Mom sucks up daughter’s free time

SATURDAY, AUG. 6, 2011

Dear Annie: My husband and I have demanding careers. We work at least 60 hours per week and have little free time.

The problem is my mother. I adore her, call her twice a week, email every day and see her every weekend. We never say no when she needs something. However, Mom expects us to spend every extra moment with her. I can’t see my friends because she becomes jealous and says, “Maybe next month you’ll have time for me.”

Vacations are the biggest problem. We are paying off huge college loans, so we tend to take “staycations.” We ask her not to call unless it is an emergency, yet she calls constantly and wants to get together. If we say no, she becomes so hurt that it causes more stress and puts a damper on the time with my husband.

Mom is vibrant and healthy, has friends, exercises and does volunteer work. She has sisters who live close by and two dogs that she adores. She has a busy life, so it’s not like I am all she has to fill it. My husband and I work hard and deserve time alone without guilt. How can we get Mom to understand without hurting her feelings? – Mama’s Girl

Dear Mama’s Girl: Those apron strings are tied a little tight. Your first priority is to your husband and marriage. Don’t feel guilty or apologize for having a social life. When you take a staycation, tell Mom to call her sisters in case of emergency, and then turn off your phones. You are a good daughter. If Mom chooses to be hurt because you are not devoting all of your free time to her, so be it.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.


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