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Struggling with my mum(13 Posts)
I would really appreciate some advice and criticism if nec about coping with my mum.
I love her a lot and really want to have a fantastic easy going relationship with her.
The issue is that she often tells me how down she feels because when she had children she didn't think she would be in this position. Apparently all of her friends see their children and grandchildren all the time, take the grandchildren out on day trips frequently, spend Easter and bank holidays together, go on holiday together etc etc etc.
She says how lonely she feels at times that she's not doing that. But she if busy and her and my dad are often visiting friends, going on trips, doing stuff etc.
I have a sibling but they live abroad and have not been home for years so it all falls to me really.
The issue is that my DH Works away in the week so our weekend time is quite precious as a family. We do tend to see my parents all together every 2-3 months and dd and I will meet up with them for an afternoon a couple of times between these family visits. We've also been on holiday for a week this year and last year with them.
Dh doesn't really get the problem as he has a very loose relationship with his parents only seeing them a couple of times per year. Therefore seeing my parents every 6 weeks feels really frequent to him.
I've explained to my mum that I know some people that see their parents weekly or more often, others that are more like us, but she maintains that the people she knows are the norm.
Tonight she said she didn't want to put pressure on me and I snapped a bit that I did feel she's putting pressure on me, and now I feel a cow for saying that as she sounded really hurt. I spent the whole day with them 2 weeks ago and she's asking me again when we're next meeting up.
Does this make me an awful person?
I wish they'd had more than just 2 children so there are more of us for her to spend time with
Why can't she see you and your DCs during the week?
They're about an hour away so it's not a quick pop over. I work long days 3days a week so when I get home dd literally goes straight to bed. Then the other 2 days I will meet with them perhaps once a month on one day, but the other times I meet with friends, do boring dentist/hair type stuff, sometimes just like time me and dd alone.
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Frankly, if your dm is lonely that's up to her to sort out by getting out and seeing people. You can't be expected to fulfil her social needs. She's adult and needs to take responsibility for that herself.
Don't feel guilty, stick to your guns. Decide on your frequency, tell her and stick to it. She'll get used to it.
Well, I think that she can think what she likes about wishing things were more like they are for her friends, but she shouldn't be saying that to you - that's guilt tripping. Are they prioritising time with you & their DGC, or just expecting you to be at their beck and call when they're not doing anything else?
That's part of the issue walk they would definitely drop everything to spend time with us so it really is me saying no when they suggest things. I think they are much more planners than me, and so want to know when we're not around so they can arrange to meet with friends, go away etc. they don't want to risk doing something if we might turn out to be around nearer the time.
We don't see our married son (no DGC yet) as often as we'd like. We're retired and thus more flexible than a young, working couple. We could arrange to go into town (about a 30 mile drive) for dinner with them during the week more often than we do, so it's down to us if we don't. Don't let your mother guilt you. If she and your dad really wanted to see you more frequently, they could arrange to take your dd for a day trip when you're working or bring a takeaway supper to your house one evening, even if your DH is away. An hour away isn't really that far, if you're retired or don't have children to look after.
My parents lived 180 miles away from us when our boys were young. They took each one in turn for a week during summer. They drove down to pick one up, we'd drive up to swap, they'd drive down to return that one. And as a rule they came to us to visit and stayed in a nearby hotel when they wanted to see us. They always said that we were working, they weren't and that we had children with school and activities, they didn't. Next time your mum moans, tell her that she and your dad are welcome to come see you during the week, but that weekends are for you, DH, and DD.
Are the kids in childcare while you work.
Maybe they can drive over one of those days and babysit for the whole day.
Honestly, an hours drive is not that big a deal. People in London commute longer.
It isn't an identical situation, but DH and I think we have offended his Parents by not seeing them as frequently as they would like, and it is for very similar reasons. He is away week-days and the week-ends are increasingly pressured as the children get older and have homework and parties. We are way behind with maintenance and the garden as it is! I know they see much more of my SiL
though a little of our distance is also as DH felt hurt and we were unwilling to compete for attention with her and so backed-off a little.
Even my Parents, whose own Parents we probaby only saw two or three times a year each as we were growing-up, have commented on how they would like to see more of us! I am finding it all massively stressful and, even though we get on well with then all
perhaps because we don't live in their pockets? I am unable to articulate this, for fear of offending them. With four children, I don't spend as much time alone with DH as I would like, and I feel it is a juggling act I keep mis-judging!
Apparently all of her friends see their children and grandchildren all the time, take the grandchildren out on day trips frequently, spend Easter and bank holidays together, go on holiday together etc etc etc
Look, I think she's got a lot of wish fulfilment going on here.
This is what she wants with her family. Understandable. She may have a few friends who actually manage to live that life too. But I can pretty well guarentee you that a good proportion of her friends do not live like that too. She's just looking at the shining illusion that everyone lives like that. They don't.
Things may well get a bit easier as the children get older, (but she understandably wants to see them now in their younger years too)
I think this is just one of those friction points that can never be fully resolved. But snapping at her may have actually not been all that bad. In general if people feel pressured, you end up wanting to spend less time with that person not more. If she backs off from saying it so much, it will help.
Is it possible to maybe meet halfway, if you don't already? to give her dates and times when you can meet, so that she knows firmly it's going to happen. That might reassure her.
Also could you consider maybe visiting her in the week now and then? or her visiting you.
Maybe it would help to actually follow up the incident where you snapped by talking it out with her. "You know she wants to see more of you and you'd like that too but it's not always possible, not if you want a healthy marriage as you have to have time for your husband too, and you both need to work".
If she understands, then great. if not, you'll just have to keep on saying it and keeping the line firmly drawn.
Thanks everyone. Some good advice. I think I'll have a chat with my dad and just explain a little more to him how things are as he tends to be less emotional.
Also setting dates in advance seem a great idea. Can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. I'll feel less hassled if she's not asking when when when, and she won't need to if she knows that we're definitely meeting up on a certain day and then any other times can be bonuses.
I shall start with this and see how it goes. Feel a bit happier now there's a plan
When you do get together, do you find it necessary to plan something special?
If so, that can be quite tiring all round and feel like more of a burden to you.
My mum is not as mobile now but when the children were little she would drive over (about 2 hours drive) and just 'slot in' to family life at our house. She would just muck in with the school run, meal times, bed times etc.
It felt like an easy-going and relaxed relationship and I'm sure that her relationship with the GC's benefited (we did also plan lovely things and trips out too).
With my IL's, it always felt as if I was 'entertaining' them which I personally always found enormously tiring and stressful. They are absolutely lovely and have a wonderful relationship with their now grown up GC's but I guess that they didn't feel comfortable just pitching up and tackling the laundry pile .
When you have a young family, the last thing you want is 'guests' coming to stay (if that makes sense).
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