Motivating Mom: Part III

Motivating Mom: Part III

First, an apology.


I’m sorry.

I’m going to bring up the shoes. You know the ones.

I also apologize for everything else.

Your Baby Girl

*  *  *

A little back story on my relationship with my mom.

We get along great! We have so much fun together! My husband loves her, and she loves my husband!

And sometimes, I want to kill her.

Ok, so now that I’m in my thirties, I rarely want to kill her, but it does happen. I’ve learned to manage those emotions by learning how to manage my mother. The last time I really wanted to kill her was when I was planning the wedding the day after the wedding of the century: my own.

In the beginning, I would lob an idea towards my mom, thinking it was a meat ball and she was going to hit it out of the park. Instead, it would land with a thud at her feet. And she would say, “I don’t know. That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

A few things that didn’t sound like good ideas:

  • Getting married in April (it will rain)
  • Getting married outdoors (it will rain)
  • Having the rehearsal dinner at the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club (that’s weird)
  • Having brunch at Island Way Grill in Clearwater (that’s too far)
  • Purchasing shoes that fit (Please see exhibit A: my mother Velcroing her shoes to her hose because her shoes did not fit.)

Over the course of planning the wedding, I learned something about my mom. She didn’t necessarily believe all these ideas were bad. She just wanted choices, and she wanted to be the one to pick the best option. So wedding planning became a game for me, a verbal rock-paper-scissors, where if presented correctly, rock always won. The conversation would usually go something like this:

Me: Hey Mom. Here’s what I found out. Option A is ok. Option B is pretty good. But Option C is amazing. I don’t know, though. I can’t decide. What do you think?

Mom: [Hem. Haw.] Well, Option B looks nice, but I really think we should go with Option C.

Me: Great choice Mom! Thanks so much for helping me decide!

See what I did there? It was obvious Option C was the way to go, but I let my mom be the one to make the decision.

I approached the research for our trip the same way I approached planning the wedding. After I initially recoiled from my mom’s request for a coach tour, I began doing my homework, and I found some smaller tours that might marry my love for independent travel with her wish for a tour operator, as well as provide sanity for us both. But knowing my mom would never swing at the first pitch, I pulled all the information I could gather into a crazy little spreadsheet we’ll dub “The Sheet.”

On The Sheet, I compiled the names, prices, modes of transportation, travel dates, and itineraries of multiple tour operators, and then casually sent them to my mom asking which one she liked best.

It was Option C, natch.

It only took about six months, but at long last, my mother made her choice! After some back and forth with the tour operator about dates, I emailed my mom to let her know I’d be sending in the deposit and looking at flights.

A short time later, the phone rang, and on the other end, a breathless mother.

“Are we really doing this?” she exclaimed between giggles. “Are we really going to Ireland?!”

At this point, I’m a bit confused.

We’ve been talking about the trip for months. I did all the research. We picked the trip. And I was about to send in the deposit.

Then I realized, this was huge for her. I’ve only known my mom to travel outside North America twice in my lifetime. For her, talking about traveling was normal. But actually pushing the button and going? This was a big deal.

I smiled and said, “Yes, mom. We’re actually going. Now get off the phone so I can pay the deposit.”

4 thoughts on “Motivating Mom: Part III

  1. I remember watching her assemble the shoes and the hose and the velcro and thinking . . . hmmm, that is really happening – and I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut.

    1. I’m so glad someone documented the moment. Someone also gave me a picture of all my mom’s college friends pointing at her shoes while she’s hugging someone. Totally not staged.

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