ASK ALMA: Mother made a mess of our family


Dear Alma,

I am the oldest of my mother’s children and have taken care of our family for most of my life. My mother started having children early, was married and divorced several times and has really made a mess of our family. Because of this, we haven’t had the best of relationships. She is often begging for something and constantly bringing me problems to fix. Because of my mother’s lifestyle, we were raised by different relatives at different times in our lives, but luckily we were always together.

I have three brothers and a baby sister and everyone is very close for the most part. Fortunately, we all are doing well, a few with college degrees while the others have sound, reliable longtime employment. We all live fairly close to one another, and I just recently moved into a new condo that’s closest in proximity to my mother. I love my new place and I’m finally at a stage in my life that I’m relaxing into what I feel is a positive space to live and not be stressed out. I don’t mind helping my mother or my family but sometimes it can be overwhelming.

My mother recently asked me about my new place and for my new address, but I didn’t give it to her. I just don’t want her to have. I don’t want her to just drop by to visit whenever she pleases, bringing me her sad stories because I just don’t want to hear it anymore. My sister says that’s wrong. I’m tired of arguing with her and would be interested in advice from an outsider. What do you think?

Hmmm, I think, unless your mother is the cat burglar, she should have your address. I hear your reasoning and quite frankly it doesn’t matter if I agree or not, it’s the principle of the problem that prevails.

She’s your mother, she should know exactly where you live. Mind you, if she comes over unexpectedly or uninvited, you are not obliged to answer the door. That goes for your mama and anyone else you may not want to entertain on any given moment. But yes, you should, barring injury or any unforeseen crisis, provide your address to your mother.

This bigger fish in this fountain-full-of-foolishness, is why in the world would you just not want your mom to know where you live? What has happened that you don’t trust her knowing where you reside? Rewind those ties that bind and drop the drama at the door. Head over to your mom’s house, right now, with an index card including your new address and essential contact information.

We all clench burdens, have made and continue to make mistakes while carrying our hurts in our handbag. This is shameful, silliness, line dancing beside stupidity. Shake it off sister and get a life.