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AIBU to resent phone calls at work (self employed)

(22 Posts)
Violenza Sat 21-Nov-15 18:01:52

I run a business from home. I'm always busy, getting more so each month and have tight timescales to send people's orders.

I'm finding the busier I get the more I feel like my time in working hours is being taken up with phone calls from family. Well, I say family, but actually it's my mum ringing mostly, sometimes my sister.

My mum lives abroad, is unhappy, doesn't work and basically wants to talk to me when she's bored. If she's not bored I probably don't hear from her as often which makes me feel a little used but relieved at the same time.

Sometimes I wish letters were the only form of communication.. I could finish work and sit down and pen a letter at my own leisure.

I've tried so many things to keep the peace and work around this issue, but I'm still getting the text messages if I don't answer the phone.. "Are you note home?", "Tried to ring, you there?", or just ringing 2 or 3 times in a row at once, then trying every hour that afternoon. I resort to lying that I've been out.. gym, haircut, supermarket etc.. when in reality I've been working trying to keep on top of everything.

It never used to be like this, I feel like I'm being forced to communicate more often that I can.. and don't get me started on the actual 1-1.5hr phone calls of negativity.

Anyone else have this, and how do you cope?

NickNacks Sat 21-Nov-15 18:06:16

Yes I do. Be honest and relentless. Text back, 'working just now, will call you back this evening when I'm done'. And repeat.

glenthebattleostrich Sat 21-Nov-15 18:08:34

I've had to be blunt with family. I'm working. I don't have time to chat, please give me a call back at x time when I have finished work. Then hang up. Repeat as necessary.

mintoil Sat 21-Nov-15 18:10:55

I am assuming you have caller display and are able to screen her calls? Then just ignore them, and ignore her texts too.

If you keep replying she will keep contacting you during your work time - why would she stop?

You need to "train" her to understand that she won't get a response from you during the working day.

If she asks why you didn't reply sooner just say you were working/in a meeting.

MatildaTheCat Sat 21-Nov-15 18:13:03

Send a nice email telling her you are really busy with work at the moment so can't talk during work hours. Tell her when you will be free and then stick to that as far as possible.

Re long calls of doom I suggest saying at the beginning 'do you want ten minutes to moan and then we can have a nice chat. I've got half an hour.' Be really nice about it but don't give in to guilt tripping.

Violenza Sat 21-Nov-15 18:19:12

I've tried ignoring before, and that's mostly my tactic now, but it's the guilt I struggle with.. sad I just don't enjoy the calls like she seems to, I could happily speak once a fortnight and would probably look forward to it then. I'm sure when I was early 20's that would be the frequency of our calls, but she was happier then with her life. (I'm 32 now).

She seems to use me as an emotional prop and I just don't want this anymore.. I can be happy in myself, get a phone call and then I'm stressed because I'm behind with work and depressed at the negativity.

Also, I can't ring back as she's abroad and BT doesn't offer a reasonable price for calls to that country, so I can't even use that excuse!

I just need to stop feeling guilty I guess. It's like she wants me to share the burden of her unhappiness, but things are going well for me and I don't want to be dragged down.

Sorry, turned into a bit of a rant.

Violenza Sat 21-Nov-15 18:27:24

I also work after work.. I'm a graphic designer, so 8am - 5pm I do the orders, then after the post has been collected I sit down, read the news, chat to my partner, and then get on with designing new products.. I know I'm a work-a-holic at the moment, but we are hoping to buy a house next year and I've been working like this to reach my goal.. hence why I'm so busy now as it's all paying off. My partner has no issue with it at all.

Also, mum won't want to chat after 5pm, as they are 2 hrs ahead and she will be settling in for the evening making dinner etc and it won't be convenient for her..

I just want to lower the frequency of the calls, she seems to think it's more the timing of them... I'd like one a fortnight, she wants 3 times a week minimum.

thismumismad Sat 21-Nov-15 18:28:17

I get this too. I now either ignore until later or use a pair of headphones with a mic so I can carry on with hands free.

StuffandBother Sat 21-Nov-15 18:28:58

YANBU ... unless you are peddling Aloe shite!!

Violenza Sat 21-Nov-15 18:31:03

OMG, Aloe Vera! My mum actually got all caught up in that, thanks to her awful husband.. That was a time she didn't ring much, as she was far to busy to ring me.. oh the irony.

Violenza Sat 21-Nov-15 18:31:34

She asked me to get a headset.. I don't think I could concentrate.. but maybe it's an option.

WizzardHat Sat 21-Nov-15 18:38:22

I think you just need to keep telling her you're at work. Can you train her into emailing you instead so you can reply in the evening when it's convenient? And maybe train her into calling less often by tapering off the number of calls you do answer?

witsender Sat 21-Nov-15 18:59:52

Could you get a second line? Then switch your 'personal' one off/mute while you are working?

Theoretician Sat 21-Nov-15 19:08:55

BT doesn't offer a reasonable price for calls to that country

You don't have to pay BT for your international calls. Set up an account with 18185.

Theoretician Sat 21-Nov-15 19:09:24

RB68 Sat 21-Nov-15 19:14:50

try skype, and look v v busy when she is calling and chatting away - used to skype with a friend when crafting (we both were) and its obvious when distracted. Also free

Was going to suggest speaker phone she may not go on as long if she feels all and sundry can hear if anyone else is home (hubby??)

Bunbaker Sat 21-Nov-15 19:21:07

Where I work personal phone calls are discouraged. It shouldn't be any different if you are working for yourself. Just tell her you can't talk while you are working.
As for ringing bsck why don't you Skype instead?

Violenza Sat 21-Nov-15 19:28:17

We can't Skype as she lives in a weak/almost non-existent internet area in Bulgaria.. They don't have the internet, only enough signal for messaging apps on phone and reading the news from what I can gather. Dongles don't work either. I'll look into that website, thank you.

I used to Skype with a friend whilst working, as we do a similar job, but it got too distracting and I was making mistakes.

She knows how busy I am, sometimes I feel like even though she knows how busy I am and that I don't need/want this much contact, she persists because she's selfish and she wants to talk to me, whether I like it or not. I'm rather introvert and just find this intrusive and hard to deal with as I don't like confrontation.

I find it hard as I can't work out if it's me being unreasonable because I don't feel the need to talk so often and therefore I'm being mean to her, or if she is being unreasonable by forcing her calls on me. I feel bad either way really. I tried to just go with it and chill out, answer all her calls etc, but she just started ringing even more.. arghh.

MarmaladeBasedProtectionRacket Sat 21-Nov-15 21:19:17

I agree with Bunbaker, many work places wouldn't allow lengthy personal calls in work time - if you were a teacher or a nurse or something, you wouldn't interrupt a lesson or doing patient care to take her calls. She's showing a lack of respect for your work if she expects to be able to disrupt it for a non-urgent chat. I'd be screening her calls and only checking texts if I was taking a break anyway.

I feel sorry for her if she's abroad and isolated, lonely, unhappy, depressed, bored etc etc but you disrupting your work for long moany chats doesn't fix that for her. Do you have any suggestions for how she can improve her situation or is it something she drifted into and is now stuck?

chumbler Sat 21-Nov-15 21:36:32

If you keep saying you've been out having your haircut etc then they'll never understand or believe how busy you are!

ImperialBlether Sat 21-Nov-15 21:53:15

You need to get really tough. Send a text, "Mum, I can't work when you keep calling me. I am so busy and I need to be able to concentrate. Please can you call me at 5pm, when I can stop for an hour?"

If she persists, you just have to ignore her calls.

Dragonsdaughter Sat 21-Nov-15 22:20:31

I think once a week is a reasonable compromise - try to suggest same day and time once a week and be honest and say you are too busy for Moore as trying to save deposit for house.

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