Your mother's outbursts are mostly likely linked to psychological problems. I am no expert, but the lady seems to be depressed and/or going through a lot of mental trauma. Your mother perhaps finds herself in a grim situation. She has a lot of pent up emotions and worries bottled inside her, which she is clearly unable to talk about. Your combined lives, as a family, appear to be the sour point.
By your own admission, your salary is not enough to make ends meet. Your dad still has to work. You are an only child – a girl child, who will probably marry and leave home. All these thoughts must be playing on her mind. Remember, she is at home the entire day, and loneliness must set in, leading to negative thoughts. She is also getting old, which must leave her scared about what the future holds.
She does not share her fears, instead holds them back, but she is not very clever in doing so, because all of it manifests into her offensive behavior towards you.
What your mom needs is assurance. What you can do is:
1. Take time to talk with her – general things. Ask her how her day was. Steer the conversation to things she likes to do. Talk about your childhood – discuss pleasant memories. The idea is to involve her and make her feel important.
2. Ask her to guide you – let her show you how a dish is done. Tell her you need to learn from her, because she is the best cook. Tell her you'll try to get it right, just the way she does, but she'll remain the better cook.
3. Praise her – show that you like her efforts, even if they are missing. Tell her you love the way she cooks or keeps the house clean or whatever else she does.
4. Plan things together – a visit to the temple or a movie on television. Just stand in the balcony with her. Do things together as a family, to bond together.
5. Ask her for opinions – what should you cook or which dress she thinks you should wear to work. It will take time for her to open up, so don't give up. Which dress do you think looks better ma? How do you get your curries to taste so good? Simple questions.
6. Share what you do at work with her – let her know that you work hard. Tell her stuff that happens at work. All the back-biting and the fun things and the gossip. Ask for advice to deal with difficult situations.
7. Hug her – difficult as it may seem, try hugging her. Lie in bed, with her and cuddle up to her. Sometimes a hug is all that is needed to set things right.
8. Smile – look at her when talking and smile, even when she is being nasty. Do not show your irritation.
9. Say hello and bye – say bye when you are leaving home – get back and speak to her, instead of avoiding her, because of her abominable behavior.
10. Show that you care – tell her to have lunch on time. Call her from work to find out how she is. Call to tell her if you'll be late.
We get so caught up in our lives that we often forget to do the simple things that keep relationships ticking. You have a life outside of home, but she lives alone, surrounded by her fears. A person filled with negativity is often a lonely person. Their rude behavior is often a cry for attention. Change the way you are around your mother and you will see her change. I feel she is lonely and has many fears. What she needs is assurance.
Smiles, hugs, kisses, a cuddle, a little gift, a good gesture, a loving touch, a phone call, a word of praise, a thank you etcetera go a long way in healing soured relations.
It won't be easy, take it one step at a time. Involve her, instead of isolating her. She'll unknowingly make it difficult for you to go through the above plan, but be persistent. Good luck!
"A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino