Family frustration...you want it done right, gotta do it yourself.

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A brief rant: Mom's oldest granddaughter is 27. She was always the closest with her grandmother, who was instrumental in raising her when she was young. She's always saying she's there to help, anything you need, just call and I'll be there and etc.

So today I had oral surgery thus I knew I'd be tied up and laid up for a bit afterward. I couldn't reschedule it again, it was a pressing issue that absolutely HAD to be taken care of NOW. I gave my niece seven days notice and emphasized that THIS was the day when I REALLY needed her to fill in, spend some time at the rehab, talk to the nurses and doctors in order to keep me posted and so on. "No problem", she said.

Well, first thing in the morning I get a text..."not sure if I can go today, no money, no gas in car, have to meet my dad (who BTW is and always will be a bum who did nothing to raise his three children and now wants a relationship now that they're grown) will call you later". Great. So I tell her no problem, swing by the house and I'll spot you some gas money. "Not sure if I can, will let you know".

So I have my procedure done, get my scripts filled and all i really want to do is get some pain meds in me and lie down. I text her to see how things are going, no reply. So I say screw it, I'll just go visit Mom now and she can go later in the day or whatever. I get there around 1:30 and Mom tells me her granddaughter hasn't even been there yet. Great. So I gut it out, gab with the PT nurse, chit-chat with Mom for a while and leave.

So I'm barely five minutes down the road and the texts start. "I saw you when you were leaving, visited but she's tired so I'll come back later". She did manage to stop by the house and pick up the twenty I left for her to use for gas, though. I go home, drug myself up and take a nap. I get up around 5:30, sore as hell, no messages. I try her cell, no reply. So an hour before visiting hours end I drag my butt back up to visit Mom again. "No, she hasn't been here since before" Mom tells me. Great.

It's not that she's a bad kid or anything, but often times it seems like all she wants is a quick daily update to make sure Grandma is still alive and once she gets that she stops worrying for the day. It's frustrating to say the least. I've let her know that she really needs to take advantage of whatever time Mom has left before it's too late but it's like talking to a wall. So my new approach is that I'm ignoring the daily update texts and telling her if she wants to know what's up she can either go and see for herself or she can wait around until it's convenient for me to update her.

28 Comments

Why try to change a brick wall? She is who she is. As for her texts for updates..."Gram would love to talk to you. Give her a call." Over and over and over again. Count on her for NOTHING.
Yeah, just being patient for now but it was disappointing, as today was a day where I really NEEDED the help. I've politely tried to explain to her that when you make a commitment you can't bail on that commitment with no notice at all, as it causes a ripple effect that impacts people all along the line. Like I said, she's a good kid who's gone through a lot in her life but she really needs to grasp that life doesn't center solely around her and that sometimes you simply must make sacrifices even if they're not ideally timed.
If your mother was in a rehab facility why did you feel the need to visit her when you needed rest from your surgery? It's not like you left Mom at home alone.

As for your niece, sounds like she needs to grow up and accept some responsibility.
Dman, if I had a nickel for every time…

Granddaughter's 27. And nowadays (God I'm old) 27 = around about fifteen, if you ask me. And the only way to get a 27 year old teenager to concentrate and do what she's promised to do is to get on the phone - forget texts - and impress on her that you expect her to do X, Y, Z like she promised she would, and no excuses.

I have a lovely daughter, a little bit older and wiser now but not as much as you might hope, who would do anything to help anyone and over commits herself like crazy. I'd hear her on her cell phone to a friend (a friend six miles away in heavy traffic, mind you) saying she'd been held up but she'd be there in five minutes, thirty minutes, an hour tops… I cam eventually to realise that these were special units of time unique to this age group that a) have no relation to any we recognise and b) evaporate in the whirlwind of their lives as something more urgent or more interesting crops up.

So yes, she does need to grasp the concept of priorities. And she needs to understand what her grandmother needs from her when you can't do it, so you can't just wait for her to grow up. Be explicit - be nice, but be explicit. And be in her face in the moment, or someone else will usurp you again.

Drives you nuts, doesn't it? :)

Hope the pain's settled down and you get some rest.
Agreeing to do it and then backing out is selfish and unacceptable. I think you are right not to update her on demand.

But it really is not as if Mom is on her own, or that Granddaughter not showing up was going to impair Mom's recovery. Should she have shown up after saying she would? Yes, absolutely. But I can understand that she didn't see the urgency in doing this. I don't either. It sounds like Mom has visitors everyday. That is awesome! But missing a day or two when you are under the weather or called out of town or something comes up and you just can't make it is not the end of the world as we know it.
27, doesn`t have money for gas ... why, doesn`t she work or if she does what does she spend her money on. Sounding like an oldster (which I am) I find the younger generations have no work or responsibility ethics at all, expecting that life owes them and wailing if they don`t get it on a silver platter and be spoon fed. I put it down to parents who went through hard times and have showered their kids with everything to make up for it, resulting in a greedy, whiny bunch of little losers.

An example. I live on 2 acres in the country and hired a young man from the village to be a helper around the place. He has no wheels so I have to pick him up, no problem. First time he was gung ho and worked well for 6 hours. Next time, he was sitting in my living room after an hour and a half whining he wasn`t feeling well and I had to take him home. I told him to rest the next day (Monday) and call me between 8 and 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday and we`ll see where we`d go.

He did call me and was dismayed that I was just heading into the city to run errands ... it was 10.30 a.m!!! He said he`d had a late start ... what! he lives in an apartment with mommy and obviously had just fallen out of bed. He`s 23 (by that age I`d been working for 7 or 8 years), never worked, can only think about playing computer games, smoking a little dope and making some cash for a snowmobile, boat, etc. just toys.

I give up. If you`re looking for some help look at older people who grew up with a work ethic and make sure you do a background and police check. You`d be surorised at how many have a long prison record.

You`ll get nowhere with the granddaughter so shut her out. Get some paid help.
I have the same question as FF. She's in rehab. What's the crisis here? When my mom was in rehab I would visit for an hour once or twice a day. Dad has dementia and I didn't want to leave him alone for long periods. It worked just fine.

This girl is 27 and doesn't have 20 bucks? Do we have a case of arrested development? In the future, she clearly can't be counted on for anything.
On this journey that we're on, I've finally learned not to expect of relatives what I think they should do, but to be realistic as to what they might do. It helps to avoid anger and disappointment when someone doesn't accept responsibility for his or her promises to do something.

Dmanbro, if she offers to do something again, just sweetly and calmly remind here that she didn't follow through with her last promise so you don't feel she can be reliable. Or ask her if she'll follow through this time. If you don't want to challenging or caustic, don't bother to say anything; just don't expect that she'll follow through.
Thanks for all the great replies everyone! Recovering nicely, it was a pretty brutal procedure but damn what a great dentist, talk about bang-zoom! It took longer to get my scripts filled than it did to have the work done! Feeling way better now, a few days and I'll be 100%.

One thing we WILL be discussing first thing tomorrow is my niece's awful habit of prefacing every visit with a list of reasons why she "can't stay long", as IMO it's a demoralizing and rude way to start her visits. Just because Mom is a little slower and a little more forgetful it doesn't mean she's an idiot who can't read a social cue. In fact today she kind of insinuated that she more or less "played" tired so her granddaughter would scram, as she didn't feel like hearing a laundry list of excuses followed by the usual cliches about "trying hard" and etc. Even when I'm pressed for time I make sure to treat my visit as a priority, not something I'm sandwiching in or that's inconveniencing me. I'd rather not have her visit at all if she's going to just rush through and check the time every two minutes. That's going to stop right now, as it's not conducive to offering the moral support and love she needs right now.

As far as her other two granddaughters are concerned, who the heck knows? The last time her youngest one visited she stupidly showed off her (sigh) new tattoo and I knew instantly what Mom was thinking ("how did you afford a new tattoo?") which I have to admit was pretty damned funny as it was my exact thought to a tee as well. I realize they're young and busy and all but still, their grandmother isn't going to be around forever so it's visit now or regret it later.
freqflyer: I like to visit each day as IMO it's good for morale. Obviously if I can't I know she's in capable hands, but still, I like to keep tabs and see how her therapy progress is going.

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