The Struggle Of Trying To Help My Mum
As I’ve said before in “Awkward Phone Call With My Mum About My Childhood“, it was a pain trying to organise my mum’s visit. It’s a real struggle trying to help my mum. So, of course, there were going to be more issues around having to contact my mum before she comes down for the weekend.
On the run up to my mum coming down to visit (Let The Battle Begin: My Weekend With My Mum), I called her to check she’d sorted the list of things we agreed she’d do when I last called her: she can be pretty useless with doing the stuff she needs to do. Had she done any of them? No.
Over the course of the last few months, I’ve looked up information for my mum and then emailed her about it. I also reminded her to check the information I sent and to choose which options were best for her. But she still hadn’t even looked at the emails containing all the information she needed.
My mums being ripped off by Virgin Media with a broadband and TV package she doesn’t need. They’ve convinced her to be on one of there fastest download speed packages and charging her for what is essentially Freeview channels, costing her over £44 a month.
So I found her a number of broadband deals that better suits her actually internet requirements, which is basically nothing. I also checked her TV was a smart TV that had access to all the Freeview channels she’s paying Virgin Media for. All she needed to do was tune the channels in, so I told her to look through the TV manual to figure out how to do that. I’ve been telling her for months to get this sorted out, but has she done anything about it yet? No.
She also wants her first smartphone, so I asked her to practice using the tablet I got her when she was undergoing treatment for her cancer. She’s never used a smartphone before, and the phone she currently has I bought for in 2003. If she could figure out how to use the tablet, then I could figure out her needs and ability with a smartphone so I could sort one out for her, when she came to visit. Did she do that? No.
I asked her to ask her family and friends what networks they use so we could get an idea of which networks were good for where she lives. I refer to my home town as a mobile network blackhole. Just terrible network coverage. I don’t want to sort her to put her on the wrong network. Did she at least do that? No.
Because my grandad died a few months after my mum’s cancer diagnosis, it meant my mum lost her benefits to live on and instead has to live on the inheritance. This inheritance was also split equally between her and her many siblings. Due to this, I looked up advice for her about her benefits to try and retain as much of her benefits income as possible. However, she foolishly signed off before even checking any of what I found or talking to anyone else about what her benefit entitlements were. I still don’t think she’s looked at any of the information I got for her, and it’s been about 2 years now. She didn’t even go to Citizens Advice like I told her too.
Due to this inheritance, and my mum being unwilling to spend it on herself or give it to charity, so that she could get her benefits back, rather than living off the inheritance (because it won’t last that long), I found her a load of banking information so she could open some new savings accounts, bonds, etc. Has she looked at any of the banking information I found for her? Of course not, my efforts would be for nothing yet again.
I’ve tried talking to her about her options in regards to this inheritance numerous time, but she refuses to listen to me for some reason. Pretty much just sticks her fingers in her ears and goes “la la la, I’m not listening”.
I’ve never expected to inherit anything from my mum we’ve never had anything. We were so poor I use to bath in 2″ of water, we rarely had the heating on, etc. So I told her when she got the inheritance she would be better off spending most of it or giving it to charity in order to get under the threshold for her benefits. That would have allowed her to live off her benefits rather than her inheritance.
She’ll most likely never work again due to the damage her cancer did to her bones. Meaning she’ll burn through that inheritance in no time just paying her rent and bills. She could have done something nice for herself instead, like going on holiday or engaging in some charitable deeds. But no, that’s not what she wants to do.
What was I lucky enough to get rather than progress on all the stuff I’ve been trying to help her with? You guessed it (if you’ve read – Parental Avoidance), as is the norm with my mum, she talked about my personal situation forgetting all the realities of my health problems and forgetting all our previous conversations where I’ve had to correct her time and time again about my health problems.
Just what I needed the night before she was going to be coming down to meet me for the weekend.
The way she trivialises my mental and physical health problem really grinds my gears. She’s one of my biggest triggers for destroying my motivation and making me more depressed.
Knowing that she has the power over me, I still put myself in harm’s way to help her because if I don’t, she’ll just be taken advantage of. Just like what Virgin Media did. If someone’s not with my mum that knows about smartphones when she goes to get one, she will be tricked into getting something she doesn’t need.
Plus, if she gets a model I’m not familiar with, then it’ll make it harder for me to explain how to use it over the phone. It’s a real mission trying to explain even the most basic things to do with the tablet or her computer. I’d really like that not to be harder than it needs to be.
Virgin Media was able to con her because she didn’t even know her TV could be tuned in for the Freeview channels they were selling her. She also thought she needed this ridiculously fast broadband package to handle big Word and PDF documents. She didn’t understand the sheer difference in size between those documents and the size of files you’d need to be downloading to justify this superfast download speeds.
I just want to slap her and say:
What’s your experience like with helping your parents? Share your stories in the comments below, and if you want to stay updated on my blog, please subscribe to my newsletter.