Monday, June 14, 2010

Conversations with my mother

My mother is staying with me for three weeks. (She lives in England, I live in the USA. We see each other two or three times a year; it's not nearly enough but ideally it should be in smaller chunks. Like a normal family.) Does anyone recognise the conversations? -

M (mum) - Don't eat dairy today.
Me - Why?
M - You had an upset stomach last night and my doctor said you shouldn't eat dairy.
Me - But I eat an Activia yoghurt every morning with no side effects, and erm, he's not my doctor.
M- Yes but you don't know what caused it. Anyway, it's none of my business.... . I'm just saying.

Me - Why did you pick the kettle up?
M - Nothing. (Isn't that what three year olds say when they're found out?)
Me - You were checking to make sure I hadn't put too much water in weren't you?
M - Well, it's a waste of water and electricity to boil too much. Not that it's any if my business......
Me - How do you know I don't want ten cups?

M - You do far too much you know.
Me - I'm fine.
M - It's no wonder you've got a sore throat.
Me - I caught it from the boys. This is what they had last week.
M - You need some Paracetamol and a lie down.
Me - They don't sell it here and I don't have time.
M - There you see. I'm just saying....

M - You don't eat nearly enough.
Me - I'm hardly wasting away.
M - What did you have for breakfast. A yogurt isn't enough.
Me - I'll eat a banana in a minute.
M - It's no wonder you're not well. I'm just saying......

We're not griping at each other all the time you understand, but isn't it funny how you revert back to your familial roles when together?



  1. Oh my word, I can SO relate to this. My mom is visiting here in Peru from the US. She's been here for nearly 6 months. And we've been having very similar conversations.

    She's supposed to fly out this coming Sunday - on Spirit. I love my mom, but sweet hominy, PLEASE let this strike be over quickly!

  2. Well I just saying.........
    Ha ha.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  3. So true. What I also find interesting is the way that my brother and I revert to being 14 as soon as we step over the threshold of the family house. When we meet (without the parents) on outside territory we are normal functioning adults, if the parents are around or we are back home it is stroppy teenage war all over again - in seconds!

  4. I'm with pants as soon as me and my sister are with our parents we revert to being teenagers in fact it was only a few years ago that we were both in teh back of their car without uor children and husbands and I could not believe it but we actually began to push each other about to get more room!!!

  5. When my mothervisits, I get her into a really good book (or 5) and a bridge game. That way we just don't speak until dinner time. Then she just wants to know what's in everything I'm cooking and
    constantly says," Oh what's that? We don't have that in America."
    "Chicken stock, mom and that's butter,"

  6. OMG don't get me started lol!

    And you're so right, smaller chunks are much more do-able!

  7. That is hilarious! I have my MIL staying at the moment and she prefaces with "I don't mean to interfere but .." I love her to bits but smaller chunks would be far better than 3 weeks.

  8. I will come back and comment as soon as I have stopped laughing enough to be able to type something sensible.
    *falls off chair smirking whilst recalling similar anecdotes*

    LCM x

  9. Just so you know paracetamol is sold in the USA. They call it "acetaminophen" you can get a generic version of it at Walgreens and the like.

    I can relate to your story too well.

    I had a cold when my born in the UK, now and Aussie Mother came to visit me (I am an Australian now living in the USA) and she insisted the only thing that would help me was paracetamol. She ended up with the pharmacist at the local Walgreens having to make a bunch of phone calls to find out what she was talking about.

    We also had more than our fair share of conversations that went like yours. Topped off with her near hysteria when I turned right on a red light.

  10. This was really funny--I could so relate (along with every other expat out there, I'll bet). Smaller chunks of time is just more normal, easier to cope with for both sides. For me, its my dad and I. But we do try very hard to give each other space because after all these years we know what it can get like (I'll bet you and your mum do the same)!

  11. I feel for you - I really do.

    I do a similar dance with my mother-in-law, only we have to be more subtle, being not directly related.

  12. Funny you should mention kettles - my mother in law and I have an ongoing war over the kettle - she hates the fact it whistles and turns the whistle off, whilst I sneak out early and turn it back on so I know when my kettle has boiled - so childish but very satisfying when the whistle goes off! When I hear my non expat sister in laws muttering about having my parents for a weekend I have to zip up the instinctive reaction which is "weekend - half your luck, try 6 weeks" but in reality I do love the living in a family commune state we all relax into after the first week.

  13. yada, yada, yada, thats ya mudda!!

    saz x

  14. Yep, you're 12, she's 35. It never changes until the day she dies.

  15. I loved this post. My mother just visited us in England from the US. We know that there is trouble when she is silent. That means she has something important to say!

  16. This is hysterically funny...and so true! Are you eavesdropping on my convos with my mom?

  17. Just to buck the trend now, I think I'm the moaning/interfering one when my mum and I get together! When I go back to Newcastle to see her, it's me who despairs at what crap she's bought on "I-Buy" telly shopping that she tries to farm off on me - how many more barbecue tongs, gardening gloves and bloody useless gadgets does a woman need!
    Love her to bits though!

  18. Expat, thanks for stopping by my blog! And no need to feel bad. I love this post. remember, I am missing my mom, while yours is visiting. If mine were visiting, I might have a post just like yours, which by the way shows a very loving relationship between mom and daughter. A sense of humor makes it all possible! Thanks again.

    Love your expat sensibility, btw, as I, too was raised in the british educational system and am having to tranfer that frame of reference to raising kids in America. I find myself doing mental conversions: Okay, eighth grade, that's second form...etc.

  19. We used to live next door to my parents, and it worked out much easier I can tell you, as we saw eachother most days but perhaps only for a couple of moments some days, and we were never in the situation of having to spend hours or days - or weeks - together!

  20. I agree with your mum on every point........I'm just saying........ LOL

  21. Love this! I have very similar conversations with me own dear mum!

  22. AAAH. You'll miss it when she's gone. She's just looking after you Lx

  23. So familiar.....and encouraging to know that it's the norm. I'm heading back to Blighty and Mum's place on Tuesday, so I'd better prepare myself! The moment I get back my in-laws arrive, so I'm looking at the next 5 weeks filled with conversations like these!

  24. Ah yes I know these conversations. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to act like an adult around my mother instead of a sulky 14 year old. If you will, an excerpt from Thursday.

    Mom: You have dirt on your neck?
    Elizabeth: You mean my birthmark?
    Mom: It looks like dirt. Are you sure it's a birthmark? Have you ever talked to a dermatologist about it?
    Elizabeth: Didn't you give birth to me? Why do you bring it up every time I see you? Did you forget the last 5000 times I told you it was a birthmark?
    Mom: I was in labor for 18 hours, I was too tired to notice.
    Elizabeth: Yeah, but that wasn't like the last time we met.
    Mom: Are you sure, because I'm pretty sure I would raise children to not get fresh with me.
    Elizabeth: Whatever, that would be much more convincing if I were an only child or, you know, if you could say that with a straight face.


The more the merrier....

Blog Archive