Author Topic: Upcoming family visit  (Read 2242 times)

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shostet

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Upcoming family visit
« on: June 25, 2013, 11:22:55 AM »
I'm going to try to keep this as short and sweet as possible.  My mother is 84.  She has long been a bitter person, seeing and thinking the worst about people.  As she has gotten older, this has gotten significantly worse.

My niece (sister's daughter) and great-niece decided to come for a visit to my mom's house in my hometown over the 4th of July holiday (the celebration is a big deal in my hometown).  This would be my mom's granddaughter and great-granddaughter.  They have not stayed with my mom in a very, very long time, and admittedly there are some personality issues involved with the two females also.  I believe, though, that they have grown and changed and I am hoping for the best.

My mom is dreading the visit.  Despite me telling her that etiquettehell.com heartily endorsed her telling niece and great-niece that they either could not come OR they needed to stay in a motel (not the easiest option in my hometown area), she agreed to the visit (because how would it look otherwise???) and now is bitter, angry and prematurely mean about it.  She is judging how my niece's visit is going to go based on long ago perceptions of her (my niece's) behavior.  She is already complaining about how she is not going to enjoy the holiday because my niece will "sit around and expect me to wait on her hand and foot."

I fear getting caught in the middle of all this and it is the last thing I want to deal with.  I am retiring this Friday (yay!!!!) and the 4th of July holiday is a big deal for me (better than Christmas!) and I honestly don't want my time spoiled by this.  Selfish possibly, but also realistic. 

I know bean-dipping is the best policy, but are there other techniques I can practice to keep my sanity?  I am planning on including my niece and great-niece in as many activities that I am involved in as I possibly can, in order to give my mom some time to decompress, but I am unwilling to become the de facto host. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Upcoming family visit
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 11:26:13 AM »
Maybe research hotels so that if it gets to that, you can provide the info right away?

Also, you might point out to your mom, "Mom, by stewing about it before they even GET here, you're making the misery last twice as long."
Though, maybe that's what she enjoys.


Otherwise, try to be amused at your mom, and let them all worry about their own selves. They're grownups--it's not your job to fix anything for them. And if it's a miserable experience--well, now they'll all have learned something accurate from it

It's really nice of you to get the other two ladies out of the house and away from your mom for as much as you can.

MrTango

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Re: Upcoming family visit
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 11:26:50 AM »
OP, do you live with your mother?

If not, then I would suggest you arrange a few things you need to do at your home so that you have a ready-made reason to have to leave your mother's house if things get too heated/awkward.

Also, if I were in your position, I would respond to every instance of mother sounding bitter about the visit by asking "then why did you agree to it?"

heartmug

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Re: Upcoming family visit
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2013, 11:36:51 AM »
Maybe research hotels so that if it gets to that, you can provide the info right away?

Also, you might point out to your mom, "Mom, by stewing about it before they even GET here, you're making the misery last twice as long."



This.  I would bean dip her by saying "I am looking forward to their visit!  I can't wait to see how great-granddaughter has grown."
The trouble is not that the world is full of fools, it's just that lightening isn't distributed right.  - Mark Twain

CaffeineKatie

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Re: Upcoming family visit
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2013, 11:49:05 AM »
I think I would also have a clear schedule of activities, so sitting around complaining doesn't become the only 4th of July event.  And I'd stick to it--"I'M going to the picnic, I'M leaving at 11:00, so who's coming with me?"--rather than "So what do you all want to do today?"  It also gives you a chance to escape, since you already have plans.

And congrats on your retirement!

cwm

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Re: Upcoming family visit
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 11:55:57 AM »
Congrats on retirement!

Research motels and hotels, not just for niece but for you if you need a getaway.

Sit you mom down and tell her that you're super excited to have family coming into town, but you don't appreciate her bringing the mood down with all the negative talk. Remind her what Thumper's dad used to say and make some sort of cute motion to go with it. Maybe thumping your leg on the floor. Next time she starts the negative talk, all you'll need to say is "Thumper's dad" and thump your leg. Pretty soon when she starts just thump your leg. If she keeps it up, tell her that you really don't want to listen to her bring the mood down and walk away from it.

artk2002

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Re: Upcoming family visit
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 02:17:26 PM »
For a lot of the possible situations, bean-dip isn't really the right thing. You want to explicitly redirect things. If they try to put you into the middle, respond with "You'll have to talk to <other person> about that." "I don't have a dog in this hunt, why not talk to <other person>". "I'm sorry mom, but you decided to let them come; I'm not going to listen to you whine about it. Now, can we talk about something else? No? Ok, talk to you later! Bye!"
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain