I don’t understand my mother – I never have. I know I should know better, but every once in awhile I forget that I can’t rely on my mother, and it always seems to surprise me. We’ve always struggled with our relationship, but things have been better lately. She’s been very nice on the phone, and she’s been sweet in the last year or so, supporting me through my fertility treatments and losses. But it only goes so far.
About two months ago I asked her to come visit me for a weekend (she lives in Denver). She said she was going on a two-week trip in May, and she would visit me after that. OK, fine. I talked with her two weeks ago when she returned from her trip, and asked her when she was going to visit me. She was vague, “Oh, I’m just so busy. I don’t know when I can.” So I told her to check her calendar and let me know. Mind you, she doesn’t work, she has a husband who works part-time, but her schedule consists of things like taking long walks, knitting and a little charity work – she just told me she’s a model in some charity fashion shows. I talked with her last night, and asked her again when she was coming to visit. This time I told her a project that I wanted help with – recovering the seat cover of a cedar chest that I want to put in the nursery. She gave me the chest years ago, and she has recovered it before, and she acted interested in it when I discussed it last night. When I mentioned a specific purpose and project I wanted to work on with her, she finally sounded interested, but would not commit to a date. She’s done this so many times: “I’d love to come visit you, but I just don’t know when!” I’ve lived in Houston for over three years, and she has never visited…
But then I asked her the big question, only because it came up. She asked me about working after the baby comes (yes, unfortunately), and maternity leave (12 weeks, but the last 3 weeks I’ll work part-time from home), and if the hubs was taking time off. I told Mom that he was taking one week off at birth, and then taking two weeks off when I had to go back to work. We’re planning on using daycare, but I’m somewhat stressed about it. I haven’t visited any yet as they don’t have huge waiting lists around here and I have only looked at websites, but even looking at pictures of the infant rooms on websites gave me a pit in my stomach. I know that the transition back to work will be difficult for me. So ideally I’d like to have four weeks with me at work without the baby at daycare: 2 weeks with the hubs, 1 week with my mom, and 1 week with my mother-in-law. I haven’t asked my MIL yet, but I know she’ll say yes, actually she would probably come for two weeks if we asked her, and she has a full-time job! And I assumed my mom would say yes – who wouldn’t say yes to taking care of their grandchild?
Since Mom asked me about maternity leave and the hubs taking time off from work, I told her what I would like and explained that I’m worried about how hard it will be to leave my child in daycare, and I asked her if she would come here for a week and take care of the baby to help with the transition. She laughed – loud, and for awhile. I told her that I knew that it was a lot to ask, and she can say no, but please think about it and let me know, because I would really appreciate it if she could help me. Then she said that she thinks that she’s going on a cruise around that time, maybe two cruises! I said, “Really, when is your cruise?” She replied that she wasn’t sure, it was sometime around November or December. I said, “Oh, well that’s good, because I’m talking about the end of January or early February.” And she stumbled for a bit, talked about planning on going to Utah to ski in January, so I let her off the hook and asked her to think about it. But I think I got my answer – she has no interest in coming here for a week to help me, or even for a weekend before the baby is here. She wants to continue our nice superficial relationship, but anytime I ask her to do something truly inconvenient, she won’t do it.
The worst part is she has said in the past that she wants to help me, and come to visit and help. She got upset because she found out my MIL came here (from Denver) to help us paint the house, and then another time my MIL came here to take me to my hysteroscopy appointment because my hubs couldn’t do it. She very pointedly said that she didn’t understand why I asked my MIL to come here for the appointment instead of her, and I blamed it on the hubs. But the real answer is I can’t rely on my mom. The hubs called his mom with about 3 days notice, asking her to take off work and fly here, and she didn’t hesitate at all – of course she would come, and this is why we asked her. But now, I’m asking my mom with seven months notice to come here for a week and take care of her grandchild when I go back to work, and it’s too much to ask. I just don’t get it.