Dear Annie: Many years ago, my wife and I lived near my parents. After three years of putting up with their too frequent and always unannounced visits, we moved slightly farther away. My Dad is the worst offender. Mom caters to his every whim. Dad is extremely selfish and really never cares whether he intrudes. After we moved, the drop-in visits became less frequent, but now the constant phone calls drive us crazy. I have nicely explained to Mom that after a hard day at work, we turn off our landline so we can have some quiet time. I told her not to worry if we don’t answer. I also told her that if there is an emergency, she can call our cellphones. The problem is, Dad goes ballistic if he cannot reach us and immediately tells Mom to call our cellphones.
We have been married 29 years and have grown children. We wouldn’t dream of dropping in on them unannounced or constantly calling when we know they want some peace and quiet. I call my parents twice a week to check on them. They are both in excellent health. Am I supposed to account to them every single day? Why do they do this, and how can we get some peace while keeping the peace? – Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: You have two simple options: Either call your parents once a day to check on them and let them hear your voice, or turn your cellphones on vibrate and call them back when you feel like it. Both choices are perfectly reasonable. Many grown kids call their parents daily just as a kindness. We think it’s worth five minutes of your day to reassure your folks that you are OK – and to stop them from driving you nuts.