August 27, 2011 in Features

Please help, my mother is a slob

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: My mom has become a handful, and I don’t know what to do about her. I am a grown woman, and I feel like I’m raising a teenager.

Mom had some financial problems and came to live with me 18 months ago. She helps with some bills when she can, but mostly, I am supporting her. I am very organized, and she is a slob. She misplaces things all the time and claims someone else “must have put it there.” I cannot get her to pick up after herself, and if I ask, she gets defensive and it escalates into a fight. My house is crowded with her junk, and she won’t part with any of it. Every time we argue, she threatens to leave and tells everyone, including her parents, that I am a horrible daughter. Then my grandparents call and chew me out.

I can’t go anywhere without her tagging along, including out with friends. My friends are very understanding, and I try to tolerate her childish behavior, but lately it has taken its toll. Talking to her hasn’t helped. I love my mom and don’t want to kick her out onto the streets, but she is impossible to live with and unwilling to compromise. Any advice? – Arizona

Dear Arizona: Your mother seems to have some mental health issues and possibly a hoarding problem. We think she could benefit from therapy. Please make an appointment for her to see her doctor for a complete physical, and go with her. Then ask the doctor for a referral to a therapist. Tell Mom that getting help is a requirement if she wishes to remain in your home. You sound like a loving daughter. The next time your grandparents chew you out, tell them they are more than welcome to take Mom in and care for her if they don’t like the job you are doing.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@

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