Help with family member opinions on me caring for my mum

I’m a 30f and my mum is 68. My older sister is 47.

So asking for advice here. I currently look after my mum and everything is been going quite well. I work full-time so we work around that she has someone that comes in four times a week to sit with her while I’m working et cetera.
So I went away for a couple weeks visit my other sister in Australia and my other sister technically she is my half sister and my mum is hwr stepmum.
She doesn’t visit very often. While she was here, she decided that she wanted to clean and organise the house, including re-organise my bedroom, like my drawers and everything.
She wants to have a talk with me on Saturday about things we need to do in the house.
I’m worried because my sister can be quite full on and opinionated.
Like my mum has dinner at 11pm because that’s when I finish and I make it as soon as I get in. She’s a night owl so it works for her and I’d rather she have a home cooked dinner than a ready meal on her own.
We also have 3 cats who are indoor cats and she’s adamant we have to have a cat flap.

The house was a little cluttered but she’s gone overboard cleaning and washing everything and kinda made me feel like I’ve not been doing things right.

Any advice on how to handle this and set boundaries but in a nice way. I’m not good with conflict.

I’m no good with conflict either, however invading your privacy like that is not on. I’d need to make her aware that’s unacceptable, maybe thank her for tidying but in future ask that she doesn’t invade the privacy of your room/belongings - I’m she would not like it if the positions were reversed. If she’s rearranged everything so much you can’t find things, I’d be tempted to phone or message her every time asking her where she’s moved it to.

Re the cat flap, apart from the risk to the cats if they aren’t used to being outdoors and get lost or injured (worry your mother), you could say for security reasons you don’t want to risk it?

For the rest of it, maybe work out with your mum what works for her, which I’m sure you both already know, and have it written down. As it’s both of you living there daily, and your sister doesn’t visit often, your opinions carry much more weight. See what suggestions she has, as maybe there will be something useful? Even if there isn’t, if she at least feels you heard her out, will hopefully be better than avoiding the topic.
Use the broken record technique if she gets pushy about some things “I can see why that could be good/useful in some situations, but that won’t be helpful/useful for us so we won’t change that.”

I have same from my younger sister. As mum lives in my home (age 86 with dementia)
On the odd occasion she comes round , it’s just to demolished any confidence I have left, in ,my ability to care for mum. She critics everything she sees, I have an uncluttered home on my side of house, mums side is rather cluttered with ornaments, inheritance objects, dozens of pictures, that is fine. It’s mums rooms, but my sister goes on and on till I just walk away.
She came round to let me have an away day trip with friends , she came 8 am till 8 pm, I worried all day what nagging I would get on returning home. I found lots of notes about do this do that, So I know how it feels… I’ve not found a way to stop her, she is a dominant person, she worked on care sector for years.
I am resigned to a life of care for mum, no sleep, mum wanders, no privacy, and sister telling me what to do like I was a toddler .
But I will sort respite care next time.

I got as far as “she reorganised my own bedroom….” and saw red!
Who the hell does she think she is???
In our family we have a phrase the second word is off!”


Yeah, I completely get you.
I just felt so down because I’ve been managing and doing what I need to do. My mums gained weight since I’ve been there and I’ve handled the money and setting things up. She hasn’t done any of that.
My mum has a regular carer that pops over for 2 hours 4 times a week for the past year and she’s met my sister once before she did the “clean” and even her response about my sister was she was very full on and has strong opinions.
She’s my sister but somehow feel like I’m a scolded child.

Thank you! It’s nice to know I’m not getting upset over nothing. There’s some great advice there and I appreciate it.
I know certain things aren’t normal, but they work for us. I’d rather my mum eat later than have a microwave meal (she can’t cook).
I do appreciate the sentiment but not the execution, I’ll try and put that across.

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Yeah, after 3 weeks away and doing a 30 hour trip from Australia, I was tired and got really upset because I couldn’t find my stuff. I have adhd so I’m not the tidiest but I know where everything is.
Really overwhelmed me.

I think you and mum need to make it clear that it’s your home and mum’s home and NOTHING AT ALL is touched without prior agreement. If either of you need help, you will ask for it! You need a lock on your door. My eldest son is 46, lives with me, I never go in his room, and would never expect to find him in mine. It’s a matter of mutual respect!


I have the same issue with my sister. Unfortunately when someone who is not the regular carer comes along, they see a brief snapshot of what life ‘appears’ to be like in the parent’s home and decide it is not to their liking . If it works for you and the person you are caring for that is all that matters. I am not good with conflict but a firm, calm but polite “I do not appreciate you invading my privacy” and “The arrangements we have in place work for mom and myself” should be sufficient.

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On the forum, we have described those who drop in very rarely, then try to interfere, as HELICOPTERS.
Don’t get upset, just think to yourself “Helicopter landing!” and it will make you smile.
The “bottom line” though, is that if they can’t be bothered to care, then they have NO RIGHT to tell you what to do. They have forfeited their right. Going even further, if there are two of you, one cares, one doesn’t, then you should not have equal shares of the estate on death UNLESS the person you care for pays you for care. Otherwise the more you care for free the more the other sibling benefits from their refusal to help!

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