When Flower Power Is Not Enough

, , , , | Related | November 30, 2018

(My mother is a wonderful, energetic person who loves helping others. Unfortunately, she also has a tendency to take on way too much and to make things far more difficult than they need to be, while refusing to acknowledge she does this. When I become engaged, and the wedding planning begins, she constantly begs for me to give her things to do. At one point, I tell her I’m making the flower arrangements by hand out of fake flowers, and that my soon-to-be mother-in-law and sister-in-law have offered to help with them whenever I need them. My mother becomes so excited and keeps insisting that we should come visit her house — five hours away — and do the flowers together there. I tell her it’s a great idea, if everyone has a free weekend and doesn’t mind the drive. I ask her to handle coordinating dates with the others where we can all get together. Predictably:)

Mom: “You need to ask the others when they are free and get back to me, and I’ll see when I’m free also, so we can plan a flower-power weekend!”

Me: “Mom, I asked you to do that; don’t you have their numbers? Ask them yourself. It’s a little weird for me to ask them when they’re available and then relay the information back to you. You already have the dates I’m free, and I don’t have time right now to figure out scheduling with everyone. I’m crazy busy doing overtime at work, and wedding stuff when I’m finally home with [Fiancé].”

Mom: “Well, can’t you just ask them and let me know, anyway?”

Me: “No. I asked you to do it; I already said I don’t have time. You wanted to help; this is how you can help. Please, just do it yourself.”

Mom: “Fine. But it would be way easier for me if you just told me when they were free, also!”

(And… you guessed it, the meeting never happens, because my mom never contacts them. I show her how to do group conversations via text and Facebook, even go so far as to set them up for her, and also give her their emails to help her coordinate it, but she never does. I refuse to do it for her as I am so busy and don’t want to hold her hand constantly through what should be an easy process. I eventually HAVE to get the flowers done, so I invite my in-laws to my apartment during a spare weekend we all have, instead of driving hours to my mom’s house. My mom finally responds to my group text invite, after the weekend has passed and she didn’t show. She tells me she was “getting to it” and is mad I “took her job away from her,” and she demands that I now give her other jobs to do, instead. So, I give her a small list of easy things to do, thinking that maybe she just got anxiety about not knowing my future in-laws. I give her this list five months before the wedding. I don’t hear anything from her about the list except, “I’m working on it.” Two months before the wedding:)

Me: “Hi! How’s that list coming? I can’t wait to see your dress!”

Mom: “Oh, I haven’t gotten a dress yet. I want to lose a few more pounds.”

Me: “Oh… Well, do you have one in mind at least? The wedding is really soon, and you need to get one early.”

Mom: “Nope, I haven’t really looked yet.”

Me: “Oh, too busy with the list? I’m sorry, maybe I should’ve given you a smaller one—“

Mom: “No! You didn’t give me enough to do! What else can I do to help?! I want to help!”

Me: “Wow! You finished the whole list? Can you send me pictures? I want to know how it all looks!”

Mom: “Well, I didn’t have a chance to do [item #1] yet.”

Me: “That’s okay; it’s the biggest project I gave you. Do you have it mostly set up? I bet [Aunt] can help if you need extra hands—“

Mom: “No, I haven’t started it at all yet. Or [Item #2 or #3 or #4].”

Me: *long pause* “You haven’t done any of them?”

Mom: “Not yet! I haven’t had time! So, what else can I help with?”

Me: “…”

(Understandably, I was furious that she hadn’t done a thing yet, but was telling me to give her more to do. I quickly called my dad and told him how upset I was and what was going on. Somehow, he got her to realize how little time was left, and she did get it all done! But not without giving me way more anxiety and stress than I needed to have!)

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