Well, it's been awhile since Mrs. Linklater jumped on her high horse and rode herd on the advice columnists. So it's about damn time she attacked them once again for no reason at all, except that she just loves to butt in where she's not wanted.
Amy Dickinson --
Mom's requests overwhelming
Published July 10, 2005, Chicago Tribune
Dear Amy: I have a problem. My
mother calls a lot and wants me to come over and help with things like
her computer, hanging pictures, moving furniture, etc.
I go to school full time and work full time, and I cannot be at her beck and call.
I love my mother to death, but this has to stop. I cannot be everywhere at once.
My cell phone is turned off while I'm in school.
How should I handle this?
Dear Frustrated: I know you think
this is about household chores, but I think it's about your mom missing
you. It sounds as if your life and schedule have recently changed, and
your mother might not be adjusting to it as well as you are.
You need to set some boundaries and reassure your mother that you will come to see her--even when there aren't chores to do.
Perhaps you could develop a regular
schedule--Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons--where she knows she
will see you. She can save up some of those pesky chores for you, but
mainly you can visit with each other. Be firm but patient with her
while she weathers this transition, but if she continues to be
demanding, she could be suffering from depression or anxiety. If you
feel her constant contact is out of hand, talk to her about it and urge
her to see her doctor.
LINKLATER RIDES TO THE RESCUE: WHOA!!! This isn't about household
chores or Mom missing her kid.This is about Mom being a complete and
utter control freak. And the only way to control a control freak
is to take the freaking control away from her.
Luckily, Mrs. Linklater has a twelve step program for just such problems.
So, what FRUSTRATED should do AS SOON AS POSSIBLE is to create some distance between herself and her parental unit.
That is why Mrs. Linklater's first
eight steps are to 1. MOVE! 2. MOVE! 3. MOVE! 4. MOVE! 5. MOVE! 6.
MOVE! 7. MOVE! AND 8. MOVE!
Not too far from school and your
job. But at least an hour away from Mom. Far enough away that you can't
run over to the house for stupid stuff. Then, when you graduate from
college, you can advance to STEP NINE: MOVE AGAIN!
That's right. Get a new job and MOVE TO ANOTHER CITY. Something at
least four hours away is a good start. That way you can do things
for Mom a few times a year instead of several times a week.
STEP TEN: Since you probably can't
do the move thing right away, just don't answer your cell phone when Mom
calls. Press the END button when you see Mom's number come up. It
will send her call straight to voicemail. You haven't hung up on
her. And no mother has ever been harmed by diverting an unwanted call.
STEP ELEVEN: Get over the guilt.
Because YOU WILL FEEL GUILTY. Your mother has signs of world class
manipulation skills caused by her separation anxiety and not having a
life of her own.
In fact, the first time you divert
her call, you will feel so guilty that you avoided your mom you will be
thinking about ways to apologize -- for what? Trying to take your life
back? Get over it.
Mrs. Linklater feels the need to
repeats this step: GET OVER THE GUILT DAMMIT. Sorry, Mrs. L didn't mean
to raise her voice like that.
Your mom has been sending you on guilt trips like a travel agent from Hell. Stop letting her punch your ticket.
Finally, STEP TWELVE: Learn
to use the word NO correctly in a sentence. No, Mom, I can't come over.
No, Mom, this isn't a good time. No, Mom, I'm busy now. No, Mom, I
can't do that.
Once you have mastered all these steps and begin to have a life of your own, you will be in the first stages of adulthood.
Soon, you will
suddenly feel the urge to invite Mom out to brunch. And soon it will
seem like a nice idea to stop by and do all that stupid stuff for her.
And you may even be happy to take
Mom's calls. In fact, you may even hear yourself encourage her to call
more. Because it's not Mom's idea. It's YOURS.
When that happens Mrs. Linklater will send you a TWELVE STEP certificate of adulthood that is suitable for framing.