Dear Miriam,

I am a middle aged man and a farmer. I live with my mother.

We get on very well with each other, however I feel anxious about our living arrangements.

In the past we had an arrangement that we both bought groceries for the house. Sometimes I would ask Mam to buy for me if I could not make time for shopping.

Of late we go in together. When we go shopping now I find it difficult to ask her that we share grocery responsibilities.

I want to buy stuff I like but then she uses it and does not replace it. I feel bad for being angry with her because she is sharing her house with me. How do we solve the grocery problem in a way that is fair? It’s a bit like the convergence issue in CAP.

Yours sincerely,

In a pickle

Dear In a pickle,

Thank you very much for getting in touch.

Yes indeed, it is a bit like convergence in CAP in a way. A good way of putting it in farming terms. However, as sticky an issue as convergence is, family issues can be even more so. But your problem can be simply overcome, don’t worry.

In a house sharing situation, say where you are living with people who are not your family, it is mostly rule of thumb that bar small things, you don’t take others food without asking. However, I do feel this differs when it comes to family.

When it comes to her using things you have bought, I know it can be frustrating, trust me, I am still partial to hiding a bar of chocolate in the vegetables. But in this instance I would let it go, it’s only a small thing.

Without having the specifics, whether you eat meals together and is your mother’s financial situation, it can be hard to get an accurate reading on this. Also, it is slightly unclear from your letter who is paying what for the shopping at the moment.

If you are paying for all the shopping at present, then I would ask your mother, if it’s within her financial means, would she contribute. If you are eating meals together it makes sense to split the bill.

I know this can be a difficult conversation to have. But it doesn’t have to be a big deal, just say: “Mam, are you happy enough to split the shopping going forward?” Or alternatively you could also suggest you will pay for the shopping if she covers the electricity or some cost that is financially similar.

I am aware there is a bigger picture here in terms of bills etc, so have a look at everything and work out something that is fair on you both. The most important thing is to make sure you sit down and communicate clearly with each other.

Wishing you the very best,


Reader’s advice

A reader has written to me in response to the problem, I’m not happy about my daughter pursuing a career in art, in the edition of Irish Country Living dated 8 May.

Dear Miriam,

My daughter wanted to do an art related course. She was so adamant that she only completed one choice on each section of her CAO from, a level 7 in design communications and a level 8 multimedia.

She secured both with over 100 or so points to spare. Today she is working in a large multinational company in the UK.

Not at all art related, but problem solving and skills like that transfer across. She has won worldwide and Irish art/design related competitions.

To be honest, if she wanted a completely art focused course, like in Limerick, Cork or Dun Laoghaire, I would have left her off. Any college course has multiple subjects, so that mother need not worry.

No job is for life now either.

One thing that will never change is a good education always stands to you.

I hope this helps that mother. It’s her daughter’s life, not hers, so give encouragement and don’t compare.

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Dear Miriam: I’m not happy about my daughter pursuing a career in art