Need grace to avoid strangling my mom


#1

This is a rant. And no, I’m not literally going to strangle my mom. But the woman is going to make me insane if she hasn’t already.

Short version of the story: I live in Northern Virginia with my wife and newborn son. My family lives in Washington State, where I’m from. I miss them terribly, and they miss me, (even my stoic dad does, I think), but this is just the way it is for now. My wife is adamant about never leaving NOVA because she’s a native of the area, and my extended family, shall we say, isn’t exactly living a Christian life. She doesn’t want to raise our children around shacked-up relatives and pretend to call their boyfriends and girlfriends “uncles” and “aunts.”

Mom and Dad came out from Washington this week to see their newest grandson. But, Mom can’t be bothered to get up before noon. It’s not a time difference thing–she just doesn’t get up before noon. We saw them for a bit right after they arrived, mainly because it was well after noon their time, but after that, it’s been the oddest thing. My wife has had some exposure to this embarrassing character trait of my mom’s, so she’s not totally shocked, but she’s still “scandalized,” for lack of a better word.

I took Monday off so I could spend time with them. Their hotel is five minutes away, but they couldn’t get here before 2:30 because mom spent almost four hours getting ready. We did manage to have dinner later that night, but basically there was no need for me to take the day off if she couldn’t be bothered to show up almost before work is normally over.

The next day, yesterday, I expected them to stop by my office so I could show them around. Their hotel is FOUR BLOCKS AWAY. I thought, well, if she can’t get up before noon, maybe we could have lunch together. Nope. Too much hassle.

At the very least, I expected she’d want to see her grandson during the day. Nope. Had to go see the National Gallery of Art. I understand–she’s an artist–but hey, priorities, right? We ended up seeing them at dinner last night (Dad graciously took us to a high-end steak restaurant I’d otherwise never WALK past), but if you spend hundreds of thousands of air miles to cross the country to see your grandchild and, theoretically, your son and his wife, you’d want to spend time with them, right?

Apparently I expect too much.

I’d had it pretty well contained throughout dinner, despite the lousy traffic, despite what we were doing to our son’s sleep/eat schedule by taking him to a noisy, public place, but when it came time to plan for their last full day here, I lost it. Not insane losing it, but in vino veritas, and whoops, there was a slight scene.

Basically I said, “Here’s what you’re going to do: You’re going to meet me at my office at noon, then we’ll have lunch, and then that night we’re going to take you to a nice restaurant within walking distance of our house.”

Dad put the hammer down on that idea right away. He said “No, it’ll have to be one or the other.” Now, don’t get him wrong–this guy walks about five miles every morning before the sun even gets its lazy butt up. He was just saying that after 30+ years of marriage to her, he knows that Laws of the Universe will have to be broken to get Mom up in time.

That’s when I lost it. Luckily I mostly kept it inside, but I immediately got extremely tense and, well, Mom knows her son. “How did we get here?” she asked, totally incredulous.

“We’re not anywhere, Mom,” I said. “If you can’t find the time to spend with your son and grandson, that’s okay. We’ll just see you in July.”

And then a conversation ensued in which I had to avoid a full frontal assault because SHE JUST DOESN’T GET IT, AND IF I TELL HER HOW RUDE AND OFFENSIVE SHE’S BEING, SHE’LL EXPLODE.

I managed to smooth it out, but still…

So we’ll see. I’ve long suspected that someday I’m going to have to spell some things out for her, and she’s not going to like any of it, but I’ll try to avoid doing it while they’re here. But I KNOW that the next time we’re on the phone, and she’s almost crying because she misses me so badly, I don’t think I’m going to have an ounce of compassion. Want the definition of offensive? Being late for everything (including, almost, our wedding, and that was avoided because Dad literally shoved her out of the hotel).

Oh, one more thing–if there’s anything redeeming about my home state in my wife’s eyes, it’s a friend of mine whose been an alternate mother to me for almost 20 years. She’s a convert, just as my wife is, and her heart is as big as they come. She and my wife hit it off immediately. Unfortunately, this friend lives four hours away from my parents place. Taking valuable family time to go visit her has always been “political,” and I’ve always lost the battle when I even SUGGESTED visiting this friend. Mom accused me of just using their place while we we’d go playing with friends. Hah! I’ve spent more hours on expensive visits waiting for Mom to get up than can be reasonably expected of even a son. So, when we go out there in July, you’d better believe we have an excuse to go see this friend…

Sorry for the incoherence, but I’m still steamed and I suspect that I won’t be seeing my parents for more than two or three of the 24 hours we have left together. I can feel the anger building already…

[/rant]


#2

So sorry montanaman! :hug1: I often need grace as well to not strangle my mom as well! ;):stuck_out_tongue:

No advice here, I’m just gonna offer prayers for you as you’re mom reminds me of my mother in some respects.

My mother would never come to visit me in the first place, but when I visit her, she expects me to spend every waking minute with her, or else! :mad: So I can sympathize.


#3

Maybe someday we’ll compare notes on crazy moms. Try to remember that if you strangle her you won’t get to pick her nursing home.


#4

Hey, it’s been a while since you’ve been on here venting. Got to say though, why would you have such unrealistic expectations for your mom’s visit? She’s been your mom for how long? You know what to expect from her, so really leave it at that. If she wants to waste the time that she has there, that’s her perogative. Trying to control the situation with your mom is only going to lead to problems and unpleasantness. Better to just not have any expectations and enjoy whatever time she is willing to throw your way. Now, in the past I know that your mom has gotten into it with you and with your wife, and that’s when it is okay to set her straight. That she wants to spend all day sleeping or take 4 hours getting ready, well, that’s pretty much the time to shrug your shoulders and say “que sera sera” because there is pretty much no way around it.


#5

You’re probably not going to change your mother no matter how much you try. But what about your dad? If Mom can’t get up and dressed before the afternoon, could you and your father make plans for breakfast or to take your son to the park or whatever? Then around mid-afternoon you could go back and pick your mother up to do something in the afternoon or evening.


#6

It isn’t going to change. Stay in NOVA. If they ask why, tell them. If they don’t, breath deeply and keep your blood pressure under control – or blow your top someday if that works for you.

Your parents are missing out on one of life’s greatest blessings – and they don’t even know it. I am so sorry for you; but sorrier for them.


#7

Why is it that being around our parents makes some adult children just go bonkers?

I love my parents dearly, but we’ve had some tense times.

I think it’s the idea of having two or three people all in charge at the same time, and the whole parent child thing going.

It’s a universal thing. Just remember that in interactions with you, no matter how old you become, they are in charge and you are their cute little montanaman.


#8

You did very well IMO. You expected a bit much out of Mom, but you did well.

Now then- There is no reason in the world why you can’t spend more time with the lady who acts like a mom than the mom who doesn’t get out of bed before the crck of noon. Limit your family activiites to a day or two, and head on up there!


#9

i agree with the above.

My mother liked seeing our children once a year, with their hair combed, thankyouverymuch, and on their BB.

My mo-in-law planned activities for them out the wazoo and couldn’t get enough of them. she’s now 97 and still Very Involved.

Go with the flow. Expect nothing and certainly no changes. And don’t listen to the interval howls about how they ‘never see you’–they, your mo anyway, had her chance.

I also agree w/ the bit about your father, the early riser. involve him.


#10

I’m sorry montanaman…this all stinks! You know, I can’t say much except that I’ve been through this with my sister and her (now ex) husband (they raised me–parents are deceased) and she would be in town, and not even call me to see me or her niece and nephew. Over the years, I just kept praying that somehow, someway God would change her heart…and help her to see the pain she caused me. The thing is–and you know this I’m sure–we cannot change people, only our REACTIONS to them…and I could have chosen to get upset every time things like that happened, but over time, I became somewhat indifferent to the whole thing. I started doing things on my family’s time, not hers…and now, we are closer than ever.

If your mom wants to wake up at noon, and not see you and your family…then, she is missing out. To analyze the reasoning behind it–WILL DRIVE YOU INSANE. But, you have the peace of Christ, and I think it was necessary to vent to your mom/dad, I think that going forward, you’ll just have to accept them for who they are. ‘Cat’s in the Cradle,’ that song comes to mind–remenber that tune? Someday, she will wake up (at noon :smiley: ) and realize that she has alienated you, and has no relationship with your son. My sister woke up to that a few years ago–and you know, you can’t force your son to be enamored with grandparents who show this type of behavior–and if this continues, over time, she will have created that problem…not you or your wife. My kids, about 5 years ago, couldn’t care less about their ‘aunt’ because she never bothered to see them…after her divorce, I just kept praying, and God…because He is so amazing…brought us back together, and now naturally…my kids love her.

The same can happen for all of you–but you have done enough. You can’t change your mom. I just simply live your life, and if she wants to jump into it with you, great–if not, that’s great too.

I will keep you all in my prayers…Families can be tough sometimes, but thankfully–with God, all things are possible.:slight_smile:


#11

There’s a difference between being rude, and ignoring your son/grandkids when you are in town, and trying to run the show. The problem here, is that the parents really didn’t want the show to revolve around the very reason they seemed to visit in the first place.:o


#12

Thanks for your thoughts, all.

Well, all is well. Or at least the status quo is still intact.

They made it to my office and then we went to lunch by noon. I should have expected that it would be too much to ask that last night’s mild unpleasantness would be repressed. Mom wanted to press it, and did, and when the issue was resolved, she wasn’t satisfied and had to keep “resolving” it until I sat there, immobile, finding anything to look at but her, dad sitting there embarrassed because we were in a crowd. The worst thing in these situations is that she has to interpret every vocal inflection, every facial tic, every word, in such-and-such a way until I (or anyone else she’s talking to) is boiling with rage because you can’t get a damn word in edgewise, and everything is taken not just the wrong way, but SPECTACULARLY the wrong way, or BIZARRELY the wrong way.

MM breathes, counts backward from ten…

On the other hand, I’ve never spent as much, or as good, quality time with my dad in my life. It’s for another thread, but I basically always thought dad was, at best, embarrassed by me. I’ve since dropped all that pseudo-psycho-analytical b.s., and man, it’s nice to be on a man-to-man footing with him. (Accounting for my relative youth, of course).

I love my mom, but the woman is going to drive me nuts. And every time she and my wife get together, my case, smoky as it is, for moving out West is just blown away. There’s no way my wife will willingly submit to close proximity to a woman who can find a big, dramatic problem in ANY social situation.

Ah well. I guess I’ll just have to get rich so I can fly the family out there a few times a year. Life is hard. :smiley:


#13

MM,

You are probably not going to like my perspective on this situation. Your mother is a fully grown woman who is not likely to change in any major way at this point. You can either accept her as she is now and work around it for the best of you and your family or continue to pull your hair out and get upset. Even if she is scattered or slow as molasses or chronically late. . . does it honestly mean that she loves you any less than if she was as prompt and thoughtful as you would like?

I have a dear aunt who can hog a bathroom for literally hours getting ready every morning, but we all (including her early rising husband) do our own thing without her until she gets it together. Ranting and fussing with her will not make her move one minute faster. I just don’t think some people are capable of doing things except the one way that works for them. Maybe they are wired differently than most.

My mother was not perfect, but now that she is gone decades before expected (cancer) I would be more than happy for an hour after lunch even if she was being rude or inconsiderate of my schedule and plans. I would suggest that the next time you feel like “losing it” on your mother that you think about your life without her on this Earth and find another way to deal with the situation that won’t hurt her or possibly leave you with major regrets down the road. None of us is promised tomorrow and some of us have experienced it as our painful reality.

Getting angry and lashing out is a choice that is usually better left unchosen. Unless one has a mental illness (which I don’t believe you have), you don’t just “lose” control, you allow yourself to give into your anger. You also allow other people to treat you in a certain way if they keep doing it and getting away with it.

You had many choices with your mother including keeping your angry thoughts inside and giving the situation over to God. Before you speak to your mother again, perhaps some self-reflection might be in order to see why you thought it was OK to lash out at her in this instance. She didn’t steal from your home, injure your wife or child with deliberation, bring drugs or thugs into your home. . .


#14

The last time I visited them, mom took forever to get ready for something. Dad was as calm as a Hindu cow. I asked him how he did it.

“I have a ridiculously strong heart,” he said. “If I didn’t, I would have blown a gasket 30 years ago.”

He reminded me of that when he called just a bit ago to say they were on their way. “Don’t gripe,” he said when I picked up the phone, “I’ve been dealing with this for 30 years…”

Dad’s getting older, though. I really wanted to go walking with him, but our schedules were tough. At least he and I got a chance to “bond,” (though I hate psychobabble terms like that) when I did a move the other day. I’m starting a small moving business in the D.C. area, and right now it’s just me and my truck. I had a customer who rescheduled on me twice, and the final reschedule was during my parents’ visit. So, dad tagged along.

“I’m just here to hang out,” he said with a smile. “I’m not your helper.”

He then proceeded to help, lift, direct and suggest. It was pretty nerve-wracking to have this titan of commerce observing my tiny little start-up business, but hey, he WAS helpful. And hilarious–it just so happened that we were helping a Lefty homosexual buy an antique furniture piece for his and his partner’s condo. Dad had some choice comments…


#15

Reading this thread makes me miss my mom and my dad…:slight_smile:


#16

Don’t get me wrong–I miss mine terribly, and if my wife consented, I’d probably move us out west despite the financial or career costs that move would incur.

However, my mom also makes me want to pull my remaining hair out. It’s a paradox. Or I’m a sadist, I guess…


#17

Oh yeah, almost forgot–Mom said that the East Coast snobbery thing is rubbing off on me.

What!?:eek:

At this moment, I’m sitting here in my office, wearing 10+ year-old work boots. I’m wearing well-worn Dockers instead of the suit I’m supposed to be wearing, and I’ve got a Leatherman on my well-worn leather belt because hey, you never know when somethin’ might need fixin’. Oh yeah, and I’ve got a clip-on knife inside my right pocket because hey, you never know when somethin’ might need cuttin’. (It doesn’t hurt for personal protection in areas where guns are illegal, too. Theoretically, anyway). My PICKUP truck is parked right outside, and in the back I’ve got well-used TOOLS, tarps, and moving equipment. Yeah, so I occasionally like a Stoli vodka martini, straight-up with a twist of lemon, served at precisely 34 degrees (so help me if it’s one degree over), but I can still crush a dozen Bud cans on my forehead with the reddest of the rednecks I grew up with, and whose company I often vastly prefer.

Why did she say I’m turning into an East Coast snob? I have no idea. But that hurt, man. That hurt.


#18

MM,
You are cracking me up. I LOVED “Hindu cow”, and with your permission, I’m gonna pass it off as my own someday.:smiley:


#19

You’ll have to ask permission from the producers of “Fight Club,” where Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) uses the term. Or actually, talk to Chuck Palahniuk (sp? too lazy to check) who wrote the book. I’ve smoldered with jealousy ever since I heard it. It’s a great phrase.

As for the mommy drama, they’re gone now. In their wake they left two bewildered people–me and my wife. Even our 2.5 month old has a new expression. It looks like this: :confused:

My mom has always been wound pretty tight (some of my earliest memories: her challenging a driver to a fist fight because she almost hit me on my bike. Some un-mommy words were used. Also, her leaning so far around the driver’s seat to flip off a tail-gater that she was actually BEHIND me in the back seat…) But now I wonder if we’re entering the territory of mental illness. It’s not funny. In fact, it makes me very sad because she seems so angry, confused, frustrated and unhappy, but she creates this life for herself, and she has no idea WHY. The one common denominator in her life is HER. How do you explain to someone who can’t even see it, and in fact, seems to agressively ignore the problem?

Tough times ahead, I think…


#20

I can relate, Montanaman.

Prayers for your situation …

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.
Amen


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