My parents are away from home for little private holidays on a quite regular basis (once every 2/3 months), where they leave me home alone with my 2 brothers for 2-5 days. I'm a 26-year-old female, my brothers are 22 and 16.
Since I joined IPS, I have seen some questions and answers about 'not enabling bad behavior'. These struck home, as I've basically been doing that every time my parents are away from home, and I'm home alone with one or both of my brothers. I have been enabling their laziness by cleaning up everything their lazy asses leave behind, just to avoid mom's wrath.
When everybody is at home, everybody pitches in to do the chores that need to be done that day. Problem is that my brothers don't show initiative, and have to be reminded of their part of the job by mom and dad. The general rule when mom and dad are away, is that everybody cleans up their own mess, to keep the house in the state it was in before my parents left. I've reminded them of that several times, but because I had been enabling them before, I think they didn't take me seriously this time.
So, my parents have just returned from their weekend off, and my mom exploded at me because apparently, I haven't taken my responsibilities seriously. Even though I warned both my parents and my brothers, that I wouldn't be enabling their laziness anymore, and that I'm done being the little house-maid when my parents are away.
Here's what I did:
- Not cleaned the kitchen. I used it once, to prep all my meals for the workdays my parents were away so I could take my meals with me to work as I always do due to a long commute. I cleaned it afterward. Although I saw my brothers making it into a bigger mess each day, I didn't clean it.
- Not cleaning their muddy shoe prints in the entrance hall. I used the backdoor the entire time they were away, so the pawprints weren't mine. Thus, they were not my problem. If necessary, I can pretty easily prove they were from them, because we differ a lot in shoe sizes and the pattern matches their soles.
- Usually, when my parents are out of town, I shower last. When done, I make sure I dry off the shower cabin glass, the showerhead and faucet, to prevent them from getting stained with limescale. These days, I didn't wait for my brothers to shower first, after all, they are old enough to dry off these things themselves.
- Didn't empty the trash can when it was full, or throw away any of the trash accumulating on the kitchen counter. Okay, so the trash can may have been a bit petty of me, but trust me when I say that if 3 things in there were mine, I'm exaggerating. Same goes for the kitchen counter, I had already prepped my meals and wasn't home these days, so nothing there was mine.
So basically, mom just returned to a kitchen, hallway, and bathroom that are a total mess, and she takes it out on me by saying that I'm the oldest, that I should feel responsible and that the mess, therefore, is my fault. I basically told her:
We talked about this before when you returned from previous trips, I told you that I was always the one cleaning when you were out of town. You always told me it couldn't be that bad. So, before you left, I warned you that this time, I wouldn't be cleaning up any messes my brothers made, if I didn't have a hand in that mess as well. Now you've returned, you can see the chaos and mess they made, and you're still blaming me?
Her answer was yes, she's blaming me for not taking responsibility. I'm usually great at talking with my mom and getting her to understand me, but this time, she's being very irrational and nothing I say or any of the tricks I know that she usually responds well to are working.
I'd like my mom to understand that I'm not responsible for the mess she found when she came home. I'd like her to understand that the boys accountable for their actions/mess. I'd like to reach a point where at their next little holiday, the boys clean up their own mess (because mom told them to, I'm not expecting them to show initiative) and we don't have to go through this again. How do I follow up on setting this boundary and asserting it?
For everybody that thinks it strange that a 26-year-old female and 22-year-old male are still living at their parents home:
I moved out when I went to university. After graduation, I couldn't find a job at my education level for a long time and was forced to work retail. That was only a part-time job, I was unable to get a fulltime one due to being 'too educated'. Since then, I've started going back to school and I have been working as a software developer for the last 1,5 years. Except for the last 1,5 years, there has been a few years where living on my own and paying my own rent/mortgage simply wasn't possible. Now that I'm sure I like my new job, I'm currently looking to buy an apartment and move out.
For my eldest brother, he was living in his own apartment until about 3 months ago, when he landed his dream job: zoo-keeper. He quit his old job and apartment since they were farther away than our parents' house, and was invited to move back by my parents. He did and will be looking for a new apartment once he passed his probationary period.
That said, our parents don't go out for more than a day if there isn't at least one of us home/near that the 16-year-old can contact in case of emergency.