Author Topic: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation  (Read 6774 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

daen

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 739
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2013, 05:59:16 PM »
It's just that she spent 3 years being "temporary Mom" to the boys, and all-around caretaker for my brother, and all of sudden here comes a new person. It's taken her some time to get used to it, and I think she still isn't 100% on board. The problem is that my parents and my brother are just enmeshed in their lives, and future SIL is slowly working to overcome that.

This paragraph makes my head hurt.  Your brother is an adult, who is not developmentally disabled.  Why on earth would he need a caretaker?  <snipped>

There are those people who want to be taken care of, whether they are capable of caring for themselves or not.
There are also those who will take over the care of someone else, whether or not they are needed.
And there are also those who fall into a parent/child dynamic of years gone by if they end up living in the same house again, regardless of time spent away.

Any one or all of these (or, granted, none) could be in play here.

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5192
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2013, 07:06:49 PM »
To be frank, I don't understand why this thread has provoked 40 responses in six hours. 

It's about a simple substitution of  inexpensive drinks.

Ditch the iced tea and pour the soda.  Breathe in, breathe out, move on.   

If this were about the drinks, then I'd agree.  But this is about a mother who is attempting to control every aspect of her son's life and is so hard to deal with that her daughter is afraid to ask her brother for clarification of his drink choices because doing so would cause a whole litany of family drama.

Many of us started this thread saying we didn't understand why there was an issue. Then the OP clarified and we realized that the drinks is just a small symptom of a much larger problem.  As a matter of fact, giving her drink advice wouldn't even start to address the real issue here. 

guihong

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6530
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #47 on: April 01, 2013, 07:51:33 PM »
There's no way we can address the dynamic between your mother and your brother; that's between them and your brother would have to do the work to extricate himself, should he choose to.   I also feel curious as to what Anne feels about this.  She is marrying a man who has never fully grown up and who has a very enmeshed relationship with his mother.

As for the drinks, should this come up again, what I do in my family is get all the orders and repeat "OK, that's two Cokes, a ginger ale, an Orange Crush, etc."  Or simply have a beverage bar.

But, OP, I do have to agree with artk in that by quietly slinking around confirming the drinks (or any other of your brother's wishes, I suspect), so as not to get your mother upset, you are being controlled.  Holiday or no holiday, it's your right not to dance to her music in your own house.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 07:58:36 PM by guihong »



YummyMummy66

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 799
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #48 on: April 01, 2013, 08:00:59 PM »
Oy....so far I just read only the op and my head is spinning with trying to read the information/

What I have done and do now, and it is probably not approved in etiquette hell, is when I have something at my home, whether it be game night, or a holiday dinner, such as Easter dinner yesterday, if anyone asks to bring something, I might mention something to eat if they desire, but since usually everyone drinks a variety of drinks, I will tell them to bring what you like to drink.   I simply cannot afford to buy everyone's drink preference and I do not want the leftovers.  Usually, for instance my BIl and his girlfriend, always bring their own drink choice anyhoo.  She drinks Mountain Dew, he used to, but now I notice he drinks a quart of some type of ice tea. We try and drink somewhat healthy in our home and don't carry those items usually.  That does not mean, I will not go out and buy a variety of drinks at various times, it is just easier for most people to bring their favorite choice of beverage. 

What you could do for future reference is have a certain number of drinks to offer and that is it.  Say, water, ice tea and maybe a soda of your choice or a wine. For dessert have coffee and tea bags available.  (I am a tea drinker, not coffee).  But, I would not have too many choices as that can make it confusing. 

Or you can put all choices on a buffet type bar setting and let people serve themselves. 

gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8126
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #49 on: April 01, 2013, 08:04:45 PM »
O_gal ~~  I asked  before but I don't think you answered.  Do your brother and his fiancee and his twins live with your Mother?

YummyMummy66

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 799
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #50 on: April 01, 2013, 08:09:37 PM »
Ok, after reading all posts....

I say go with my last advice.  Next time, (since this is all family), let everyone get their own drinks.  So much easier.  In my house, we are not bashful.  Everyone knows that when you come into my home, you are like family and you can get a drink if you need one, if it so happens that at one of the many multiple times I do ask if you need one and you did not at that time.  We keep our drinks in our basement fridge. 

Or like I said, if they ask to bring something, I usually tell most people, only if you want to, but if you have a certain drink you like, please bring that, as it is much easier than providing everyone's favorite drink.  May not be etiquette approved, but we have many get togethers and this has always worked out well.

cass2591

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3357
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2013, 10:06:36 PM »
I'm sorry, I just don't get why this was a thing?

Why what was a thing? The OP's question? If the point of posting is to imply that you believe their question/problem is trivial, my advice is don't.
There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~ Mark Twain

Adopting a pet won't change the world, but it will change the world for that pet.

LifeOnPluto

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6574
    • Blog
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2013, 10:14:27 PM »
I don't think you were rude for not confirming with your brother that he wanted Iced Tea. If he normally drinks it at your house, it was a fair assumption that he'd drink it this time.

Your mother however, was presumptuous, if she knew your brother had brought Coke and would have preferred to drink that instead of Iced Tea.


o_gal

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 579
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2013, 07:24:03 AM »
O_gal ~~  I asked  before but I don't think you answered.  Do your brother and his fiancee and his twins live with your Mother?

No. He moved to a small town about 45 minutes away from us back in 2005, for a job. When his first wife died, my parents moved to a rental house in the same town about a mile away from him. By "all around caretaker", I'm talking about a good deal of childcare, cleaning his house, cooking on days when they watched the boys, doing laundry, and general house-hold maintenance and repairs.

o_gal

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 579
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2013, 07:29:41 AM »
I'm sorry, I just don't get why this was a thing?

Why what was a thing? The OP's question? If the point of posting is to imply that you believe their question/problem is trivial, my advice is don't.

Thank you - I posted because I am trying to be a gracious host, and a situation developed where I was wondering what was an etiquette approved solution that would solve the issue and not lead to any further awkwardness. That's why I was trying in the initial post to phrase it as a general question with no backstory, because I was sure that hearing the backstory would send the discussion off into tangents. I was still able to get some great answers on the etiquette question, so my query is satisfied.

Virg

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5880
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2013, 01:53:49 PM »
artk2002 wrote:

"I'm sorry, but if you won't do certain things because you're afraid that she's going to cause awkwardness, then she does control you. If you won't confirm with someone what drink they want because she's going to get upset, she's controlling you."

Her question was how to graciously confirm her brother's drink choice while minimizing the drama, and I didn't see any indication that she'd have fought the point if the correct etiquette said, "Just ask him outright."  I definitely get the concept of trying to minimize the chance of a blowup in a specific situation over taking a firm stand, and it's not fair to say that she won't confirm just because she's asking for drama-reducing ways to do exactly that.

guihong wrote:

"She is marrying a man who has never fully grown up and who has a very enmeshed relationship with his mother."

That's patently unfair and rather insulting to him.  His first wife died, and his mother has been helping him with raising his kids, which is how their lives got this enmeshed.  To say that means he never grew up is quite an interesting assumption.

"But, OP, I do have to agree with artk in that by quietly slinking around confirming the drinks (or any other of your brother's wishes, I suspect), so as not to get your mother upset, you are being controlled.  Holiday or no holiday, it's your right not to dance to her music in your own house."

See above.  The concept of "not a hill worth dying on" is well known in this forum.

Virg

Virg

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6000
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2013, 02:42:46 PM »
guihong wrote:

"She is marrying a man who has never fully grown up and who has a very enmeshed relationship with his mother."

That's patently unfair and rather insulting to him.  His first wife died, and his mother has been helping him with raising his kids, which is how their lives got this enmeshed.  To say that means he never grew up is quite an interesting assumption.

Being a single parent, and being a widower is hard.  But, I know many single parents whose parents do not cook for them, clean for them, do their laundry, take care of childcare (actually, I don't know anyone who has that setup).  I am a widow and a single parent and my mother would not dream of being that over-involved in my life, nor would I want her to be.   To me, the situation described does not paint a healthy relationship between the brother and his mother.  Soon after the wife died, sure.  But for the mother to be upset that an actual spouse/step-mother is usurping her role raises so many red flags. I would not have chosen the exact wording guihong chose, but I certainly agree with her message.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21466
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2013, 02:49:40 PM »
I agree that in this case it is unhealthy. I will say I know of a few cases where a parent does provide childcare for their grandkids. In these csaea grandparent might run some laundry or start dinner as well. However, they do not see themselves as the boss of cjild or grandchildren. They recognize their new role, as well as the boundaries that come with it.

guihong

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6530
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #58 on: April 02, 2013, 03:04:19 PM »
I do wish now that I had phrased that differently, although I stand by my feeling.  My apologies to the OP.

At any rate, the drinks issue was resolved.



bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5192
Re: How to confirm a choice in an awkward situation
« Reply #59 on: April 02, 2013, 03:07:27 PM »
I can see in the aftermath of a death, a grandparent stepping up and filling in that role of caretaker of children and helping with the upkeep of the house. 

In this case, it seems the mom stepped into that role and is now feeling threatened that there is another woman coming into it and essentially replacing her.  I do see her behavior as controlling and unhealthy.  And while I might not blame the brother for accepting the help she offered, when she offered it, I do see it as his responsibility to draw the line with her now.  I think he should insist that she step back and let him run his own life...to include doing his own laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.