His Mother

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    Aug 08, 2009 10:21 PM GMT
    My boyfriend is half mexican. Making his mother 100 percent.

    She's a really nice lady, but due to her bi polar disorder can get a bit sick at times, but for the most part she's a very wondeful woman.

    I've noticed lately, now that we have the house, that when she comes over she needs to clean. Her own house is never spotless, but when she comes over she needs to clean. She picks up papers and everything. Even right now she's in my kitchen scrubbing counters with bleach, and cleaning dishes and complaining that her back is hurting and that she needs a cigarrette break.

    I guess what I'm asking is that - and I just need at least one response from someone who knows about the culture - is it normal for hispanic mothers to do this, or is her need to come over and clean perhaps her dealing with a manic state?

    Just curious as to should he and i be worried for her, or if this is just what I am to expect for the many years to come.

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    Aug 08, 2009 11:46 PM GMT
    well I don't know if it's Hispanic ideals or not..

    However it does sound a little manic like.. lots of bi-polar people I knew would develop these odd little urges during manic periods, my mother would become fanatical about cleaning up the local creek or park area.. unfortunately she never become obsessive about cleaning her own place so it was always a mess if I let it.

    It can be very frustrating at times for people surrounding her because while she thinks she's doing great stuff all you want is for her to stop. Unfortunately it does stop until the episode is over or drugs are used.

    did your boyfriends mother develop bi-polar disorder later on in life? he didn't grow up with her being bi-polar?

    if her scrubbing the counters and being a bit active is about the extent of her manic behavior, I wouldn't personally worry about it to much but I would keep a good eye on her and what she's doing, but some bi-polar people can do some very dangerous stuff thinking they are impervious.. which is terrifying.. I walked in on my mother doing "wiring" with live wires..

    Best you can do it just watch the woman and make sure she doesn't do anything overly stupid.
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    Aug 09, 2009 2:55 AM GMT
    Some people have a 'part' in life, and do that part where ever they are. My mum was a housewife, and spent her day looking after us kids, cleaning, cooking, etc. So her natural reaction is to revert to that role. If she comes to my place, the first thing she does is start organising things, cleaning, etc. Maybe this is what your bf's mum is doing.

  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Aug 09, 2009 2:57 AM GMT
    Halfstep said....but when she comes over she needs to clean. She picks up papers and everything. Even right now she's in my kitchen scrubbing counters with bleach, and cleaning dishes...


    I couldn't get my mother to do this if I paid her. What are you complaining about?
    /I kid. Mostly.
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    Aug 09, 2009 1:27 PM GMT
    lilTanker saidwell I don't know if it's Hispanic ideals or not..

    However it does sound a little manic like.. lots of bi-polar people I knew would develop these odd little urges during manic periods, my mother would become fanatical about cleaning up the local creek or park area.. unfortunately she never become obsessive about cleaning her own place so it was always a mess if I let it.

    It can be very frustrating at times for people surrounding her because while she thinks she's doing great stuff all you want is for her to stop. Unfortunately it does stop until the episode is over or drugs are used.

    did your boyfriends mother develop bi-polar disorder later on in life? he didn't grow up with her being bi-polar?

    if her scrubbing the counters and being a bit active is about the extent of her manic behavior, I wouldn't personally worry about it to much but I would keep a good eye on her and what she's doing, but some bi-polar people can do some very dangerous stuff thinking they are impervious.. which is terrifying.. I walked in on my mother doing "wiring" with live wires..

    Best you can do it just watch the woman and make sure she doesn't do anything overly stupid.


    It runs heavily in her family, but was something she developed later in life.
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    Aug 09, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
    hmmm. My neighbor told me he wanted a Mexican lady as his wife. I understand why
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    Aug 09, 2009 2:11 PM GMT
    ...I wonder if this helps her feel like a valuable part of her son's and your life?


    -Doug of meninlove
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    Aug 09, 2009 2:47 PM GMT

    I'm going out on a ledge here, but do you think she's cleaning to work of nervous energy provoked by seeing her son with you? Going out even farther on my ledge: is there any symbolism in her apparently obsessive need to clean your living place and a belief on her part that your relationship with her son is unclean, disordered or sinful?
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    Aug 09, 2009 3:00 PM GMT
    ^ LOL, not really.

    Think it more as a compliment. It means she accepts you and her son as a family unit.

    Our culture is also predominantly hispanic, and as such, the household of children is still considered the domain of the mother (even more so in filipino culture, because the other side of the cultural mix is Asian, which also focuses heavily on the family). Your house is still, in her mind, part of her extended 'house'. Don't worry too much, she's just making sure her son is comfortable and 'her house' is clean.

    Why she does this more in your house than in her own also has reasons, the children are THE reason for hispanic mothers. When they move out, she loses this reason. So every time she leaps at the chance to still take care of her children. Never mind her own house, without her children there it's not that important.

    And yes, meninlove is right. It makes her still feel part of her son's life.

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    Aug 09, 2009 3:29 PM GMT
    Halfstep saidIt runs heavily in her family, but was something she developed later in life.

    First thing to work out is if she is actually having a manic episode or just being "motherly"

    since your other half didn't grow up with it, he might be a little blind to many of the indicators his mother will give off that tell you she's manic.. in mild cases they can be kinda hard to spot, sometimes it can be restlessness or developing a slightly more then mild obsession with something, or it can be depression, slightmore more lethargic, lacking desire to maintain normal standards of hygiene or eating habits or what ever, I mean, the range of things can be huge, but it's generally spotted when they started doing things out of the ordinary without seemingly normal (for them) cause.

    If she is manic, there isn't a great deal you your self can do for her besides keeping her safe.. sometimes, it's better to distract her from what she's doing then try to forcefully stop a manic person from doing what ever it is that's dangerous.

    is she on medication? does she take it? has she worked out what medication/s work for her yet? your other half should probably know this, unless her bi-polar is mild enough that she doesn't need any super vision.

    You might want to do some research on bi-polar disorder for your self too, I'm probably not the best person for all this because I'm used to much more extreme things.. there is lots of sites out there, I can't name any specifically, it's been many years since I had to deal with anything directly.. I'll have a look at a few if you are strugglin to find anything though.

    There should also be a services in the US who can give you information as well.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 09, 2009 3:34 PM GMT
    It sounds a little odd to me... and I have some friends who are hispanic.

    Maybe she wants you to know that she's a good person, works hard and wants to seem helpful and constructive. I'd probably let her do some, but
    it sounds like she shouldn't be doing that much work.
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    Aug 09, 2009 3:37 PM GMT
    meninlove said...I wonder if this helps her feel like a valuable part of her son's and your life? -Doug of meninlove
    We're on the same though track here Doug...I was wondering the same thing. /don
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    Aug 10, 2009 3:46 AM GMT
    Sedative said^ LOL, not really.

    Think it more as a compliment. It means she accepts you and her son as a family unit.

    Our culture is also predominantly hispanic, and as such, the household of children is still considered the domain of the mother (even more so in filipino culture, because the other side of the cultural mix is Asian, which also focuses heavily on the family). Your house is still, in her mind, part of her extended 'house'. Don't worry too much, she's just making sure her son is comfortable and 'her house' is clean.

    Why she does this more in your house than in her own also has reasons, the children are THE reason for hispanic mothers. When they move out, she loses this reason. So every time she leaps at the chance to still take care of her children. Never mind her own house, without her children there it's not that important.

    And yes, meninlove is right. It makes her still feel part of her son's life.



    Thank you. Your reply is very enlightening.
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    Aug 10, 2009 3:48 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    Halfstep saidIt runs heavily in her family, but was something she developed later in life.

    First thing to work out is if she is actually having a manic episode or just being "motherly"

    since your other half didn't grow up with it, he might be a little blind to many of the indicators his mother will give off that tell you she's manic.. in mild cases they can be kinda hard to spot, sometimes it can be restlessness or developing a slightly more then mild obsession with something, or it can be depression, slightmore more lethargic, lacking desire to maintain normal standards of hygiene or eating habits or what ever, I mean, the range of things can be huge, but it's generally spotted when they started doing things out of the ordinary without seemingly normal (for them) cause.

    If she is manic, there isn't a great deal you your self can do for her besides keeping her safe.. sometimes, it's better to distract her from what she's doing then try to forcefully stop a manic person from doing what ever it is that's dangerous.

    is she on medication? does she take it? has she worked out what medication/s work for her yet? your other half should probably know this, unless her bi-polar is mild enough that she doesn't need any super vision.

    You might want to do some research on bi-polar disorder for your self too, I'm probably not the best person for all this because I'm used to much more extreme things.. there is lots of sites out there, I can't name any specifically, it's been many years since I had to deal with anything directly.. I'll have a look at a few if you are strugglin to find anything though.

    There should also be a services in the US who can give you information as well.


    After reading your post we decided to look into it and it turns out she is 2 weeks late for her meds. I do also agree with the others, that this is her way showing love and acceptance, she is just that kind of person, but its been even more apparent that she is having a manic episode. Thanks.
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    Aug 10, 2009 3:51 AM GMT
    If she's using bleach, she thinks u guys r nasty lmaoicon_lol.gif
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    Aug 10, 2009 3:57 AM GMT
    mothers clean...thats what they do....especially if your the in-law..they find faults..thats the job of a mother in law...but on the other hand...it could be a result of her disorder...
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    Aug 10, 2009 12:48 PM GMT
    I wouldn't say is a "Mexican female thing", but is not unheard of here in Mexico.

    In fact one of my few female friends (in her early 20's) would come to my house to do college homework and I would catch her doing the dishes and cleaning my kitchen after "going for something to drink". She would also try and "put order" in my backpack... her mother was the same in other people's houses.

    It was difficult to invite her to a party and avoid she ending up acting like a hardworking people pleaser hostess.

    My sister's take before she knew I was gay: She's wife material, go for it fool! icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 10, 2009 1:02 PM GMT
    There are so many thing wrong this question. To begin with your asking advice from men who are not even trained in the mental health profession and if they are they do not Latina madre full mental history or the fullscope of her mania. Prehaps the person you should be directing this question to is one the son, two her mental health care professional.

    Better yet let it go. If she is not a risk to you or herself what is the problem. I would be more concerned what a behavior is like when she's off her meds. Not that she goes a cleaning frenzy when she comes over. If you don't like have your to politely ask her to stop. Knowing how latin mothers are and my grandmother is no exception thats like trying to stop the tide from coming in.

    Good Luck.
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    Aug 10, 2009 2:09 PM GMT
    It seems to me the visits and the cleaning could be both related to her manic periods. Perhaps she doesn't go out and visit until she's in the manic phase, and obsessive cleaning is a part of that. Therefore, that is what you see her doing whenever she comes to your place. It is not a commentary by her on you guys per se, but rather a reflection of her own state of mind during those visitation episodes. The one is the consequence of the other.

    Mental & emotional disorders are generally not considered to require intervention until they significantly degrade that person's quality of life and ability to function, or show a potential for harming others. If that does not describe her present state, then I would say learn to live with her "eccentricities" as many of us do with people around us.

    If some proactive measures do become necessary with her, and your boyfriend assumes some part of that family responsibility, then you in turn should support him. He will need it. Often when you take on a lover, you take on his burdens along with his gifts to you. Support & understanding are as much expressions of love as are kisses and cuddles in bed.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11525

    Aug 10, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
    hell, wahat r u complaing about? i'll take free maid service anyday of the week! icon_lol.gif
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Aug 10, 2009 2:45 PM GMT
    It's the bipolar thing. I have a relative and she is bi-polar and a friend's sister is bipolar and so on. Anything to do with cleaning or lack thereof seems to be directly related to or affected by the bipolar disorder. Should you be worried? Not really, she has already been diagnosed it seems and as long as she is listening to her doctor and taking her meds(if needed) these symptoms don't pose any danger to anyone. In my personal experience their ability to determine what is clean and what isn't is really off kilter...and my friends with bipolar relatives agree.

    The really odd thing about my relative is that she wants to store things on the stairs, the landing of the stairs, the bottom and the top of the stairs, etc. Trying to get into her house is difficult since she has potted plants all the way up and down the outside stairs leaving you with little room to step, which is weird since she could put all the plants on the other side of the arm railing where there would be more than enough room.

    Here's a test: Clean or organize something at her house. If she has to reclean it or needs to reorganize it to the way she had it, it might stand to prove that when looking at your house she is perceiving that you are cleaning it incorrectly(not her way) and she is just cleaning it the right way(in her mind).