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am I doing enough for my mum?(16 Posts)
Am all muddled and very sad that I have unintentionally really upset my mum.
We live 15 miles away and I see her usually every week, talk on the phone mostly every other day, sometimes more, sometimes a bit less. She can't text (have tried to teach her!).
She is early 70s and very independent, having residency of 9yo DN and 19yo DN also lives with her. My dad died 10 years ago. She has a health condition which she manages well but it is progressive and leaves her tired.
I have two DC, aged 3y and 3m. I am very tired atm as baby doesn't do much sleeping and I have continued to do a little work each week (freelance from home), which takes about 6 hours, so it's true I am often busy and need to do this during any nap times or evenings, plus I try to go to bed early due to being up so much in the night. I barely get to talk to DH some days!
I'm not moaning about this, I'm enjoying life with my babies and thought I was juggling things pretty well, including spending time with DM and also DN who will come and live with us from age 11. We also bring him on holiday each year and my mum visits her sisters in another country so gets a proper break.
Today on the phone my mum told me she didn't feel very close to me any more, that I often missed her calls and didn't call back for a few hours or the next day. This is true at times - can't always take the call or don't have phone to hand or forget to call straight back cos kids need me or I'm knackered and more forgetful.
She said she feels she hardly see ds1 and he doesn't know her despite me visiting every week bar maybe twice, once because we were house hunting (we are also trying to move / sell atm!) And the other because I took younger DN to collect oldest DN from uni two hours away. I saw her when I brought them back but ds1 obviously wasn't with me. He is shy so often takes five mins to warm up but Is then fine, but she told me this showed he wasn't close to her she said we see ILs every single week which is completely untrue and I set her straight, but it's left me feeling I need to do more but I physically don't know how.
My two sisters are nightmares and problems with them still crop up which is so hard on DM and I feel very sorry for her. She doesn't have other local family and no friends so I am literally it. I feel like I need to be friend, daughter and husband but I can't.
She didn't say it horribly, she is lovely and I guess lonely and needs more. I have needs too though which I already often throw to the bottom of the pile and I don't know what to do. I want to be there for her but be able to enjoy my own life as well. Any advice? Tia.
You are doing loads. She is getting old and with that come 'demands'. My mother always swore she would never be a nanny that demanded weekly visits and yet lo and behold, now my son is here, I get the 'I haven't seen him enough, you don't bring him round'. If she wants to see him, suggest she comes and babysits at YOUR house so you can get on with some work. Otherwise don't offer any more, you are doing more than enough. She needs to understand your immediate family is your absolute priority.
I think that yes, you are doing enough. I do however have sympathy with your DM as it must be very hard bringing up a 9 year old in your 70's on your own. It sounds like she needs someone to have a moan to (as we all do) and you are the closest person she has. Does she drive, could you suggest that she visits you occasionally?
Yes that's it cheesecake, she does have it so, so hard and I really feel for her which is what muddies things, as although I have the right to my own life, I don't want her to feel unsupported. She is the pole opposite of selfish, whereas I guess I have learnt over time that it is OK and important to look after yourself.
She can drive but only locally. Frankly she would be dangerous on a dual carriageway / motorway so can't get to me unless i pick her up or she gets two buses which would put a strain on her health wise. This would make it loads easier if she could or we lived locally.
Part of me thinks it's ridiculous as so many of my friends live hours from their parents and don't have a fraction of the responsibility towards them that I do, and what I'm doing should be enough. If it was shared with sisters I'm sure it would be but all getting left to me makes it feel like I'm falling short.
I don't want to upset her when we next talk; she isn't doing it out of any malice, yet at the same time she doesn't seem to be seeing things from my pov and is taking me being busy as a slight on her / our relationship. I can make more effort with phone calls, I know she loves a natter whereas I find chatting to anyone on the phone a bit of a chore and don't feel I have time for a long chinwag - it's not a high priority. But visiting more just isn't practical, especially with a baby who screams to high hell on every car journey lasting more than ten minutes!
Chatting on the phone would help. One of my DD makes it a necessity to phone me every day, and she phones her MIL as well - just to chat, update us on any developments with her DC and this is so, so welcome. She phones, with her phone tucked under her chin, while she's doing housework, preparing dinner, folding washing, waiting for the train... - she is very busy but she makes time and both us DMs really appreciate that.
Could you try just one short call a day? Or start with every other day?
What about your DH? Could he go and fetch her and the 9 year old to come to stay with you for a few days?
That's nice marmalade, yes perhaps I need to make it a 'to - do' list thing. We have them over quite a lot and dh or I will pick them up. It's been less since having a newborn (dh in spare room most nights), but just last weekend we had DN over all weekend and DM had a nice break so this has come a bit out of the blue.
I think it may help for you to acknowledge your Mum's feelings "you feel like you're missing out on being a granny to DS and you feel lonely"
I also wonder if in the nearish future could she move closer to you so that she can pop around and spend time at your home with you all, come for tea etc? If you feel this would work of course.
I think that's the part I've found hardest to swallow Random, about DS, as he adores her and they have such a lovely relationship in my eyes. Have just thought though, she has raised her other grandkids, perhaps that's why she feels what she has with ds Is not enough? Similarly, when my sister was pregnant, DM was very heavily involved, birth partner the first two times as the dad wasn't around and tool them to hospital during labour the third time. When I was pregnant, she was a bit put out I didn't want her at the birth, I just wanted DH, and I realised then, it was because she was used to having much more involvement than what was perhaps typical for most. Maybe she sees my independence as a slight, whereas I thought it a good thing that she doesn't have to worry about me or bring up my kids!
I asked her to move our way for years but she didn't want to. We are trying to sell and move closer to her but I'm not sure with brexit it will now happen in time for school applications for ds1.
Yes it's very different be "just" a granny rather than a 2nd parent, yes I would have thought now she is getting older that she'd be glad to be only a couple of years away from "putting her feet up" and being a granny rather than a parent.
Me too, but maybe that's cos I'm so bloody tired atm think I'll see if she can meet me when ds is at preschool for a chat. Will tell her I'll try to ring more but also gently point out how it is for me. Thank you
Can she get public transport to you or come and stay over (with DN too of course) without it being more work for you???
I think she's probably very lonely and that isn't your problem but she is quite limited with her life as she's still a parent tbh. It's a tough situation and I would mention again that you'd like her to move nearer once your settled so she can be more involved.
Could you combine your households? That would be a drastic move but if you get on well it might offer more stability to your nephews and enable you to work a bit more if your mum could share the work / child care. In a few years you could be facing having an elderly parent to look after as well as dependent children.
You and your mum sound lovely, btw!
She sounds amazing. My mum passed two years ago now and I wish wish wish in hindsight I had spent more time with her of course I do. To bring up a 9yo in her 70's and still yearn to spend more time with her other grandchildren - she's incredible. Lucky you
If you put your phone on no hands , maybe you can chat to her when she calls and do what you have to do too. I think you are already doing a lot and she is getting older and maybe feeling vulnerable . YOu sound like a lovely daughter and she sounds like a lovely mum.
Can she help you out when you're doing your freelance work? Would it work you doing that round at hers, or her coming to you and she looks after the dcs while you work?
If it's just a few hours once or twice a week it could help her feel more involved but at the same time you're there (albeit hopefully in another room getting on with work) if it gets too much, and you can have a cuppa and a catch up once you're done.
If it were logistically feasible it would hopefully allow you to get your work out of the way during the day giving you more time with dh in the evening plus dm would feel more involved with the dc.
I feel for you both.
Your mum is a saint for taking on other peoples children at her age.
Loneliness is a horrible, horrible thing.
Even the most independent of us get to feel it at times.
Whoops DH back with picker basket so must go
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