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"Ring me when you've arrived or i shall sit here and worry ... and ring me when you know what time you'll be on your way home" AIBU

(210 Posts)
fluffyraggies England Wed 10-Apr-13 15:12:48

... to think NO mother, I wont! FGS

Please, i'm old enough to have a 20 year old daughter and i just want this break away from everything with my DH for our 1st anniversary, in Wales, and not worry about ringing people up every 10 minutes.

It's only 2 hours away. We're only there for 2 bloody nights - we're under heaps of stress right now, and it will all still be here waiting for us when we get back again. We just want to drive away tomorrow and forget about everything for a short time.

Do you all still ring your mothers when you arrive somewhere? Do they do the guilt trip thing if you don't? Am i just being a cow here?

Venting.

LaQueen Sat 13-Apr-13 23:24:29

Deliberately pressuring your DC into making phone calls, texts, visits - knowing that they are reluctant to do so...and using emotional blackmail to make your DCs feel guilty for not conforming to your wishes...

No. That's not love. Not in any way that I understand love.

I want my DDs to be happy. I want them to feel happy. I can, and do, regularly put their happiness before my own, and it's no real sacrifice to do so, and I do it with a smile. Because I love them.

Sadly, not all parents feel, or act like this. And, it's disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

Springforward Sat 13-Apr-13 22:27:56

LaQueen, you've just described my own mother, too.

Bunbaker, a quick call in your situation is different to a call in someone else's situation. I can see why you'd call, given the possible dementia aspect. Late FIL developed that and also had a period of wanting calls. No problem there, it helped for a while until he forgot who we were.

MIL, on the other hand, a lovely 84 yr old, has never asked us to call. We sometimes do, sometimes don't depending on what's happening and she doesn't worry.

Asking someone to call is not an age thing, it's a personality thing. I can certainly see why some people find it controlling, having met some people with toxic personalities.

wonderstuff Sat 13-Apr-13 22:00:52

Glad you had a good time, YANBU! I did Wales over Easter, dutifully called mum when we got back "I've been worrying about you all weekend" " why?" "I was worried you'd be cold all weekend" hmm it was actually fairly warm!

I don't want her worrying about me, it's just daft! I'm having a nice time but she is worrying.. it isn't fair. Ironically she hates having to deal with her own mothers demands for reassurance and prides herself on being not like that. I find it often better to tell her about a trip after my return, she only worries if she knows I'm travelling.

TheCrackFox Sat 13-Apr-13 22:00:16

You have completely described my mum LaQueen - to a frightening degree.

A lot of it is about a need for control and not any real demonstration of love.

LaQueen Sat 13-Apr-13 21:36:18

I agree with Gay in that, very often, the more you try and help and reassure, the more they need.

The reassurance becomes like a drug, and they need a bigger and bigger dose as time goes on, in order to feel the same hit of reassurance/peace of mind.

LaQueen Sat 13-Apr-13 21:33:13

"i honestly believe that the call to say we have arrived, the call to say what time we are leaving, etc, is more about being a way of making sure we are keeping her in mind than her really being worried about us. It sounds awful to say it - but it's true."

And, therein lies the rub fluffy.

This sort of controlling behaviour is actually very little to do with how the parent feels about their child, and very much to do with how they feel about themselves.

It is not necessarily a demonstation of genuine love and caring - it can be anything but...and can be far more murky, and less wholesome.

It's the elephant in the corner of the room, that some parents don't especially have their children's happiness and well-being at heart. And that some parents have never actually matured emotionally themslves, despite being 50/60/70...and so they are too selfish, and too self absored to know (or even care) how their behaviour can have such a negative impact on those close to them.

Bunbaker Sat 13-Apr-13 21:32:10

My elderly MIL's personality has changed a lot in the last year. She had a brain scan last week because her memory has deteriorated tremendously over the last few months. I think the doctors suspect some form of dementia.

Unfortunately dementia is not just about memory loss, but it can cause confusion, panic attacks and various other personality changes. I do not want to add to her problems by unnecessarily worrying her by not making a short phone call after driving home from visiting her.

Incidentally, we live a long way from my family as well and we always make contact to say that we have got home safely. In my sister's case a short text will suffice, but as MIL has no idea how to write a text message let alone remember how to use her mobile phone, a phone call on her landline is a quick reassurance. SIL lives 11 miles away from MIL and she always gives 3 rings on the phone when she gets home from visiting her mother.

It has nothing to do with being controlling, but reassuring a lonely and easily frightened and confused elderly lady.

Perhaps you might try to understand.

Gay40 Sat 13-Apr-13 21:22:05

I do feel though, the more you humour this, the worse it will get.

Gay40 Sat 13-Apr-13 21:21:15

It's not that I lack empathy or understanding, but can't you see how illogical the situation is?

And it's not because she's elderly - I know plenty of elderly people who do not need this reassurance about travelling. It's about putting it into perspective.

nannynick Sat 13-Apr-13 20:57:37

I resolved the issue using technology... I use my mobile phone as satnav, so it was easy enough to also run a gps tracker. My mum can log on to the tracker and see the last known point. She has not got used to the fact that sometimes it won't update for a while, due to no signal (or because I've switched it off).
Only use it when travelling to/from her home - 530 miles, so a day (or usually two as I split it with an overnight stay) travel.

No need now to call her to say when I have arrived somewhere.

Not ideal but could you use technology in some way to give her some reassurance - or it would make her worry more?

chocoluvva Sat 13-Apr-13 20:08:11

I'm glad you had a lovely weekend.

Just thought of a solution to your little problem.......take her with you grin

fluffyraggies England Sat 13-Apr-13 18:29:06

We survived Wales grin and we had a lovely time, thank you to those who wished me well flowers Very sweet of you.

Very surprised to find my thread still alive actually. 'To ring or not to ring' is obviously one of those funny, seemingly trivial subjects which for some can actually be the tip of an emotional 'ice-burg'.

I've been nodding and laughing along catching up on the posts. Want to agree with so much that's been said that i cant write it all down!

I can absolutely see why some posters are saying 'just ring her, FGS'. But it's just so loaded. If you haven't got the 'ice-burg' then there is no 'tip' and so it is indeed just a simple phone call, and there wouldn't be a problem.

lequeen you've hit the nail on the head allot here. As have others.

2 things jump out for me to say -
firstly, yes, my eldest drives, and yes i worry about her. BUT i really don't want to burden her with my (mostly unfounded) worries. Plus, i find that getting into a routine of contacting to say you're safe actually breeds worry.

Quick examle: Before we lived together it was romantic for DH and i to text each other when we woke up, and he would also text me again when he had a few moments as he arrived at work. etc, etc. Once we lived together he would still text me as he got to work. (45 min drive) Well it came to pass that it became such a concrete routine that i started to become twitchy if he was late texting. Then the day his phone played up and wouldn't send or receive calls or texts i spent a morning seriously worried sick he'd been in an accident. Ridiculous and unnecessary state of affairs.

We agreed on random texts only after that. Much much more sensible.

The other thing i wanted to say was, as other posters have mentioned, i honestly believe that the call to say we have arrived, the call to say what time we are leaving, etc, is more about being a way of making sure we are keeping her in mind than her really being worried about us. It sounds awful to say it - but it's true.

The thing about 'the less she approves of the trip the more grief you get' is dead true with me also. The first time DH and i got on - horror of decadent horrors A PLANE (4 years ago) - she caused the most temendous uproar while we were away, telling everyone she was dying, and getting a neighbour to drive her to A&E. She made me feel utterly dreadful when i called to say we were home, for leaving her 'at a time like this', and brought the mood down as low as it could go. It turned out though - after me probing at length later about the outcome - that it had been a mild case of cystitis, cured within 24 hours by a few classes of Cysteme.

sigh hmm

Bunbaker Sat 13-Apr-13 18:28:15

"But what about every other time you set foot in the car? Do you ring her?"

No, only after we have been staying with her. She doesn't stress about our day to day travels because she doesn't demand to know the minutiae of our daily life as it is completely alien to her own life. There is no point in adding to her worries.

I'm afraid you seem to lack empathy and understanding when it comes to the worries of much older people.

Gay40 Sat 13-Apr-13 18:12:23

But that's my point. So she can stop worrying, once you're home. But what about every other time you set foot in the car? Do you ring her?
It's the ludicrous lack of logic I don't get.
Surely she understands that you do actually travel on the road, outside of visiting her, and that most car accidents are within a mile or so of your home. Does she sit and worry 24/7?

Plus: lots of contact does not automatically equal close knit. I'm very close to my mum. But as two adults, I fail to see why we would need to speak every day. We have a life, each.

Bunbaker Sat 13-Apr-13 17:14:16

"But that seems even stranger"

To not ring someone after 150 miles of motorway driving? I think it odd not to contact family once home. MIL is 84 and worries about things she doesn't know or understand. I think it is supremely selfish not to put an old lady's mind at rest.

chocoluvva Sat 13-Apr-13 17:08:44

Some families are more close knit than others, I think. My cousins still live in the same village as their parents and see them several days a week. So do all 3 of my DH's siblings, all of whom are well travelled and have/had successful careers. It's lovely for the children and a practical support for the adults. I saw a lot of my grandparents and loved it.

I'm sometimes quite envious - but not of all the unwanted advice they get from the GPs.

LaQueen Sat 13-Apr-13 16:45:58

Gay I agree with you. When my MUm retired, and started down the slippery path of wanting lots of daily contact from me - yes, I obliged her by visiting, and phoning a lot more...but, did I enjoy it? No, not really.

Infact, I used to resent it, if I'm honest. We saw each other far too much, quickly exhausted all topics of conversation, and familiarity began to breed contempt.

Luckily, nowadays my Mum has sorted out a new life for herself, and we meet up once a week, and perhaps chat on the phone once a week. This means I actually enjoy her company again, and look forward to seeing her.

Surely, surely, surely that's a far better, more healthy way of conducting affairs?

LaQueen Sat 13-Apr-13 16:42:02

I think possibly the greatest gift you can give your child, is the sure knowledge that you adore them, and will always be there for them...

And, once they're grown, the sure knowledge that you are happy and fulfilled living your own life smile

I would hate my DDs to ever worry that maybe I was lonely, or overly anxious about them...I would hate them to feel obliged to spend time with me, or obliged to phone me sad

My Aunt & Uncle are over 70 now - but my cousins love the fact, that their parents lead their own busy lives (you'll rarely catch them home on a Saturday night).

Gay40 Sat 13-Apr-13 16:39:36

But that seems even stranger. Surely you drive around when you aren't visiting her? What about the journeying in between visits?
This makes no sense to me.
So you got home OK, well yeah nice good etc. Following day, off you pop to work. And home again.
???????

Bunbaker Sat 13-Apr-13 16:21:54

"Those who check in after every journey - how does your mother know every journey you make?"

We only ring her when we have been visiting her. She lives 150 miles away so I don't think it is an unreasonable request. I always ring her when OH goes on his travels because she does worry (he visits the far east a lot)

Gay40 Sat 13-Apr-13 12:10:03

My mum was utterly stifled by all this constant monitoring and vowed she'd never do the same with her children. I think we have a much better relationship than she has with her own mother. I ring her because I want to (sometimes need to!) now that might be once in a fortnight, 3 weeks, or twice in a week. And the same with her. She wouldn't dream of enforcing this three rings nonsense. It is a form of control, whatever spin the worriers put on it. Stressing about travel arrangements and the like is just a way of saying "Youa re not in my control and you should be." As LeQ says, why should you force your anxieties onto your children. Totally selfish. It's not concern at all, it's overbearing control.

chocoluvva Fri 12-Apr-13 23:38:43

Ah blush - have now read a page I'd missed - OP's mum often tries to do the guilt trip thing.

Very difficult. (My mum NEVER did that!)

No wonder the OP doesn't feel like calling her. OP's mum is not a happy person. I don't really know what to suggest.

2rebecca Germany Fri 12-Apr-13 23:37:37

My mum is dead, but the fact that she gave me so much freedom is one of the things that makes me look back on her with affection. She never made me feel that I must do stuff for her benefit, admittedly when I was younger mobiles weren't around and even phoning from a land line from a foreign country was a palaver, I lived in NZ for over a year and just phoned once and sent lots of letters.
If my dad wanted a phone call every time I was on a motorway he'd be having at least a couple of phonecalls a day, the motorways are the safest part of my journeys anyway as despite the speed people drive more predictably on them and you're less likely to have a head on collision from someone overtaking. Thankfully his only interest in my wherabouts is to check I'm enjoying myself and keeping healthy.
Car journeys just aren't a big deal in my family but a handy way of getting around (although I prefer trains).

thebody Fri 12-Apr-13 23:12:16

Eggs yes we all have had counselling and we are where we are.

The kids are further through than me but getting there.

You are right but I honestly know my Dcs are fine with it.

I never discourage them from doing anything and keep lots of this to myself.

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