WHY does my mother ignore me when she doesn’t like my response to her question? She just acts like I didn’t say anything at all. It’s as though she thinks if she re-phrases the question she’ll get a different response. She does this all the time, then she wonders why I (a) don’t tell her anything and (b) have a short fuse with her.
Our latest email exchange (paraphrased):
Mom: Would you like to come over for a barbecue on Father’s Day 6/17 Me: [Husband] and I have a tentative condo closing date of 6/15. We are probably moving that weekend, but we don’t know yet. If we’re moving, we can’t commit to driving (an hour each way!) to your house, but we can probably swing dinner in [our town, which is also where the new condo is]. We won’t know either way until much closer to the date. Mom: “Whatever works for you two is fine. I know that your closing is tentatively that date. If it would work out better for you during the week, that would be fine too. I just thought that we should do something for Dad in honor of Father’s Day. Do you want to speak to [your sister], or should I coordinate it? Which is easier for you?”
WTFF? I wrote back and said there’s nothing to coordinate yet because we can’t commit to anything. But what part of “I don’t know yet” is so hard to understand?
She does this all the time. I don’t even know why she bothers talking to me because she’s not actually interested in what I have to say.
Uumm sorry but it sounds like she’s trying to arrange everyone for YOUR dad. “I don’t know” is not something she can work with to get his kids together. She sounds pretty understanding to me as she’s trying to avoid hurt feeling for your dad.
I get it. I know what she wants. I didn’t say we wouldn’t make time to see them. I just can’t commit in advance to a precise date/time/location right now. I’m not sure what the big deal is if we have to see them separately from my sister, or they have to come to a restaurant in our town instead of us going to their house for a bbq, or if it’s not exactly on Father’s Day. We all get together fairly regularly. I don’t blow off my parents and usually prioritize holidays and other special occasions, but this is an unusual circumstance. We have to be out of our apartment by the end of the month. We both work Mon-Fri hours, we can only really move over the weekends due to limited vacation time, and the only remaining weekend after the tentative close date and before the end of the month (when our lease is up) is booked with an overnight trip to a wedding. The home purchase just came up this weekend, and our schedule is tight. I’m not sure why she can’t be accommodating given the circumstances. It’s not like I’m blowing her off to do something frivolous.
@ElbieKay: Maybe you could explain to her everything you have going on and mention that you would like to plan something little by yourself for your Dad after the chaos of the closing, out of town wedding, etc.
You might also tell your Dad that you would like to invite him to your new condo for a belated Father’s Day dinner once you are settled in?
Just an idea, but it’s a way to incorporate your Dad into the new place and do something special in honor of him. 🙂
I know you said she does things like this all the time, but with this specific example I’m just not seeing it. I just finished moving myself so I totally get how time-consuming it is, especially with my Darling Husband working 60 hours a week and myself working 40 while also going to school fulltime. And mothers day did actually fall right in the middle of our move, but I can’t imagine leaving my mom alone on that day because of an hour each way drive or my move. She is probably irritated you can’t just tell her that of course you’ll figure out some way to see your dad that day and you’ll talk to your sis soon to figure it out. Although your mom is being even nicer than that because she already said it’s fine if you do something another day that week instead.
I’m trying to tell if your (IMO, harsh) reaction is due to past history with your mom, or if you just generally have a short fuse when it comes to her, but it’s hard to tell from this post. But if this is generally how your conversations go, I’d cut her some slack. It seems like you almost expect to be annoyed by her, and I wonder if it makes you already have a negative attitude before you really even hear her out.
Alright, so clearly I overreacted because of our history. It’s just that many of our conversations involve her talking past me. My husband knows our history and was more sympathetic than you guys, so the truth is probably somewhere in between.
Here is another example: My mom once showed me a purse and asked if I wanted to borrow it for a particular event. (a) I didn’t like the purse and (b) I already had a purse that matched the dress I was planning to wear. To be polite, I only told her that my outfit was already set. So she spent the next several minutes asking me if I was sure that I didn’t want to borrow her bag. I finally just walked away from the conversation because it was on continuous loop. “Do you want to borrow my bag?” “No, thank you.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m all set.” “But it’s a really nice bag.” “Yes, but it doesn’t go with the dress I’m planning to wear.” Lather, rinse, repeat.
A third example is our wedding RSVP date last summer. We had an early RSVP date because our caterer required a final count with 3 weeks notice. I understand that is early, but it is how our event was set up and we didn’t have much choice about it. Instead of just accepting this — it’s not like it was my first choice, but we tried asking for flexibility and the caterer wouldn’t budge — my mother kept telling me that this was very unusual and I should talk to the caterer about it. I had talked to the caterer about it. It was a reality of our situation. So why couldn’t she just track down her guests and try to help nail down the RSVPs?
It’s as though she approaches every situation as though I have questionable judgement and probably have not thought anything through. So she gives unsolicited advice and tries to insert herself on trivial matters that I have already taken care of.
I totally get that any of these anecdotes in isolation is not a big deal, but when a majority of your interactions involve this dynamic it builds up and starts to get extremely irritating. I don’t know what I can do to fix or change it.
@ElbieKay: It makes a bit more sense now with your other examples…I have a Mother-In-Law like your mom, thinks her way or suggestion is always right and if I politely disagree responds by repeating herself and acting like my idea/way is silly and obviously if she explains hers again I’ll realize it’s better. And it does make me kinda pre-disposed to disagree with her suggestions and get frustrated more easily. It’s one of those things that I have to be careful about because it’s kinda like choosing your battles…it’s not always worth the debate/re-explanation, and sometimes her remarks are truly innocent.