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Author Topic: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation? (Update #17)  (Read 14706 times)

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snappylt

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2017, 09:27:41 AM »
As a father of young adults, my gut feeling is that I'd want my children to be truthful in their signatures. In other words, I'd want to think that a particular grown child really had something to do with the card or gift if his name is on it. If one young adult child just signs the sibling's name without any input from the sibling, well, that seems untruthful to me.

This next part seems awfully snarky to me. It's what I am thinking, though, so here goes:

Here's the way out, if you are determined to manage your brother's relationship with your mother for him: call your brother and ask his permission to sign his name for him! That way at least he is aware that your mother is being told that the card or gift is from him.

I liked the idea from someone else above, though, about just gently reminding your brother about the occasion and then allowing him to decide what, if anything, he wants to do. That way you are treating your brother as if he is an adult instead of treating him as if he is your child to be managed.

miranova

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2017, 09:27:57 AM »
As a mother, of course it would mean something to me if all of my children acknowledged me.  However, that's not what is happening here.  Your brother isn't even thinking about his mom.  And as a mom, having one child do all the work to cover for the other child who didn't even think about me is not something I want.  If my son isn't doing anything for me, then he isn't; don't "protect" me from that.  I'm not a child, I can handle my own disappointments in life.  I certainly don't want my hypothetical daughter to take on the responsibility of covering for her adult brother.  That is definitely not something I would want.  I value honesty in relationships so I'd rather know what was really going on and deal with the truth of that situation than have someone "spare my feelings".

Adelaide

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2017, 11:44:57 AM »
I really appreciate everyone's thoughtful replies. To clarify a couple of things, I'm not forging my brother's signature, just using the option to type a quick note on a card that will go with the flowers and fill in "To" and "From" fields.

I'm going to be 100% honest here, but I'm not proud of it. I now realize that I've been part of the problem. In the past it's typically been me asking him the day of, "Okay, Brother, what did you get Grandma for her birthday?" And I've gotten replies like "Uh, well, I didn't really think of anything." I realize now that I've trained him to expect that one of us will cover for him. On stuff for my aunts and grandma I just put his name down without asking sometimes. My dad's even worse-he'll actually just go up to me and say "I need something for your brother to give you for Christmas in a lowish price range" and it'll be two days before Christmas. He will then *go out and buy it and wrap the thing* for my brother.

So long story short, I've helped create a feedback loop of covering for my brother/he doesn't buy anything or remember holidays, probably because he thinks he doesn't have to/I feel like I have to step in and cover for my brother again. I texted him and said "Mom's birthday is on the 30th. Do you know what you're getting her?" When he said "No clue" I just said "If you want to PayPal or mail $25 to me and the money gets here by he 27th, I'll send her flowers from both of us."

Next year I'm not reminding him of the date. I disagree that he's "young" or that he shouldn't be expected to remember a handful of dates that come around once a year, ever year. If he's competent  enough to be a Special Operator in the military, he's competent enough to, at the very least, remember holidays himself.

maksi

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2017, 12:02:56 PM »
Have you actually asked your brother to participate in the gift with you and pay his part? I'd start by asking him and tell him that I'd just send some under my own name if I heard nothing from him.

As your mother I would prefer not to be lied to, especially if I knew he really wasn't participating in this. But some people would probably prefer to keep that kind of a white lie up.

ETA: Whoops, only saw your update later, sorry! But you did exactly what I would have recommended, too, so yay!  ;D
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 02:38:48 PM by maksi »

snappylt

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(Responding to the update in #17)

Yes! It sounds like you understand exactly what was going on. I think the changes you outlined will be helpful in your brother's maturing as an independent adult.  (In the long run, I truly think that will be genuinely helping him more than the previous practice of covering for him.)

rose red

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Has your brother actually said he expects you to take care of it? If he's that self-centered, maybe he doesn't even care if you put his name on the card or not. Some people don't do gifts. He either shows your mom that he loves/cares about her the rest of the year (in which case, gifts shouldn't matter even though they are nice to receive), or if he doesn't, I suspect you mom know what's up anyway because why would he change for one day a year?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 03:25:25 PM by rose red »

oogyda

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 When DH and BIL left home for the Navy, BIL told MIL and FIL that he doesn't "do" cards and/or gifts, so don't expect any.

They accepted that.  Turns out, though that acceptance was grudging.  They accepted it, but didn't like it.
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gramma dishes

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I expect each of my children to handle Mother's Day, my birthday and Christmas in their own way.  They're all adults, but they're all different and do things differently.  There are also differences in financial situations.

I love them all and whatever way they remember those occasions is fine with me.  In fact it would probably be fine with me if they forgot one of those occasions altogether once in a while.  But I do not/would not want any of them 'taking up the slack' for any other one of them.

gellchom

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I'm going to take the other view.  I'm both a mother and MIL of adults and a daughter and DIL.

in my family, this is actually typical.  Maybe because it's hard to think of good gift ideas, or I don't know why, but long ago my brother and I got in the habit of him sending gifts from us both for Father's Day and our dad's birthday, and I did the same for our mom.  Now our dad is dead, so either one of us might send something to our mom or sometimes we both send things, but it's always from both of us (and now our spouses, too, and often the grandchildren, who are adults, too).  And often my kids do that for my husband and me, too. 

It doesn't feel like a "lie" at all.  It feels like teamwork.  We were taught, and taught my kids, that siblings don't compete, they stick up for each other.  In our family, that has worked well.  It doesn't feel any different from signing both my husband's name and mine to gifts to the kids or to his mother, even though I usually take care of it.

Now, of course this only applies where no one is taking advantage and no one is resentful.

But I don't think it has to be even-Steven either.  If Sibling A is in a better financial situation or perhaps feels  that Sibling B does other things for Mom that A doesn't, A may be happy to take care of arranging for and/or paying for gifts.

And even if it's not by agreement and A is just covering for B -- well, that's nice of A.  I don't think it's dishonest -- I think it's helping your sibling out when they goofed, or on their weak suit.  Maybe in other contexts B does more of the cooking or driving or whatever. 

Or maybe not.  I'm not saying the OP should continue signing Brother's name.  If she's not comfortable with it, she should not.  And absolutely she should discuss this with him.   I'm just saying that neither way is wrong or a "lie."

And as mustard noted, the question was how we think Mom would feel.  And all I can say is that, even if I knew that one child was doing more than their share -- and don't think I'm not speaking from experience! Thing Two has totally been carrying the ball lately for Thing One  :)-- this mom would be proud of that child. 

Minmom3

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I think OP's brother has been coddled for decades.  23 isn't all THAT young.  Granted, socializing can be different for girls vs. boys, and each family is unto itself, BUT, from the age of 16 and my first paycheck, I knew event acknowledging was make or break with my mother.  I was also an only, but she enforced it for the grands, too.
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Tea Drinker

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When DH and BIL left home for the Navy, BIL told MIL and FIL that he doesn't "do" cards and/or gifts, so don't expect any.

They accepted that.  Turns out, though that acceptance was grudging.  They accepted it, but didn't like it.

This is getting tangential, but does your BIL mean his "I don't do cards or gifts" to go both ways, or does he still want or expect his parents, other relatives, or friends to send him cards or gifts?

Someone who basically ignores birthdays and/or holidays might get a grudging "okay, that's how he is," but I suspect it would go over much worse if he expected people to get him gifts, or asked them to help him celebrate his own birthday.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

NFPwife

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...
Now, of course this only applies where no one is taking advantage and no one is resentful.

But I don't think it has to be even-Steven either.  If Sibling A is in a better financial situation or perhaps feels  that Sibling B does other things for Mom that A doesn't, A may be happy to take care of arranging for and/or paying for gifts.

And even if it's not by agreement and A is just covering for B -- well, that's nice of A.  I don't think it's dishonest -- I think it's helping your sibling out when they goofed, or on their weak suit.  Maybe in other contexts B does more of the cooking or driving or whatever. 

Or maybe not.  I'm not saying the OP should continue signing Brother's name.  If she's not comfortable with it, she should not.  And absolutely she should discuss this with him.   I'm just saying that neither way is wrong or a "lie."

.....

I snipped gellchom because I agree that there are situations where one sibling seems to "overfunction" or "cover" for another sibling and if all siblings are contributing to the overall good of the family or sibling group by playing to their strengths it evens out. A mom would be proud of that. For instance, a family we're friendly with has one adult sibling handling all the travel plans for a trip to Europe because that adult sibling travels frequently and has traveled internationally. No one in the entire family is doing anything to plan for the trip-- except sending payment when the time comes. We know the parents. They've spoken about how proud they are of their son. I don't have the son's perspective and I hope that they are telling him how proud and appreciative they are, if their adult daughter was covering him for gifts, that would even out.

OP, if this is a one-sided arrangement for the you and you are planning to change it, that's reasonable, I think a discussion prior to changing the terms is the kind thing to do. A "Brother, I can't afford to cover you for gifts for GM, aunties, and mom. In the future you're going to have to coordinate those yourself."

And by "can't afford" you can mean it's too taxing in terms of time, energy, money, etc.

Mustard

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(Snipping again..

OP, if this is a one-sided arrangement for the you and you are planning to change it, that's reasonable, I think a discussion prior to changing the terms is the kind thing to do. A "Brother, I can't afford to cover you for gifts for GM, aunties, and mom. In the future you're going to have to coordinate those yourself."

And by "can't afford" you can mean it's too taxing in terms of time, energy, money, etc.

But would the OP spend half the amount on the gift if her brother didn't contribute?

NFPwife

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(Snipping again..

OP, if this is a one-sided arrangement for the you and you are planning to change it, that's reasonable, I think a discussion prior to changing the terms is the kind thing to do. A "Brother, I can't afford to cover you for gifts for GM, aunties, and mom. In the future you're going to have to coordinate those yourself."

And by "can't afford" you can mean it's too taxing in terms of time, energy, money, etc.

But would the OP spend half the amount on the gift if her brother didn't contribute?

If she re-works this,  I think OP spends what she finds reasonable and within her budget and means. I'm guessing that her brother hasn't been contributing so the current amount she's spending is reasonable and she'll continue with that.

VorFemme

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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! 
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?