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My mom: Am I being unreasonable? UPDATE PAGE 2 AND 3

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My mom lives in Chicago, and I live in the Providence, RI area.  She gets two weeks of vacation PLUS Jewish holidays (she works for a shul) every year.  My husband gets two weeks of vacation plus a couple of floating holidays, but that includes Jewish holidays, so our vacation time is either during Jewish holidays (and we celebrate all of them, including some you may not have heard of), or is very short.

My mom takes her two weeks every year as two week-long jaunts to the Dominican Republic.  This is one of those immutable truths, non-negotiable, blah blah blah.  My mom is planning on retiring in a couple of years and moving to the Dominican Republic for good. 

Now that the kids are big enough to need their own plane tickets, visiting my mom is expensive.  Also, she whines that she doesn't have enough room for the four of us (she has a 3-bedroom condo) and that we have to get a room in a hotel.  We also can't fit in her tiny car (comfortably seats four but not if two of those four are in carseats), so we need to rent a car when we visit her.  Of course, when she visits us, she can just stay with us, doesn't need to rent a car because our cars are big, etc.

She has decided that she wants to visit us over the last weekend of Passover.  Problem:  A friend of mine in Cincinnati has already invited me to visit HER and stay with her during the last weekend of Passover.  I have not seen this friend in a couple of years, and I really enjoy the Cincinnati community.  I'd stay with one friend, but I know I'd be invited to a few different friends' homes for meals, so it would be really fun and social for all of us.

Last summer, my mom was difficult with me while I was talking about making plans to visit her in Chicago.  We scrapped our plans and went to Seattle instead (our first big family vacation EVER that didn't involve visiting relatives out of obligation and wasn't just a quick weekend getaway) and had a blast.

Just now I'm talking to my mom about her possible visit and I said something about meeting in Cincinnati instead.  Mom's entire family is there.  She says she doesn't want to go to Cincinnati, that if I'm at my friend's house, she'll only get an hour or two with the children here and there.

Then she lays the guilt trip:  By the time this visit happens, it will have been OVER a YEAR since she's seen the children.  I remind her that she has the option of not going to the Caribbean two weeks out of the year, and she could instead use that time to see us.  She accuses me of "getting nasty." 

I tell her that we'll be going to Cincinnati those days and can't accommodate her, and I hang up.  She calls back a couple of minutes later and I ask if she's apologizing?  She says she is not and begins to yell at me.  I say we are going to go to Cincinnati, and I  hang up again.

Am I out of line?  I know it's wrong to hang up on my mother, but do I owe it to her to visit?

I don't think you're being unreasonable, but don't argue with her about it. If she calls and asks about a visit, just tell her you're sorry, but you've already told her you won't be home that weekend. Don't discuss her coming to Cincinnati, either. She wants to be the one in control of her time and travel, which is perfectly reasonable, so she can do what she wants when she wants, but you don't have to be there to accommodate her plans. It's her choice to not see her grandchildren in more than a year, but don't remind her of that either. Basically, I'd be a river and flow where it's easiest without argument.

You don't owe her a visit, but hanging up the phone isn't going to help smooth the situation out any.  She may have felt that you were "getting nasty" - one doesn't normally hang up the phone when they're being polite and reasonable.  Maybe write her an email and review it a couple times so that you can be sure it isn't coming from anger, and set out your plan for Cincinnati so that she can see that she'll get more time with your kids.

I think you were okay.

There's no reason why you should have to listen to someone (even your mother) try to guilt-trip you.

The only suggestion is that, unless she's yelling at you (raised voice into the phone), you should try to say something to "close" the call rather than just hanging up.  For example, "I've got to go.  Bye."

If she's yelling, I think you're fine just hanging up the phone

Well, she hadn't started yelling, but the minute she starts calling me "nasty," I feel like the conversation is over.  I guess I feel like I can't have a discussion with someone who has effectively invalidated me as a reasonable and kind person.  If I'm such a horrible, mean person, then the discussion is already over.

I think it's a temper tantrum, actually,  If she doesn't get what she wants and is asked to compromise, I'm just a horrible person.

She used to call me the not-nice word for a female dog, so I think we've made progress in this direction.


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