Author Topic: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.  (Read 7567 times)

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cicero

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 03:09:19 AM »
you can try the "give them a fake time" but it's my experience that the chronic late catch on to this pretty early on so it doesn't help.

all i would say is that if it really bothers you, then stop enabling it. if you can't stand to be late to things, and you have to pick her up, then say "Mom, we understand that you can't be on time. However, we cannot be late - that's the way we are. so here is what we wil do - we will send a car for you at X o'clock, he will wait till you are ready. We will drive ourselves and meet you there". or "mom, dinner will be on the table at 5 PM. You are welcome to come any time from 5 and onwards, but that is when dinner will start". and follow through.

My sister did this to her husband once. my bil is late all.the.time. for everything. he's missed flights, you name it, and he just doesn't seem to notice. my sister (like  the rest of our family) has to be on time or early. so she was getting stressed out every time they had to fly someplace bec he is fine with running late, running like a madman through the gate, etc. she likes to get there early, get through security, go to her gate and have a relaxing cup of coffee. so she told him - I am not looking for a fight, I am not angry, I just can't handle the mad dash to the gate. I am going to take a cab to the airport, i am leaving at (three hours before the flight). you can leave whenever you want" and it worked for them.

I find all the threads on lateness fascinating. My parents, dad in particular, are prompt to the point of occasionally being perhaps a bit too early, and they raised my siblings and I to be the same way. I tend to leave a generous window whenever I have to be somewhere by a certain time, and I get a bit frantic if circumstances somehow still get in the way. (And I then apologize way too much, I'm told. :P)

However ... as I posted in one of the other threads, I married into a family that's very different. Or at least one member is.

My MIL is chronically late. Tell her dinner's at 5 p.m, if you're lucky she's there by 6 p.m. Tell her you need to pick her up to go somewhere at 9 a.m., you'll be lucky if she's ready to go by 9:30 p.m.

Nothing works. You can't shame her into being on time, because she's very, very sure that everyone should wait for her. She is The Matriarch. You (general you) owe it to her. This is particularly true for her children. I heard her tell SIL once, when SIL was trying desperately to get her out the door to a reservation on time, "I waited 9 months for you, you can wait 15 minutes for me!" (Actually, it wound up being more like a half hour ...)

It's never anything like an emergency. She's usually puttering around, making a (non-emergency) last minute phone call, doing her hair, changing something around in the house. There's just no sense of urgency in the slightest.

The situation has always boggled my mind. DH and his sister aren't like this, although they're not as obsessively prompt as my family. As you can imagine, it drives my parents NUTS when they get to a mutual event and wait and wait and WAIT for MIL. They never say anything to her, though. (Doesn't help the dynamic that MIL is much older than my folks.)

Much of DH's family and long-time friends of the family just expect it. "Oh, that's how mom is!" Leaving without Mom would be unthinkable, and you can't make her move faster. They seem to find it funny and a bit quirky, whereas my family considers it horribly rude and disrespectful.

How DO you deal with someone like this?  :-\

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Raintree

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 04:37:13 AM »
2) When I travel with her, I head out to the car and wait for her when I am ready. Then I sit there and read my book. (If there is someone else around, she seems to think that they are not ready either so she doesn't get ready)


This describes every male who has ever been in my life (ie my dad, my cousin, and every close male friend or boyfriend I've ever had). I'm not trying to be sexist, but it's been my experience.

What tends to happen is if we are supposed to leave at 11 AM, I'm scurrying about getting cleaned up, getting my coat, pouring my coffee into a travel mug, every few minutes saying to them, "OK, you know we have to leave in X minutes, right?" The answer is usually, "Well I'm ready when you are."

Then when I'm standing there in the doorway, coat on, keys in hand, they look up and say, "Oh! You're ready. I just have to get my shoes...." (and a bunch of other things besides shoes, that take up 10-15 minutes). And then as we're finally walking out to the car they remember something else they need.

Seems that my being ready to go is their cue to START getting ready. I've asked repeatedly why they can't be getting ready while I'm getting ready but I haven't had a satisfactory answer.

Danika

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 05:44:19 AM »
My mother sounds just like OP's MIL. Some of her friends lie and tell her something starts 45 minutes before it does.

I finally did the "unthinkable" and I would leave. I would tell my mother "I'm going to be in the car, on the driveway with the engine running at X time. If you are not in the car with me by X + 10 minutes, I'll leave." And I did. And she was fuming. After that, I would just meet her places and wouldn't drive with her.

She's very entitled and narcissistic in other aspects of her life, too. It infuriates her to be kept waiting. She will not wait for other people (except for one of her special snowflake sisters who is always even later than she is). But she thinks her own behavior is just fine and people need to relax and calm down when she takes her sweet time.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 06:22:41 AM »
I don't know what to suggest about her being late to events outside your home, but for events in your home I'd hold them at the exact time you tell her to be there. If she  shows up late for dinner and gets mad, she'll either get over it or die mad. If you're meeting for dinner at a restaurant, I'd wait a little bit and then order. Again, she'll either die mad or get over it.

If the members of her family protest and say "that's just how Mom is," I'd respond that being on time "is just how I am."

Winterlight

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 09:13:14 AM »
I would take a hard line.  Say "MIL, we are leaving at 9.  If you are not ready, you can take your own car and meet us there.  We will not be so rude as to be late."

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Agreed. She does this because she's allowed to. Stop allowing it.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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Oh Joy

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2013, 09:27:25 AM »
Please don't lie about the time.

It's a game, and it just reinforces that whenever they end up arriving is just fine.

Just be clear about your expectations and go ahead with them.  If you say you're serving dinner at 5:00, serve dinner at 5:00.  If you say you're leaving her house for the event at 6:00*, leave the house at 6:00 with a cheery smile and a 'see you there!'

Best wishes.

*Being clear that you mean 'I'll be there between 5:45 and 6:00, and we'll leave at 6:00 - you're welcome to ride along' and not 'I'll be there at 6:00 and we'll leave when you're ready or think we should leave.'

Venus193

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 09:31:47 AM »
I agree about this; giving an earlier time won't work in the long term.  For the aggressively tardy that would just up the ante on the game and create more anxiety in the people who are already justifiably offended.

The only choices here are to:

  • Take an assertive stand and leave on time whether she is ready or not
  • Cave to her rudeness to you and everyone else and decide it doesn't bother you.

Edited for a typo and further clarification.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:04:47 AM by Venus193 »

Virg

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2013, 10:20:59 AM »
elephantschild wrote:

"Much of DH's family and long-time friends of the family just expect it. "Oh, that's how mom is!" Leaving without Mom would be unthinkable, and you can't make her move faster. They seem to find it funny and a bit quirky, whereas my family considers it horribly rude and disrespectful."

I hate to have to be the cold voice of reason, but if you're unwilling to make her suffer the consequences of running late then there's little you can do about it.  In the face of this, the only reasonable thing is never to build plans around a specific schedule when she's involved.  It is rude, and it is disrespectful, but you tell others how to treat you and in considering leaving without her to be "unthinkable" you're telling her to continue forcing you to wait for her.

Virg

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2013, 10:35:17 AM »
You can't change her.  Either leave without her or put up with it.  If leaving her is so "unthinkable" I'm afraid you are just stuck with putting up with it.  Sit down with a good book while waiting.  I'm sorry, but what else can you do if it's not possible to stand up to her and the rest of the family?

MrTango

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2013, 10:42:36 AM »
Leaving without Mom would be unthinkable, and you can't make her move faster.

Has anyone actually tried just leaving without her?  If not, I'd be the first.

oceanus

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2013, 10:47:00 AM »
You can't change her.  Either leave without her or put up with it.  If leaving her is so "unthinkable" I'm afraid you are just stuck with putting up with it.  Sit down with a good book while waiting.  I'm sorry, but what else can you do if it's not possible to stand up to her and the rest of the family?

This.  Excellent.

OP - you asked "how to handle" your MIL.

Either
1) Stop ALLOWING her to intimidate and control.  If she's not ready, LEAVE.
Or
2) Continue to tolerate her behavior.

There are no other choices.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 10:50:17 AM by oceanus »

wonderfullyanonymous

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2013, 10:50:04 AM »
My mother sounds just like OP's MIL. Some of her friends lie and tell her something starts 45 minutes before it does.

I finally did the "unthinkable" and I would leave. I would tell my mother "I'm going to be in the car, on the driveway with the engine running at X time. If you are not in the car with me by X + 10 minutes, I'll leave." And I did. And she was fuming. After that, I would just meet her places and wouldn't drive with her.

She's very entitled and narcissistic in other aspects of her life, too. It infuriates her to be kept waiting. She will not wait for other people (except for one of her special snowflake sisters who is always even later than she is). But she thinks her own behavior is just fine and people need to relax and calm down when she takes her sweet time.


Leaving without Mom would be unthinkable, and you can't make her move faster.

Has anyone actually tried just leaving without her?  If not, I'd be the first.


Both of these are perfect. If she is riding with you, give her a 5 or 10 minute leeway, and then leave. She doesn't want to be on time, then she should be accountable for being late by herself, as well.

If she is meeting you for dinner or something, if she isn't there when everyone else is, serve without her. If she pulls the "you have to wait for me, I'm the mother" stuff, reply, it's my house, dinner was set for 5:30, dinner was served at 5:30. Everyone else was here on time, they should not be punished because you chose to show up late.

Lynn2000

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2013, 10:59:01 AM »
If you have married into the family and no-one else wants to do anything about it, you are pretty limited.

I have a late relative and my plan is:

1) Whenever possible I travel in a seperate vehicle.
2) When I travel with her, I head out to the car and wait for her when I am ready. Then I sit there and read my book. (If there is someone else around, she seems to think that they are not ready either so she doesn't get ready)
3) When they are making dinner, I have left immediately after dinner and before desert a couple times as my kid needs to get to sleep.
4) I would NEVER travel with her to an airport or anything like that. That is my line in the sand.
5) And I just don't worry/care about what other people think of her. Not my problem.

POD to all of this. Again, if you aren't really in control of your own transportation or the event because you're with a group, there's not much you can do if the group as a whole decides to put up with it. But I would try really hard to avoid those situations where I (or DH if he agrees with me) didn't have control, even if it meant awkwardness, like two cars from the same town driving to the same gathering, rather than everyone carpooling and being late because of MIL. And, if you ever have a situation where it's just you and DH picking up MIL, and your DH is onboard with you--I would just leave without her. See what happens when she knows you're serious.

Also, if you're hosting, you can serve your meal exactly when you said you would. Put the food on the table and start eating. If everyone else is aghast because MIL isn't there yet and doesn't want to eat the food sitting right in front of them, that's their choice. But, you don't have to go along with that.

You can't change MIL, and you can't change other people in the family who are determined to do what MIL wants. So, I would 1) avoid being in situations where you personally are affected by MIL's tardiness; and 2) if you have control over the transportation/event, use it and leave/start without her.
~Lynn2000

Jaelle

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2013, 11:20:32 AM »
elephantschild wrote:

"Much of DH's family and long-time friends of the family just expect it. "Oh, that's how mom is!" Leaving without Mom would be unthinkable, and you can't make her move faster. They seem to find it funny and a bit quirky, whereas my family considers it horribly rude and disrespectful."

I hate to have to be the cold voice of reason, but if you're unwilling to make her suffer the consequences of running late then there's little you can do about it.  In the face of this, the only reasonable thing is never to build plans around a specific schedule when she's involved.  It is rude, and it is disrespectful, but you tell others how to treat you and in considering leaving without her to be "unthinkable" you're telling her to continue forcing you to wait for her.

Virg

Oh, I'm willing. :) But this is DH's mom and he's not always so willing. He's miles beyond others, though, in that he at least calls her on it, whereas everyone else just seems to roll their eyes and wait.

We had to work to get him to that point.  ::)

I just find it stunning that someone who considers herself such an authority on manners, etc., doesn't seem to think that she, herself, is rude in doing this to people.
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

Mikayla

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Re: Another lateness thread: The righteously late.
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2013, 11:38:35 AM »
[quote author=elephantschild link=topic=124862.msg2886685#msg2886685

Oh, I'm willing. :) But this is DH's mom and he's not always so willing. He's miles beyond others, though, in that he at least calls her on it, whereas everyone else just seems to roll their eyes and wait.

We had to work to get him to that point.  ::)

[/quote]

I think there's a big difference between handling a one-on-one situation, like the original thread on this, vs walking into a long established, but unacceptable, family dynamic.  In the first situation, it's easy to start setting better boundaries or simply stop inviting the person.

But this situation is different.  You're an in-law, and your DH is accepting the behavior.  (calling her on it doesn't count if he doesn't try to enforce boundaries).   So it's really tough! 

I think the only time you can control things is an event where you're inviting them over, or providing transport, etc.  You're perfectly free to proceed without her, but whether it's worth the angst this might cause the rest of them is a different issue.

It has to be incredibly frustrating!