to do so would be much more preferable.

      Reply
      1. Second Lunch

        I think this is interesting – I don’t think it’s necessarily feasible for OP to extract himself/herself from the situation, which is why I was focusing on what OP can do right now.

        And I’m speaking personally from friends who wouldn’t dare set boundaries with their parents because they saw it as disrespectful. I agree that there are more issues at play because of the classic helicopter mom dynamic, which is also why I’m inclined to think that this problem won’t be fixed easily or quickly, especially when the mom doesn’t want to change.

        So, you can move away if possible, yes. But if it’s not possible, you need to take charge of your own happiness and see the constant nagging as a symptom of her own thoughts. But it should only be an annoyance, not a hindrance to happiness.

        Reply
  29. Sylvan

    Does your mom respond well to open discussion of issues like this? If she prefers to be indirect or this advice isn’t suitable for her particular communication style, ignore my comment, but when my mom did this several times I eventually asked: “Why would I want to do that?”

    I didn’t ask it in an aggressive way, like “Ugh, why would I WANT to lower myself to this lame job?!?” – I was actually curious. I was trying to ask what she saw that attracted her to the listing she forwarded to me, and I kind of worded it badly.

    But she paused, thought, and maybe put herself in my shoes and realized I wouldn’t want that job. She toned it down after that and only brought up jobs that she knew were relevant and that I had the right experience for.

    If your mom’s heart is in the right place and she is genuinely trying to be helpful, you might make some progress if you ask her something like that. Maybe she needs to make the switch from looking for “jobs I would be happy if my kid had” to “jobs that would be a good fit for my kid.” Or to stop recommending jobs.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      I had a friend who was looking for work and asked me to keep an ear to the ground.
      Just like you are showing here, I was The Clueless One. His field and area of expertise was beyond my understanding. I knew roughly what salary range would be okay, so I had that much. I think I sent him one or two listings and gave up.
      But I did say to him that I did not know enough about his work/his abilities to pick a job that would be on his level and I did not want to send jobs that would seem insulting because I actually think very, very highly of him as a professional.

      Reply
  30. kb

    I would make clear to your mom (and maybe yourself) what you are saving money for. Having a reason and end date for saving up makes things better on both sides– people generally are better at making things work if they know it’s not forever. Even if that goal is just, “I want X amount stashed away before I move out in case of emergency,” it will still motivate you to live frugally and assure your mom that you have a solid plan and timeline.

    If you are living at home to save money with no goal in mind, it’s really easy to get trapped in the “why take on additional expenses?” loop. And if you’re not paying for living expenses, you may not realize your job isn’t paying enough for the lifestyle you’d like. If the reason you’re living at home is that your current job doesn’t pay enough to cover rent in the city you reside in… your mom has a point sending you the job listings.

    Whatever you do, have a full-on adult conversation with your mom about it. If you can’t manage to speak like adults about this, it’s probably time to move out.

    Reply
    1. Manders

      Having a cutoff point for the amount of money you need to save is a great idea. If you hit it faster than expected, that’s awesome. If you can’t come close after years of trying, it’s time to take a long, hard look at whether you’re making an income you can actually live on.

      Reply
  31. Seal

    When I was an undergraduate, I very much wanted to major in music as that was my passion at the time. My parents strongly implied that wouldn’t pay for college if I went that route, so I meandered my way to a double major in psychology and sociology. As I got closer to graduation, I started considering law school, only to have my parents tell me that I should be a paraprofessional instead; they didn’t think I had what it took to be a lawyer. So I wound up working in a library, eventually went to library school and became an academic librarian in my 40s. While I was job hunting, my mother kept pushing me to be a music librarian or a law librarian. Guess what? To be a music librarian you need a degree in music and to be a law librarian you need a JD. There were several heated discussions about this before my mother finally backed down. To this day I regret ever having listening to my parents “advice” with regard to work and school. My life would be very, very different if I had gone with my gut at the time.

    Reply
    1. Woah

      I’m so sorry that they did that to you, and raised you in a way that you valued their opinion of you over what you knew inside. I hope you’re able to have a happy and fulfilling life regardless of their poor advice.

      Reply
    2. Else

      I did something similar, although they didn’t squish me quite that much. I listened far too much to them about taking small risks, though – without that I would have probably taken a very different career path and traveled a lot more. I am also an academic librarian; I’m not sure what I’d be otherwise, but I think it probably would have also been in law or related. And maybe I’d be outside of the US and feel a lot safer! Nobody wants you to immigrate if you are over 35 and not in a tech/STEM field.

      Reply
  32. Baska

    Assuming you and your mom are both comfortable with your living arrangements currently (i.e. you pay sufficient rent to make your mom happy, and you are both okay with you living in her home for the time being), here’s another script for you:

    Mom: “Have you seen this job posting? You should apply!”
    You: “Thanks, Mom! I’ll look into it!”
    *don’t bother looking into it — pretend the conversation is an email and you pressed delete on it*
    Mom (some time later): “Have you applied to that job posting I sent you?”
    You: “I looked into it and decided it wasn’t the right opportunity for me. My current job suits me better / is better in line with my professional goals / pays more / has better perks / etc. But thanks!”

    Also, you could use something like what Serin posted above:
    Mom: “Have you seen this job posting? You should apply!”
    You: “Thanks, but I’ve got this. Hey, how’s Aunt Lysa doing / how was your trip to Casterly Rock / did you buy anything interesting in Flea Bottom / etc?” (Essentially, any other immediate deflection that’ll get her talking about something else.)

    If you assume she’s not going to stop being helicopter-y, all you can control is your reactions. So let her think she’s helping, and then get on with your life.

    Reply
  33. Sole

    You might not be able to, no matter what you do. You could doggedly follow up every job lead she throws your way, you could find a job that pays better/looks better/is ‘better’ in her eyes, you could tell her every day that you already have a job and are not interested and she might just. keep. doing. this. Putting her on an information diet is a little hard when you’re living together, especially if her support is contingent on her controlling your decisions. Would it work if every time she sent/mentioned a job ad, you said ‘I’ll think about it, thanks!’ and then move on? You can think about it and decide ‘nah!’ every single time. It might get annoying to constantly have the same conversation, but if it becomes less of a ‘I’m successfully adulting, please back off!’ and more of a ‘managing mom’s control issues’, you might have an easier home environment. Also, if you appeared to take some of those into consideration, the frequency of her suggestions could ease off.

    It sounds like you’re doing really great, congrats on finding a job that makes you happy and has potential for the future – that’s living the dream:)

    Reply
  34. Mayor of Llamatown

    In terms of middling-to-average results on this kind of thing, you might enforce your boundaries with mom, feel like you both have a great understanding, and still need to reinforce those boundaries later. Just because you have one good talk doesn’t mean she’ll be able to give up an old habit easily. Be prepared with “This is what I was talking about – remember? I’m happy in my job, I don’t need more job postings, when I do I’ll let you know, otherwise I’m still not looking.”

    My mom isn’t quite helicopter level but she still feels the need to manage parts of my life, including relationships with toxic family members and my relationship with my spouse. She occasionally needs a reminder – not because she’s sneaky or trying to undermine my boundaries on purpose, but because she needs reminding of what those habits look like. “This is what we talked about” is a handy phrase for pointing out when those old habits resurface.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  35. Manager Mary

    I can’t imagine how bold one must be to accept free housing and then make demands of the person who gives it to them. You’ve chosen to accept free accommodations in the only house/condo/apartment in the entire world where your mom lives, and now you’re expecting her to change because she is personally annoying to you? Yikes. Post an update, OP! I’d love to hear how your mom reacts, because I’m having a hard time imagining a reality where this ends the way you’d like.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      She didn’t say she’s living there for free.

      She’s allowed to set reasonable boundaries even when someone is doing her a favor. She may not get them — in which case she can decide to move out — but it’s not outrageous for her to attempt to set boundaries.

      Reply
      1. Manager Mary

        Is it a reasonable boundary, though? In the grand scheme of gifts that come with strings attached, I feel like having to deal with “helpful” job suggestions is a pretty fair trade for hundreds of saved rent dollars each month. It’s a strand of spider silk that could be easily brushed aside, not a thick length of rope keeping OP from moving freely about her life.

        If OP actually needs to save money, then I think she should strongly consider whether this is where she wants to spend all her boundary-setting capital. Personally I’d wait for a big ol’ hill to die on rather than sacrificing myself on this tiny little ant mound. If you plan to live dangerously where your housing is concerned, OP, please at least make VERY sure you have enough credit and money to get an apartment on extremely short notice. Only folks wearing life jackets can afford to rock the boat.

        Reply
    2. Woah

      Every relationship is effectively a transaction. Right now, HM (Helicopter Mom) is providing advice that OP doesn’t want as one of her transactions. OP of course has the right to say “I don’t want to engage in this transaction.” and not engage in it. OP also has the right to say “Please stop offering me this transaction.” and hope HM stops. HM also has the right to say “No, this comes with our current relationship.” or “If you don’t want this transaction, you must X/Y/Z.”

      Everyone, no matter what their relationship, has the right and ability to ask for modifications in their relationships. To decide someone does not have that right because they a) live at home with a parent b) pay below maret rent c) are X years old d) wear purple shoes is silly.

      Reply
      1. Manager Mary

        Having the “right” to do something doesn’t automatically make it a great idea, and it certainly doesn’t free you from the consequences. I have the right to own 5 chickens within the city limits, but I pass up that right in exchange for the luxury of not having to spend my time and money dealing with chickens.

        OP has the right to ask, but Mom has all the power here. There is only one scenario that benefits OP; she asks and Mom agrees. There are many other scenarios. OP asks, Mom says no. OP asks, Mom asks for rent/more rent money. OP asks, Mom kicks her out. OP asks, Mom gets really upset, the holidays are ruined. Etc. etc. OP has nothing to bargain with, is offering nothing in exchange for Mom changing her behavior, and has no recourse except to forfeit her cheap rent and leave.

        If the risk it worth it to OP, then great! Spread those little wings, OP, and fly! But I think it is more than reasonable to encourage OP to apply a little discretion. Of course she has the right and ability to request whatever she wants! But she will then be obligated to deal with whatever consequences that request generates.

        Reply
        1. Rainy

          OP has everything to bargain with, because OP is the one who decides whether or not her mum gets to be in her life. :)

          Reply
          1. Manager Mary

            If threatening to cut your mother out of your life because she sends you well-intentioned job postings seems like healthy boundary setting to you folks, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

            Reply
            1. Rainy

              You said that the mum has all the power–she doesn’t. At all.

              She has current and temporary power over the living situation, because OP is living at home, but when OP moves out, as most people will do, mum has no power. If she is a controlling parent, all her control is illusory, and the sooner OP realizes that, the more able OP will be to set and enforce healthy boundaries.

              Reply
              1. Manager Mary

                Choices don’t necessarily equal power. I have the choice to do the dishes myself if I’m unhappy with how my partner loads the dishwasher. But what kind of threat is that? My partner isn’t going to fight me for the privilege of doing the dishes, and I doubt OP’s mom will beg for another chance to fund part of OP’s life. I think it more likely OP will threaten to move out and pay their own bills and Mom will say “great!” and cheerfully start sending along rental ads.

                Reply
                1. Rainy

                  Then both of them will be happy.

                  I don’t understand your investment in justifying someone else being controlling and intrusive in OP’s life just because they happen to be related. It seems odd.

    3. Alice

      Mary, I wonder if you’re responding with your mind focused on your own situation? The letter writer didn’t say she’s not paying rent, and that assumption puts a very different complexion on things.

      Reply
      1. Manager Mary

        The assumption that she is paying any rent at all has no more basis in reality than my own assumption that she is paying nothing. All I know is if I were paying rent to live in my parents’ house, I would darn well make that known before I went around complaining about how my landlord/mom treated me–but I am not OP, so maybe we could ALL stop assuming?

        The point is OP clearly states she is paying less than she would if she lived on her own. That means Mom is subsidizing OP’s rent. Also, this is Mom’s house. OP is not a roommate–she is a tenant, and a charity case tenant at that. So yeah, OP can demand Mom behave to OP’s specifications… But Mom also has the authority to say “don’t like it? Get out!”

        I am absolutely not saying that people who receive charity or favors must be subject to the every whim and demand of the gift givers. But Mom isn’t acting unreasonably or even asking OP to do anything. Brushing off harmless suggestions in exchange for cheap rent seems like a good deal to me. *shrug* I am merely suggesting that, since the extremely simple and obvious solution to this problem is “move out,” OP should tread carefully if that isn’t the result she’s hoping for. Mom will almost certainly prefer that option to changing her own behavior in her own home, whether OP is paying decent rent or not.

        Reply
        1. Mayor of Llamatown

          You seem to be treating this like having autonomy and the ability to run one’s own life without interference from others isn’t a worthy end-goal. If OP doesn’t work on constructive boundaries with their mother now, it can lead to really unhealthy dynamics later as the wound festers. “Just put up with it because you owe her” isn’t healthy. “Just put up with it because you owe someone” is not a good, mature way to live your life, ever.

          Reply
          1. Manager Mary

            I agree with your ends, but not your means. Autonomy and the ability to run one’s own life are the worthiest of goals! But one does not gain these things by standing in the living room of someone else’s house, where one is living for cheap or free rent, and demanding that one’s landlord/financial sponsor treat one like an adult. These are things one achieves by moving out and paying one’s own bills with one’s own money.

            I also agree that healthy boundaries are great. But what boundary has Mom crossed? Sending job ads is not unhealthy. She isn’t sending out OP’s resume or setting up interviews for OP. This is a minor irritation, and it would behoove OP to develop the ability to brush such little things off, rather than setting the expectation that each one is worth a confrontation. If OP thinks Mom is annoying, I surely hope they can afford to live on their own because I don’t think AAM dispenses roommate advice. :)

            Reply
            1. CanCan

              Actually, the mom might benefit from this conversation as well. Maybe she is trying to send a hint that the OP should move out – but since the OP isn’t sure that it’s a hint, the conversation would force the mom to be more direct. Or maybe she thinks it’s obvious that the OP should look for a better job – and since it isn’t obvious to the OP, the mom would have a chance to present her arguments. Or maybe the mom has no intention of being annoying and wouldn’t be doing so much of this if she found out how much this the OP and threatens to undermine their relationship.

              In any event, a conversation is not an ultimatum. No reasonable person would respond to a long statement outlining all the reasons why the OP isn’t looking for a job with an immediate “Fine, move out then!” No reason for OP to be rude about this, but doesn’t mean she can’t start a conversation so she can understand mom’s motivations.

              Reply
  36. nnn

    I read this differently from others, as a child of helicopter parents who thought I was irresponsible to move out of their home rather than saving money by living with them.

    If your mother does want you to live with her (and/or thinks it would be irresponsible for you not to) and you could afford to live on your own, respond to job listings by apartment hunting within her sphere of awareness, or by making noises about apartment hunting. Then when she frets about it, respond that you thought she was dropping a hint that you should move out. (Look how many people in the thread interpreted it that way!)

    Yes, this is a passive-aggressive response, but the “have a direct conversation” part of the advice has already been covered :)

    Reply
  37. Argh!

    I suppose sending her links to hot dudes on match.com with a message about how she should trade up from dad would be bad form?

    Reply
  38. Undercover Lady Lawyer

    It seems to me that the question of whether or not an individual living with their parents is an adult is akin to the problem of formulating a definition of “obscene.” Like the Supreme Court Justice said, “I can’t say what it is, but I know it when I see it.”

    Reply
  39. JulieBulie

    “Do you want me to change jobs so that I move out on my own more quickly?”

    I think if OP’s mom wanted that, she’d be sending OP ads for rentals and people seeking roommates.

    I’ve been reading the comments about whether or not OP MUST move out. For sure it’s a lot easier establishing boundaries when you don’t live with your parents, but I’ve seen enough things on the weekend open threads to know that sometimes even moving out is not enough.

    Staying with your parents and learning to establish and respect one another’s boundaries will help you not only while you’re living with them, but after you move out as well. Whereas you can move out tomorrow but if you (both you and your parents) haven’t learned how to do the boundaries thing yet, you’re still going to have to deal with a lot of the same problems.

    Reply
  40. I'm anonymous.

    This seems clear to me – in my country if you have finished your education and can’t afford to be self supporting (you say you are living at home to save money which means your parents subsidise you in some wayfinancially) you need to be job hunting.

    I have kids and if they needed my financial support as adults I would be sending any job I came across from waitressing up. If I’ve read it wrong and you aren’t being subsidised (you pay your portion of *all* the bills including housing costs/utilities/insurances/food/upkeep) then you can have a word with your mum about how great your job is because you genuinely don’t need another one.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      She doesn’t need to be job hunting if she has a job appropriate to her skills and is simply living at home to save money, not because she couldn’t afford to be on her own.

      Reply
    2. Yorick

      If your kid had a full time job but still didn’t make enough to make ends meet, you’d send her waitressing job postings??

      Reply
  41. TootsNYC

    Parent of two kids at “launch” age here….

    I believe that THE core task of “growing up” is to figure out how to not care what your parents think. Or what they say to you. Sometimes I think that’s a “true grownup.”

    As children, most of us want to please our parents. Pleasing them is the primary motivation for almost everything we do. If things go well for us, we begin to segue out of that, and we start wanting to do well in school for its own sake, or for the sense of mastery it gives us.
    (Sometimes, it’s to please our teachers, swapping one adult for another–oh, well!)

    But that’s a long process, and it takes a LOT to change that.

    It’s not that a “true grownup” dismisses everything their parents say, nor does a “true grownup” dismiss the concept of their parents having a good opinion of them; they just don’t feel pressure from it. They don’t try to please their parents.

    In a way, children relate to parents much the way the stereotypical dog does–always wanting to please the master. And to “grow up,” one must become a cat.

    OK, some of that is just tongue-in-cheek. And I don’t truly think there’s any one standard for a “true grownup.”

    But I do believe: It is a child’s job to learn how to not care about pleasing their parents.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      Forgot to point out:

      Learning how to stop pleasing your parents takes a lot of practice.

      Letter Writer, consider this a “scrimmage”–try out techniques, see what works.

      But I will say–most of this work is internal. Stop caring that she’s always talking about jobs to you. You don’t have to please her. It can just be an annoying quirk, like the otherwise enjoyable uncle you’re fond of that somehow ends up telling the same 6 stories, eventually, at every family gathering.

      Reply
  42. nonegiven

    Do you have apache mom or blackhawk mom. You may be able to move into a shared apartment, or it may take several states away.

    Reply
  43. Wanna-Alp

    If your mom is not the reasonable kind who understands a “Please stop!” then what I’d suggest is this:

    Send her job postings and recommendations. Lots. At least as many comments/ads as she’s been giving you. Do it with a smile. Even better if she is stay-at-home and/or retired. At some point she will get it, and you will have been having amusement to save your sanity in the meantime.

    Reply
  44. The claims examiner

    My helicopter Boomer parent constantly insists that my husband and I are job hoppers. Neither of us have left a job before being there at least 3 years, which I think is enough time to decide if the culture and pay are appropriate. I am not sitting in the same chair for 30 years like she did, and companies just don’t take care of their employees like they used to.

    Reply
  45. Manager-at-Large

    OP – I think you need to figure out how to move your mom’s behavior to another part of your life where you can better deal with it. She’s not going to change (probably) just because you move out. If you become engaged, she may switch to sending you wedding clippings. If you consider buying a home, it will be home buying, realtors and loan options. If you become pregnant, it will be pregnancy advice – followed ny the latest in child rearing and then starting with the best options for child care and/or why you shouldn’t stay home or what day-care is best … etc.

    How is your relationship with her in general? Are there any shared interests other than “you and your life (including career)”? Can you see a way to have an adult-to-adult relationship with her that involved other common interests? Do you have a relationship with another woman of her generation that you could use as a reference of how it might look? (aunt, co-worker, family friend, parent of a friend, someone from church or volunteer effort).

    She will always be your mom, but if you have a *shared* interest like knitting, gardening, llama racing, volunteering at the XX – it will take some of the pressure off the “you and your life” aspect of your relationship.

    Reply
  46. Marley

    Move out. That’s the best thing you can do if your mom has been helicopter-y your whole life. It’s hard for her to see you as an adult when you are living with her.

    Move out, ask her to stop sending you job listings for now, and delete any she sends without comment.

    Reply
  47. Fluffer Nutter

    My late grampa, who was great overall, badgered me to leave the job I had beaten out 120 people to get, in a highly specialized field, to be a “secretary” (his term) at Halliburton in Lawton, OK. Uum…My partner at the time was Latino engineer. We went to Lawton once and was very uncomfortable. Grampa felt sure they’d hire us both apparently because we’re good people and based on his career in the oil fields Halliburton is a good company that “takes care of their people.” He retired in 1980. Nothing I could say convinced him that I wasn’t qualified to be a secretary. They actually have much more advanced computer skills than I do!
    Good luck OP! :-)

    Reply

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