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My mum's phone habit is driving me mad yet I feel guilty

(27 Posts)
Lillibetter Thu 23-Nov-17 14:49:33

The picture- my mum is 90 but all there and fit. She lives with my dad who is not well, but she has loads of local friends and my sibling lives 5 mins away. I live 5 hrs drive away.
I do a lot for her online- all the financial stuff, legal stuff , POA applications, benefits they get for dad, and I order her stuff online weekly - not just food, loads of things.

I work for myself from home. I sometimes have deadlines and like all s/e people I can be madly busy one day and quiet the next. But I have asked her many times not to call me during the day up to about 4pm unless it's urgent. I call her 2-3 times a week anyway, often more.

BUT she still calls me for stuff that is not important whenever the thought comes into her head. Today she called and when I saw it was her I picked up, assuming it was urgent. she said she was intending to leave a message and didn't think I'd be in. There is no logic to this - my being in or out.

All she wanted to tell me was that 3 orders I'd done online had arrived. She could text me, she often does.

I just resent what I see as a lack of respect for me and my working day. Or her following our agreed 'plan'. IF she calls early in the day I pick up because I think it must be urgent. I can listen to her leaving a message- often a LONG message- but it still means I am distracted from work.

But I feel guilty. she is 90 but I am over 60. I just feel so angry that she doesn't consider ME at all, it's all about her.

SparklingSnowfall Thu 23-Nov-17 14:52:19

She's 90. Irritating yes but I wouldn't get worked up about it, it's unlikely she'll change.

DB22 Thu 23-Nov-17 15:01:35

Just ignore the calls. She'll leave a message if it's important. She's 90 so I wouldn't get too worked up about it. I understand why it's annoying though.

RubyLux Thu 23-Nov-17 17:09:34

Buy a cheap mobile. Tell her you’ve changed your number. Give her this new number. Keep it on silent but check it every so often for voicemails or texts.

90 though! Let her do as she pleases!

Ttbb Thu 23-Nov-17 17:20:51

She's 90. Is it possible that she is starting to experience problems with her memory and worries that she will forget if she doesn't call you immediately? It might be helpful if each time you remind her to text instead (may be easier for her to follow than no calls before four).

GreatStar Thu 23-Nov-17 17:22:21

I only wish my mum would phone me every day ... youre very lucky xx

Sarahh2014 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:30:59

My grandad who will be 90 soon is exactly the same with my mum unfortunately it's because he lonely on his own and finds trivial things more important he been like this since my nan died a few years ago

thornyhousewife Thu 23-Nov-17 17:33:24

She's 90 years old!

If your siblings live near her and you're hours away then you're lucky she even thinks of you.

You should rethink your stance on this.

Venusflytwat Thu 23-Nov-17 17:37:48

I think she’s calling because texting is harder for her. And possibly because she thinks you’re probably out but on the off chance you’re not, she gets to hear your voice for a few minutes.

Honestly she’s 90. Let it go.

Just don’t pick up. Let her leave a message, you can call back in 30 seconds if it’s an emergency.

chocolatefiends Thu 23-Nov-17 17:40:16

My Mum does this (I'm also self employed and WFH) and it has nothing to with age. She's always done it. It's simply sheer disregard for me - she thinks she's the centre of the universe. The only answer is to ignore, then check and reply to messages at times that suit you.

If it's a genuine emergency she doesn't need to call you, she needs to call 999. Anything else can wait until the next time you take a break.

Age isn't an excuse to disregard the fact you're at work.

dizzy174 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:56:54

If it's a genuine emergency she doesn't need to call you, she needs to call 999. Anything else can wait until the next time you take a break.

hevonbu Thu 23-Nov-17 18:02:42

In all likelihood she's going to pass away in the next few years, if she is ninety years old now, or go into a nursing home. Why don't you have voicemail on, or a classical answering machine if it's a landline?

hevonbu Thu 23-Nov-17 18:03:33

You could listen to the messages at the end of the day or at the end of the week, as you choose best.

NotTheFordType Thu 23-Nov-17 18:16:48

Join the Stately Homes thread , it will help

GetOffTheTableMabel Thu 23-Nov-17 18:29:56

Ooh I think Ruby has nailed it. A cheap pay-as-you-go mobile with voicemail on it which is just for her would help your sanity. I think it's too much to expect that you can get her to change. I understand why it's frustrating but I don't think 90 year olds can change their behaviour.
We lose empathy as we we get older. It's developmentally appropriate. Not convenient, but quite normal.

CheeseCakeSunflowers Thu 23-Nov-17 18:31:45

My DM and DF died a few years ago. During the last few years I had regular calls which involved me driving over to them immediately to deal with some crisis, and on a number of occasions I had to ask if I could leave work immediately to take either one of them to A&E, I had a very understanding boss. I never felt I could have an alcoholic drink during those years just incase I had to drive either of them to hospital unexpectantly and I spent many hours sitting in hospital waiting rooms. I was also the one who was called if there was any problem in the house, a light bulb blowing would mean being away from home for 30-45 minutes with travel and chatting time added in. I think this sort of thing is just normal family life when you have elderly relatives. Being interupted by phone calls is all part of a normal working day for many people so I think it would be reasonable to let your phone go to answerphone then just spend a few moments listening to her message. I do wonder how much your sibling gets interupted compared with you.

lovelysunnydaysss Thu 23-Nov-17 18:41:41

She's 90!! Bless her, you're very lucky to still have her.

LesisMiserable Thu 23-Nov-17 20:09:29

Maybe she's making excuses to talk to you as you're so far away.

Animation86 Thu 23-Nov-17 21:28:06

She’s 90 and still knows who you are and how to contact you.

Treasure this is swear

Escapepeas Thu 23-Nov-17 21:40:47

The 'aren't you lucky to have a not-dead-or-senile mum who calls you' are not helpful and pointlessly guilt-tripping.

We have this from both sides. Retired MiL calls every night and sometimes during the day and expects DH to be able to talk to her no matter what. Tonight, she called just as I'd done dinner and got the hump with him because he asked if he could call back in a few minutes once he'd eaten. She has also called him while he's working and got annoyed when he's in a meeting or busy.

My DM calls me at weird times, like 8am on a Saturday or late evening on a Sunday and expects to chat for 20 minutes or so. I've tried calling her outside these times to try and head it off but she still then calls at the inconvenient times.

Neither of them grasp the concept of working from home. The only thing that has helped it a bit is to not answer the phone, which I know is difficult. DH has asked MiL not to come round and visit when he's working from home (she used to pop round but stay for a couple of hours). I've also told DM that if I don't reply to text or what'sapp immediately, it's because I'm busy.

Fairylea Thu 23-Nov-17 21:43:40

90 with all her marbles! That’s amazing! grin

I can see why it’s annoying but I think you just have to nod and let her get on with it.

category12 Thu 23-Nov-17 21:46:49

Just put calls to voicemail during your work hours. Check on your breaks.

You live 5hrs away anyway so there's little you could do in an emergency, surely she'd ring your sibling (or emergency services) in that case.

So let her ring, she is happy enough to leave a message so get back to her when you're ready. I don't know why you're making it into an issue.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Thu 23-Nov-17 21:51:23

I understand that day to day this is so fucking irritating..

But one day you're really going to miss it.

It's one of those things.. If you're super busy, just let it go to voicemail, if not then talk for 2 mins.

CMOTDibbler Thu 23-Nov-17 22:05:19

I completely get where you are coming from, and can't believe the guilt tripping here.
My dad is 80 and frail, lives with my mum who has dementia. I know its really hard for him. But he will phone me 5 times a day, never thinks about my work, and has no interest in my life. However, sometimes he's ringing to tell me my mother has fallen/ had the ambulance out/ he's waiting for the ambulance, so I can never ignore it - I live 90 minutes away so can't just pop round.
Sometimes he phones really early and my heart goes (he thinks 7am on a Sunday is fine), but 2pm on a work day when I'm trying to get stuff done really doesn't help when he wants to tell me about the deals in Waitrose for 45 minutes.

LadyLapsang Thu 23-Nov-17 23:43:54

She is 90, sounds like she is a carer (for your dad) and although you think "she is all there" maybe she is noticing some changes herself and is feeling tired and lonely. I agree it can be frustrating. My dad never coped with standing orders, the hurdy-gurdy (laptop) and was amazed he could phone me up about the latest jazz release and I could order it and it was with him the next day - yes, I was a human Amazon! (That was really easy.)

She could, however, be sitting in a chair motionless in front of a telly blaring nonsense all day and not recognise you when you visit. I agree, it can be frustrating, but you have to keep reminding yourself they won't be with you for very long and the effort you put in is appreciated - it really is.

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