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Driving Me Crazy

My family and I have taken many road trips over the years. We have driven to California, Texas, and Florida, among other states, from our Midwestern home. Growing up the rule has been that whoever is driving has control over the radio with some consideration given to passengers. Most of these trips have been taken with my father and both he and I follow this rule. When it comes to cell phones we try to refrain from having lengthy conversations because… 1) you should talk to the people in the car, 2) typically the volume of the cell phone users voice keeps other passengers from having a conversation and 3) the other people in the car are unable to listen to the music.

Driving with my mom is an entirely different story. As soon as she gets in the car she is on the cellphone. She goes so far as to plug her charger in so that the phone does not die. She expects the radio and other passengers to remain silent so that she can talk on the phone. She also expects control over the radio. While we do share some similarities in music she prefers slow love ballads while I prefer upbeat music to pass the time. I do limit my list to songs that are not violent or explicit in nature and I am sure to throw in songs she likes.

I will be taking a 3 1/2 hour trip with her soon and since I am driving both ways I told her that any and all calls will be restricted to two minutes. I have also told her that all music will be chosen by me because I need songs with fast tempos to pass the time and cornfields we will be driving through. I have given her the option of using her headphones or suggesting music but she feels I am being unfair. She wants to be able to use the time to talk to her friends. I reminded her that she can plug her headset in and talk but she doesn’t like using the headset because “it sounds weird.” I refuse to spend 7 hours listening to her talk on the phone like a school girl. When she is driving I put my headphones on to drown her out but of course since I am driving this isn’t an option. I have even suggested her riding in the backseat but she says she doesn’t want to do that and doesn’t understand why I am being so difficult.

Miss Jeanne, I have to know. Am I being difficult? 0302-12

Whoever is driving calls the shots in regards to the radio and other noise in the vehicle.   This is for safety reasons, not preferences, since the alertness of the driver is paramount to the safety of everyone in the vehicle as well as other vehicles.   My husband enjoys listening to audio books when he’s driving to keep him alert but if I were to listen to them while driving, it’s a sure thing that I will get glazed eyes and possibly nod off to sleep.


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  • Rinme October 19, 2017, 4:28 am

    Well, I don’t understand why your mom is being so difficult! Tell her she’s welcome to either drive or conform to your rules.

  • NoviceGardener October 19, 2017, 6:18 am

    No OP, you are not being difficult! Your mother is though: difficult and unreasonable.

    The driver calls the shots when it comes to music, or lack of it. It’s safer and it’s more polite. Both my parents prefer driving without any music/radio at all, which I find boring if I’m riding with either of them, but I don’t mention it because hey, I’m not the one driving. When I’m the driver, I usually tune the radio to a classical music station, because I find it keeps me both alert and calm. My husband would probably prefer a different style of music, but he doesn’t drive so he doesn’t complain either! He might take a quick work-related call if it’s urgent, but he certainly wouldn’t sit and rabbit on on his phone because he knows it would annoy me. We also chat a bit, but he knows to pause the conversation if I’m about to merge.

    He also refrains from backseat driving, thankfully. He used to do a bit of it, until I pointed out that all he was doing was distracting me and making things less safe, so he stopped. He’s an excellent passenger!

    • NostalgicGal October 21, 2017, 4:14 pm

      I used to hate driving with my husband as a passenger because he’d get on something and it would be massively distracting. Like I should pull over to have this conversation/fight. We ended up in therapy (I was having a depression bout, I was in therapy and it hit unless he joined me I was never going to change unless I divorced him or hid his body-he was furious about it for awhile until it was clear to HIM that HE needed the therapy…) and during a joint session he brought up my crappy driving. I brought up about how he had to pounce on me verbally and make driving hell, that I drove well without him. He needed to literally shut up or he could start walking. Oh. He’s been very good about staying off the rants and other crapola ever since, at least while we’re in the car. And yes, my driving is good then too.

      • NoviceGardener October 23, 2017, 2:47 pm

        NostalgicGal, luckily my husband has never been too bad with the distracting conversations. If I’m at a point where I need to concentrate all my attention on the road, I just say “hang on a minute honey,” and he’ll shut up until I say “okay, you were saying?” He used to annoy me with his backseat driving though. He’d point out “hazards” that I was already well aware of, or if I was making a turn into two-way traffic, he’d “helpfully” crane forward to observe traffic coming from his direction, to the extent that he was blocking my own view of said traffic!

        Things came to a head one day when I was about to turn onto a main road from a T-junction. I was carefully edging out, looking both ways, when he loudly gasped “look out!” making me jump. Instinctively I slammed on the brakes, startling a nearby dog-walker and no doubt irritating the driver behind me. Turned out my lovely husband was talking about a slow-moving car about a hundred yards away, which I had in fact already seen and accounted for. I made the turn when it was next safe, then pulled into the next layby and read him the riot act.

        I forget my exact words, but I said something like: “Look, you may think you’re being helpful, but when you do things like this, all you do is send me into emergency mode. If there is no actual emergency, you’re making things more dangerous for us, and for everyone else in the vicinity. I have a driving licence, you do not. When it comes to driving, my experience and judgment trumps yours. You’ll have to trust me to drive competently and safely, and to be mindful of hazards, both potential and actual. If you DO trust me to drive, then shut up and do so. If you don’t, get the train next time.” He actually saw my point and sincerely apologised, and that was the last time he ever did any backseat driving!

        Don’t get me wrong, my husband is better at many things than I am, but driving is not one of those things. Things have been much more relaxed in the car since I put my foot down (figuratively, haha!) and to give him credit he took my viewpoint on board fully and immediately in that respect. Congrats to you and your husband for getting something positive out of therapy. It’s always uplifting to hear about good outcomes 🙂

  • clairedelune October 19, 2017, 6:46 am

    Your mom is beyond rude, and you’re not being difficult at all, OP.

    • DGS October 19, 2017, 12:03 pm

      This, this, this.

  • Susan October 19, 2017, 6:56 am

    She’s driving while making calls on her cell phone? It may not be illegal where you are, but it’s still a very bad idea.

    • LadyV October 19, 2017, 2:20 pm

      I thought that at first too – but I think in that second paragraph, OP is talking about times when SHE’S driving.

  • Victoria October 19, 2017, 7:17 am

    “Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole.”

    • Vic October 19, 2017, 11:28 am

      This is awesome! Another Supernatural fan.

    • Lerah99 October 19, 2017, 2:02 pm

      I’m so glad to see another Supernatural fan on here.
      This is EXACTLY what I was coming into the comments to say.

  • lnelson1218 October 19, 2017, 7:36 am

    Long car trips are for talking with other family members.
    Exception, someone does often nap. Hopefully not the driver. But hopefully the kids, which limits some of the squabbles.
    The driver gets to dictate what music.
    OP, have you out right asked your mother why she doesn’t want to talk with you, but rather her friends and simply ignore you? You really aren’t her chauffeur.

  • Cleosia October 19, 2017, 7:37 am

    I hate to say this, but your mother is being very selfish. You father was willing to give a nod to the other passengers, even if he claimed the final choice for himself.

    Also, I think it’s downright rude for someone to talk on the phone (even the driver) while forcing everyone else to be quiet and not be able to have a conversation. You’re in an enclosed environment and don’t have the ability to wander off and have your own conversations. When my husband and I took a trip with our daughter and one or two of her friends, we would play music sometimes, and it would be a mix of what the people in the car wanted to hear/share with everyone (my daughter took this opportunity to introduce me to songs she liked that I never heard). And sometimes there would be two conversations going: One in the front seat and one in the back. And sometimes someone would make/take a call but would have that conversation so it wouldn’t impact on the people around them, unless it was a conversation that spread to the rest of the group.

    It’s understandable if the driver wants more control over what happens. It’s unacceptable if a passenger, who demands total control when they’re driving, demands that they get the same rights when they’re JUST a passenger and denies the driver the same rights when they’re driving.

  • flora October 19, 2017, 8:15 am

    I don’t think you’re being difficult. The best solution may be to take separate cars.

  • mark October 19, 2017, 8:57 am

    I would be unhappy being told my calls could only be two minutes or less. I think it is something that is better to negotiate on, rather than dictate terms. And if you and your mother can’t come to an agreement, then don’t take her.

    • Vic October 19, 2017, 11:35 am

      I would agree with you if the mother didn’t insist on silence from everyone in the car while she spends hours talking on the phone. That’s just rude. Her method for passing the time shouldn’t infringe on the rights of everyone else.

      • mark October 20, 2017, 8:48 pm

        I don’t disagree, I just think the approach is too abrupt.

  • Phoebe161 October 19, 2017, 8:59 am

    Yes! Safety First!

    May I add something to Ms Jeanne’s excellent advice? “Within Reason” — The driver should take into account the reasonable comfort of his/her passengers, eg extremely loud radio volume (the kind that every car within a mile can hear). If everyone in the vehicle likes ear-deafening music, fine, but I would be in the loony bin within 5 minutes (plus I want to keep my hearing).

    I like the way OP tried to take into account her mother’s comfort by limiting potentially objectionable lyrics and adding a bit music that her mother enjoys. She offered alternatives (ear plugs) and 2-minute phone calls. Mom needs to grow up.

    • Dee October 19, 2017, 12:55 pm

      Yep, safety first. I, too, think Ms. Jeanne’s advice is excellent. As far as I’m concerned, this family sounds like a nightmare to take a trip with or to have on the road at all. Too many distracted drivers. I think it’d be about mile one when I’d ask the driver to pull over and I’d walk the rest of the way, thank you very much.

    • Kat October 19, 2017, 9:34 pm

      What I like to do is give my passengers what I call “veto rights.” I play my music but if a song comes on they really hate, I’ll change it for them.

    • Vera October 20, 2017, 10:57 am

      I completely agree with taking into account passengers when driving. My brother drove our family (Mom, himself, our brother and me) on a two hour trip, blaring the music the whole way. I begged and begged him to turn it down, my Mom asked him to turn it down but he refused. By the time we got home, I was bawling and I am convinced that was the beginning of my hearing issues.

      Big brother was and has always been a selfish jerk. He was about 24 at the time, btw.

  • Galatae October 19, 2017, 9:02 am

    100% agreed. Driver makes the rules because, hello, GIANT DEATH MACHINE. You do not do anything to distract the driver.

  • PJ October 19, 2017, 9:40 am

    Totally agree with Admin! As the driver, you don’t have the option to use headphones (I think that’s illegal in most states). She has the option. If you can’t agree on what’s playing, then she needs to exercise the option that you can’t.

    It is terribly rude and entitled to think that she should get to chat away for 7 hours while you are dutifully silent so as not to disturb her conversation!

  • Rattus October 19, 2017, 9:47 am

    OP, you are not being difficult, your mother is. This is a slightly different situation, but I don’t drive so my husband does all the driving on our road trips. I would very much like to nap at these times but I don’t because I feel that my job during these trips is to keep the driver entertained – a fair distribution of labour.

    • Dippy October 20, 2017, 1:24 pm

      I always stay awake when someone else is driving, in case they fall asleep too!

  • Kay_L October 19, 2017, 10:04 am

    If you are a self supporting adult then I think you can call the shots.

    If, however, you still live on mom and dad’s dime, no rent or utilities to pay, car insurance, car, not paying your own way on the trip, then your driving is you doing your part and limits your ability to make demands and call shots.

    • Lenore October 19, 2017, 12:03 pm

      I respectfully disagree. Whilst driving, she’s in charge of a rather heavy machine that can kill people. If slow love ballads will make her eyes glaze over, that’s an accident waiting to happen. And if she can’t listen to music while her mother rudely ignores her and chats to other people, she can, again, get glazed over. My hubs and I have done a number of road trips, and we spot each other in order to prevent fatigue. The passenger’s job is to keep the driver entertained and alert. Mom is being an unreasonable brat, and OP is trying to get them there safe and sound, without damaging Mom/Dad’s car if Situation B is in fact how things are.

    • jokergirl129 October 19, 2017, 2:19 pm

      That’s not entirely fair and we don’t know what the living situation is like concerning OP and her parents. The main concern is that the mother isn’t following the rule that has been set from past road trips that whoever is driving is in control over the radio. The OP is driving therefore she should have main control over the radio as that has been established beforehand.

      The OP is being considerate in taking certain song choices in mind so that her mother can enjoy the songs plus as the driver if listening to more upbeat music helps her drive then that is even more important. Long car rides can be tough as it is and if listening to the music you like helps the time pass by and to keep awake/alert then all the better for the driver. Plus I can understand why the OP would want to limit to her mom talking on the phone so the radio can be played and the OP wouldn’t have to listen to mom’s side of the conversation the whole time. Plus what if OP would like to talk to her mom during the drive at some point?

      The OP has to put up with the music her mom plays and listening to her mom’s phone conversations when her mom drives. So now since OP is driving then the mom should put up with listening to the music the OP chooses and having her phone limited.

    • Melissa October 19, 2017, 3:23 pm

      Even if she were a 16 year old driving with her mom for this distance, a passenger being on the phone for three and a half hours is beyond rude. “Self supporting adult” has no place in consideration…

    • Anon October 20, 2017, 9:11 am

      Wow that is… a pretty awful way of thinking honestly. I mean that’s like saying “If they pay everything for you and give you food and a place to stay, you 100% can never complain anytime at all!” – said to the person who was brought into the country illegally and is now one of the many hidden slaves in the country.

      Seriously, I highly doubt this is some teenager, especially since these road trips are for HOURS. Even in my family when my brother and I could and can drive, my parents still would rather be driving themselves 80% of the time and only use us for an hour nap or something.

      • Kay_L October 20, 2017, 3:50 pm

        You have the slavery reference backwards. “You will work to support me and I will also tell you what to do.”

        If someone else is writing your ticket you are beholden to them. Because otherwise, you would drive your own car, with your own music, book on tape, your own gasoline, your own car insurance, to the vacation you were also paying for.

        Obviously the mom here is getting the benefit of being driven. There must be something that is balancing that out. That makes her feel she can expect that. Because if her daughter is not obligated to her in some way, the daughter could just decline to drive.

        She has options beyond demanding that her mom adhere to her rules. Unless she has chosen the option of living off her mom. That limits her other options.

        And people who are victims of human trafficking are in no way like adult children who allow their parents to support them.

    • David October 20, 2017, 8:07 pm

      Even if the mother was paying for all the food, gas, lodging and healthcare for the rest of OP’s life, mom would still need to default to the wishes of the driver when she is a passenger in the car.

      The driver needs to be alert and focused and must do the things that keep them that way,

  • GeenaG October 19, 2017, 10:31 am

    If you’re driving your car you get to set the rules. If she ignores them or says no, turn right around and go home, its time to put an end to this. I would never allow a narcissistic mother to treat me the way your mother is treating you. Consider not going on vacation with her again if she doesn’t modify her ways, she can get there on her own or you can both drive separately. Shes acting like a large spoiled infant.

  • Harry October 19, 2017, 10:32 am

    Forgive me, but this sounds more like a scenario you’d have with a child, not an adult. If she needs to communicate with her friends that urgently, introduce her to texting. Problem solved.

    • Vic October 19, 2017, 11:39 am

      If she was dealing with a reasonable person, this would solve the problem. But someone who honestly expects everyone else in the car to maintain silence while she catches up with friends for long periods of time is not a reasonable person. I think mom is just going to find another excuse why this won’t work. But, I’d definitely give it a try.

  • Anon October 19, 2017, 11:52 am

    I personally believe that all of the factors that make up the collective environment of the car should be agreeable to all. So, music/radio, temperature, windows down – you want everybody to be happy. The driver is, of course, the most important factor. You don’t want to play lullabies in the middle of the night and risk your driver falling asleep. For late-night driving, I think it is incumbent on the passenger to keep awake and alert, and to talk to the driver to keep them awake and alert! Of course, if the driver is feeling good, they can allow the passenger to nod off.

    The idea that the passenger would get on the phone and talk for the whole ride is unbelievable..and unbelievably rude. So not only are they ignoring the driver and subjecting them to hearing one-half of a conversation, but they also dictate no music so they can hear their phone call??? Amazing. It’s as if you’re a paid driver. Your mother has a lot of nerve!

  • Kat October 19, 2017, 11:55 am

    I love how Mom has this urgent need to chat with her friends, but not, you know, her own child right next to her.

    Thanks, Mom.

  • Ernie October 19, 2017, 1:22 pm

    You’re not being difficult OP, your mom is. I think having a phone conversation in a car with other people for more than a minute or two is extremely rude. First, the person not on the call just has to sit there quietly, and people talk on their cell phones really loudly. Second, they have to listen to only one half of the conversation…”yeah…well he said he didn’t… I know that’s what I said… I know… Parsnips and Turnips aren’t the same thing…”, it’s maddening.

  • JD October 19, 2017, 1:38 pm

    What was the television show in which the dad (Damon Wayans, I think) took the family on a car trip and the teen daughter talked on her phone constantly? Dad told her to get off the phone and she insisted that it was her friend’s birthday, so she had to talk to her! He acted excited and said “Oh, is it? Let me have the phone a second then.” When she handed the phone to him so he could (she thought) wish her friend a happy birthday, he threw it out the car window.
    Kind of drastic, but I know how he felt. OP, sorry, but your mom is rude. You and dad appear to be fine.

    • NostalgicGal October 21, 2017, 4:19 pm

      Very drastic. I’m not bombing a thousand dollar phone out the window…. I might have sat on it and if the passenger attacked, pull over and put the deleted thing in the trunk. As long as the passenger doesn’t know how to tunnel through the back seat, all is well enough.

      If you sit on it and break it at least you can take it in and have the insurance get you a replacement.

  • Amberly October 19, 2017, 2:18 pm

    Speaking from my own experience, I do not wish to be the person someone calls when they’re on a lengthy car trip and bored. Not only is Mom missing out on mother-daughter time, but she also might be annoying the heck out of her friends who are *not* confined to a car and wishing to get something done besides talking on the phone.

    • Just4Kicks October 20, 2017, 12:32 pm

      Amberly is a beautiful and unusual name, how pretty!

  • NostalgicGal October 19, 2017, 2:20 pm

    Your mother is totally wrong.

    The driver has control of radio, noise within the car, and the temperature controls. Their alertness is the most important thing period. If you ride with me I warn you if I need to I will tell you to SHUT UP and I expect silence or it might get ugly (certain urban driving sometimes demands all my attention). I will tell you when you can go ahead and make noise again, if I need that level of non distraction.

    Oh, you’re not going to be jabbering on your cellphone unless it’s an important call and you make it brief, or you and the phone will be put off at the nearest approach. I just don’t do that. Mine is muted off while I drive and often put in the armrest hideyhole so it’s not even there in sight.

    I’m also a ‘cold’ driver, and will pack lap blankets for passengers. (for long drives over three hours). I warn up front. It helps with my alertness. My saving grace is I do honor rest stop requests and needs for leg stretch and/or refreshments (aka hit that station and deal with all the above).

    Oh one last one that I was taught from small: The Driver is NEVER lost, when you go to a restaurant or to shop or whatever. It’s your responsibility to keep tabs on where the one with the keys is.

    (Driving I have had nav programs lose their mind and forced them to be turned off-my spouse is a big fan of them and after one zarked up during sunset/roadwork/rushhour in downtown Dallas one memorable marathon drive-after several hours on the road I offered he turn it off or it was being tossed out a window) Driver navigation though can be subject to question as well as alertness status!

    Mom is totally out of line there. Either she respects the needs of the driver, SHE is driving the entire bit, or she’s staying home. Safety outweighs all. Before cellphones there were many other ways to amuse one’s self in the car. She’s being totally rude, selfish, immature, juvenile…. period.

  • Melissa October 19, 2017, 3:25 pm

    The mind boggles at someone who thinks they need to spend that much time on the phone, let alone holding a car load of people hostage to their conversations. You might try playing audio books that may keep her attention and help her to behave. But seriously, if this were a conversation with my mom, I would have said “Let’s each make our own travel arrangements then”.

  • staceyizme October 19, 2017, 3:47 pm

    Rather than drive with someone who is determined to have their cake and eat it too, why not make other arrangements? No one can force you to ride with her. If you frame it as a matter of preference instead of as a matter of reasonableness or a right/wrong paradigm, it’s an easy sell to yourself. As for your mother, she really has only herself to blame. (Although, to be fair, you all seem to have done an excellent job of allowing her to have her own way in every sense of the word to date. She can hardly be blamed for presuming that she will now be able to continue to insist upon it!)

  • Mindblown October 19, 2017, 4:21 pm

    I’m always the odd one out. I don’t believe mom is being narsisitic but rather she’s enjoying life. She loves to talk to friends, listen to music–my gosh, I’d trade for her any day with my mom! If her behavior bothers you so much, don’t go on long trips with her, or let her drive. But if someone was taking me along on a trip and dictating all t he rules, I’d already have chosen not to go along. Micromanaging such a short trip (yes, where I’m from 3 1/2 hours is unnoteworthy) would have me bowing out.

    • Jared Bascomb October 19, 2017, 6:54 pm

      Sorry about your mom, but as someone who hates overhearing cellphone conversations in public places — the gym, the bus, an eating place, in the middle of the aisle in a grocery store — you are a major annoyance.

    • Reaver October 19, 2017, 8:57 pm

      The MOM Dictates the car trip whenever she drives, she insists only HER music be played, and if she’s on the phone the whole trip that the passengers be absolutely SILENT. She’s being VERY narcissistic , controlling, and not “Enjoying life” But being a big ol humbug.

    • thepsammead October 19, 2017, 9:11 pm

      Whether or not 3 1/2 hours is a short drive to you, it’s a long drive for the OP, and the environment in the car should be set up so that she can make that drive safely. From where I sit, it’s OP’s mom who is demanding to have everything arranged the way she prefers–even when that means that OP doesn’t have the music that helps her stay awake. Besides, if 3 1/2 hours is such a short drive, why can’t OP’s mom make her calls after it’s over?

    • Blake October 20, 2017, 4:59 am

      What’s the point of having a mom who enjoys life and loves people if she would rather talk to other people than the person next to her?

    • Anon October 20, 2017, 9:14 am

      Then mom should be able to drive herself then.

      Honestly I don’t understand how you would prefer a mother who totally dictates things in car rides, talks the entire time to other people instead of you, and forces you to do her bidding in the car.

      Oh and also, 31/2 hours is pretty long from where I live, but hey, let’s assume everyone thinks your way, I still wouldn’t want to hear someone talk to another person that entire time, especially if I’m driving them. TAKE A CAB or UBER.

  • Just4kicks October 19, 2017, 6:38 pm

    Now that my two oldest sons drive, I have to relinquish my hold on the radio tuner.
    My driving, my tunes….when they drive I have to listen to their “music”. Lol.

  • Jared Bascomb October 19, 2017, 6:41 pm

    I absolutely hate having the radio/music on when I’m in a car with other people, regardless of the distance or time. It drowns us out or inhibits us if we want to talk, especially if someone’s in the rear seat(s). I’ve driven from SoCal for up to 8 or 9 hours with passengers in the car and no audio.

    That said, if I’m doing the same drive solo I’ve got a nice stack of CDs that I can put into rotation once the radio frequency on my favorite FM station fades out. (Forgot the Clapton the last time I drove to Vegas.)

  • Rebecca October 19, 2017, 9:44 pm

    I think not allowing any calls at all is kind of odd, such as using the time to catch up on a couple of quick calls you have to make, that you didn’t have time to do while you were getting ready to leave home. (Some special instructions for the pet sitter, confirming the doctor’s appointment for the 22nd, etc.).

    Catching up with friends, though….why not use the time to catch up with YOU? I recently had a short road trip of 5 hours with an old friend who was visiting from another part of the country, and I really appreciated that 5 hours each way to have some lengthy discussions about our lives and about current events that we wanted to discuss together.

  • Marno October 20, 2017, 12:03 am

    While I agree with everyone here, your mom, in her self-absorbed way, is going to try her shenanigans once the car gets moving. So, be prepared! Here are some “fun” ideas:

    1. Stop the car until her conversation is done. Every time. Tell her that it was distracting you to have a loud conversation that excludes you going on beside you while you are trying to drive.

    2. As a compromise, tell her it will be less distracting if she sits in the backseat (as you have done). After all, if she is going out of her way to act like you are just some silent chauffeur with no say about much, then she can Driving Miss Daisy it in the back. Want to sit in the front seat, mom? Then treat the driver like your actual companion.

    3. If she wants to sit in the front seat AND have phone conversations, they become group conversations! Chime in with any thoughts, opinions, and questions that take your fancy. If you can’t hear the person on the phone, call to them to speak up or tell your mother to repeat what they just said. Ask their opinions about the songs you are playing. Turn up the volume so the person on the phone can hear them more clearly. Tell her friends that you love spending quality time with your mom and love meeting her friends, albeit over the phone. Sure is nice of them to let you join in instead of being a couple of Mean Girls!

    Gonna be a long ride for your mom until she learns some consideration for you, OP.

    • Devin October 20, 2017, 11:46 am

      I was thinking kind of along your lines. If mom MUST make phone calls, have her call people you both know (aunts, cousins, grandmothers) and put it on speaker. That way it’s like having another passenger in the car that actually wants to chat with you.

    • Dippy October 20, 2017, 1:51 pm

      I couldn’t love this more!

  • koolchicken October 20, 2017, 12:58 am

    In my family we have one rule that everyone is expected to follow in the car:

    “Don’t distract the driver”

    That’s it. If the driver can’t stand the radio, then you don’t get to listen to music. Even if it makes for an uncomfortable ride for the passengers. If the driver can’t focus without it, well it looks like everyone is going to need to suck it up and listen to whatever the driver’s new favorite song is. If I’m stressed cause I’m going somewhere new and I’m not too sure where I’m headed, I might actually put the same song on repeat cause I find that calming. Drives my sister and BFF crazy, but you know what? It’s better than getting into an accident and having people get seriously injured or worse, and that’s what’s at stake when you’re behind the wheel.

    OP I think you’re really very considerate to even offer to share the playlist with your Mum. You’re also not out of line asking her to stay off the phone. I can’t stand people on the phone while I’m driving either. It’s less a rude thing and more of a safety concern. if I’m listening to snippets of their conversation I might stop focusing 100% on the road. Bottom line, you’re driving, your car rules apply. The driver is the most important person in the car, anyone who doesn’t understand that can walk!

  • Cammy October 20, 2017, 5:44 am

    The only thing I don’t think is an issue here is charging her phone. My family always has the phones charging. Good to have it for emergencies, calling to let people know where I am and when I’ll be home, in case of an emergency, etc.

  • jessiebird October 20, 2017, 9:49 am

    I’m with you, OP. Sounds like you are being treated like the chauffeur….

    My mother used to chain smoke. We’d take road trips with the car filled with smoke, the window cracked (to get the smoke out but it didn’t work, but just made noise and cold air)….and then there was the time she decided to learn an entire tae kwon do form from my sister in the back of the minivan, and who was a few belts ahead of her. For hours, we heard them shouting back and forth things like,”And then you do the knifehand block followed by a front roundhouse!” or “Front kick, block, punch, rear kick, right front stance…” My mom learned the entire (advanced) form by having it taught aloud to her that way–you can imagine the amount of repetition this required– and was very proud of herself for it. It was a hellish trip. My poor Dad was driving, but he tolerated anything to keep the peace.

    I imagine there are a lot more stories this OP has to tell about her mother.

    • staceyizme October 20, 2017, 11:27 am

      “He tolerated anything to keep the peace”. Good grief. I don’t know why keeping the peace is better than having an honest conversation. Partners (male or female) who are bullies are the worst.

      • jessiebird October 23, 2017, 12:01 pm

        Usually because with these kinds of dynamics, honest conversations lead nowhere but to tantrums, crying, fights, counteraccusations…I’ve learned the hard way. It literally is “my way or the highway,” although if you choose the highway, you are soundly punished for it. Sigh.

  • K October 21, 2017, 6:40 am

    Your mom is so out of line. Music and conversation are the ONLY means a driver has for staying entertained. And your mom is denying you any entertainment because she feels the need to talk to her friends? Super rude. She should let you listen to what you want, because as a passenger she can do many things to entertain herself: talk to you, listen to music on headphones, nap, play a game on her phone, text her friends, read a book. Her options are varied whereas you have only two entertainment options.

  • Anon October 22, 2017, 6:24 am

    I wonder if playing some podcasts would be a good way to get your mom off the phone. Programs like This American Life (and so many others) are so fascinating, they really do help the time pass quickly in a way that music does not for me.

  • Bottlecaps October 22, 2017, 12:31 pm

    In an episode of “Supernatural,” Dean described this situation perfectly. He said, “House rules, Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole.”

    Now, while I don’t think you should actually say that to your mother, LOL, I do firmly believe in this stance. The driver’s comfort is paramount to that of the passengers because the driver is the one keeping the passengers safe. The driver should be able to listen to whatever music they enjoy – if the passengers don’t like it, they have other options to keep themselves entertained/occupied while the driver’s options are, for obvious reasons, quite limited. A quick call that might be important is one thing, but a whole chat session is another thing all together and I think you’re being quite fair with the options you’re giving your mother as far as the phone goes. If it comes down to it, I think you have every right to say something along the lines of “My car, my rules. If you’re not comfortable with that, you’re more than welcome to follow along in your own vehicle.”