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Son and Girlfriend Eating Me Out of House and Home

I need help! my son 22yrs.old and girlfriend 20yrs old eat dinner at my home 3 to 4 nights a week. My husband and I at first didn't mind too much but, now with the cost of everything it is a bit too much, plus I don't need to cook for a 20yr old women all the time! My son works and goes to school so we do not ask him for board money and the girlfriend works and goes to school also. someone please tell me how to tell my son we don't want to keep feeding his girlfriend! And to top it off, they will snack a few hours after dinner! I don't want to sound petty. Oh did I say the girl can't cook. No kidding she can't boil water.

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I am overwhelmed with responses and I thank everyone personally! I have some really great ideas now thanks to all of you. I have not said anything as of yet but, I will try the one idea almost everyone had and that is to have them shop one night a week and cook a meal. Yes, to everyone I have tried to teach the soon-to-be school teacher girlfriend how to cook. Not interested at all! My poor son, lol. Maybe he will appreciate mom when he is gone. Thanks again to everyone, I'm so glad you guys are all out there!

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well how about you ask him to pitch in on the groceries..if he wants his girlfriend to eat over all the time. Also take the opportunity to teach her how to cook. If she is gonna eat up all the food then she might as well learn how to cook it. They should at least wash the dishes and clean the kitchen too, especially if they are gonna eat there. They are adults...make them put in their share in helping out.

Upfront & honest is always a good option. Tell them the truth! Tell them that you can't afford it and since they are both working that you'd like for them to pitch in and help with groceries AND meal prep. Assign them one or two nights a week. If they are offended.......shame on them! They should be grateful that you've carried them this far!

Wow S., I don't know much about this from a mothers point of view sense my children are still quite young but as for going through it on their side of it I would have to say tell them you love them and if they want to come over for Sunday dinner they are more then welcome but as for the rest of the week they are old enough to care for themselves. I think as a mother you want to continue to care for him but in reality he is too dependent on you. So if he gets his girlfriend pregnent you will be supplying the food and diapers and even a sitter. Really this is where I think it will go. I am a single mother of two I work and I have attended college as a mother while working. It is very hard to do but if a mother can do it a 22 and 23 year old with no kids can do it. I would push for them to take more care of themselves but leave a family day open so they know they are welcome. Hope this helps.

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Sorry, I've only read a couple of responses here and don't have much to say about the main subject, I just have to say something about the girlfriend who doesn't cook.

I cannot believe in the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY there are so many people who still have the gall to criticize her for that. Where is the shock and outrage that the 22-year-old son doesn't cook for her???? No duh, the boy will miss his servant - oh, sorry, I meant mother, when he leaves home for good. That's his failing, not his girlfriend's.

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How about offering to teach her to cook, or give her a recipe book as a gift with some of your favorites. I also think it's up to you to communicate to your son that you want to limit guests to maybe one day a week.

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share what you know... and have them share some of their money. If they don't have money, they need jobs!

Have them buy groceries for "what's for dinner" tomorrow and give them cooking lessons. Take turns cooking every other night... same with buying groceries.

ya never know... might be a blessing

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Hi S.,

Maybe you should ask them to take turns with you and do the cooking about once a week (including all the ingredients). And its not just that girl can't cook, what about your son? the fact that he's a guy and she's the girl doesn't mean that she should be the only one to cook and not him. Have them BOTH learn and believe me, in the future, your son will appreciate knowing how to cook wheather he stays with this girl or not. There are some small cookbooks in the grocery store exit lane that are very simple for like slow cookers or ground beef, that anyone can use if they actually wanted to.

Good luck!

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Good luck with this! Not in your situation, but can remember what my mom did. She was very good at making her desires known and we may have grumbled, but she stood her ground. As for friends, Sundays were only family members at the table, but friends could come after the meal for dessert. So...focus on what you and your husband want! Want to go out for dinner? Leave nothing cooked in the house and say frozen entrees are in the freezer or canned soup in the cabinet if you get hungry. Want the girlfriend there for Sunday dinners, but not Friday dinners? Say so! Want to eat meatloaf, even if that's not your son or the girlfriend's favorite? Tell it like it is. Sick of serving endless snacks? Eat them all and only have apples on hand. Want to help your son and the girlfriend learn to cook or pitch in? Set up a practice session and then say you'd like them to be in charge of dinner on Thursday. They get to buy and prepare and clean up. Enjoy yourselves with this, he'll be out of the house soon enough. Right now, it's your house, your rules. Best of luck.

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I noticed in your post that you stated "plus I don't need to cook for a 20yr old women all the time" but nothing was mentioned of your son. Can he cook at all and if not why not? Really in this day and age he should be able to cook a meal by himself as well. I agree with others that you should speak with your son and let him know that although it is nice that they enjoy spending time with your family (because really it is...most young adults would not do so)that the financial strain is a bit too much and would they mind buying the groceries and cooking dinner for the family a night a week. You could use this opportunity to teach both your son's girlfriend and your son to cook.

Also, where do the two eat the rest of the week? Are they going to the girlfriends' house and eating dinner with her family? If so are her parents footing the bill for this? If so maybe you should look at it that although you are feeding his girlfriend 3-4 nights a week her family is feeding your son 3-4 nights a week and therefore you guys are breaking even. If this is the case you could have a dinner with everyone and discuss that at both homes the kids are responsible for one meal a week per household and that the parents will help coach the kids in cooking.

If neither of these are an option and you just don't want the girlfriend around you should approach your son tactfully but be prepared for hurt feelings and the possibility that you may not see much of your son for awhile. Most kids at their age do not spend any time at home and I can guarantee you that if you tell your son this he will choose to spend more time with his girlfriend than at your home. He may also feel that you do not like his girlfriend and be angry and his girlfriend will surely feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I seriously doubt they realize they are imposing and probably feel that you enjoy having them over so your true feelings may be a shock to them.

Either way good luck and I hope it ends amicably,

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i have had the same problem in the past i put a tip jar out and joked to my so that it needed to be filled with ore that air if he wanted to eat regulary after dinner in the future ///the kitchen was closed until it began to show some funds..i did it with a flair of comedy so it did not offend any one personally but made a point to the ones who needed it ..it worked too....jo anne in ga

Offer to help your son's girlfriend learn how to cook. Have them pick the meal, have them go to the grocery store to buy it, bring the groceries home, and then help them with the preparations.

Tell them it's a good exercise on budgeting. Then increase the number of days (especially when the girlfriend is over) it's their responsibility to take care of.

I think you should first sit down with your son privately and discuss your frustrations with him. Let him know you love and want to help him but you are4 tired of cooking every night. Maybe they could pick dinner up once and a while. I guarantee you they have not thought about the inconvenience they are causing. They need it brought to their attention in A LOVING WAY. Good luck!

Maybe gently ask if they can start contributing toward food costs. I bet they start going elsewhere for dinner.

Have your son and his girlfriend do the grocery shopping and be sure she pays for it.Make a specific list. Then start teaching her how to Cook.Tell them point blank that with gas prices , food costs have increased and you just can't afford it all of the time. The truth hurts but it is your best bet really.

I feel your pain! I have three kids, 14, 13 & 10! Grocery prices have gotten ridiculous!
I think you should tell the girlfriend that you want her to help you in the kitchen, with meal preparation. Give her some tips and be sure that she takes FULL part in the CLEAN-UP! 20 year old adult/children need to know how to cook! I realize that she isn't your child but she may really appreciate learning a few things from you?
Maybe you could even suggest that your son and his girlfriend prepare one meal a week for you and your husband. Their duties would include BUYING the ingredients that make up the meal and, ofcourse, cleaning up afterwards. Let them see for themselves how expensive groceries are and everything else that goes with preparing a meal. You could take a night off from cooking!
Every time the two of them sit down to a meal with you, ask them, "What are you two making for dinner tomorrow?"
Eventually..you'll scare them and they'll eat somewhere else or they'll pick up some of the cost and effort it takes to prepare meals!
Good luck!!

well how about you ask him to pitch in on the groceries..if he wants his girlfriend to eat over all the time. Also take the opportunity to teach her how to cook. If she is gonna eat up all the food then she might as well learn how to cook it. They should at least wash the dishes and clean the kitchen too, especially if they are gonna eat there. They are adults...make them put in their share in helping out.

Well, you could always ask your son to give you money towards groceries. If you have to feed him & his g/f, he should be responsible enuf to contribute financially to all of your preparations.

I understand your pain ... but I see it different. How lucky you are to have your son and his girlfriend to feel comfortable and want to be there 3 - 4 nights a week. Kids that age usually have "better" things to do than spend them with Mom and Dad.

I raised 4 kids and we were grand central station.

Advice: Budget the meals, make a menu and bargain shop, and welcome those kids with open arms ... someday you'll wish they were there. You sound like a very lucky Mom!


just cook less and have less to munch on. don't tell your son how you feel b/c he'll probably fire back and hold it against you. it also sounds like you may just have a general problem w/ his gf. my hubby and i were like that while dating, so i feel for your son and his gf.

If you have a decent relationship with her, perhaps you could teach her to cook! It may take a little time but if you show her some basic recipes then maybe she would enjoy cooking for your son at her house! At 20 years old, she should have developed this skill already...maybe she just needs a mentor. Also, have a talk with your son and tell him what you have told us and ask him to chip in. He works and would have to pay for his own food if he lived somewhere else. He's a big boy now and should contribute.

Can she read? Seriously I handed my daughter in law (before she was a daughter in law) the can opener and a cookbooks when she stated I cannot cook and your such a "good" cook. He way of buttering me up.
Do they live with you? If not tell them starting next week the kitchen will be open only on certain days to them as dad and you need some me time together.
If they do explain the finances they need to be aware it is only fair for them to chip in for food. Our son does. Room and board are $60 a week. Sleeping rooms around here are $75 and they do not come with cable tv, internet, nor food. He has a cell phone and pays that bill his self.
Good luck. Dr. Phil would call it tough love.

I am 26 and find more and more people, including myself, that are around my age, 20's-young 30's that are female and don't know how to cook. Really, if it isn't frozen or from a box, I wouldn't even know where to begin.
Also, I ate at home every night, with my parents or my sons dads parents (even after I was no longer with his dad) and my son all the way through school. I personally never paid for groceries. I did have to work two jobs to pay for my sons needs, and gas, and am now paying over $700 a month in school loans alone because all my parents paid for was food. I understand food is a big cost and the cost of living as gone up for all of us, but from my perspecitive it is almost impossible to accomplish college degrees without some support from your parents. I can personally say without that little bit of help, room, board and food, my parents gave, I would have never been able to make it through college.
Now that I'm trying to buy a house, with being less than a year done with school, I'm still given a free place to live and free food. Don't get me wrong, I've offered what little money I can, but they say keep it and save it.
My mom will be the first to tell you, who had to move abruptly due to a job, that having your kids and their sigficant others eating at home means so much more than you would ever believe until they no longer do it.
I'm not saying don't ask for money, I understand that money is very tight. I just wanted to try and give a college student perspective. And let you know that one day, chidren are thankful for all their parents do, and do adventually realize how much they cost their parents.
And having someone to teach me to cook right now would be REALLY helpful! I did like that idea!

Well, my advice may sound different from some, so please hold off throwing the rotten tomatoes til the end. :) I agree with some on here that they probably do not know that they are imposing.....but let's think about this: Are they REALLY imposing? Think on the other side....how LUCKY you are that you have a son that feels comfortable enough to SHARE THAT TIME with his family? I mean, so many families don't even see one another after HS graduation or after a child enters college and has a girlfriend...Now, okay, so it may be out of necessity that they are spending time with you (i.e. he lives with you) but he COULD be with friends eating mac and cheese out of a box? THEY could be together sharing a fountain pop and a bag of doritoes! He could not be around at all? I mean, it won't last forever (well, hopefully not) and TRUE, the economy is bad....but you haven't expected him to contribute to this point are you going to start asking him for food money now?

What really is the goal? For him to graduate and move on and be successful? How much longer does he have? A year or two? Maybe a bit more? Seriously...my mother in law said this to me: "Five years from now, is this issue going to make a difference? Is it going to be life-changing?" So think about that...you are helping out your son and his girlfriend. Doesn't sound like she's a lazy bum either... sounds like she is working hard on her goals as well.

Think of yourselves as saints and pat yourselves on the back. Shop more wisely, cut coupons, cut down a bit on the "frills"...maybe ask them once in a while (not every day but maybe once a week) to stop by and pick up something to drink to share or perhaps a purchased dessert of some type. This will help them feel like they are contributing, etc.

You also should feel good that this girl wants to spend time with her BOYFRIEND's family. It could be the opposite.....he could be with her all the time and you'd never see him or spend time with him.

Sorry for the long response, but I'd cherish those moments... so many parents don't get them. And honestly, I have 2 older sons and they bring their friends to the house for meal-time all the time...and I don't blink an eye. What's one more hamburger or one more slice of pizza or one more piece of pie? Seriously....how much more can this girl eat? Ha ha!

Good luck!

It may not work, but if I were in your position - I think
I would try being away from home for as many evenings as
it would take to really learn if she is as incompetent
as you think she is or if she is dumb like a fox.
Even if you and your husband had to eat out, would it not
be cheaper than buying, cooking and cleaning for four
people on a regular basis? I would not lie to my son and
if he wanted to know why or where your husband and you
were always going, I would explain the situation to him.
Our children take us for granted and he truly may not
realize what is going on. Would his girl friend starve if
she did not have you to do for her? It also may change
your sons mind about a thing or two and you are not
discouraging his relationship with the girl of his choice.

There is a cook book called Saving Dinner that was recommended through a web site called Flylady.net. The cookbook has recipes organized through seasons. It gives you the entire shopping list. So you copy the shopping list check off what you have or want to substitute (like kale yuck) and shop. You will then have enough meals for 5 days for 6 people. Think leftovers. I have found that the cost for the groceries is well under $80, but it's hard to tell because I buy other stuff. But, it keeps me out of the grocery store all week and I know I have these meals come what may.
You may want to try it. You might enjoy sharing your food. And maybe you can get the girlfriend to help with the cooking and clean up.
Good luck.

WOW, that is a hard one. You need to set them both down and explain how you feel. Tell them if they want to eat at your house then you need to sit down and work out a budget of how much a week they need to give you towards food. I'm sure if they got married you wouldn't want to feed them and there kids all the time so you need to bite this in the butt now!!! Offer to teach the girlfriend how to cook. Look up easy recipes online and make them together. It would even be better if you could offer to go to there place to do that.

I apologize for this being a bit late, but this is from the perspective of someone who stayed at her future mother-in-law's house over the weekends. It may not be she "doesn't cook", it may be she doesn't know her way around your kitchen (like where stuff is) or doesn't know your rules about cooking in your kitchen (my mom, my mom-in-law, and I all have slightly different philosophies) and she doesn't want to mess up. She, and your son, just might need a tour.

Unfortunatly I think it starts way before they are 20yrs old! Is your son an only child? Many things can play into this scenario~ If he is an only child he is proabably use to the fact of HOME and only him, which is GREAT. But he probably has not had to do much of helping. I know many people that would love to have their 20yr old at home 3/4 times a week. As for the girl, sounds as if you are not in favor of her, but lets go back to her family, do you know them? When I was YOUNG, I at 14yrs was cooking supper or at leat starting it for our whole family of 6!! Both of my parents worked and it was expected, so dont always blame the girl. Sad that she doesnt know how to cook but if you enjoy them being there just feel like the situation is getting out of hand. I would first talk to your son and say "Your dad and I LOVE having you home and enjoy (Ashley) on occasion too, but we feel like we are letting YOU down by not allowing you to help on some house hold things, its kinda your training for getting out on your own~ (if you enjoy the girlfirend) then I would say, I would love to see Ashley more too and how about us all becoming closer and lets say TUESDAYS are your guys night to prepare us dinner. You all decide what we are to have and then WE will fix it together after you all plan and go to the store and get everything I then will help Ashley learn how to cook! Wont that be fun~ Teehee Then add we can watch a movie on this night too... (I think you would find if they STARTED going to the store they would pick up MORE things they like or enjoy...If you did not pick it up~ QUIT BUYING ALL THE GOODIES THAT KEEP THEM AROUND~)(smile!)
It really depends on WHAT YOU REALLY want our of your talk, because if its a girlfriend you dont like then you could loose your son home 3/4 days a week. If its feeling like hey "Im not a maid" then it needs to be said. If its about the COST of food then YOU can say w/ the economy we are gonna have to change a few things. I wish you luck~

I totally agree with one of the other posters. And, I may not have a popular answer. They are old enough to know how the economy works.
It seems to me that they are taking total advantage of you. I had this problem awhile ago, with my son wanting his girlfriend to come over all the time, in the eves, when I was cooking dinner. Of course, it's a bit different for me, because he's 17 and I do have a family of 5. I just told him that she could come over after dinner.
But, it does sound like she is too comfortable with your home. You need to talk to him about it. He may get upset, but I would just let him know how you feel. That you feel like you and your husbands generousity is being taken advantage of. They both work! Let them treat you to dinner!

Wow. I've never heard of a struggle like this! :) Be encouraged. Realize how blessed you are that they both want to be at your place. Things could be so very different!

(1) Perhaps you could plan ahead and just ask them if they could cook, say, on Tuesday evening for supper...you know plan the meal, go shopping, come home and cook for all of you. Just let them know what a treat it would be ... PLUS it would teach them the economics of feeding a family.

Otherwise, if you all eat on a certain schedule, perhaps you could have to be out some evening (planned in advance) and let them know you won't be able to be there...that it would be a great time for them to go out on a date! (I don't know your sons situation, but I pray that he's not asking you all for gas money, etc, while he's in school. If he doesn't...please know that some young adults still do!!!)

I'm a young Mom and I was fortunate enough to have a future mother-in-law who wanted us to be there for dinner, always cooked a lot of food, and my future husband loved being with his family. That isn't to say we didn't like going out on dates! Unfortunately, I was pretty immature & desiring to be spoiled...I wanted to be treated, as the prior 10 yrs of my life had been shy of privileges. So, I abused the fact that this adoring young man would do anything for me. In turn, he would do anything for me...but it cost us in the long run ...because where is downpayment for a home to come from?

PERHAPS...if this is the future MRS. you and your hubby can sit and pray about this...and see that your son is putting back money for a downpayment on a home while you feed them...or perhaps you can offer incentive that you'll make sacrifices to help him make a downpayment in the future ... if he wants to put money forth, as "room and board"/"future downpayment funds. Of course, there is perhaps the opportunity to use a bit of that towards meals now!

Good luck!!!

I think that people today tend to be way too worried about what other people think, rather than looking out for themselves. I don't mean that selfishly, just saying that people are allowing themselves to get buried either emotionally or financially at the expense of not wanting confrontation.

I'm sure that it hasn't even occurred to your son and his girlfriend that they may be costing you so much extra money. As a matter of fact, your son may think that you'd be hurt if they DIDN'T come over to have dinner with you. If I were you, I would sit them down and just simply explain to them that as much as you love having them spend the time with you, there's got to be something you guys can come up with to solve the problem of the extra expense. It may be that they supply dinner 2 nights a week, it may be pitching in a certain amount towards groceries, whatever the agreement may be, it's completely acceptable since they're both grown adults and understand the cost of living nowadays.

Thank you to the FEW posters who suggested that the son learn to cook as well. I come from an entire family of great cooks....that includes my father, uncles, brothers, and husband! I find it difficult to read the suggestions that the girlfriend is deficient in some way because she can't cook. working and going to school full time not enough? geez, people. she might not have come from a family with a cooking tradition. and it seems as if the son did, so where's his excuse?
and as far as S. pulling the girlfriend in the kitchen and teaching her how to cook -- oh my gosh! why not give her mopping and laundry lesson, too?! a cooking lesson would be great and probably tons of fun but unless the girlfriend asks for a personal cooking lesson S.'s got to include her son for the lesson to be anything but awkward, insulting, and SO 1950's!
but my advice to S. -- i have one brother that cannot cook anything but a cheese quesadilla(seriously) and he's ALWAYS eating supper at my house. now, i love it because i love cooking a big meal and we are really close siblings BUT you're totally right -- it gets really expensive feeding 1 or 2 extra people! I just ask him to bring one or two things. i'll say like,"Hey, could you pick up a bag of shrimp for me on your way?" (and then i can get him to peel them for me...haha!) And, also, we all stand around in the kitchen and talk and hangout while i cook supper. so, he kinda learns just by being in there and seeing what i'm doing. and his fiance (who CAN cook) always offers to chop something up for me so maybe you could get them to do that to get them involved -- especially if what needs chopping is an onion. ;-)
and sometimes we have "Quesadilla Night" and we get him to make us a pile of his quesadillas. it always turns out really fun, he feels accomplished and, most importantly, i get a break!
good luck!

I have seen pp mentioning to teach them how to cook! I agree! It may be fun and you can share what you know. I do know with my husband he was never "allowed" to help in the kitchen and doesn't enjoy cooking. He'll make food for himself....cereal, oatmeal, sandwiches, eggs but other than that he wants to learn more.

He's always been impressed with our 8.5yo, 4.5yo and our 17mo because I encourage them to participate in making meals and treats. They love to help out and they are learning valuable skills at the same time. I'm wondering if it's possible that you're son's girlfriend never had the opportunity or encouragement to help out in the kitchen and that's why she just doesn't know how to cook.

Sharing your knowledge and turning the cooking sessions into something fun could be a real joy for you and her....or maybe she'll decide it's too much work and not want to join you for dinner anymore.

How about putting her in training. Say something like How would you like to help with dinner. You bring home the Meat, or salad ingredients, or what ever. You might even take the time to go thru some cookbooks with her. IE: Give a girl a meal she'll be back, teach her to cook and she will try it for herself. You, your son, and she will appreciate the gesture, if she has any manners at all. She will also have to learn cleanup of course. If she blows all this off, you will know where you stand (somewhere about servanthood). Your son may wake up to her selfishness (you can hope). But you them have an excellent excuse for not letting this happen any more.

At that age, they are a package deal. That does not mean that they should have no morals. I think you have spoiled your son, and would like him to youself all of the time, from things you said. I would let him know that he is welcome to bring her home several days a week, not every night. I bet she has never offered to clean up, planted or brought you plants or anything. She knows a good thing when she sees it. Both of them are freeloaders. When my sons lived at home while in school, they had pt jobs, and helped around the house. The oldest loved bringing his guy friends home, several at a time. They cooked, they cleaned up, and they asked if we would like any.

My daugher in law and granddaughter eat over at our house all week while my son works out of town. I know she is lonely and she hates to cook and I really don't mind. My granddaughter is 18 months old and loves to help me cook dinner. Weekends when my son is home, they eat at home for the most part, unless I invite them to dinner which I do one night each week. We will see how it is in May when he will be working close to home and will be home each night.

I would ask your son for room and board. This prepares him to be on his own. It will help cover the extra groceries. Other then that, I wouldn't say a lot. Soon they will be out on their own and you will miss them. Empty nest is pretty hard to adjust to.

Now is a good time to encourage both of them to help you out in the kitchen and teach them to cook and clean up. You did not say if she was a big eater . I feed my grandchildren and their friends and believe one more mouth isn't that bad. Enjoy their company, one day they may not be around. Don't sweat the small stuff.

if they want to eat there, then ask them to help pay. if they want to eat there, tell them they have to learn to cook, too.

I know that this post is a bit late~but as the ol' saying goes~better late than never~~Talk about not having a popular answer~well I'm sure this will fit into that catagory,so here it goes~Both of my girls are grown and married now but a few years back when they were at home,I can't remember when we didn't have someone over at dinner or even lunch and dinner on the weekends. That's what our home was all about. I never knew who we were going to wake up to but I knew they would always be safe. When dinner rolled arond who ever was here was welcome,no one left hungry.I never thought of the money aspect when it came to the girls and there friends. My husband would always joke that he was claiming them on our taxes~but either of us wouldn't have had it any other way. I will say however when the time came for their life to move on in a different directions "the empty nest syndrome" was horrible. We didn't loose 2 daughters we lost 22 kids. YOU WILL HATE YOURSELF DOWN THE ROAD OF YOU PUT A STOP TO IT NOW AND YOU MY FRIEND WILL BE THE LOOSER..But this is JMOP~~M. S

Hi S.,
Perhaps the girlfriend would love to learn to cook, you could try asking her to bring in some of the ingredients and teach her while getting some help with preparation and cost as well. If not, you could always just start making something you know your son dislikes more nights out of the week, bet they'll find other food then. My sister's boys do! :)

Hi there :-)
I am not sure if I am doing this right or not but thought I would try :-)

Maybe what you could do is make it fun for your son and his GF and have a night where THEY do the shopping and cooking for a meal for everyone? His GF could /would learn how to cook as she went along? Or pick a certain night a week and have everyone bring something to the table for dinner whether it is a salad or side dish or something they can even buy at the grocery store to add to your dinner? Hope this gives you some ideas :-) Hang in there :-)

It sounds like your son and his gf are pretty comfortable with this arrangement. As they are both adults, who work and go to school, they are old enough to understand the economy. It seems like it is absolutely feasible to start asking your son to contribute to the household expenses, especially in regard to all the food. He more than likely won't like it, but he will not be able to move out and pay less than what you are asking him for. In my opinion, college is a time when you learn how to be an adult, with a career and all that goes with it. Part of being an adult is conrtibuting, even when you think you can't afford it or that you shouldn't have to. Arrange a meeting with the two of you, so he knows you are serious. Good luck!!!

I'm sorry, I am new to this site..very first post (ever) But I think you should just be happy that he is home and welcome the fact that he has brought his girlfriend home,and that she even wants to be there is an awesome thing....being on the opposite end of your problem.....I would truly love to be in your shoes............Teresa M.

I think a little bit of what everyone has said! I think being HONEST <gently> is the best bet. With my two teenage daughters I am FORCING them to pick one day a week and plan and cook the meal. I told them I didn't care what it was but there had to be a little EFFORT <hamburger helper wasn't getting it>. I believe cooking is a lost art, ESPECIALLY in this next generation. This could be a fun thing. Have the both of them pick one or two nights EVERY week that they will do the meal... have them bring ALL the ingredients, and you can be there to help "teach". I'll bet she would have fun with it and actually learn to cook, or they'll stop at McDonalds before they come over... :)


Wow S., I don't know much about this from a mothers point of view sense my children are still quite young but as for going through it on their side of it I would have to say tell them you love them and if they want to come over for Sunday dinner they are more then welcome but as for the rest of the week they are old enough to care for themselves. I think as a mother you want to continue to care for him but in reality he is too dependent on you. So if he gets his girlfriend pregnent you will be supplying the food and diapers and even a sitter. Really this is where I think it will go. I am a single mother of two I work and I have attended college as a mother while working. It is very hard to do but if a mother can do it a 22 and 23 year old with no kids can do it. I would push for them to take more care of themselves but leave a family day open so they know they are welcome. Hope this helps.

I definately don't think it's your responsibility to teach your son's girlfriend to cook. Her parents should have been more on the ball and paid more attention to the domestic aspects of life when raising her. I would let your son know the strain this puts on your checkbook with the rise in cost of "everything" these days. I would choose a couple days a week for them to be invited to dinner. Explain the other days she (or they) need to find alternate eating arrangements.

I remember when I was 20, going to school full time working a full time job....I had ZERO idea how to cook - and I could hardly boil water. I would have loved a home cooked meal a few days a week. I didn't have time for anything (learning how to cook, etc.) except work, school, and a little bit of a social life. She's 20. She probably has no idea she's imposing.

Maybe you could limit it to just a couple of days a week with the girlfriend.

Sounds like you and your husband need to sit your son down and explain how you feel. Have him and his girlfriend pitch in on the cost of the groceries. Also, when you are cooking make it a point to maybe get her in the kitchen and ask her for some help and guide her through the cooking. At some point in time she's going to need to learn. Make them understand that you wont be around forever and they need to start doing things for themselves.

I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7 and 4.

Might I suggest you and your husband sit down and look at the next few weeks on your scheduals and deside which days would be good for the two of you to have your son and his girlfriend for dinner.
Then check with them and see which days work for them. Kind of like a planner. Then when you speak with your son and his girlfriend you could plan the meals.
If she is untrained in how to cook maybe you guys could plan the meals together and she and you cook together. This would be such a wonderful opportunity to share some of your families favorite recipes together. Then She and you could make a special notebook of the recipes as a keep sake for her.
This may boost her confidence in cooking, and it would give you and her a great bonding time. Of course this would be a great time for your husband and son to spend some time together too.
For example, plan a grill night or a pasta night, or even a good old fashioned comfort food night. Before long you and your family could be having pitch ins. Where she brings something she made to go with the dinner. Maybe they just need some help in learning what it means to plan a meal and make the most of moneys. If they are planning to be married soon, this would help them a lot. Eatting out gets expensive and takes away a lot of the fun in eating with family.
Hope this helps!
in Christ,
reaching out,

I also had the same problem with my son and his girlfriend who also claimed she was unable to cook and if I had her try she couldn't figure out to turn on the burners. I finally had to tell them they had to pitch in on the food bill or buy some of the foods they preferred for snacks/meals. At first they thought we were unjust but did start to bring home things to help and felt good about. And as far as the girl not being able to cook, she just didn't want to so she acted as if she did not know how to boil water, her parents owned a small family type restaurant on the order of a fast food where you walk up and order and go or sit outside , that was where she worked as the cook and knew the ins and outs of the whole business

They are both old enough to know what is going on in the real world and if they arent perhaps a nice sit down conversation. Explain the situation to them both. If they both have jobs perhaps they could help buy groceries. I'd also suggest cooking lessons. Tell them you dont mind once in awhile but you would appreciate some help if they are going to eat at your house 3 - 4 times a week!!! Time for reality to pop into their lives!

good luck~

This is a touchy situation because this girl may someday become his wife. So looking at it from that perspective, perhaps you should schedule a day for her to come over and help you prepare a few meals for the week ahead. Tell her you would like to teach her how to make some of your son's favorite meals so that she can cook them for him at her place. This poor girl may have had a mother who never allowed her in the kitchen and needs someone to show her the ropes. As far as your son goes, you say he works and goes to school, and he's 22, it's time he started paying a weekly amount of money to go towards food. He's 22, if he were living on his own he would have to be doing this. I understand as parents we want to help our children as much as we can, but do you want to start dipping into your retirement fund so you can continue to spoil him? Just let him know, in a nice way, that with the cost of food going up, you will have to start charging him x amount of money each week for food. Make sure it is enough to cover the extra for the girlfriend. Tell him the extra expense is leaving you strapped, he's an adult and he should understand. If he doesn't, then maybe you should question your never charging him board, and realize he's gotten quite used to the free ride.

Hi S.:
I learned of an excellent communication tool years ago from a Life-Skills Coach that helps work through conversations, disagreements, frustrations, and setting boundaries... peacefully:



State your Support of your loved one in the ways that are meaningful for you.
Share your Empathy by remembering what it's like to "be in another's shoes."

And let your loved one know the Truth of the matter.

This simple little process has helped me navigate through many difficult discussions with open-ended, positive results.

Belssings, M.

That would be a hard situation to be in. Ask him if they could help with buying food or at least giving you a little money once in awhile, and I don't think you are being petty,
you don't have too many more years before you retire so you
need to be thinking about having money put aside for that. Is
your son paying for his own schooling or are you footing the bill, if you are paying for his school, then he should definitely be giving you some money for the food. Hope everything works out for you.

I suggest that you come up with a sample bill that it costs you to feed her, and show it to your son. If that doesn't help, hand her a bill at the end of the meal. Keep a running track record of the tabs, if she can't pay then she needs to work off the unpaid bills.

Upfront & honest is always a good option. Tell them the truth! Tell them that you can't afford it and since they are both working that you'd like for them to pitch in and help with groceries AND meal prep. Assign them one or two nights a week. If they are offended.......shame on them! They should be grateful that you've carried them this far!

At 22, I don't believe it's unreasonable to ask your son to help out a little since he's living with you. Since he and his girlfriend are spending so much time there, have a sit down with him and explain that at his age, he should begin to support himself. You can help him out, but he also needs the discipline to begin to share the load. The two of you agree on an amount that would help you provide whatever they might consume...and would be affordable for him. If he refuses, then you may have to have a further discussion about whether he can continue to live in your home. It may sound harsh, but it might be what he needs to support himself.

Tough love...is unfortunately, tough! ;)

I haven't read the other responses but, you need to get them to help out! If the girl can't cook, teach her! I was sort of the same way. When I got married, I got two cookbooks. One from my in-laws (Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes) and one from my parents (Help, My Apartment Has A Kitchen)! So, who had more faith in my cooking ability? hee hee I still call my mom every once in awhile to ask her a question about something but, if she doesn't practice, she's never going to learn! When I lived at home, I wasn't charged room and board cuz I was going to school but, I was expected to help with some of the bills, including groceries. You use/eat it, you pay for it too! This teaches responsibility and will only help them learn to budget their money and modify their choices once they are out in the real world. It is YOUR house and YOU are in charge of what the rules are. My brother-in-law lived with my parents for several months due to a job transfer. My parents told him that he could stay there (basically, he just slept there) but, he had to make his bed each morning. He did! You need to be able to set the rules for your own house and they need to respect you enough to obey them. This will only help them in the long run! Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

Is it just about the money? If it is, you could just fix less expensive food, keep less "snack foods" around, and ask them to pick up some things that you had "forgotten" at the store and in that way they are helping with the supply of food. If it's not about the money....let your son know that you don't mind if she is there occassionally but you and your husband would also like some time with JUST him. Certainly he would understand you wanting that...Just try to keep it in a positive light. Nothing is worth hurting your sons feelings and chance not having him home on those nights. It's ok to let your son know that you want to have some meals alone with your husband. Or you are going out to dinner maybe they could stop by after they have already had dinner.

We went through a similar situation a few years ago. I would find recipes that were easy and inexpensive. Have the girlfriend come into the kitchen with you and help even if it is to wash the lettuce,set the table,etc. Little by little give her more to do so that she can learn to cook simple dishes. Hopefully, she will be excited enough to want to try on her own. If not, designate nights for your son and girlfriend to cook dinners. Even if all they do is put pizzas in the oven and make bagged salads. Once they learn the expense and time you are putting into dinner, they should be more understanding about the situation you are in.

I would have the girlfriend in the kitchenhelping prepare dinner,if she may be your son's future wife she needs to learn to cook.Then have them both buy and prepare dinner a couple times a week.The girlfriend won't learn to cook as long as she is getting a free meal. Your son needs to learn to cook too. I have five sons and they helped in the kitchen when they were young and now they love to cook and help their wives. I am 80 years old, have 5 sons and 1 daughter,we had been married 59 years when my husband passed away.Teach your son to help and be responsible for his meals, if he wants to feed his girlfriend.He may learn to enjoy cooking as my boys did.If this does't work tell your son his girlfriend can come to dinner once a week and you set the day. M. K

Hi, S. --

When I was 21, I'd graduated from college and moved myself across the country by myself to start a new life. So, I have high expectations for young people of that age.

It's never a bad time to start a new tradition, and I think now would be a good time to have a nice, rational discussion with your son to say, "Ok, buddy, you're a man now. Here's how things are going to be. We love having you home, but you're going to have to start contributing." Then, I'd suggest that every time he comes for dinner, he is expected to bring or make something... that he purchases for himself, like pot luck. I think the same should extend to anyone he's habitually bringing around, like a girlfriend. It's only fair to expect them to man-up and take responsibility for the expenses they are incurring. By the time my parents were 20 and 22, they'd been married for a year, and I'd been born -- so I know young adults have it in them to actually be self-responsible adults. It may just not have occurred to your son and his girlfriend that they've crossed into adulthood and now's the time they're going to need to start giving back.

I think, handled in an honest, non-accusatory way, this could be very helpful for you all. Otherwise, certainly, your resentment is just going to grow. You didn't sign on to have to support another adult child in addition to your own!

Time for the little birdies to start using their own wings. And, hey, the girlfriend can surely learn to cook. If she can read, she can cook. There are THOUSANDS of recipes online, for free! Better Homes and Gardens' site has great ones (www.bhg.com), and I'm sure there are hundreds more. This is a discussion that your son will possibly need to have with her - that it's going to be an expectation of them, mutually, to contribute back to you.

Good luck with this!

Hi S.! I feel your pain. My stepson, who is in his thirties, eats so much when he comes to visit that it really puts a strain on the groceries! He might stay for a week at a time. I would just be honest with your son. Young people seem blissfully unaware of how much things cost. Just tell him that it's not that you don't enjoy their company, but that it really is hard on your pocket book. Maybe you could say something in front of her too. Hope this helps. God Bless! N. L.

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