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  • June 24, 2017, 07:06:13 AM

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Author Topic: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation? (Update #17)  (Read 6192 times)

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YummyMummy66

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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 actually keep a desk size calendar on my wall and write down important dates, things on the schedule and so on.  It helps our family by doing this, especially now that my youngest is working, not driving yet, etc.  and needs rides to work and will be going to college in the fall and I will be babysitting my two granddaughters in about a month or so and we will be sharing a vehicle.  (she is working on her driver's license now).   


EllenS

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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 actually keep a desk size calendar on my wall and write down important dates, things on the schedule and so on.  It helps our family by doing this, especially now that my youngest is working, not driving yet, etc.  and needs rides to work and will be going to college in the fall and I will be babysitting my two granddaughters in about a month or so and we will be sharing a vehicle.  (she is working on her driver's license now).   

That feels kind of PA.

If OP and her brother are able to openly and kindly discuss the larger pattern, it would be a nice thing to offer.

But to spontaneously make a calendar like that, when he's expressed no interest in upgrading his planning/organizing tools, is pretty judgy and just further infantilizes the brother. He's in the military, after all. I'm pretty sure he's had plenty of exposure to how calendars, planning, and regularly scheduled recurring duties work.

What's not entirely clear is whether he really neglects/doesn't communicate with their mother, or whether she feels unloved.

And if she does, that's between mom and son, and not really the OP's problem or even truly her business.

It sounded like like she wanted to step away from trying to manage her brother, not spend more time creating ways to manage him remotely.

Mary Lennox

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The trick is, now that you've decided to change the situation, you need to set your boundaries and stick it them.

Are you going to call him before everyone's birthday and give him the option of contributing to a gift? That's still reminding him and doing most of the work for him.

If you give him a calendar with everything marked as people have suggested, are you prepared to do this every single year from now until the end of time? What if he moves? Will you adjust the reminders to include postage time?

He's 23 and in the military. It's time to let him sink or swim.

Adelaide

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The trick is, now that you've decided to change the situation, you need to set your boundaries and stick it them.

Are you going to call him before everyone's birthday and give him the option of contributing to a gift? That's still reminding him and doing most of the work for him.

If you give him a calendar with everything marked as people have suggested, are you prepared to do this every single year from now until the end of time? What if he moves? Will you adjust the reminders to include postage time?

He's 23 and in the military. It's time to let him sink or swim.

I'm gonna cut him loose after this time. This was a surprisingly easy thing for me to let go of once I realized I'd be doing him a bigger favor by not holding his hand. Also, I forgot to mention that he's married. So yeah. Enough is enough. If I don't hear from him by the deadline I'm sending our mother flowers myself, and that's that.

EllenS

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The trick is, now that you've decided to change the situation, you need to set your boundaries and stick it them.

Are you going to call him before everyone's birthday and give him the option of contributing to a gift? That's still reminding him and doing most of the work for him.

If you give him a calendar with everything marked as people have suggested, are you prepared to do this every single year from now until the end of time? What if he moves? Will you adjust the reminders to include postage time?

He's 23 and in the military. It's time to let him sink or swim.

I'm gonna cut him loose after this time. This was a surprisingly easy thing for me to let go of once I realized I'd be doing him a bigger favor by not holding his hand. Also, I forgot to mention that he's married. So yeah. Enough is enough. If I don't hear from him by the deadline I'm sending our mother flowers myself, and that's that.

I think that space will probably do your relationship a world of good, both by reducing your burden and resulting resentment, and by giving him the opportunity to develop adult relationships with you and the rest of his family.

He will likely surprise you. If I were you, I wouldn't expect him to run his relationships the same way you do. But if your family is generally warm and communicates pretty well, he's probably going to find his own way that is also good.

miranova

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The trick is, now that you've decided to change the situation, you need to set your boundaries and stick it them.

Are you going to call him before everyone's birthday and give him the option of contributing to a gift? That's still reminding him and doing most of the work for him.

If you give him a calendar with everything marked as people have suggested, are you prepared to do this every single year from now until the end of time? What if he moves? Will you adjust the reminders to include postage time?

He's 23 and in the military. It's time to let him sink or swim.

I'm gonna cut him loose after this time. This was a surprisingly easy thing for me to let go of once I realized I'd be doing him a bigger favor by not holding his hand. Also, I forgot to mention that he's married. So yeah. Enough is enough. If I don't hear from him by the deadline I'm sending our mother flowers myself, and that's that.

I think that space will probably do your relationship a world of good, both by reducing your burden and resulting resentment, and by giving him the opportunity to develop adult relationships with you and the rest of his family.

He will likely surprise you. If I were you, I wouldn't expect him to run his relationships the same way you do. But if your family is generally warm and communicates pretty well, he's probably going to find his own way that is also good.

I agree with this as well.  He hasn't had a chance to come into his own, so to speak.  When people stop doing his adulting for him, he may step up. 

GardenGal

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OP - Good for you for cutting him loose!  You're doing him a favor in the long run.

I love this idea:
Quote
I do have an idea of a present for the brother!  A "family" calendar with all the important birthdays and anniversaries marked on it.
and I'm going to do a very abbreviated version of this for my son.  I'll send him an email with the birth date and anniversary for our small family (8 people), and he can refer to it as needed if he wants to recognize those events.  My mom had a file card for each month for her very large family, and she sent out cards to dozens of people every year. 
"No matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Banzai

VorFemme

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He's married?

Time to let his wife read him the riot act after he forgets her birthday and their anniversary!

You can offer to send her, him, them (however you want to phrase it) a list of the various birthdays & anniversaries, if they want or need such information...(one brother has been married four times - I want to send a card on the date that he married his current wife, not an ex-) and possibly an up to date address & phone number list to go with it.

I found out when a couple of people complained about not getting wedding invitations ten years ago to Ambrosia Hino's wedding - that they had not been sending me changes of addess, because their mother, sister, brother, or somebody else that they had sent the current address to was apparently supposed to have passed that information along to everyone else in the family, including me, for them.  (Nobody had passed it along...)

Aunt Entitled got the invitation two weeks after the wedding and so did her two older children (youngest in high school at the time).  It was not my fault if *nobody* had told Grandma (her mother, my grandmother, and my cousin's grandmother, too) or Mom (my mother, her sister, their aunt) that I didn't have a current address for some people...I do remember mentioning it on Facebook  - but without email addresses or phone numbers, I was not going to be able to contact people to ask for addresses...and not everyone was on Facebook and had "friended" each other. 

Which explains why my Christmas cards tend to have our current address & phone number - possibly the email address, too - written on the back of the card, so people can update our entry in their address files (computer or paper).
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

VorFemme

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Added separately for a reason - after finding out from my soon-to-be-new husband that he didn't have the addresses for his scattered extended family (he'd spent four years in the military but had not been sending out his own Christmas cards to anyone except possibly his parents during thse years) and I had to ask his mother for the addresses to send out our wedding invitations...(we didn't start sending out Christmas cards for a couple of years - college students didn't have spare change for cards & postage to more than the very closest relations - as we were the oldest on both sides, there were no *other* adults in our generation yet - college & high school students who were still counted as "living at home" to some degree even if they were mostly only "at home" for the holidays).

But it took a while to realize that people were still contacting only his & my parents with changes of addresses, or in some cases, the grandparents...not sending out postcards to "everyone".

The military would move us and I'd sent out change of address post cards and then note the change of address in the Christmas cards as part of the news on the years when we moved....and after my good example - I still have relatives who have "forget" to let us know for a year or two after they move... :-X :o :(

I don't know why...
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

wolfie

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Added separately for a reason - after finding out from my soon-to-be-new husband that he didn't have the addresses for his scattered extended family (he'd spent four years in the military but had not been sending out his own Christmas cards to anyone except possibly his parents during thse years) and I had to ask his mother for the addresses to send out our wedding invitations...(we didn't start sending out Christmas cards for a couple of years - college students didn't have spare change for cards & postage to more than the very closest relations - as we were the oldest on both sides, there were no *other* adults in our generation yet - college & high school students who were still counted as "living at home" to some degree even if they were mostly only "at home" for the holidays).

But it took a while to realize that people were still contacting only his & my parents with changes of addresses, or in some cases, the grandparents...not sending out postcards to "everyone".

The military would move us and I'd sent out change of address post cards and then note the change of address in the Christmas cards as part of the news on the years when we moved....and after my good example - I still have relatives who have "forget" to let us know for a year or two after they move... :-X :o :(

I don't know why...

what does this have to do with the OP's question?

bah12

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2017, 10:54:59 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.

What you plan to do is fine.  You aren't responsible to cover for your adult brother and I'm glad that you are now realizing that it is something that should stop.  You are already feeling a little resentful, so stepping back now, before it get's worse, is wise.

As a mom, I can tell you that it's nice to have children acknowledge me on special occasions.  My child is still young, so I'm very aware that my DH is the one that does the planning and purchasing for her.  But, she's very much a part of the process.  Making cards herself, thinking about what I might like, etc.  As she gets older, I know I would like it if she continued to recognize special occasions, and went through the effort on her own to do that.  What I wouldn't like...if someone continued to cover for her.  I know I would know that was the case, so the thing I want...special acknowledgement from my child....would not be what I get.  And I imagine that might be hurtful.  Your mother knows how your brother is, so seeing his name typed generically on a card, doesn't add any more meaning for her.  What is special, is what she knows...that you went through the effort of gifting her the flowers.  I would think that when your brother actually does something on his own, it would be very meaningful to your mom.  THAT is what I would encourage him to do.  But you can't make him do it, so if one attempt at a nudge doesn't work, back off.

gramma dishes

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2017, 11:49:04 AM »
...  What I wouldn't like...if someone continued to cover for her.  I know I would know that was the case, so the thing I want...special acknowledgement from my child....would not be what I get.  And I imagine that might be hurtful.  Your mother knows how your brother is, so seeing his name typed generically on a card, doesn't add any more meaning for her.  What is special, is what she knows...that you went through the effort of gifting her the flowers.  I would think that when your brother actually does something on his own, it would be very meaningful to your mom.  THAT is what I would encourage him to do.  But you can't make him do it, so if one attempt at a nudge doesn't work, back off.

This.  This was what I was trying to say several posts ago, but you said it so much better! 

gellchom

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Re: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation?
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2017, 12:48:16 PM »
...  What I wouldn't like...if someone continued to cover for her.  I know I would know that was the case, so the thing I want...special acknowledgement from my child....would not be what I get.  And I imagine that might be hurtful.  Your mother knows how your brother is, so seeing his name typed generically on a card, doesn't add any more meaning for her.  What is special, is what she knows...that you went through the effort of gifting her the flowers.  I would think that when your brother actually does something on his own, it would be very meaningful to your mom.  THAT is what I would encourage him to do.  But you can't make him do it, so if one attempt at a nudge doesn't work, back off.

This.  This was what I was trying to say several posts ago, but you said it so much better!

I would feel a little different.  Ideally, best case, each kid remembers and does something (although if they decide to do things as a group, even if one person takes care of it, and they're all cool with it, that's the same; I don't need individual gifts).  But in the case above, I wouldn't think Brother's name added by Sister would be meaningless to me.  Right, it wouldn't make me think, "Oh, how nice, Son thought of me," but it would make me think, "Not only did Daughter think of me, she did something nice for her brother by sharing the credit with him, too.  That was kind and generous of her."

Again, I stress that I am not saying that the OP, or anyone else, must or should do this.  OP, you obviously resent this, and I'm not saying you shouldn't.  My point is just that it's not a right-wrong situation; there is nothing wrong with this system if -- if!! -- everyone is fine with it.  It doesn't have to mean exploitation; it can mean cooperation or just plain generously covering for a sibling's weak suit.

OP, with all respect, I think you are correct that you have --not wrongfully!  Nicely! -- been part of the problem here by your own actions -- "training" Brother to expect that this is the way your family rolls.  It's fine to change that.  But your ideas about how to change it to me sound so indirect and even a little manipulative -- i.e. hints like "Grandma's birthday is coming up."  Why aren't you just telling him how you feel and what you want?

If I were you, I'd just have a pleasant, non-accusatory (you want cooperation, not defensiveness) talk with him.  He may have no idea that you aren't fine with this and may even say something like, "Yes, it's been so nice of you to do this all this time!  But you're right; it's not fair to you.  So why don't I take care of the next few gifts from both of us, and then we can decide if we want to do joint gifts or separate ones after that?"  Give him a chance to do the right thing.

MyFamily

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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.



"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

Harriet Jones

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OP should stop covering for her brother, whatever the reason for his disinterest in gifting.   He's a married adult with a job, it's not as though he's a small child who doesn't know what day it is.  If the consequences bother him, maybe he'll change his behavior.