Ok, I lost it with my mother and here is as good a place to moan as any

(37 Posts)
UnquietDad Tue 16-Oct-07 13:46:44

Mum has her own worries as my dad has been seriously ill for months (needs 24-hour nursing home care). But today on the phone I had my first real grrrrrrrrrrrrrr moment for a long time.

Like many "sandwichers" we have been putting our own problems on the back-burner and not mentioning them when we are helping her (she is 200 miles away, btw). But today I got this sighing, oh-poor-me message on the phone about the fact that I wasn't "in" (whereas I was actually spending the morning glued to the phone sorting out some bloody urgent financial affairs). I phoned mum back and explained this to her, as calmly as I could, and was told that - wait for it:

we "live expensively" - DW is "always on the phone" and we "assume" we are going to have a holiday, supposedly!! I pointed out that we are on a fixed tariff and sacrficied a holiday last summer in order to get essential repairs done in the house - but it's no good.

The problem is that her generation inevitably compares us with previous generations: they didn't have a car, they didn't have holidays, they didn't have a phone, blah blah blah... Yes, and her great-grandma didn't have flush toilets! What is the point of this kind of comparison?

So I ended up getting cross with her and tellig her she didn't know what she was talking about.

Anyway, hoping for sympathy and being made to feel like less of a shit ONLY here. Anbody who wants to take my mother's side can fuck off and so it somewhere else. grin

OP’s posts: |
DANCESwithHughJackman Tue 16-Oct-07 13:52:16

AW. Mothers are great (obviously I have to say that I am one) and a right royal pain in the arse too. They have a great way of pushing your buttons and by the sounds of it your mum is also a master (as is mine) of the art of emotional blackmail. Try not to worry. Don't ring back and apologise straight away. Let her (and yourself) cool off. Maybe a quick phonecall tomorrow about something else just to resume contact.

claricebeansmum Tue 16-Oct-07 13:52:56

What is it with mothers?

Sympathise hugely. It seems that they see parts of modern life - assume we live like that etc

It really sets my teeth on edge when my mother leaves a message on the phone - it always has a hint of accusations "I s'pose you are at the gym" - as opposed to waiting by the phone for me to call. She is also very good at talking on and on about her life without giving a thought about my family i.e. her grandchildren.

There would be no point in me giving the other side of the story to my mother - she wouldn't be listening anyway!

constancereader Tue 16-Oct-07 13:54:03

Are we siblings? Sounds a lot like my mother. If I am not in she takes it personally, I should obviously telepathically divine when she is going to phone.

You have my sympathy.

I am sympathising away

PregnantGrrrl Tue 16-Oct-07 13:56:37

i think sometimes 'older' people have genuinely forgotten the strains of family life- schools, bills, tantrums, teens, jobs etc.

and sometimes i think in a way they are jealous (of the holidays / car / youthfulness etc!)

Try to not be too hard on yourself- you're entitled to your own 'stuff' to deal with too. Maybe just say what's happening for you in future, rather than protecting her from it. Perhaps she'll appreciate your situation more?

covenhope Tue 16-Oct-07 13:58:16

My MIL used to do this. We used to get endless messages on the ansaphone all saying "that machine is on again" as if we were deliberately avoiding her (we weren't... then... mwha haha)

FioFio Tue 16-Oct-07 13:58:37

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UnquietDad Tue 16-Oct-07 13:59:05

To be honest we don't usually get the hefty sighing from her if we are not in - but today it hit home especially given the crisis I was managing at the time.

The idea that there is a simple solution to life's problems and that we have, for some perverse/avaricious reason of our own, chosen not to implement it is a running theme with her.

DW's mother is the expert at "oh, so you're not in? where are you?" type messages. If we've been out we are expected to Report Back instantly on where we have been, or she gets huffy. (And sometimes, let's be honest, we aren't out, but leave the phone if we are bathing kids/doing story/ can't be arsed! As I suspect most normal people do.)

OP’s posts: |
Iklboo Tue 16-Oct-07 13:59:15

I hate the "we didn't have" argument. I counter with "our ancestors lived in f*cking caves would you like to go back to that?"

claricebeansmum Tue 16-Oct-07 14:00:53

It is a weird one about harking/harping on about the past - as though all improvements since their day has to be bad - although surely your mother doesn't think the world would be a better place without flush toilets? grin

UnquietDad Tue 16-Oct-07 14:02:31

I suppose her point is that they "got by" and she sees anything which has been invented since she was 40 years old as a luxury. She disapproves of the computer, even though DW and I both need it for work.

OP’s posts: |
Gobbledispook Tue 16-Oct-07 14:04:49

Oh yes, NEVER complain about being a bit skint to your parents. You are NEVER going to be as badly off as they were so you can't expect an iota of sympathy!

It's a universal problem I'm sure!

PregnantGrrrl Tue 16-Oct-07 14:08:40

i never get this malarky off my family...thank god! And my parents had to live in a homeless hostel with me when i was a baby to get a council house, Dad had to beg for an apprenticeship, we lived off baked beans and fish fingers for years- they still appreciate that times have changed and our 'problems' or worries are different but valid.

You poor lot!

I suggest you buy them tangerines for Xmas and only correspond by telegram from now on.

UnquietDad Tue 16-Oct-07 14:09:55

Comparatively, of course - in relation to the cost of living - a lot of us are worse off and in more debt than our parents were at the same age.

But they only see these things in absolute terms. They didn't have central heating/ car/ mobile phone/computer.

When you point out that it is fairer to compare, not with a couple who were in their 30s in 1975 but with your peers from today, you get "oh, well [patronising-scoffing voice] I wouldn't worry too much about what anybody else has got."

OP’s posts: |
ShinyHappyPurpleSeveredHeads Tue 16-Oct-07 14:13:18

Sympathy UQD. Mothers are impossible. Just got off the phone to mine who is talking to me in icy tones because I refused to involve myself in my (30 year old!) sister's self-made dramas that my mum gets up to her neck in with much screaming and hysteria. I just don't have the energy for it. And a counsellor told me I can choose NOT to be part of the "destructive triangle" (that is me, my mum and my sister) if I wish. So that is what I choose.

Now I am a selfish and uncaring daughter! Ah well.. c'est la vie! grin

Your mum was probably just sounding off to you because of her own worries and frustrations.. probably wasn't really about you "living expensively" (you don't sound as if you do) , or even you at all. But because you are her son, you are a safe place to vent.

Just breath deeply. Like I am doing now. To stop myself flinging the phone as far as I can out the back door.

OrmIrian Tue 16-Oct-07 14:16:30

Have to admit that my mum is suitable in awe of my juggling abilities so rarely critisises grin. Though I have had been told that children are better off with a mother at home...yeah thanks mum, that makes me feel so much better hmm But generally she's great. MIL drives me mad with some of the things she says - her favourite is 'the rot set in when building societies started taking wives salaries into account when giving mortgages"...err really? OK.

Poor you UQD. Both of you under stress sad Don't feel bad.

doggiesayswoof Tue 16-Oct-07 14:17:02

I don't get this specific thing from my mum - because she spends money like it's going out of fashion and is much more likely to cast aspersions if she thinks we are being "tight" (which doesn't happen often, thankfully).

However, she pushes my buttons like nobody else can. I always call screen and only talk to her when I am in just the right mood...

UnquietDad Tue 16-Oct-07 14:19:05

Thanks for the advice, folks.

I'm sure all of you say you won't be like this with your sons and daughters when they are grown up!

OP’s posts: |
Kewcumber Tue 16-Oct-07 14:32:52

I'm so lucky my mum doesn;t do this and she was genuinely poor when we were little. However it is very funny when she leaves a message on the answer phone - long discussion ensues with pauses in the appropriate places (presumably waiting for it or me to respond?).

DANCESwithHughJackman Tue 16-Oct-07 14:50:54

unquiet dad - we need a male point of view here

GooseyLoosey Tue 16-Oct-07 14:56:31

Lots of sympathy from me, I could hear my dad's voice echoing in my head as I read your OP. It is often impossible to have a relationship with my dad on normal adult terms so I have to resign myself to either accepting his lunatic/selfish comments or not having a relationship. My preference varies from week to week.

warthog Tue 16-Oct-07 19:27:27

hmm your mum sounds like a war baby. growing up they didn't have anything to eat but lick the pavement for squashed bugs, worked 21 hours a day and had to get up before they went to bed...

she's always going to be worse off than you and her problems will always be more serious than yours.

UnquietDad Tue 16-Oct-07 20:43:21

warthog - she was an evacuee, no less. very perceptive!

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OrmIrian Wed 17-Oct-07 11:32:38

Well. Sorry but they probably are warthog! Nothing like being the target of bombers, leaving your family for strangers, potentially losing loved ones and not having enough to eat to get other things into perspective....

I personally find it horrifying what my parents went through as kids and they just accepted it as normal.

Not an excuse for bending your ear endlessly however UQD grin

Kewcumber Wed 17-Oct-07 13:27:21

My grandfather (sadly missed) had a very hard life (physically and financially that is) and thought it was marvellous that I had an office job. wouldn;t ever dream of telling me how tough it was for him and how easy it is for me. He used to say it was why he worked so hard - to support his family and send my dad to college, so that we had a better, easier life.

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