Wedding Woes

Either compromise or keep the line in the sand, but mom won't stop asking.

Dear Prudence,

I’m a 37-year-old single woman. For the last five years, my mother has been badgering me to attend the annual family vacation. She makes comments all year round in an attempt to make me feel bad for not going (she’s the queen of guilt-trips). My parents, my younger brother, and my older brother (with his wife and their four kids) all go on vacation together. I just don’t find these trips fun or relaxing. My brother and his wife always have a big blow-out fight, and my mom has zero boundaries with people. I end up coming back more stressed out than when I left.

For the last five years I have been going on vacations with friends, and we have a blast. I’ve told my mom that I like spending time with my friends. I only live 30 minutes away and see them quite often throughout the year, but my mom just won’t let this go. Do I have to go on family vacations, or should I be doing what I want? I love my mother, but the thought of spending a week with her gives me anxiety because I know she’ll spend the week telling me what I should be doing with my life, and all the things she thinks I’m doing wrong, and why aren’t I married because she wants more grandkids, etc.

—Done With Family Trips

Re: Either compromise or keep the line in the sand, but mom won't stop asking.

  • Most people only have a limited amount of vacation time available to them during the year. I do not think you should feel obligated to spend any of that vacation time on a trip that will make you feel uncomfortable and stressed. I don't know that your mom will ever stop trying to make you join them on these trips, but it is 100% okay for you to keep declining. 

    To me, the fact that you're 37 years old and your mother still thinks she can tell you how to live your life is just as big of a problem, if not a bigger one. Have you stood up to her about this, and would you consider telling her that this is a big part of why you don't want to go on these family trips?
  • Mom's don't usually stop asking questions until they get what they want.   So just know you'll keep telling her no.   The alternative of intermittent nagging is a full week of it. 
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I know I'm super biased in this assessment considering there are no more family vacations with my mom in the future unless something miraculous happens.  But if they do this *every* year, LW can't show up for a long weekend at the beginning?  I understand not giving up a week, but Sat-Mon or whatever could be a compromise and then LW can say, "I did come last year.  I could only afford a long weekend, but I made the effort."  

    I also understand shitty, crazy, uncomfortable, stressful family vacations.  So not wanting to go at all if fine too.  However, LW needs to just keep their message consistent and bean dip mom. What LW can't do is control their mother or her asking LW to show up every year.

    Also, stop giving mom the permission/ability to make you feel bad.  Choose your choices. 
    Also a good point.

    Or go to a place *near* where they are.   So you're close but you're not seeing them for breakfast.

    But you get to decide your fate and limit the feelings of guilt. 
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I was going to say exactly what @mrsconn23 said.  Don’t make it a whole week.  Don’t waste all your pto days... you must get some days off of work so work around those days (I know not everyone gets 2 days off in a row).  But I agree not to go if your so uncomfortable 

  • Don’t go if you don’t want to, but this is clear something that is upsetting to your mother so maybe there is a compromise here. Maybe it’s the weekend of the trip, or breakfast/dinner a few nights, maybe every other year, or you don’t stay with them and get your own room/condo/whatever. 
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited March 19
    TBH, this mother sounds like my FMIL, who would passive aggressively and incessantly badger any family member into doing what she wanted.  I'll never forgot the time she badgered older BIL to come into town (he lived 4 hours away) b/c "she wanted her entire family together" while his wife was OOT and a tree had fallen on their house.  I was floored when he walked in and he said, "It was just easier than listening to her".

    So, I don't have any patience for this behavior.  I DID tell MIL to stuff it, kindly and bean dipping at first, and then straight up, I said No, I meant No, and I each time you bring it up I will say No and end our conversation.  And exH and I did that, exactly, for probably...3 months?  She stopped and we were the only child/spouse of child that didn't have that BS run on us all the time.  I'd tell LW it's hard, but stick to your truth and the consequences you outline for it being ignored.  She doesn't get a pass for not respecting your boundaries just b/c she's your mother.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    As the mother of adult children, I like the idea of compromising. A long weekend sounds perfectly acceptable if it is possible for LW and they want to do so.

     For several many years, we have gone to SC on vacation. Since our kids have grown and gotten married, we have continued to invite them to come for as long as they can. DD and family, and DS2 take us up on it. DS1 and DIL have only done so once. I keep inviting them hoping someday they will come because, yes, I like having my family together. However, I don't badger them (at least I don't think I do). I may ask for a definite answer because of planning purposes, but once I have the answer I'm good.
  • It's sometimes interesting how people will see things from their own perspective, lol.  I don't especially like using my money or vacation time to go back to CA.  But that's the only way I can see my immediate family so I suck it up and do it, every 2-3 years.  Come to think of it, I wish we went on family vacations, lol.  Because it's not them, I like seeing them, I'd just rather combine that with experiencing new places.  Or anywhere I didn't spend the first 22 years of my life living in, lmao.  But initially reading the first few sentences, my feeling for the LW was the same, "suck it up".

    But then I got to the part where the LW already lives near their family anyway.  Oh!  Well now that is completely different, lol.  It's time to have a blunt phrase or two.  Rinse and repeat (including I am not talking about this anymore), then bean dip, to shut these conversations down.  There's nothing wrong with preferring to spend vacations with friends.  
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