Friday, January 04, 2008

Mommy, dearest

I was sitting in a movie theater a few weeks ago with The Mister, waiting for the movie to begin when i leaned over and asked The Mister if he had remembered to turn off his cell phone.

"Yes, did you?" was the slightly snippy-you-are-not-my-mother reply.

I thought about it and he has a point. It's become kind of a habit with me, what with raising a child for the past 17 years and all, to try and nag gently remind people of things i think they need.

This weekend The Mister and i decided to go for a walk. It was cold and windy outside. I thought about nagging gently reminding him to take a hat and some gloves. But then i stopped myself, because i am not his mother, right?

Then out on the walk, he got cold. And then he got grumpy. And that was no fun. To my credit, i didn't say anything about it, like "You should have brought your hat and gloves pinhead." Because he just might have taken offense to that. He's sensitive like that.

But i notice and think of these things. (This is just one in a long line of examples for both The Mister and Em.)

So should i remind them and risk annoyance, or should i just shut the hell up and let them, and sometimes me, deal with the consequences?

40 comments:

Nancy Dancehall said...

Let 'em deal. Otherwise you'll always be sweeping up the mess.

Sooo....Meeting up with folks, eh? GOD I wish I were out there!!!

Carolie said...

Ohhh...I am in the same dilemma!

I do not WANT to be his mommy, I want to be his wife. I do not like the nag I can become when I get into mommy-mode.

But...I don't want to suffer his grumpiness if I don't "gently remind" him.

When we entered Japan, we were given little papers to fill out and give back when we leave the counry. Mine was stapled into my passport, but his was just handed to him (he uses his military ID, not a passport). That night, in the hotel, I saw his little paper in the trash, fished it out, and kept it.

Six months later, the Navy sent him back to the US for a class. I handed him the saved piece of paper, and asked him to please, for me, just in case, put it in his wallet. He rolled his eyes and said something obnoxious, but he took the paper.

He called me from the airport, very subdued. "Thank you," he mumbled, "for making me take the paper. If I hadn't had it, I would've been told to go fill out a new paper, and I would've had to go to the back of the line. I would have missed my flight. YOU WERE RIGHT."

Sure, that was music to my ears...but I don't want to be right, I want him to be an adult!

Let me know if you figure out how to handle this!

liv said...

i like to call this giving free advice. the thing is that adults generally don't care for it. and yes, i have had to watch a grown man gag on a meal that i assured him he wouldn't like because it had ingredients he deplored...but NO, nobody listens to la liv.

and you don't say it because you have a burning desire to be right. it's a burning desire to love and nurture. if it comes out as nagging...well, i suppose that's what's known as an inference.

is it SO wrong to love??

Marsha said...

I am the forgetful one at my house, at least half the time. So, I get reminded of stuff as much as I remind. I would say that the Mister probably wont forget his gloves and hat again for a good long time. On the other hand, life is short be yourself.

Sober Briquette said...

I consider gentle reminders one of my Virgoan gifts to be shared with the less fortunate.

flutter said...

I do this, only where there is a pattern of previous dumbfuckery. ala, forgetting your wallet when you are supposed to buy the groceries, me telling you 82 times that I have an appointment and you texting me 37 times during said appointment to find out where I am. You know, that kind of thing.

Gordo said...

But, meno! Had you turned yours off, already? ;-)

tt said...

The age old question...I bet this ? has been asked for centuries I'll bet Cleopatra asked Marc A if he remembered to take his spear and shield whenever he left...
We're nurturer's by nature I think. Like you said, we've done this 'for' the kiddo's for ages.

However, now that I'm a caregiver-person to my parents, I've discovered I HATE for the MOM to 'remind' me of things that I already know. So, I can't do it to her either ...that's what by grape tells me anyway.
so, long story short..( finally) I've taken to talking outloud...ie: We're going to the store so I'll say outloud. " It's going to be cold so I think I'm going to take my gloves and hat just in case. Are you?"
I use it on my hubby too. Seems to work well..I pretend to do a 'purse check'.." wallet-Check..cell phone-check...letters to mail-check...etc.
Just a thought :)

Mrs. Chili said...

I am of two minds on this. The bigger part - the one that wins - is the part that says let 'em deal. They'll never learn to think of these things on their own unless they're required to deal with the consequences. The smaller part of the brain says keep nudging them so that you don't have to deal with the fallout.

And how can Mister forget to turn his cell phone off?! In our movie theatres, we're reminded half a dozen times and for extended periods....

Maggie said...

I'm voting let them deal.

I'm the forgetful one, but damn one day in -15C without my hat taught me a lesson and my husband was laughing straight at me because he'd reminded me twice before on other occasions. Now I remember.

Well he's forgetful too, but for other stuff. Like making appointments, calling repair guys - always eats at my liver. That's fallout I have to live with. Grrr.

Franki said...

god how i wished you lived in my house and reminded me of all the stupid stuff i was forgetting. i would never be offended. i would be grateful.

NotSoSage said...

I'm so in danger of this one, myself. I really have to just let up and let him fail...so long as it doesn't affect me, I suppose.

But I'm pleased to read that, according to Sober, I can blame this trait on my astrological sign. Go Virgos!

Thanks for "calling"...it gave me a nice little boost to know you were listening.

meno said...

nancy, i wish you were here too. Sometimes i agree with you about the mess, sometimes it's me dealing with the mess though.

carolie, ooooh! A victory! thanks for the story. I love it.

liv, i am going to use that line, "Is it So wrong to love??"

marsha, good advice. But he will probably forget them next time.

de, as a fellow virgo, may i just say that YOU ARE AWESOME!

flutter, ha ha! Yeah, that kind of thing.

gordo, as if! OF COURSE i had!

tt, talking out loud! Or maybe asking questions. "Do you think i should take my gloves?" I am going to use that.

mrs. chili, mostly i do let them deal. But i have to actively shut up. It's my curse to be detail-oriented (anal-retentive)

maggie, it's the fall-out i hate. If i had only nagged, then i wouldn't have to hear the whining.

franki, don't forget your gloves and hat, okay?

no so sage, Go Virgos indeed! we rock.

Lynn said...

I always remind everyone about everything. That way when they choose to ignore my suggestions and they complain, I just say 'I told you to _____ (fill in the blank). Then I look at them and smile, but not too sweetly:~)

Jenn said...

I vote for keep it to yourself. My mother does it and it drives me CRAZY!

Jenn

Jodi said...

hmmm, i do this too. i get onto everybody to pick up all their "stuff" lying around the house and then I leave MY stuff around the house. it's more fun to tell them what to do then actually DO anything myself!

ms chica said...

You have successfully summed the past two weeks for me, and my Mister doesn't return to work until the 17th.

It sounds as though you have consequences with both options. Sooooo it depends on which consequence you are willing to deal with at the moment. The more time I spend with my Mister (as in consecutive days off) the more likely I am to leave him to his own devices and be smug about it. I decided winning wife of the year wasn't that important. At least not this year.

lu said...

With the boys deep into their 13th year and all of the attitude that this brings on, I'm afraid I'm developing the "Church Lady" face. I struggle to check my unwelcome suggestions with varying degrees of success. If only I could stop the, "you're trapped in the car with me lectures." - As Nancy notes, I clean up a lot of messes and endure an awful lot of that --"but Mom, you didn't..."

If the shoes on the other foot--I like to throw it at the well meaning nagger.

I'm such a hypocrite when it comes to mothering mumbo jumbo.

Joan said...

As the recipient of many "gentle reminders" (Hubby likes to play "mommy" every once in a while), I usually just turn off my hearing and ignore him. That way he thinks he's doing me a favor and we don't get into a huge argument. Works every time!

ETK said...

I wish I could be as patient as you - I usually can't stop myself from "gently reminding". Mainly because I don't want to have to deal with the consequences. I'll keep checking back to see what everyone comes up with. TT's advice is pretty good - but she's always been like that.

BTW - you've inspired me. I love how you seem to respond to each and every commenter by name. I'm going to work on that.

meno said...

lynn, i get tired of listening to myself, so i try to pick and choose my nags. For instance i do remind Em to put on sunscreen so she won't get burned to a crisp.

jenn, that would drive me crazy too. I don't see my mom that often, but she does try to give me "advive". I ignore her.

jodi, i've given up on the picking up of stuff. I m just as guilty as anyone of that. If i nag them, they might nag me back.

ms. chica, two weeks? That must be getting REAL old by now. (Bad grammar, i know.) Sounds like you don't want to win as mommy of the year.

lu, wait until they learn to drive, how they will miss your lectures! Or not.

joan, interesting to hear it from the other perspective, as the nagee.

etk, i do slip up and gently remind fairly often, especially to my daughter. I answer comments because i like to know i was heard when i leave comments myself. So, good for you, i bet people will appreciate it.

Mother of Invention said...

It's hard sometimes not to sound saecastic and nagging but I suppose there 's no way of knowing how the tone will sound to them anyway. Guess I'd try gently reminding if it was a situation that would really affect me too...and hope for the best interpretation!

holly said...

man, what a tough spot...you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

for variety -and to confuse them- you could switch back and forth, sometimes reminding them, sometimes letting them remember on their own. unfortunately, it sounds like you're going to pay either way..

Dick said...

I think tt hit on the right idea. Rather than reminding him/her of what to take, why not say something along the line of, "It might be overkill but I am wearing my warm hat on this walk" before you start out? That would be a gentle reminder without sounding like you are trying to tell him/her what they should do.

Maggie said...

I hear you about the whining. I can just picture the eye rolling that occurred when that started up. I suppose if someone is going to whine then they really have no place accusing you of acting like their mother now do they?

luckyzmom said...

For over ten years now I have consciously tried to stop being controlling and have tried to frequently remind myself that I am not his mother. There is, though, a fine line between being considerate and a helpmate, and being controlling and mothering. And I think that line exists in their brains. He is allowed to go through the list with me and he's being helpful. When I attempt to remind him, I am accused of thinking he is stupid.

TTQ said...

Chiming in for the mister on this one, I forget alot because I often live in my own mind and manage to still be absent minded. Honey removes my cell phone from my purse when he gets in from work and charges it, then will replace it in my purse before he goes to work.. However, that doesn't remind me to actually turn it off silent mode so I am often MIA.

Also he reminds me to take my medicines (which I have to do 4 times a day)..

Oh and sunglasses I must own 10 pairs and never have a pair in my purse..he'll throw those in my purse for me too.

I'm a mess..

Bob said...

I'll have to sit on the sidelines on this one, as I'm the one who tends to get irritated if reminded of things I know but don't always remember. Especially in the car.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I could have written this. Groan. Every time Flip and I go for a walk, he is sure he doesn't need a warm jacket, no matter what I say. And as soon as we reach the street, he realizes that he's cold and I have to wait while he goes back upstairs and gets one.

Every bloody time. I also tell myself I'm not his mother, though God knows he needs one. I don't want to insult his intelligence by nagging, so if you ever hit on a solution that doesn't involve homicide detectives, please share it.

Bobealia... said...

I don't even have a child, and I'm like that, but even though it bug my mister, he pisses me off even more when he loses his glasses/bite-plate/good pen/PDA/cell-phone/scarf...

marian said...

My son feels offended and takes it as an affront to his burgeoning independence if I remind him of such things. He's almost 21, so I refrain. That's fine. I remember what it's like.

My husband, on the other hand, feels that it is purely caring and nurturing when I do that. And I feel the same way when he does it for me. Egos don't get involved at all—we just appreciate that the other one cares. It's really nice to reach that point.

But there are areas in which we refrain with each other, too, because we know it won't be taken the right way. Or just out of respect.

Not black and white, I guess.

QT said...

Just call me Cassandra - always warning, no one listens, I'm always right.

I have learned there is great joy to be had in letting someone hang themselves and silently congratulating yourself.

deb said...

I watch my husband spend hours looking for things that he can't find, because he doesn't put them away properly. And my son hides things on purpose and then can't find them. The only one I make put a coat on is Katie and she still does as she pleases anyway.

But all of it just irritates the crap out of me.

capacious said...

I like the "I'm bringing my hat and gloves because it's cold," announcement idea. Except I would add, "...and if you don't, I don't want to hear about how cold you are." This would be done in a charmingly humorous way that would make everyone in my family love me even more than they already do. Oh, the fun I have.

Tink said...

I'd say let him deal, but CAN you? It's pretty much ingrained in me to play the Mommy. I don't think I'd be comfortable supressing that. I'd always think, "I should have said something..."

sari said...

OH we just had this argument, i mean discussion, here last night.

i am not a good cook so my husband takes it upon himself to remind me of a lot of things when I'm cooking. which irritates me. and makes me more of a not good cook.

on the flip side, sometimes i forget things when i'm cooking and need reminding. it's a tough circle, isn't it?

amusing said...

...and then there's traveling with someone you sort of know well, but who is, on the other hand, a stranger -- and, um, well, when does co-piloting/navigating devolve into just driving someone nuts?

Mama P said...

Tough one, but I air toward doing what makes you happy, not him. and telling him to shut up and stop acting like a baby, whether it be about taking advice or being cold. Play nice.

Constance said...

I never know what to do either. If he'd LEARN, then I'd just let him learn. But he doesn't, and then it affects me too. Maybe I might bring his hat and gloves in my pockets, and hand them over when he started complaining.

Andrea said...

I choose to risk annoyance rather than having to kick myself later for not saying anything, thus making us all miserable...