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To not call my Mum back straight away

(14 Posts)
Mishy1234 Mon 01-Aug-11 12:06:24

I broke down on the phone to my mum this morning. I'm just completely knackered (DS2 has upped his feeding frequency massively- we co-sleep) and was grabbing a few minutes when DS2 was asleep to have a bath. Of course the phone woke him up, so had about 30 seconds to wash and get out etc. Then when I didn't answer she just kept calling and calling.

I suspected it was her (she never leaves a message and her number doesn't register on 1571), but I was worried it was an emergency. I answered after the 4th call to discover she wanted to talk about painting her ceiling. After about 15 minutes during which DS2 was grizzling constantly (he's VERY needy atm), I looked at the house which is an absolute pit from hell (so much so, I need to spend a good day tidying/cleaning, BEFORE the cleaner comes tomorrow) and said I had a lot on and needed to get on. Cue mum getting dramatically offended (suggesting that maybe she should write me a letter if I don't have time to speak on the phone) to which my reaction was to burst into tears.

It kind of went downhill from there, but when the postman rang the bell I just said I had to go and hung up.

The phone has gone once since (the original call was at about 9), but I just can't face the emotional rehash which will take place when I do speak to her.

I know I am BU as she's likely to be worried about me, but I just can't face it.

pjmama Mon 01-Aug-11 12:17:17

Does she live nearby? If she's worried about you could she come round and give you a hand for a bit? She obviously doesn't remember what it's like having small children when your time is not your own! Getting huffy with you about it is not helpful.

Or you could explain to her how chaotic your life is at the moment and how exhausted you are, that you don't mean to offend her but it's hard to just randomly take a half hour out of your day to sit and chat. Instead you could arrange a specific time for her to call and then plan your day around that?

My MIL is a bit the same. She seems to think that when a telephone rings, you should drop whatever you're doing and run to answer it. She can't get her head around the fact that if we're busy putting the kids to bed and the phone rings, we'll just ignore it - it's a bit of an alien concept to her!

wannabesybil Mon 01-Aug-11 12:18:22

Unplug the phone

Tell your mum (in a letter) it is a brilliant idea about writing letters. Use the experience to practice ignoring tantrums for when your little one hits that age.

Leave the phone unplugged for a week.

Then explain to your mum that you have to do x y and z, this is not possible when answering the phone, and arrange a fixed time each day to call, and make sure that it is a time convenient to YOU (because you have the harder time, and YOU ARE IMPORTANT).

(unless she is sulking, in which case do a victory lap of the living room and make the most of it for as long as it lasts).

Do not apologise. When someone breaks down on the phone a normal person reacts by trying to calm somone, offering to ring back, offering to give you a break, asking what they can do. Normal people do not throw a strop at a person who is upset. If your mother can get angry at you for being upset then she is not going to be worried about you. She may work up to it in time. However the sort of person who carries on upsetting someone they are supposed to care for doesn't initially start worrying about that person.

I stuck to a strict timetable with my darling uncle who is a darling and does understand but is lonely, elderly, going deaf and has serious sight impairment. He is notorious for ringing up anyone who is rash enough to give their phone number and talking for literally hours about not much in particular. He can be a dire distraction - but he would never have been cross with me and would have always just rung back. Because that is what people do.

And hugs. And get sleep somehow. And prioritise yourself. And stuff what your cleaner finds, you are in a tough place. Please be kind to yourself.

CupcakesandTwunting Mon 01-Aug-11 12:21:11

You sound very up against it at the minute.

Of course YANBU. I am also sick of thinking that other people own my time (are you reading this, Mum?) She rings all three 'phones, my mobile, DH's mobile, house 'phone, until she gets hold of one of us. Does my head in. My mother lives for her 'phone and expects everyone else to do the same. Sometimes, I just want five minutes to breathe calmly. I don't need to fill it with incessant chatter on the 'phone.

Can you text your mum and just say that you're fine but you're tired/emotional and need a rest and will call her later? Just to get her off your back.

P.S you do not clean if you have a cleaner coming. Having a dog and barking yourself? wink

nickelbabe Mon 01-Aug-11 12:21:45

tell her that you won't answer the phone to her because you are dealing with your DS, andthat if she really wants to talk to you, then she can leave a bloody message!

My dad is the same - he won't leave a message, which means that if he needs to talk to me, I have no clue what it's about until I ring back. which means I might not ring back for ages, then if it was important (like if he wants to book something), he'll have gone and booked it, or got annoyed and cancelled the whole thing, because I've not back to him quickly enough.

yanbu for getting upset though, especially because she's not showing any understanding for a mum who's having to deal with being knackered.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Mon 01-Aug-11 12:26:35

Then when I didn't answer she just kept calling and calling. I suspected it was her (she never leaves a message...)

To do this to anyone is rude and annoying.

To do this to someone with a young baby is a hanging offence.

When you feel calm enough talk to her and tell her that if you don't answer the phone she should leave a message. If she ignores you. turn off the ringer.

diddl Mon 01-Aug-11 12:28:23


You don´t have to answer your phone & if you do you can just say-"yes we´re all OK but can´t chat now".

Obviously she might not know how stressed you are, but to keep ringing & ringing when it´s not important.

Most people would wait a couple of hrs?

My ILs used to always phone on the same day at the same time.

Once we were putting up a wardrobe-& they didn´t get why we didn´t answer!

If we happened to be out the were most affronted-couldn´t believe that we didn´t wait in/get back especially for their call!

mycatthinksshesatiger Mon 01-Aug-11 12:31:24

Sounds like she's competing for attention with your baby, to be honest, but then my mother attention seeks as an olympic sport, so apologies if I'm reading this the wrong way.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that if you don't answer you may be asleep/feeding/changing nappies etc with a small baby. Mine used to do this and I eventually worked out she was seriously annoyed (but could never actually express that) by the time my baby occupied - time that I used to spend listening to her inane chatter about her neighbour's-friend's-dog's vet's house renovations or something similar.

It's time to say as clearly as you can that you are still interested in speaking to her (if indeed you are....) but that you are exhausted and would prefer to only answer the phone at a specific time of day as otherwise you may be resting etc. You need to start setting boundaries otherwise this kind of attention-seeking it's all about her needs type of behaviour will get worse and worse.

Mishy1234 Mon 01-Aug-11 13:05:56

Thanks so much for all the replies. They have actually made me cry (again!), but in a good way.

Mum lives a good distance away, so coming round isn't an option. She's always been extremely hard work, but especially since she left my Dad (a good 20 yrs ago now). It's very hard to explain what she's like, but she tends to talk non-stop AT you for as long as you let her. When she's here she'll actually follow you around (still talking) and has been known to continue conversations through the bathroom door.

It's so hard to draw any boundaries with her and a lot of the family just don't contact her any more. I'm making her sound like a nasty person (which she isn't), but she is extremely emotionally draining to be around. It's very sad for her that she is this way, but I'm really one of the few people who will still spend time around her, so do feel very guilty when I reach the point I have today.

Mishy1234 Mon 01-Aug-11 13:07:32

Also, just to add that DS2 is actually 14 months, but is ACTING like a newborn atm!

CurrySpice Mon 01-Aug-11 13:11:11

Oh Mishy you sound done in sad

It doesn't take the brains of Einsteen to think of about 400 good reasons why someone with small children (or anyone for that matter!) might not answer the phone.

Let's hope she's phoning to apologise and ask how she can help

plupervert Mon 01-Aug-11 14:43:53

If I'm contacting people who have small children/ other unpredictable factors in their life, I tend to either text first or if I do ring, ask immediately whether it's convenient to talk.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Mon 01-Aug-11 15:15:05

14 months can actually be harder than a newborn when it comes to answering the phone due to mobility and the sheer chaos they can wreak in 30 unsupervised seconds.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Mon 01-Aug-11 15:20:42

Your mother sounds very needy - actually like having an extra child. Maybe you could treat her like a child? Explain what you need her to do (leave a message, no repeat calls) and reward her with attention for good behaviour (try to call back within an hour or two) and ignore her if she misbehaves (don't return her call).

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