13 Jun
Stop the Parent Guilt Trips

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have a twin sister who lives two hours away from my parents. I live five hours away from my parents. My sister goes and visits them a lot… for holidays, special occasions and the occasional Saturday. I am not able to attend most of these functions as I live further away.

However, every time my sister plans to go visit, I get an email from my father demanding my attendance. Usually I just say I have plans, but I feel guilty every time for not making the drive to go see my family.

I want to try to think of a nice way to say that I am only able to come up occasionally without it seeming like I don’t care or don’t want to participate in family events. I want them to understand it’s just a distance thing.

How do I do this? Or should I just tell my sister to stop going over there so much and get a life?

Sincerely,

The Evil Twin

________________________________

Dear Evil Twin,

Can I just call you Jessica Wakefield? Oh wait, you’ve never read the Sweet Valley High books?!  That actually might be your bigger problem but whatever, we’ll focus on your issue with your parents.

Do you know how long five hours is?! It’s not all that far. It’s less than two Gilligan tours and you don’t get stuck on some island with that know-it-all professor. Five hours is about how long it would take you to run a marathon and you get to just sit in the car and listen to the radio or a book on tape (Sweet Valley Confidential perhaps?). It’s certainly not a bad trip for a holiday or special occasion.

But I’m getting the feeling that this might not always be about the distance. Perhaps you just don’t want to see your family as much as your twin. And that’s okay. But just because she likes to go home frequently doesn’t mean she needs to “get a life.”  If you don’t want to be judged for not going home, then maybe you shouldn’t judge her for going home.

So where are we, Jessica? Oh right. How to deal with your parents. You need to let them know that it doesn’t feel great to you when they demand you visit. They need to stop expecting you to show up every time she does. Reiterate your love for them, your desire to see them and your commitment to finding a quality nursing home with cable for them when the time comes.

They will in all likelihood continue to lay on the guilt. Because they gave birth to you and dedicated their lives to you, that sort of thing. But just remind them they are lucky you’re not one of the Menendez brothers and you’ll see them over the 4th of July.

Signed,

Kelcey, TMH

(This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.)

12 Responses to “Stop the Parent Guilt Trips”

06.13.12#1

Comment by LrkMrk.

I think you are missing the obvious solution: Every other visit, your twin will be “you.”

Wendi Reply:

Sheer brilliance.

KatesOwnRants Reply:

Perfect. Diabolical and hilarious; I love it.

Kelcey Reply:

Forget everything I just wrote and do that!! Brilliant.

06.13.12#2

Comment by StephanieG.

Turn the tables on them. Invite them down to see you, and let them see just how tough a 5-hour drive can be.

Ten hours round trip just to hang out on a Saturday is a long haul. Maybe they just don’t appreciate how long your trip is.

Meredith L. Reply:

Just be careful with this one. We now have a newborn and a preschooler, so I told our families in no uncertain terms there would be absolutely NO 3-hour flights for us for all of 2012. I thought this meant we’d get a break, but instead my parents bought us a new sleeper sofa and booked themselves EIGHT trips up to visit this year.

At least when we go to visit them we get to control how often we go and how long we stay for. Lesson learned.

red pen mama Reply:

Ouch.

Cate8 Reply:

Brilliant.

06.13.12#3

Comment by Plano Mom.

You could move to Texas, where you can live in the same state and still be 14 hours away. Five hours is a long weekend, minimum. It is next to impossible to make it in a two-day trip, much less in a single day.

And tell you parents you prefer to visit when your sister is NOT there, so that you don’t overwhelm them with so much family at once. Because it really is ALL ABOUT THEM.

06.13.12#4

Comment by red pen mama.

I do think you need to leave your sister out of it. How she chooses to spend her time is up to her. But, yes, you have to find a way to let your parents know that you are visiting as often as is convenient and comfortable for you. You’ve flown the nest, and they need to accept that. I think if you see them for major holidays, they need to cut you some slack. The trick is to be diplomatic about it.

Or, you know, what the first commenter said.

06.13.12#5

Comment by rojopaul.

I just want some advice on how it was that you and your twin moved 3 hours away from each other (assuming it’s 2 hours for her to visit your parents and 5 hours for you to visit). I can’t get my husband to leave California because his twin brother is still here (and living 5 miles from us). But that’s another topic… (sigh)

06.17.12#6

Comment by Avprobeauty.

My aunts and grandmother live three hours away and I always visit them, even when its not a holiday. They never visit me though so if they ask me when Ill be up again I just say ‘Soon, when will you come visit me?’. I hate driving three hours each way, it takes a lot out of you after working all week and only having the weekend to see fam but I do it.

Five hours is best spent for holidays. Maybe take a three day weekend every three months to see them and coordinate with your sis. This way youre making more of an effort but will still be sane : )

Consider Checking Out...