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Author Topic: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation? (Update #17)  (Read 14826 times)

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katycoo

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I do have an idea of a present for the brother!  A "family" calendar with all the important birthdays and anniversaries marked on it.

I make one for myself every year - so that VorGuy and VorSon can see it to check when Grandmother's or someone else's birthday is.  I remember my FOO and my own family's birthdays - but have to admit that double checking what is coming up "this month" lets me know if I am going to need to mail anything!

I was just going to post the exact same thing!   Sometimes, mostly men, are clueless and do not think of things like this, (remembering important dates, etc. or to acknowledge them).  I would gift brother a calendar with important dates highlighted so that he knows to look for them and hopefully, if needed, get something before that date or send a card or just call and acknowledge said event.  Sometimes, though, even doing this, does not mean brother will get the hint right off the bat.
 

I am not comfortable with the obvious sexism used in the bolded.  Men are not more or less likely to be clueless than women.  In addition, I don't think of it as flakiness, but simply a different priority.  For some people birthdays and anniversaries are not that big of a deal.  It is simply who they are and trying to make them change because it makes you feel better is really more about you than them.  If that means they disappoint someone, then that is their responsibility.

No, but they are statistically MUCH more likely to leave others (usually a partner) to carry the thought load, which this squarely falls into.  It's not that they're incapable, but they don't learn to do it because it doesn't occur to them that someone else is doing it (when someone else is doing it).  We no-one else is doing it they either work it out, or things just don't happen.

LEMon

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OP, I like your idea of letting him be in control of things from now on. The only thing I wanted to mention was to make sure he realizes the change. If my brother had been covering for me for a while and wanted to change this, I would want to know.

What he does from now on is up to him but make sure he knows that.

JeanFromBNA

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I don't think that you should cover for him anymore, but I tend to cut active members of the military a lot of slack - they don't always have access to the same resources that we civilians do.  A "Happy birthday" text or phone call may be fine with Mom, anyhow.  It is for me.

WolfWay

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I do have an idea of a present for the brother!  A "family" calendar with all the important birthdays and anniversaries marked on it.

I make one for myself every year - so that VorGuy and VorSon can see it to check when Grandmother's or someone else's birthday is.  I remember my FOO and my own family's birthdays - but have to admit that double checking what is coming up "this month" lets me know if I am going to need to mail anything!

I was just going to post the exact same thing!   Sometimes, mostly men, are clueless and do not think of things like this, (remembering important dates, etc. or to acknowledge them).  I would gift brother a calendar with important dates highlighted so that he knows to look for them and hopefully, if needed, get something before that date or send a card or just call and acknowledge said event.  Sometimes, though, even doing this, does not mean brother will get the hint right off the bat.
 

I am not comfortable with the obvious sexism used in the bolded.  Men are not more or less likely to be clueless than women.  In addition, I don't think of it as flakiness, but simply a different priority.  For some people birthdays and anniversaries are not that big of a deal.  It is simply who they are and trying to make them change because it makes you feel better is really more about you than them.  If that means they disappoint someone, then that is their responsibility.

No, but they are statistically MUCH more likely to leave others (usually a partner) to carry the thought load, which this squarely falls into.  It's not that they're incapable, but they don't learn to do it because it doesn't occur to them that someone else is doing it (when someone else is doing it).  We no-one else is doing it they either work it out, or things just don't happen.
It's called "Emotional Labour" and women are socialised to carry that burden without question, while most men wander through life with things magically happening for them that they didn't even realise needed to be done.

More detailed explanation with examples: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/08/women-gender-roles-sexism-emotional-labor-feminism
<3

miranova

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I could write an entire post about emotional labor.  But it would probably derail the thread. 

 

knitwicca

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I do have an idea of a present for the brother!  A "family" calendar with all the important birthdays and anniversaries marked on it.

I make one for myself every year - so that VorGuy and VorSon can see it to check when Grandmother's or someone else's birthday is.  I remember my FOO and my own family's birthdays - but have to admit that double checking what is coming up "this month" lets me know if I am going to need to mail anything!

I was going to suggest that very thing!
When my step-son was a senior in high school,  I gave him a calendar with all the family's nirthdays on it.
He had a job and a car so the ability to pick up a card or gift for his dad, mom, sister, etc. After that, it was up to him to decide whether to use the calendar and to mark special occasions.


rose red

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I do have an idea of a present for the brother!  A "family" calendar with all the important birthdays and anniversaries marked on it.

I make one for myself every year - so that VorGuy and VorSon can see it to check when Grandmother's or someone else's birthday is.  I remember my FOO and my own family's birthdays - but have to admit that double checking what is coming up "this month" lets me know if I am going to need to mail anything!

I was going to suggest that very thing!
When my step-son was a senior in high school,  I gave him a calendar with all the family's nirthdays on it.
He had a job and a car so the ability to pick up a card or gift for his dad, mom, sister, etc. After that, it was up to him to decide whether to use the calendar and to mark special occasions.

That's only good if it's regular absentmindedness. The OP text her brother a few days before the event and it seems he just isn't bothered. Flowers and a card are not difficult even for gift-giving challenged people.

eta: Oh sorry, she reminds him the day off; not a few days before. Still, for a calendar to work, he needs to care and only the OP can answer if he does or not. And like a PP said, is the OP prepared to do that every year?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 03:45:13 PM by rose red »

TurtleDove

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I do have an idea of a present for the brother!  A "family" calendar with all the important birthdays and anniversaries marked on it.

I make one for myself every year - so that VorGuy and VorSon can see it to check when Grandmother's or someone else's birthday is.  I remember my FOO and my own family's birthdays - but have to admit that double checking what is coming up "this month" lets me know if I am going to need to mail anything!

I was just going to post the exact same thing!   Sometimes, mostly men, are clueless and do not think of things like this, (remembering important dates, etc. or to acknowledge them).  I would gift brother a calendar with important dates highlighted so that he knows to look for them and hopefully, if needed, get something before that date or send a card or just call and acknowledge said event.  Sometimes, though, even doing this, does not mean brother will get the hint right off the bat.
 

I am not comfortable with the obvious sexism used in the bolded.  Men are not more or less likely to be clueless than women.  In addition, I don't think of it as flakiness, but simply a different priority. For some people birthdays and anniversaries are not that big of a deal.  It is simply who they are and trying to make them change because it makes you feel better is really more about you than them.  If that means they disappoint someone, then that is their responsibility.

POD to MyFamily. If it is important to the mother that the brother do something for her birthday, let the mother deal with that. Different people prioritize different things in different ways. Personally, I don't care to receive a card that is simply signed "from, So-and-So." To me it is a waste of money. Same goes for a token gift. I would much rather get a phone call or text, or even have a friend or relative not do anything for my birthday so long as in general that person is a value add in my life. And I don't think gender has anything to do with who prioritizes what.

Tea Drinker

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Gender is relevant to the extent that people are more likely to prioritize things that they consider themselves expected to do, or that they are criticized for not doing.

If the LW stops signing her brother's name to cards, their mother might not care, or might mind a bit but not say anything. She might call the brother and ask why he forgot her birthday. Or he might call either LW or her sister-in-law and complain about not having gotten anything from him. Similarly, if he does get a complaint, the reasonable things to do would be to apologize and change things, or say something like "Cards seem artificial, can I take you out to dinner for your birthday?" One unreasonable thing that I hope he wouldn't do--but that some men do--would be to complain to his sister or wife, not that his mother was being "unreasonable," but that they hadn't taken care of this for him.

There's nothing wrong with a couple, regardless of genders, treating "family birthday cards" as one of the household tasks that one of them will take care of. The problem is when it's not agreed on, but someone is pushed into it by things like "you need to get my mother a birthday present," or when the person who isn't doing the work pretends that it isn't really work and therefore doesn't count as part of that person's share of the chores.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

miranova

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Gender is relevant to the extent that people are more likely to prioritize things that they consider themselves expected to do, or that they are criticized for not doing.

If the LW stops signing her brother's name to cards, their mother might not care, or might mind a bit but not say anything. She might call the brother and ask why he forgot her birthday. Or he might call either LW or her sister-in-law and complain about not having gotten anything from him. Similarly, if he does get a complaint, the reasonable things to do would be to apologize and change things, or say something like "Cards seem artificial, can I take you out to dinner for your birthday?" One unreasonable thing that I hope he wouldn't do--but that some men do--would be to complain to his sister or wife, not that his mother was being "unreasonable," but that they hadn't taken care of this for him.

There's nothing wrong with a couple, regardless of genders, treating "family birthday cards" as one of the household tasks that one of them will take care of. The problem is when it's not agreed on, but someone is pushed into it by things like "you need to get my mother a birthday present," or when the person who isn't doing the work pretends that it isn't really work and therefore doesn't count as part of that person's share of the chores.

Applause.

AccountingIsFun

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Speaking to the calendar idea - the Dutch have a great way of doing this. It is a calendar that is not year specific and has pretty pictures on it for each month. It is meant to hang in the bathroom so that you have to look at it regularly. It is a great gift to give someone who might struggle with dates, or to give to a new in-law to let him/her know when family birthday's are.

Here is a link to the general idea:

https://bitterballenbruid.com/2014/02/17/bathroom-calendar/

It might not work in this situation with the brother being in the military, but it might be an idea to give to a person who is beginning to take on adult responsibilities. It also can help allow people to move along from traditional gender roles by having both people aware of the upcoming birthday and either discuss it or have birthdays noted in different colors so that the color says who will do the emotional labor of taking care of the birthday wishes.



TurtleDove

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Gender is relevant to the extent that people are more likely to prioritize things that they consider themselves expected to do, or that they are criticized for not doing.

If the LW stops signing her brother's name to cards, their mother might not care, or might mind a bit but not say anything. She might call the brother and ask why he forgot her birthday. Or he might call either LW or her sister-in-law and complain about not having gotten anything from him. Similarly, if he does get a complaint, the reasonable things to do would be to apologize and change things, or say something like "Cards seem artificial, can I take you out to dinner for your birthday?" One unreasonable thing that I hope he wouldn't do--but that some men do--would be to complain to his sister or wife, not that his mother was being "unreasonable," but that they hadn't taken care of this for him.

There's nothing wrong with a couple, regardless of genders, treating "family birthday cards" as one of the household tasks that one of them will take care of. The problem is when it's not agreed on, but someone is pushed into it by things like "you need to get my mother a birthday present," or when the person who isn't doing the work pretends that it isn't really work and therefore doesn't count as part of that person's share of the chores.

I still disagree in general, and specifically with respect to the OP's situation. I reread each of her posts in this thread. No where does her brother ask her to do anything. He doesn't even appear to care whether she does anything. Sending a card or gift to their mother for her birthday is simply not on his radar. I don't see that he ever asked the OP to send a gift or expects her to. The OP herself acknowledges that she has taken on this role of "covering" for her brother. I don't see this as the brother (or "male") expecting something of his sister or wife (the "females"). I see this as the OP unilaterally and voluntarily taking on stress. The OP may "feel" obligated to do this, but that sense of obligation is not deriving from any expectation of the "male" here.

I tend to bristle at gender stereotypes. I think it is better to acknowledge that some *people* approach things in certain ways, while others approach in other ways. It comes across to me that the brother sees nothing wrong with how he conducts himself, and from my perspective, that is 100% okay! I don't care to get a card or gift on my birthday and I am a woman! If the *mother* is upset that her son is not sending her a gift for her birthday, she can address that (or not).

miranova

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Nobody is saying that men are incapable of sending cards.  There isn't any sexism in simply acknowledging that historically, women have in many (not all) cases been the ones expected to take care of sending cards and gifts.  And since men weren't expected to do it, they didn't.
 That may be slowly changing, but many of us still deal with this.  Many people will still "blame" the woman of the family, and not the man, if cards/gifts are not sent.

This may not be the case in the OP's situation.  However I think it's relevant in this thread to bring up as a possibility at least.

TurtleDove

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Nobody is saying that men are incapable of sending cards.  There isn't any sexism in simply acknowledging that historically, women have in many (not all) cases been the ones expected to take care of sending cards and gifts.  And since men weren't expected to do it, they didn't.
 That may be slowly changing, but many of us still deal with this.  Many people will still "blame" the woman of the family, and not the man, if cards/gifts are not sent.

This may not be the case in the OP's situation.  However I think it's relevant in this thread to bring up as a possibility at least.

What I am saying is that the "perceived expectations" appear to derive from the *women* here, not the men (or, more precisely, the *people* who care about sending the gift or card, whether they are men or women). In my experience, *people* who don't particularly care about cards or gifts actually do not particularly care about cards or gifts. If someone else wants to assume responsibility for "covering" for their "failure" to send a gift or card, so be it, but I don't see that it is the *men* who are making any expectations. If there is any gender stereotype, I would say it is that *some* women feel obligated to take on tasks to "cover" for people that they perceive to be "underperforming" in whatever way.

NFPwife

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We had a birthday calendar like this one - http://www.currentcatalog.com/product/just-for-birthday-calendar-610677.do?code=WGGSGD20&zmam=75843201&zmas=1&zmac=31&zmap=CC610677&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping&gclid=CjwKEAjwsqjKBRDtwOSjs6GTgmASJACRbI3frjaxWsBzdLvwU-Dey-D4PgkVVkYAedkUa49E8YQ4TxoCVU_w_wcB

In fact, it may have come from Current. It wasn't in our bathroom, though. We had a box of cards and this calendar was in the front of it. My mother looked at the calendar and pulled cards out and mailed them once a month. Then, she'd look at the next month and buy cards for that month. (I think the box had organizers for months.)