Author Topic: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.  (Read 4696 times)

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Rohanna

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2012, 05:11:22 PM »
Since you aren't a morning person, would it be possible to have something "pre-made" most evenings that your mom can eat in the am if she is hungry before you are done with waking up and dog walking? I am thinking muffins, fruit breads, quiche...
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CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2012, 05:20:18 PM »
If possible, get a coffee maker with a timer so that coffee will be ready when you get up.  Use a to-go cup to take coffee with you when you walk the dog.  Make it a house rule that you don't take requests until after you've walked the dog and had coffee.

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Don't even speak to me until I've had coffee
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JenJay

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 05:39:47 PM »
I don't think what you said was bad at all, but if you're concerned that your tone was grouchy maybe shoot for more composure next time? Smile at her and say "Mom, talking at me through Kiddo won't get us anywhere. I'm happy to make pancakes, but I'd appreciate it if you'd ask me directly next time. Deal?"

Lynn2000

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 05:57:24 PM »
It sounds like you're in a tough situation, and you're getting a lot of great advice here. I agree with those who suggest being proactive--food and its scheduling is an issue you now know about, so initiating discussions about meals in advance is a great idea. Let's say that you suspect another one will be chores, like cleaning. Instead of tensing up and gritting your teeth and dreading the moment when your mom starts a PA discussion about vacuuming (if you're doing that), take the bull by the horns and bring it up with her yourself. Again she's probably worried about how the cleaning is going to get done if she can't stand for long, and there's three extra people plus a dog running around.

So maybe say, "Mom, I've been thinking about how we're going to divvy up the household chores. Here are some of the tasks I've thought of. Are there others you want done, and how often? Now obviously you can't do the vacuuming, so I'll be doing that, but probably only once a week, most likely Saturday afternoons. If I put the laundry in the washer and dryer, would you be able to sit on the couch and fold it? Could you sit on a chair in the kitchen and dry dishes I've washed after supper?" Only, you know, in a more natural tone... :)

I think one way to counter PAness is with clear communication. Lay out your plans for her, ask your questions in advance, and that way she doesn't have as much wiggle room to be PA, and you can point out to her when she's doing what irritates you. "Mom, I told you last night I'd be walking the dog first thing and wouldn't start cooking breakfast until 7am. So if you're hungry, you need to eat one of those granola bars or something, because I'm going to follow the plans I told you about earlier." Or, "Mom, I told you I'm going to pay that bill on the 15th, after my check comes. Please don't bring it up again." Of course, then you have a responsibility to follow through on the stuff you've said you would do, because you're trying to train her to trust your word instead of making little PA comments.
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Mental Magpie

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2012, 06:01:11 PM »
Does humor work for you/with your mom?

I used to get so angry at the Stork (my mom) because she would micro-manage.  If she wanted me to look up something on the internet, instead of asking, "Would you please see what time the Steelers play tomorrow?" she would say, "Are you on the Internet?  OK, open a new browser, then go to www.dogpile.com, search for "Steelers Schedule", then find tomorrow's date..."  It drove me absolutely insane.  I would either get mean-sarcastic or get up to leave when I was done and try not to scream.

Then I changed the way I reacted to it.

I changed to teasing-sarcasm and humor.  It makes me smile, she'll laugh and acknowledge she's being that way, and we'll move on.  It makes me less stressed and I don't have to rely on her to change her ways.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

NyaChan

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2012, 06:15:25 PM »
Does humor work for you/with your mom?

I used to get so angry at the Stork (my mom) because she would micro-manage.  If she wanted me to look up something on the internet, instead of asking, "Would you please see what time the Steelers play tomorrow?" she would say, "Are you on the Internet?  OK, open a new browser, then go to www.dogpile.com, search for "Steelers Schedule", then find tomorrow's date..."  It drove me absolutely insane.  I would either get mean-sarcastic or get up to leave when I was done and try not to scream.

Then I changed the way I reacted to it.

I changed to teasing-sarcasm and humor.  It makes me smile, she'll laugh and acknowledge she's being that way, and we'll move on.  It makes me less stressed and I don't have to rely on her to change her ways.

That's a good point MentalMagpie - I actually just tried this today.  My mom was in the room with me talking about the house temperature and said "You know, the fireplace could even be turned on..."  Instead of getting irritated and pointing out that she could just ask if she wants me to do something, I laughed and asked "Are you asking me to turn on the fireplace?"  And she laughed and said "Yes please."  No terseness or upset on either side :)

Mental Magpie

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2012, 06:25:08 PM »
Does humor work for you/with your mom?

I used to get so angry at the Stork (my mom) because she would micro-manage.  If she wanted me to look up something on the internet, instead of asking, "Would you please see what time the Steelers play tomorrow?" she would say, "Are you on the Internet?  OK, open a new browser, then go to www.dogpile.com, search for "Steelers Schedule", then find tomorrow's date..."  It drove me absolutely insane.  I would either get mean-sarcastic or get up to leave when I was done and try not to scream.

Then I changed the way I reacted to it.

I changed to teasing-sarcasm and humor.  It makes me smile, she'll laugh and acknowledge she's being that way, and we'll move on.  It makes me less stressed and I don't have to rely on her to change her ways.

That's a good point MentalMagpie - I actually just tried this today.  My mom was in the room with me talking about the house temperature and said "You know, the fireplace could even be turned on..."  Instead of getting irritated and pointing out that she could just ask if she wants me to do something, I laughed and asked "Are you asking me to turn on the fireplace?"  And she laughed and said "Yes please."  No terseness or upset on either side :)

Just the other day Eagle told me to be careful with a knife while I was cutting some fruit.  I looked completely perplexed and said, "You know, after 24 years of knife handling, it never occurred to me to be careful with one!"  We both had a good laugh over, whereas what I used to do/say would lead to arguments and hurt feelings.

I highly recommend the humor approach if it is something that you think may help.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

EMuir

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2012, 06:34:08 PM »
I guess my response depends on what was around to eat.  If you've told your Mom she can't cook, then you insist on walking the dog before making breakfast, she must feel powerless.  Could the walk have been postponed?

rain

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2012, 06:48:26 PM »
Oh, TootsNYC!  Thank you so much!  I like your phrasing a LOT.  It really would go over well with her.  She's not *trying* to be horrible. I know that.  I taught middle school for nearly a decade, so I think "channeling my inner teacher" is a very good idea.  Both you and Bloo suggested planning out a menu several days in advance, and I'm definitely going to do that.  I've already got tonight's dinner cooking, and I do need to go grocery shopping sometime tomorrow, so that makes a perfect opportunity to sit down and discuss menus for the next week.

I actually have a suggestion for menu planning (and it includes teacher materials  :D)

I have one of  those schedule pocket organizers ( mine has 14 pockets) tumbtacked to my kitchen wall; each day is labled and I have note cards with main dishes on them ( :-[  I even have them color coded pink for beef, blue for chicken,.....)


 >:(  I can't get any links to post nor any pics copied here... I'm such a visual person .... try google images for 14 pocket organizers if you need a visual

"oh we thank thee lord for the things we need, like the wind and the rain and the apple seed"

cutecupcake

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2012, 09:39:13 PM »
I will probably differ from a lot of other posters but it sounds like your mother is a lot like my own. She likes to make "joke hints" and always has. To this day when I go home to visit, she'll make statements similar to your mom's and my younger bro who lives at home gets frustrated whereas it no longer bothers me.

I think you can try to retrain her, or perhaps when she makes a statement just giver yourself a 5 second delay and let the comments mellow. I bet the reason your mom gave you the silent treatment after that was because she was hurt that you thought she was attacking you.

I know how frustrating small things and comments can be when you're in a close space, but the trick is to get yourself into a different headspace as well. She clearly loves you and has opened her home to you and your family (and which you are clearly grateful for) so when she says something that annoys or rubs you the wrong way just ask yourself if she's really trying to be mean or if you're just too close to the situation.

Slartibartfast

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2012, 10:04:04 PM »
re: the 6:30/7:30 thing - I think you'd be perfectly within your rights to make breakfast at the time YOU get up.  Let her know ahead of time, of course: "Mom, it takes me a bit to wake up and have my coffee in the mornings before I can even think about starting on breakfast.  I'll aim to be cooking at around 7:45 most mornings.  If you think you'll be hungry before that, you might want to have a snack first.  Think about what you might like and add it to the grocery list."

re: PA in general - there seem to be two types of PA statements.  The "random comments" are the easiest to deal with - just pretend to take them at face value.  "It sure is warm in here!  I wish I had a glass of water!  Water sure would be nice right now, wouldn't it?"  "Sure is, I can understand you would, and yes it would."  If she's not getting that, you can always reply with "Sure would be nice if people asked me outright to do things instead of just hinting about them!  It would be much easier to figure out what they want that way!"  That only works if they know they're PA and have a sense of humor, though!

The second type of PA statement is what she did in the kitchen, making a statement that wasn't (yet) true.  So "Your mom is making pancakes today."  This is a bit harder to deal with, but calling the PA person on it directly often works.  "That's news to me!  I'm happy to make pancakes, but I'd prefer that you ask me directly, mom."  Or, if you were planning something else: "Actually, if she had asked me about it, I would have let her know I was making waffles."

mmswm

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2012, 10:45:25 PM »
Thank you everybody for all your wonderful ideas.  I used many of them tonight when my mom and I engaged in the best of mother-daughter activities: Retail Therapy. She did apologize for her temper tantrum, but made no mention of the PA comments.  I kindly told her that mornings are generally not a good time for me, and the best way to get something from me is to just ask me directly.  I told her I got upset when she talked *at* me through my kids, and that even if it wasn't true, I felt like she was using them to back me into a corner. She said she never thought about it that way.  I asked her if she could do me the favor of just asking me directly for what she wants.  I know I'm an imposition, and I'm happy to do whatever she needs me to do in order to make the situation more manageable.

A few things to clear up:  The cooking issue isn't something that just started.  My mother's kitchen is not wheelchair accessible, so she hasn't been able to even get in there since her surgery.  My father and my little brother and sister (ages 10 and 11 respectively) have been doing the cooking.  My father is a good cook, but he makes a huge mess, and I fear cross contamination.  That's why I asked (not told) them if I could take over all the kitchen duties.

The dog is new to us, and was mostly my father's idea.  Their property is large and as out in the middle of nowhere as this county gets.  My little brother and sister are adopted out of the foster care system, and some threats have been made by the bio family of one of the kids. When my father found out that my son has been pining for a dog, he jumped on the opportunity to solve all of our problems.  He really didn't have the time to take care of a large dog, but I do.  He's been wanting a large, protective and intimidating dog for a while now. The dog does have to go out first in the morning, as he's been inside all night and we really don't want him messing in the house.  My mother's small dog sometimes joins us (off-leash).

I think we made some progress tonight, but only time will tell.  The wording that you guys suggested really helped.

mstigerlily

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2012, 10:13:52 AM »
is ignoring her "your mom is making pancakes" comment PA?

My initial "If it was me" was that I'd just continue making whatever I'd already planned on making and if she asked where the pancakes were I'd say "Oh, did you want pancakes?"

then again I may be feeling snarky this morning...

cicero

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2012, 10:42:34 AM »
your update sounds good.

I think this is a tricky situation. your mom may be the queen of PA - but at this moment in time she has opened her home to you and your family, as well as agreed to let you take over the cooking.

her remark may have been PA, it may have a casual "i'm hungry" , it may have been a 'joke' or an attempt to connect with you through something fun. i don't know.

I do know that you are all going to need a *lot* of patience and a degree of planning ahead to get you through the next months/years:

*set up scheduled meals and mealtimes. have a 2-4 week schedule on the fridge with allowances for mishaps. prepare as much as possible the day before. have frozen options ready in case of emergencies.
*schedule some mom time - going shopping with her was a good start.
*put up a grocery list on the fridge (we use a small white board for this) - anyone who finishes the last *whatever* needs to put it on the board. anyone who wants *whatever* - puts it on the board. have a list of the 5-10 essentials that you *always* check for in case you ran out (eggs, milk, TP, bread etc).
*maybe schedule some time that you take your family out of hte house so mom gets some alone time (it's probably not easy for her to have your family around).

I like the idea of setting up the coffee maker in advance and setting the rule of "nobody talk to me until i've had my coffee and walked the dog".

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JacklynHyde

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Re: I did not handle this okay and need advise for the future.
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2012, 04:27:48 PM »
Major hugs, mmswm!  Your history with your mom may, unfortunately, spring load you to react more strongly than you would otherwise.  I'm glad you've been able to take a step back to vent before starting an argument.  Talking about it and redirecting your mom is easier when you're not ruffled.   Her seeing you unruffled will also diffuse her ability to get under your skin.

Take that pup for a spin if you need to get out for a few minutes!  I like the idea of having coffee ready to go in the morning.