I need advice on dealing with my family's flakiness.
posted by hought20 to human relations (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My youngest brother, who lives about 3 hours away by car, called me two or three weeks ago to ask if he could come visit this weekend. I told him that we were busy on Saturday night, but that he'd be welcome to come up on Friday or Sunday night. I also told him that I wouldn't be able to spend a ton of time with him (for good reasons), and he said that he'd just come up for one evening, we'd have dinner, and he'd go back pretty early the next day. I may have said that he could come up Saturday evening if there were no other options, but that we weren't canceling our plans, so he'd have to find something to do while we were gone and we could have lunch out the next day.
We spoke briefly about a week and a half ago. He mentioned that he's still wanting to come up, but that Mom wanted to come with him and that it felt more complicated now (we have a 9 month old baby, and she wants to see him, which is understandable because he's incredibly awesome. Well, and she's his grandmother, sure, yeah). I said "okay, please let me know as soon as possible what you're planning, and remember that I'm busy that Saturday night."
Mom called today. It's Thursday, and they are coming to visit on... Saturday. Of course. I told Mom that we really would be going out on Saturday, no kidding, and she said that'd be fine, and they'd find something to do.
I am super annoyed that they are only now confirming the visit--we've already made more plans for Sunday, plans which aren't as firm as the Saturday night plans, but which are still needful. My partner is annoyed because they're invading our space without much real notice (just tentative plans), and possibly screwing up our Sunday plans.
The thing is, this is normal for my Mom, and I just let it slide and rearrange my life to accommodate her and, to be honest, fear that if I don't, she won't come visit at all and I will never see her unless I go visit her (right now I genuinely don't have time to do that--this summer, sure, but not now). The best I usually do is insist that she call when she's leaving the house so I know when she'll get here, but she usually fails to do even that.
I am not inclined to cancel this weekend, since I just confirmed it with Mom about an hour ago, and my younger brother has taken time off (something he doesn't get often), just broke up with his girlfriend, and I'd genuinely like to see him. However, I think my partner would like it if I would cancel with them and ask them to come up another weekend. In truth, what I'd prefer is to tell my brother to visit and leave Mom at home, but that's impossible.
I am aware that I left open the option to come up on Saturday and be neglected. I feel, however, that if I'd said that to just about anybody else, they would have gone out of their way not to come up on Saturday. I will probably not make this mistake again. But I'm still annoyed.
I am looking for an answer for this specific situation--should I cancel this weekend with Mom and my brother?--but I also want advice for the future. I know that either I keep putting up with this or accept that I will barely ever see her, but maybe not? I have tried talking to her about this, but my mom is a little bit like a brick wall when it comes to changing her behavior. The only way I've ever really affected her behavior towards me involved living out of state for over seven years and barely speaking to her, but I am unwilling to cut her out again to make a point as small as this one. There is obviously a lot of baggage here but I want help with this one specific thing, today. So, help?
(If you want to analyze this--why does she do this? why do I let her?--I totally have theories and I'm interested in yours, but the root of the behavior isn't really the crux of the question. I just want strategies for dealing with the fact that my mother cannot truly plan ahead and tends to plan visits with me right before showing up.)