When we are young, we look at our mothers as if they could do no wrong. But as we get older, we realize parents have to be discerning too, and you may start to notice their flaws. There are a number of things your mom should never do, even though she is your mother, as her actions can have some powerful effects on your wellbeing. It's hard to take a step back and realize that the person who raised you might be doing something you don't agree with, but recognizing what is okay and what isn't can help you maintain a healthy relationship with your mom.
"It's always healthy to set some boundaries with your mom," says Nicole Zangara, LCSW over email. "Many times, when we become adults, our relationship with our mom changes from parent to friend. For a healthy mother-daughter relationship, that is fine. For a dysfunctional, toxic, or unhealthy mother-daughter relationship, that can lead to unhealthy boundaries or even no boundaries. To keep a stable, healthy relationship with your mom, the goal is to have boundaries set up for both of you to feel comfortable."
Every relationship is different, but there are some common habits that every mother should avoid. Here are nine things your mom should never do, no matter what.
1. Interfere With Your Place Of Employment
Your mom should always stay out of the way when it comes to your job. "This can look like coming to your workplace unannounced and trying to befriend everyone in the office," says Shannon Thomas, LCSW over email. "It may include attempting to connect with your co-workers or supervisors on social media. Some overbearing mothers see your now adult-life through the lens of your teen years, where everyone you knew had to be known by her too."
2. Press You For Details About Your Sex Life
You can choose what you feel comfortable sharing with your mom — if anything — but she should never make you feel like you have to spill the beans about your sex life. "Some mothers want to know way more about your bedroom life than is healthy," says Thomas. "They ask questions that maybe are okay for a best friend to talk about but not your mom. This intrusion into your sex life can often happen because mom is trying too hard to be your buddy and doesn't realize it's coming across a little creepy."
3. Parent Your Child
"She is your mom, not your kid's mom," says Thomas. "When you are a parent, you want to fully embrace that role and not have to compete with your own mom to parent your kiddos. Mom should not be interjecting herself into your family in a way that makes you one of the kids when she is around."
4. Compete With You
Healthy moms never see their children as competition. "Moms with the heart to parent long to see their children thriving in life," says Thomas. "Toxic moms feel threatened by the achievements of even their own kids. This happens when an unhealthy mom lacks normal maternal attachments and takes on 'mean girl' behaviors."
5. Pin Your Significant Other Against You
Your mom also doesn't need to involve herself in your relationship, especially if it involves joining your partner's side and ganging up on you. "This can happen as subtly as mom waiting until you're not in the room to say something passive-aggressive to your partner," says Thomas. "This tactic is a divide-and-conquer maneuver to cause friction in your relationship."
6. Overshare Information About Her Marriage
Even if your close with your parents, it can be detrimental to hear too much information about their marriage, especially if they're splitting. "If parents are going through a divorce, a mom should never overshare information with her daughter about the marriage (why it failed, etc.) because it makes the daughter feel uncomfortable and may even change feelings towards the other parent," says Zangara.
7. Control Your Finances
"Part of becoming an adult means learning how to manage your own money, which includes clarifying your values around finances and sometimes making mistakes," says Rebecca Burton, LMFT over email. "Your mom has years of experience dealing with her own finances, and may feel she has all the answers. It can be useful to consider her advice, but in the end, you must live with — and learn from — your own financial decisions.
8. Issue Ultimatums
Ultimatums are a power play and aren't a good tactic in any relationship, including one with your mom. "They can be tempting for some moms because they worked in the past," says Burton. "'Clean your room or you're grounded!' is appropriate for an eight year old. 'Break up with him or I'm not talking to you!' isn't appropriate for anyone."
9. Fight Your Battles
Your mom will likely always have that instinct to watch out for you, but at a certain point, you have to handle things on your own. "A mom should never fight her daughter's battles, especially when it may teach the daughter a life lesson to stand up for herself," says Zangara.