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Author Topic: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation? (Update #17)  (Read 14702 times)

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Adelaide

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I bought my grandmothers and aunts flowers for their respective birthdays. My mother's is next, so I assume that she knows I'm going to do flowers for her this year as well.  Here's the catch: I've been putting that the flowers are from "us" and typing out myself and my brother's names. I've recently come to terms with the fact that my brother is extremely self-centered, and I've decided to stop trying to cover for him in situations where his self-centeredness and general apathy would otherwise be glaringly obvious, like major holidays. I suppose that in the past, I thought that he would eventually pick up on how to be more thoughtful, but he hasn't, and he's 23 years old. So I don't think it's going to happen and I've made my peace with it.

My mother raised him so she's not exactly oblivious, but I could still tell over the years that it kind of stung her when he wouldn't even muster up a card or some small token, or when my father obviously picked out something. So my question is, should I just write the note and say that the flowers are from me, or go along with the whole "from us" thing for one more birthday?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 12:23:30 PM by Adelaide »

L

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 07:48:02 PM »
It's painful, isn't it, when other family members do that kind of thing. One sister I have does sort of the same thing but with phone calls and visits rather than gifts to our mother. I've stopped covering for her and suggested my other sister, who takes this personally, do the same. Your mother knows. You cannot prevent her pain. Just be a good daughter yourself.

cattlekid

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 08:21:30 PM »
While I appreciate where you are coming from in wanting to help your mother avoid the pain of being forgotten on her birthday by your brother, IMHO this is triangulation that I would drop.  As L said, your mother knows.  Covering for your brother is not helping him in the long run, it's enabling him to avoid taking responsibility for maintaining his relationship with your mother.   

gmatoy

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 09:12:56 PM »
I agree; stop covering.

Kiwipinball

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 09:20:55 PM »
Have you been signing the cards without talking to your brother? Do you ask him if he wants to go in with you? I don't know your brother and don't know how self-centered he is, but 23 is awfully young, so I wouldn't write him off yet (at least based on age). Does he usually genuinely forget? Or just not care? If he's forgetful and you're better at remembering, I don't think it's a bad thing to ask him if he wants to go in with you (have him pay before you sign the card). If he really doesn't care or declines, send them just from you with no guilt.

Psychopoesie

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 09:39:39 PM »
Yeah, stop. It's your *adult* brother's choice to do or not do stuff and deal with any consequences. His relationships with family aren't yours to manage.

I send joint cards with mum sometimes to mutual relatives but I'd never sign for her (or vice versa) without an agreement. When she decided to stop sending cards and gifts to a relative after an estrangement, I didn't smooth things over by adding her name when I sent a gift, no matter how awkward it felt signing just my name after such a long stretch of joint cards and gifts. If it was hurtful to the relative that wasn't on me.

Isisnin

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 09:48:38 PM »
Email him simply saying that "for Mother's birthday on whatever date, my gift to her will just me from me. Just letting you know so you can plan something for yourself."

Sounds like he might need to know exactly when her birthday is!

Mustard

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2017, 04:26:32 AM »
But the question was not what the OP should do, but what [we] would want as her mother.  If I was your mum I would want both my children to acknowledge my birthday, so signing the card from you both would cover that.  Although from your point of view I would leave him off the card.  Even if he did cough up the money for his part of the gift, your mum might not recognise he'd contributed.  As someone upthread mentioned, remind your brother of your mum's birthday and leave it with him; send the flowers with just your name on the card.

Psychopoesie

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2017, 05:15:41 AM »
But the question was not what the OP should do, but what [we] would want as her mother.  If I was your mum I would want both my children to acknowledge my birthday, so signing the card from you both would cover that.  Although from your point of view I would leave him off the card.  Even if he did cough up the money for his part of the gift, your mum might not recognise he'd contributed.  As someone upthread mentioned, remind your brother of your mum's birthday and leave it with him; send the flowers with just your name on the card.

And, as the OP's hypothetical mum, I wouldn't want to be lied to like this. Since they're both adults at this point, I suspect I'd know who really signed the card anyway.  If I didn't but found out later, I'd be really upset, even if the intent was good. If the brother isn't into birthdays, he's just as likely to give the game away at some point.

Not sure how helpful it is to focus solely on the mum's point of view, since OP presumably knows her mum better than all of us and is still not sure what to do.





Vall

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2017, 05:28:45 AM »
I wouldn't want to be lied to either.  I'd be honest when signing the card.

Mustard

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2017, 06:42:31 AM »
This is where I hold up my hand to confess to having told the odd white lie during my life to avoid hurt feelings.

Easter Hat

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2017, 07:21:12 AM »
In my husbands large family there is a sibling who usually bails on the group gift to the parents.  Another brother usually "covers" the brother who bails and the bailing sibling is always included on the card.  It's annoying but no one wants to sign all the names except one.  We feel MIL would want to say, "oh my kids got me this."

This brother is a "pick your battle" sort of person and no one wants to deal with the issue.  With this being a group gift, no one is trying to capture "points" for the gift.  Nothing is to be gained by highlighting the one that doesn't contribute.  So covering bailing brother is a kindness to the parents.

With only two names on the card it's a bit different and you probably feel a greater responsibility for enabling his behavior.  I think it's time to have a chat with brother such as, "Hey, I usually include your on my card to Mom.  Now that you are older you might want to do your own thing.  Do you want to chip in on this gift or should I fly solo on this one?"

If he wants to chip in then collect the money so that he is accountable.  Then maybe suggest you take turns purchasing the gift so he gains gift giving experience and feels responsibility for honoring your mother.  Maybe you buy the birthday gift and he takes care of Mother's Day.  Twenty three is still relatively young and if he's not accustomed to purchasing gifts he might need to be taught.  The real kindness to your mother (and likely every partner your brother dates) is to teach your brother that kindness in the form of a gift, however small, is important.

If he says he will do his own thing then sign your own name and do not worry about what your brother is doing.  But if it were me I'd try to coach him about gift giving before writing him off.

YummyMummy66

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2017, 07:27:39 AM »
As a mother, I don't feel that you should have to cover for your brother.   As you said, she raised him, she knows him.  I have three children and I know them all and how they are.

My son, (Oldest child who will be 29 this Sept.), is like this.  It was not until recently that he brought me flowers for just so.  So, maybe he is finally getting a clue.  Now, he will call me and wish me a Happy Birthday or Mother's day, but he does not think to get birthday presents or Christmas presents.  He did give me something small this past year.   I really don't care about myself, I know how he is, but he has a niece and my mom, his mom mom, has done a lot for him.  He could at least get a small token.  This past Christmas, I did not want him to show up empty handed, so I got some small gifts, wrapped them and had him sign the tags.  I think that might have been the thing to give him a clue.  I do realize he is short on funds also, and I don't expect much.  The phone call is enough for me and when he does something more, I am pleasantly surprised.  (Just so you all know, I am not about gifts, it does not really bother me if he gets me something or not, but I do like when he calls me).

I do have some questions...do you ever ask your brother about going in on the flowers for mom?  or do you just sign the card?     Does he live close enough by that you see him to ask him about going in on the flowers and making sure you get your share?   Or is this a distance thing?   Does he know you do this every year?   

I think it is time to call him and discuss this with him. 




Zizi-K

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2017, 09:01:22 AM »
As a mother, I don't feel that you should have to cover for your brother.   As you said, she raised him, she knows him.  I have three children and I know them all and how they are.

My son, (Oldest child who will be 29 this Sept.), is like this.  It was not until recently that he brought me flowers for just so.  So, maybe he is finally getting a clue.  Now, he will call me and wish me a Happy Birthday or Mother's day, but he does not think to get birthday presents or Christmas presents.  He did give me something small this past year.   I really don't care about myself, I know how he is, but he has a niece and my mom, his mom mom, has done a lot for him.  He could at least get a small token.  This past Christmas, I did not want him to show up empty handed, so I got some small gifts, wrapped them and had him sign the tags.  I think that might have been the thing to give him a clue.  I do realize he is short on funds also, and I don't expect much.  The phone call is enough for me and when he does something more, I am pleasantly surprised.  (Just so you all know, I am not about gifts, it does not really bother me if he gets me something or not, but I do like when he calls me).

I do have some questions...do you ever ask your brother about going in on the flowers for mom?  or do you just sign the card?     Does he live close enough by that you see him to ask him about going in on the flowers and making sure you get your share?   Or is this a distance thing?   Does he know you do this every year?   

I think it is time to call him and discuss this with him.

Have you ever discussed it with your son?? I think you have the perfect opening with the situation of his grandmother's presents.

EllenS

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2017, 09:13:05 AM »
I have to say, as a mom, I have not been particularly interested in my own birthdays in years. But that may be a personal quirk, as it predates having kids. I am allowed to eat cake whenever I want, and buy myself things I want, and my loved ones express their affection well and consistently. Many years, I forget my birthday and only recall it because someone else mentioned it. It's just not A Thing to me. But not everybody feels like that.

To me, what I would want is that both my children show they love me. I love cards from my kids, but I also love hugs and spontaneous compliments, and when they want to show me what they did so I can be proud, and when they try to make me laugh, and all of it.

I know which kid is the one who does cards, and which one says, "come look, hurry, the sunrise is so beautiful!" Both things are awesome, and if one became just like the other my life would be poorer.

I also know what their handwriting looks like.

What I absolutely would not want is for one child to feel like they are responsible for managing my feelings and/or their sibling's behavior. I would far, far rather never see another card or present in my life, than think I somehow imposed that on my children.