Issues with my mom - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 10-29-2010, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't hardly deal with talking to her anymore. She's the type of person who wants everyone to do everything for her. She's not married, and one of my 5 sisters lives with her who's also unmarried.

Almost every freakin' morning, my mom calls to ask & see if my boys can come after school to help her with stuff. She has a small farm, with cattle & chickens that are more like her pets than livestock. She also has them stack wood for her woodstove. She pays them, and I think it's good for them to do stuff like that, but thinking she can have them over every single day is pissing me off. I've been known to not answer the phone, and tell the kids to not answer as well. I know it's her calling without even looking at the caller ID.

Also, FIL & DH put her hay up every year. We have our own to do as well (we have a small farm too). She has not paid us a penny for fuel, or for their time. She expects DH to come whenever she calls to put hay out for her animals (it's those big round bales, not the small rectangle ones), with total disregard to our plans or DH's schedule or life. If we say we can't, she practically starts whining about how they'll starve. She expects anyone & everyone to run & help her whenever she needs it, like we're living for her problems. I'm so sick of it I could scream!

How do I set up boundaries with her, regarding when the boys can go over there? How can I make her see that we have our own lives, and can't help her with everything? We're not her personal slaves!!

I'm tempted to change our phone #, but then she'd just come over, which is worse....

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#2 of 6 Old 10-29-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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My mother has no livestock, thank goodness, but she has a sense of such urgency about her own matters that consideration for mine doesn't occur to her. She also has that whining feature, which she neither realizes or believes. So I don't say no to her, because it engages said whiny feature. That doesn't mean I cave, I just don't let the conversation put me in the position of being the bad guy:



Option 1:

Mom: Oh, I got a bill for my car insurance, they want the payment in six weeks and I don't understand why they raised the premium. You need to come over tomorrow (Monday) and explain it to me. You might have to call them about it.

Me: I really can't tomorrow. It's crazy here until Wednesday. (Like DH is going out of state for work, the dog's got a veterinary appointment, and my car's getting inspected, plus I had a flu last week.)

Mom: But it won't take long, and you can come right after you drop DS2 off, and they're such thieves I'm so worried about it that I can't sleep!



Option 2:

Mom: Oh, I got a bill for my car insurance, they want the payment in six weeks and I don't understand why they raised the premium. You need to come over tomorrow (Monday) and explain it to me. You might have to call them about it.

Me: Those statements and policies can be so confusing. I'll be over Wednesday morning the minute I drop off DS2. It'll be easy to get it taken care of; you keep those things so well-organized!

Mom: You mean early Wednesday? I'll make you some tea, and I'll have the folder out for you with their phone number. Do you want pancakes?


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Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), an underachieving Bernese Mountain Dog (2006-2014), and an overachieving mother (1930).  Married to DH since 1986.
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#3 of 6 Old 10-29-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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As the previous poster so beautifully laid it out, the actual strategies for creating boundaries are not complicated at all. DOING THEM is very very hard... but the ideas are not.

I think since she does the same things over and over again, you should just be proactive about some of them. Whenever it's "hay bale put away season", I think 2 months before you should just tell her "DH and FIL have a lot going on this winter so they're not going to be able to help you with that. It's a good time to figure out what your long range plan for doing that is. They will help here and there when they can, but you need a long range plan for it and if you can't think of anyone who can do it, we can help you find someone."

In terms of your sons, how do they feel about going over every day? What would they rather be doing or what should they be doing? Why not ask them and figure out what your priorities are for them and then say to your mom "Mom, we're focusing the boys more on their schoolwork/afterschool activities/whatever, so they will only be able to come over twice a week now. Which days do you want them?" [or ask your boys which days they prefer and tell her "They can come Tues and Thursdays, how does that sound to you?"

You're in an unusually good position to start creating boundaries because she asks you the same stuff over and over and you know when it's coming and can plan what you want the alternative to be. Once you get those boundaries established, it will likely be easier to handle the "spur of the moment" demands as well. As PP said "Ok, I understand your need - I can help you by coming in 3 days" or "I have my hands full right now but if you haven't figured it out by tomorrow I will come over" or whatever is what you really WANT to say.

Every time she makes a demand on you and you silently agree or send your sons and every time you don't say something, you are enabling her demanding nature. You are also handing over a tremendous amount of power over your sons, you, your family when you just do what she asks, no matter how much you want to scream. You'd be AMAZED what impact some basic communication combined with firm resolve can have on a relationship like this.

But first you have to firmly resolve that your family's time is its own and as much as you love her and want to be helpful, you get to decide when and how and where you'll do that. You have to believe it to do the above. If you believe it's true, then it's about saying it simply, and the above suggestions may help to get you started.

What do you think of these ideas?
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#4 of 6 Old 10-31-2010, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much! Both posts are very helpful. I will talk to the boys today & see what they'd prefer, maybe they don't even want to go over there, and she'll have to find someone else to be her little slave.

DH got hay put out yesterday, so my mom should be happy for a couple weeks, I hope . I will talk to him too and see what kind of schedule we can come up with.

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#5 of 6 Old 11-01-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post
My mother has no livestock, thank goodness, but she has a sense of such urgency about her own matters that consideration for mine doesn't occur to her. She also has that whining feature, which she neither realizes or believes. So I don't say no to her, because it engages said whiny feature. That doesn't mean I cave, I just don't let the conversation put me in the position of being the bad guy:



Option 1:

Mom: Oh, I got a bill for my car insurance, they want the payment in six weeks and I don't understand why they raised the premium. You need to come over tomorrow (Monday) and explain it to me. You might have to call them about it.

Me: I really can't tomorrow. It's crazy here until Wednesday. (Like DH is going out of state for work, the dog's got a veterinary appointment, and my car's getting inspected, plus I had a flu last week.)

Mom: But it won't take long, and you can come right after you drop DS2 off, and they're such thieves I'm so worried about it that I can't sleep!



Option 2:

Mom: Oh, I got a bill for my car insurance, they want the payment in six weeks and I don't understand why they raised the premium. You need to come over tomorrow (Monday) and explain it to me. You might have to call them about it.

Me: Those statements and policies can be so confusing. I'll be over Wednesday morning the minute I drop off DS2. It'll be easy to get it taken care of; you keep those things so well-organized!

Mom: You mean early Wednesday? I'll make you some tea, and I'll have the folder out for you with their phone number. Do you want pancakes?


On my honor. I could not believe it the first time this worked!
You rock. That's an amazing bit of conversation-fu.
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#6 of 6 Old 11-02-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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Sounds like your mom needs regular farm help. Have you thought about finding some college students she can call. They usually are willing to work for a few hours a week for extra money.
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