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My mum...(16 Posts)
I know this is a minor niggle compared to many threads but can anyone offer some support?
In a nutshell, my mum doesn't seem to understand that I work, or how it matters to me. I work on several p/t jobs - combination of therapy-based work, writing ( for national newspapers) and teaching students. I am usually always busy, to an extent, and working to deadlines. Some weeks are busier than others. My mum and dad live a long way away.
My mum often calls me with something fairly trivial when I am working ( from my office at home) and she never ever asks if I am busy or if it's a good time to call. She's just called me now and I am trying to get my head round some writing for a national and have a deadline. she wants me to order a present for her friend, online. This is fine- but I'd rather she called in the evening.
On the one hand I don't want to go as far as saying 'don't call me during the day' as it sounds unfeeling, but on the other she seems to assume that it's fine- whereas she'd never call my sister who works in an office about something like this!
I can't screen her calls because her number is withheld- so I tend to pick up in case it's urgent and she or my dad is ill or something. Maybe I just need to stop doing that.
Anyone got any advice?
Switch it off when you are working or you can tell her you are not getting much work done with people calling all the time so you are switching off your phone. However if she wants to get hold of you in an emergency she can call you on your mobile or something. I am sorry I can't help because I just switch off mine and if i don't I just don't pick up if someone calls when I am busy. Good luck and hope you find a solution.
You need to tell her bit to. Or just say that you're working and you'll call her back when convenient.
It sounds like you work irregular hours.
Just tell her. She's not psychic. Either not to call in the day unless it's important or on each individual call if it's not a convenient time.
Try an honest conversation first perhaps, tell her what you have said here & that it causes you problems with your work.
If that doesn't work, then put the answerphone on, leave the phone to ring & pick up messages periodically. Or switch it off.
Or call her every evening/at a fixed time so she knows when she will next be speaking to you & doesn't have to phone during the day.
OP, I feel your pain.
I work (mostly) from home and my Mum clearly believes that my novels, plays etc are written by a fairy.
No matter how often I tell her the work load involved, she just Does Not Get It!
I tell her my deadlines...still nothing.
This morning I told her that my next draft is due in on 1st June. That it must be 80k words. That I currently have 35K. Her next comment was that I should try to go and see more art exhibitions ...
I think you just need to be frank and firm when she phones. Say "I'm working, but I can call you back at x o'clock. Is that ok for you?"
My brother, who should know better, likes to phone me when I am at work despite me telling him not to on many, many occasions, because its convenient to him. I now reject the call automatically. I have told him if its urgent he can text me. I appreciate you can't really do this with your mum.
Switch it off/divert it to voicemail. Check voicemail mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon. No one will die.
This isn't just so she can learn that you're busy, but also for you, so you have peace of mind and you aren't distracted by the thought of distraction itself. You need that peace and concentration to be able to work well in your home environment; you owe it to yourself.
It can be difficult to draw the line between being at home and working at home, not just for the home worker, but for the people around them, who imagine them as available for a friendly chat at all hours. If you let yourself have uninterrupted working hours, everyone else will learn to adjust.
If it would put her nose out of joint to be told you're busy working, then don't put it like that. A basic "I can't come to the phone right now" answering message is enough: you could have been driving, or at the library, or taking another call.
There is one room in our house that has no Internet, phone, or telly in it: the outside world cannot reach it. That's where I work when I have deadlines. I sit and work until I need a break, and breaks are when I check emails/missed phone calls.
(If there are people for whom you do need to be available at all times, consider getting a second phone and SIM and only giving its number to work contacts, your kids' school (if appropriate) and your partner.)
I even switch the doorbell off sometimes. I've had days of answering the door 6 times before midday to parcels for other people, and it drives me bonkers.
Being a Mum whose daughter also works from home I never phone her but sometimes message her on Facebook - if she is busy she replies that she will answer me later.
If your Mum only contact by phone then it might be best to actually remind her that although you are at home during the day you are working so could you please talk to her when you are free in the evening instead?
Years ago I remember my own mother calling me at my (open plan) office on the most trivial matters. It was incredibly embarrassing because if she took umbrage I found it affected my work for the rest of the day so I do understand your predicament very well! Good luck.
Thanks for all the comments.
One problem is that my mum is 'phone happy'! She impulsively calls anyone once a thought pops into her head- she and her friends seem to phone each other non-stop which caused issues with my dad over the phone bill, until they changed to one which was a set tariff per month.
On a more serious level, I feel she doesn't value what I do. She appears to on the one hand- telling friends what I do-but on the other hand she doesn't show any direct interest in my writing , even to ask who I'm writing for at the moment, or what the topics are. This really annoys me because writing is my 2nd career and even though I say it myself, I've done well to be a published author etc.
She just can't relate to it- she was always a SAHM except for some shop-work in middle age. So that is in a way why she doesn't appear to understand what I do day to day.
Some days it's ok to call me during the day but there are other days- like today-when I am waiting for important calls for work.
It annoys me that she doesn't even ask 'is this a good time' and just assumes I am sitting here filing my nails.
I need to find the right moment to say something.
My mother is 'phone happy' also.
A thought strikes her or she needs a question answered. - she'll phone- with absolutely no thought for the person she is phoning. They must think she is nuts! As she is elderly I think they forgive her. Her children often don't pick up her calls because they know it is most probably not important. Well I don't.
She loves her mobile and 'all those free minutes' !!!
OP - when I worked in an office in a demanding job my mother thought that the middle of the afternoon was a good time for a chat! Yet, now I have DC, she thinks the weekend must be a bad time for a chat because I must be so busy with my family.
It can work both ways. When my children were very little I would often call her after finishing dinner, baths, bed - forgetting that while my evening was almost done and I was just about ready to fall asleep, she was just sitting down to her dinner with her husband. They ate at exactly 8pm every night, so no excuse on my part.
I too work from home as a childminder and my elderly mum and dad like to pop in and see their great grandchild that I look after.
I will have 3 under 5s and have usually just got someone of to sleep when they arrive; shaking a packet of sweeties.
They can't understand why I can't sit down and have a cup of tea and have a chat.
Answer machine OP.
Although, if your DM is like mine she'll just go ''helloooooooo? Is there anyone there? ..... <long silence>......'' - so you still wont know if its an emergency or not till you pick up or ring back!
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