Me again needing a swift kick in the but

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Me again needing a swift kick in the but
15
Mon, 09-15-2003 - 1:11pm
Ok here is the situation (this will be kinda long...sorry)

My mom's b'day was Sept. 14th. Every year I get stressed out over this day b/c nothing I ever do is good enough. It seems like she wants me to skywrite her name and throw an expensive party and all kinds of stuff that I can't afford to do. Well this year is her 50th birthday so I said, "ok, it's a pain, but 50 only comes around once so I'll make an effort to do something special." So about 2 months ago I suggested renting a private dining room in a nice restaurant, inviting the family and a date of her choice and having a nice dinner. She rejected the idea citing that she didn't want to go out for her birthday but that she wanted to have a barbecue in her backyard. Well, her backyard needs extensive work before it is suitable for anyone to do anything in it much less barbecuing. I didn't act on this desire (even though she proclaimed it was the ONLY acceptable birthday gift in her eyes) because I was not going to send myself into financial turmoil over her birthday. However, just last week I got the first of two of my tuition refunds (I pay tuition up front, then get refunded from my scholarships) this semester so I had some extra money and said, "why not?" So I enlisted her boyfriend who fixes stuff up to go to Home Depot and order the stuff needed. All in all it came to about $350. Well, I went and paid for it and even got volunteers to come out and help for Saturday (the day before her birthday). My plan was then to just have a small barbecue (b/c this venture, in essence, topped out my budget) and all parties would be happy. Mind you not two weeks before this she calls me and essentially lays a HUGE guilt trip on me b/c she thought I wasn't planning anything and essentially called me a bad daughter for not getting her what she wants, so my heart was not really in this present b/c by this point I didn't want to do anything for her. Well...

On her birthday it rained. So I had to call Home Depot and delay the delivery for one week (incidentally, next weekend Hurricaine Isabelle is supposed to hit us). Well that was the beginning of my mom acting like a whiny brat. Her boyfriend suggested we take her out for crabs and at first I was ok w/ that. Well I spoke to her a couple of times and she acted like it wasn't working for her so I'm scrambling for ideas on how to make her birthday more special since this is her 50th birthday. Well, I asked her if she had her heart set on crabs or could we do something else. She said she didn't care she just didn't want to make the decision. So I said fine, we'll have a dinner party for her and I'll invite her best friend and my grandpop and we'll all have a nice dinner and we can have cake and ice cream and we'll all just celebrate. So I call her best friend and I call my grandpop and all. Sunday I went out shopping and spent $65 on a big spaghetti/lasagna dinner (which, to those who know me, is a lot to spend on top of $350 I just spent on the darn back yard). I mean I got the fixins for some good spaghetti and I bought a HUGE lasagna and I made a killer salad (had everything a good salad is supposed to have) and garlic bread and I bought a cake and some ice cream. Well, I enlisted her boyfriend to take her out to a movie while I cooked and cleaned her house (we had to have it at her house since my stove is broken). Well she must have figured it all out and guess what...

Instead of being touched by my effort she gets mad at me. She says that spaghetti is nothing special to her and that I am selfish and self centered for not doing what she wants to do for her birthday (even though she wouldn't tell me exactly what she wanted to do). Furthermore, she said, if she couldn't have her backyard on her birthday she didn't want it (that's where I lost it--after I spent the money that I was going to spend on a new STOVE to buy her backyard stuff). So we ended up in a HUGE argument. By the time she got back to the house only the lasagna was done and I couldn't reach my grandpop before he left the house so he was on his way. I told her look there is a lasagna in the oven, salad in the fridge, you all have a nice dinner, I'm taking the rest of my stuff and going home. And I did. She honestly doesn't get it. So here are my issues:

#1 I feel like the dummy of the century for having spent $400 in the last week on a woman who can't appreciate what I was trying to do for her.

#2 I think she is selfish b/c she puts all of her birthday happiness on my shoulders even though she knows I have bills to pay and kids to care for and that I can't afford to do this.

#3 I think it is very ungrateful of her to make such a big scene about the whole thing. I mean, she could have said to herself "that's nice that Nikki went and put this all together on my behalf."

So if you've gotten this far in the post you're probably wondering "does she have a point?" Well yes I do. This is a WWYD? I still have the receipt for the Home Depot stuff. Now mind you I can still buy my stove (I get another tuition refund in two weeks), so do I a) let her keep all the backyard stuff, plan her own renovation and then just be one wiser for next year or b) take the receipt, get my money back and go on about my business? I just feel so dumb for letting what she thinks rule over my thinking. I am usually so practical and extravagant b'day gifts are just not a part of how I run my life. Anyone else would have gotten a nice gift (like an outfit or purse), lunch at a restaurant and a card. Why am I like this when it comes to my mother?

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Avatar for bobcatkathi
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-16-2003 - 9:09am
Wow! I never go over board with my parents birthdays at all. I bought my mom a jumper and a candle for her birthday plus we had a little cake at the shop for her. Going over board for people doesn't make them love you anymore.

Try some flowers and a nice card. You are a wonderful and thoughtful person but I think you are trying too hard. Nikki, please be kinder to yourself. Spagetti is fantastic. I can't remember the last time anyone did anything so nice for me. You are certainly not selfish. Your mom has some issues and you aren't responsible for her happiness. No kicks her just a hug.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-16-2003 - 6:56pm
Cancel the Home Depot, buy your stove and count your blessings that you don't have to live with her.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-17-2003 - 2:20pm
You'll just have to look at your Mom this way. What she wants to have are good solid reasons to be annoyed with you. So let her have them. They will cost you very little at least.
Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 09-17-2003 - 6:35pm
Bring the stuff back to Home Depot. Buy your stove. Send her a card next year. And don't give it another thought.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-18-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 8:47am
Dear Nikki,

you sound like such a lovely person and a great daughter. If in the future your kids put even a fraction of the effort into your 50th, wouldn't you be delighted?

Is there a possibility that if you go ahead and get Home Depot to deliver you, mother would make some putdown like "pity it wasn't here for my birthday" then how would you feel? Like taking it right back again! Don't run the risk. You've done your best.

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