Well, it’s been about a year since my post regarding me exercising more patience with my mom, and I’d like to share my experience with it. To recap, back in December 2014, I complained to Mom that I didn’t want to hear about what shows or movies she was watching on Netflix, but about her and she snapped at me during a December visit that “This is me!” I posted about this visit and the changes I’d subsequently made in my February 10 post entitled Patience and My Parent.
So, for the last year, I’ve exercised patience when dealing with Mom, and I’ve reaped benefits from it. The biggest one is that nearly all our conversations this year have been enjoyable for me. Even, surprisingly, the political discussions (for the most part). I’ve also learned to speak up when our topic starts to make me edgy or angry or upset and ask for a change of subject, which Mom has always been happy to agree to. Previously, it was all I could do to convince myself to chat with her only once or twice a week, and frequently, those chats were half an hour or shorter, and I almost always ended them feeling stressed and in desperate need of calming down. Since beginning with exercising patience with Mom, my stress level with these chats has gone down, and the calls have lengthened and become frequent enough I’m calling Mom at least once almost every day, and frequently spending at least an hour on the phone with her over the duration of at least one of those calls.
Something I wasn’t expecting to help so much with my stress level is asking Mom to change topics. I spent the first part of the year afraid to ask for topic changes, but when things started to get heated about politics back in October, I gently interrupted Mom and asked if we could change subjects. Mom didn’t even pause to ask why I wanted to do this; I think she recognized that it was upsetting me. She promptly started in on another topic and our conversation continued as if we hadn’t just broken off an intense subject, and I was able to calm down and enjoy the remainder of the chat. Since then, I’ve been much more willing to ask for a topic-change if I feel myself getting uptight or angry or frustrated with a particular subject we’re discussing, and Mom has, every time been willing to change the topic without question.
Something that helped a great deal with our discussions was hooking Mom up with Bryce’s dog in April. I recognized after Poopie’s (her previous dog) death in November 2014, that Mom had slipped into depression. She wasn’t getting out of the house very often, and had fallen into vegetating in front of the TV. I think I was understandably concerned for her. I wrote about this in my 21 April 2015 post, My Mom + Bryce’s Dog. This introduction started off rocky; the dog, whom Mom renamed Mei Ling, had not been properly socialized because she’d been a shelter dog most of her life, and Bryce had little energy for taking her out to be with other dogs. Mei Ling is a stubborn, vocal, excitable dog, and Mom had never had such a dog before, so she spent the first two or three months struggling to introduce some discipline into Mei Ling’s life. It was very difficult for Mom, who at first didn’t understand Mei Ling, but they got through it. Mei Ling’s been living with Mom just over 8 months now and they’re both happy, healthy, and attached to each other.
So Mom and I are getting along much better these days. I’m enjoying my chats with her, and I’m sure she appreciates me calling her so frequently. This really is the better way to do things, and I’m glad Mom and I had that brief discussion back in December 2014 that led me to making this decision to be more patient with her.