Dear Amy: My mom has gotten very political over the last four years. She posts up to 25 articles a day on social media, each one containing commentary about how deranged, stupid, unethical, and/or ignorant the other side is.
While I lean toward the center, my views align toward the people she is calling deranged and stupid. She views “allowing” me to attend college as one of her greatest mistakes because they “brainwashed me” (I’m not even sure how that’s possible). This university is an academically great school that’s known to be at the other extreme of the political spectrum from her current position.
She also has regrets about my upbringing and not indoctrinating me toward her views.
I unfriended her on social media, as have many other family members who don’t want to see her ranting. Because of her extreme views, we have almost no relationship anymore.
Now, she’s telling people that she doesn’t understand why I’ve cut her off (she used to enjoy seeing my pictures on social media). She also mentioned to my sister that it’s sad that I won’t talk politics with her. She doesn’t see any correlation between her hourly rantings about how deranged my views are, and my not wanting to be around her.
Is there anything I can do? Am I wrong for not wanting to subject myself to this?
Dear Annoyed: My reaction is: Yep, you’re good!
Look at it this way: If your mother posted 25 times a day about knitting, or cats, or her LEGO projects — and then shamed you for not engaging with her specific interests at her volume and on her timetable, then you’d probably find it prudent to back away. This might be less about political ranting, then about ranting plus personal putdowns.
You’re making rational choices about distancing yourself from someone who seems to have lost interest in you as a person.
In addition to this rational distancing on social media, you should very politely decline to engage with others who want to pass along your mother’s views about you.
I do NOT think you should completely shut yourself off from your mother, however. I hope you will continue to contact her and attempt to engage in more neutral topics. (You could email her some of the same photos you are posting on social media.)
Nor do I think that you should declare politics off the table. However, if she escalates into “ranting,” you can say, “Well, Mom, I’ve enjoyed our conversation, but it looks like you’re done listening, so I’ll catch up with you later.”
Dear Amy: My husband and I now have our three young-adult children living with us — all refugees from living in densely populated cities where we all believe they would have been more at risk for contracting COVID-19.
We live in a suburban area and (so far) have not dealt with many severe cases of the virus in our county.
Our problem seems dumb, considering how serious things are right now but my husband and I are both working full time from our home offices, while our kids have all (unfortunately) been furloughed from their jobs.
We understand that they have all been very thrown by recent events, but overall — as a group — they aren’t stepping up at home.
I end my workday and enter the main part of the house to be greeted by three adults, all lounging and comfy, and waiting for dinner. The sink is full of snacking dishes. You get the picture.
What can we do to turn this around?
Dear Overworked: It’s time to have a family meeting. Because of the (so-far) fairly open-ended aspect of our mutual national confinement, you should all assume that it will last longer than you think. This is not a vacation. It is not spring break from college. This is real life.
Develop a chore chart. Ask people to volunteer for various tasks (including cooking dinner), on a schedule. Tell them all quite clearly that they have until 5 p.m. to lie in their own filth, but that at the end of each workday, you expect to emerge from your office into a tidy house.
Dear Amy: I got such a kick out of reading your “Best Of” column about two times when you were pranked!
One correction: The “Seinfeld” episode one prank letter was based on guest-starred Keith Hernandez. Hernandez never played for the Yankees (as you stated). He played for the Mets.
Dear Fan: That was an unforced error. Thank you!
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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