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Be Reasonable Mum!


I need some advice. I went to dinner at my mums house, she had made a lot of effort in putting on a nice spread and the meal was lovely, (my mum is single, well she has a boyfriend who's married). Anyway, my fiance and I are moving to Australia at the end of May and have been looking after a few of Mums things in our house as she doesn't have the room. In amongst these possessions is a dining room table and four chairs.

On Sunday she asked if I could take two chairs over to her house as she didn't have enough for everybody. I took them over, we had dinner and
everything was cool. UNTIL we went to leave! She said "aren't you taking the chairs with you?" I replied "Do you mind keeping them here for a few days as we've got the coming round to value the house and we want it to be nice and tidy". A week before she had asked me to arrange for an auctioneer to come and value the table and chairs - which I did then passed the message on to her and she said can you ring them back up and ask them this and ask them that! I said 'can you not phone them Mum'? she just started going on about how much stress she had at work and she can't phone someone from there anyway. I thought 'Don't you think I've got enough stress moving everything to Australia. I didn't say anything though - you learn to keep your mouth shut with Mum!! (It annoys me that I have to sort this out and won't get any proceeds from the sale)!

Anyway, she got in a mood about keeping the chairs in her house saying that she didn't have enough room and "you've got more room in your house". My sister started to stick up for me and said "Be reasonable Mum, it's only for a few days until the valuers come to pick them up". Mum was in a right mood so we left and thanked her for dinner - she didn't even say goodbye.

My sister phoned her up that night and she hardly wanted to speak to her saying "how could you side with them?" Anyway the long and short of it is my Mum has now turned round and said that she doesn't want to speak to me again and she doesn't care that I'm going to Australia.

I have always been there for my Mum in the past, taking her shopping, lending her money, inviting her over for dinner, I've always been quite close to her. Mum has done this quite a few times, threatening to disown me and my sister. She has even tried to kill herself in front of us a few times. Caroline, I don't know what to do. At the moment I'm not going to get in touch, it's up to her. I feel like she's said it too many times now, perhaps for once she should see how it feels.

What do you think?

Ruth (Sorry it's a bit long winded)!


Dear Ruth,

You sound like a very self assured considerate and confident young woman.

It really seems to me that it's a cry for help from your mum in the way that she is behaving, there does seem to be rather a lot of things happening in her life right now.

The last thing that you want to do is ignore this, she's very lonely, confused and probably feeling unloved, unwanted, and ignored. She's got a relationship with a married man, you're leaving the country, she's got problems at work, all these things can make you feel low at times, it's normal.

It's obvious that she thinks life is treating her harshly at the moment and her only way of coping is by becoming unreasonable, aggressive, intolerant, and suicidal.


You are her child and always will be no matter what age you are, that goes for your sister too.

Your Mum needs to feel valued, appreciated and loved at this particular moment, you say you were close to her, stay in touch with her, tell her you love her and say thank you for everything she's done for you whilst you were growing up, ( a few words don't cost anything). Ask how she is and if there's anything you can do for her. She needs to feel that you still need her for something too, ask her advice on things (they don't have to be important decisions, just little things like, how best to pack things and cooking advice etc. I think you know what I mean) and listen to her advice. Tell her you'll be in constant touch with her and will ring her regularly from Australia, and perhaps she can visit when you're settled, give her something else to think about other than her "Married" boyfriend.
Buy her some flowers, go to the cinema with her, build up a friendship with her, because you don't want to leave for Australia with regrets in your heart, about your Mum.

She's obviously done a great job with you, otherwise you wouldn't have noticed there was a problem right now, you've got common sense and have the power to help her.

We all go through phases in our lives, we're only human after all. You may need her in years to come so please remember to treat your Mother as a friend right now, and when you start your new life in Australia you can start off with a clear head and peace of mind.

I wish you and your fiancee the very best of luck in your new and exciting life and hope it will all be prosperous.

Please let me know how you get on in Australia.

Bon Voyage and Good Luck again.