Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fool me Twice, Shame on Me

My Mother and I have always had our little quirks. I suppose that's natural considering we were at one another's throats as soon as I hit the ripe ole age of 18. I quickly moved out of her place and into my own with my high school sweetheart and thus began my emancipation into adulthood.

Over the years the ride has continued in a tempest. We get along and then we don't. We see eye to eye but only on certain things. One of those things is my Mom's mouth writing checks her ass can't cash. It often comes in the form of her saying she will do things but she never does. The list is a long one. Ranging from...

Telling us when she purchased another car she was going to "give" us her current one. Since we only then had the truck and my old Toyota that was falling apart. Eventually we bought my Camry, we had no choice when the Toyo went bust.

Telling us we could have her and my Father's old van. We were told this when I discovered my pregnancy with Annabel. We waited until I'd given birth to realize this too was a pipe dream and bit the bullet and went Van shopping. We made the purchase and got a great deal so it wasn't all bad. (That van promised to us by the way was given to another family member shortly after. The addicted Uncle to be exact)

Telling us she wanted to buy the children's back to school shoes. We waited until days before school started and just did it ourselves.

So it's no shock to me that recently she has reneged on something yet again. As you may recall (if not, I have an entry somewhere about our heating/air issues) our upstairs room is a furnace. It's always hot. We'd decided this year to install decent Hunter fans into the kids rooms to help reduce some of the heat. Upon hearing this my Mother...

"I'll buy them some fans!" she offered quickly over the phone.

"I've already found the girls one," I tell her. "It's one sale too, it's only $90, down from $200."

"Oh," she stammers. I know her idea was to purchase cheap Wal-Mart fans but I have been there and done that. I do not want something cheap that will last 1 year before falling apart.

"It's fine," I tell her. "We'll get them."

"No, I can get them, where are they? Are they at *insert store here*? I have a credit card there you know."

"No." I answer. "But it's ok, we will get them."

This banter goes back and forth for several minutes before I tell her if she really wants to get the fan it's here and it costs this much.

That was 3 weeks ago.

Then today she calls and I tell her I've found the fan on sale at Home Depot for $79 this week only. She just sits there. Immediately I know I need to make an emergency trip this weekend to procure this fan (hopefully, I'm crossing my fingers one is left).

I don't understand why she constantly does this. I never ask for anything, it is she who offers. And instead of it making me happy or thinking she's so generous, it just pisses me off because she never comes through. It's gotten to the point where I don't even listen to her now. To me it's just more of the same. Promises, promises and more promises. All of them empty.

Maybe in some way this makes her feel good. But I wish she'd just stop already. It's not that I mind her offering so much as I mind the long wait until we realize it's not happening and just go make the purchase when we could have done it long ago and have been done with it.


Lawfrog said...

Free unsolicited advice! TODAY ONLY!!;)

I find with people like this that there are one of two ways of handling it.

1. When she mentions she wants to pay for something, give her an exact price and an exact date. For example "Thanks for offering to buy the kids' shoes mom. The total is $100 and I will need the check by Saturday. Thanks again."

You probably won't get the check, but this allows you to avoid the long wait to see if she will come through (which you know she won't, but I'm with you on hope springing eternal). If you don't get the check by a certain date (which should be no more than 7 days from when she offers), you know you need to go do it yourself and you won't get caught up in last-minute running around.

2. Call her bluff. This will change nothing and will upset her, but it might make you feel better to get it off your chest. For example "Mom, while I appreciate you offering to buy the shoes, purse, car, you don't seem to be able to really come through with those items, so we're going to handle it ourselves, but thank you for offering."

Again, neither of these is a real solution in that it won't change her behavior, but you know you can't do that anyway. What you can do is lessen its effect on you and these are two ways to do it.

And that is my free unsolicited advice for the day. NEXT!;)

Jaime said...

Thank You Lawfrog! ;)

I think I will try first #1 and then after #2.

I love my Mom and I hate to nitpick but it's causing friction between me and my husband. When we wait to do things because of Mom's promises it means a hectic rush or needing something when money is tight and he's kind of fed up with it all.