LOVELY ABBY: Being the only kid, I adore my mum. After a brief illness, my father passed away three years ago, leaving my mother a widow. He calls me multiple times a day, which is my issue. I’m not one of those ladies who considers her mother to be her best friend or someone who enjoys phone conversations. Keep phoning if I don’t answer. Call when I’m getting ready for work, on the way there, while I’m there, or as I’m leaving.
I know I may regret it one day, but I don’t have the energy for all of his daily phone calls, which is basically the equivalent of asking me fifty questions. I don’t talk to my adult children on a daily basis as she calls me. I’ve reached the point where I’m scared of her and sometimes ignore her calls.
I’ve pushed her to do new things, like dating other widows, making new friends, or joining organisations, but because of COVID, she’s wary. Although I don’t intend to be rude to her, the more she acts out, the more tense I am. I also requested her to text me so I could reply when I was free, but she just denied it as an option.
She’s a very nice woman but she’s stressing me out! Is it me or her? Please help me so that I don’t ruin this relationship. Am I selfish as an only child? — CROSSED IN THE SOUTH
FLOODED, PLEASE: She is at fault, not you. Your mother may have lost how to socialise as an individual without your father, which is why she is acting in this way because she feels vulnerable, lonely, and worried. COVID limitations have made the issue worse by discouraging individuals from going out in groups.
After three years, it’s not selfish to set boundaries with her. Tell her you will talk to her once a day. Then select your calls and talk to your mom when you’re not stressed and have a few minutes to talk.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have family visits several times a year. I don’t cook, at least not much, just simple meals for my husband and I. We are 72 and 69 years old. Visiting relatives want to cook and talk about the latest natural foods they’ve grown or used, and I feel like they expect the same from me. (We occasionally take people to a nearby restaurant.)
It sounds less like a normal discussion and more like a “see what I’m doing.” Because I’ve been there, done that, and am no longer interested in the results, cooking, farming, and other activities don’t amaze me. What should I do about these people? — GO NORTH CAROLINA FROM HERE
DEAR BEYOND IT: You don’t need to change the way you prepare meals for these guests. When members of your family start to cook and give lectures on nutrition and gardening, you might want to change the topic. Alternately, pop on some headphones and enjoy your favourite podcast or song. They could find something else to talk about once they realise they’ve lost their listeners, you never know.
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