real life

Dilemma: I love my mum, but how do I stop the parental 'pop in'?

I have a moral dilemma. Recently, my mum has started to ‘pop by’ to my house unannounced. She doesn’t see a problem with it, but I find it rude and inconsiderate.

Last week, mum ‘popped by’ unannounced. Twice. The first time I was out and about shopping when I received a text message indicating that she was at my front door. No warning, nothing.

I felt really weird about it. I had things on that morning but instead had to cancel because, well, she was there. I bundled the kids up and went home wondering if there was something she needed to urgently discuss. Nope, just stopped by to say hello.

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The next time it happened was a few days later. I was out the back hanging washing on the line when I heard someone walking up the side path of my house. I turned around to see her there. I think for me this was a little worse because it wasn’t even like she was at the front door- she let herself in around the side gate, obviously feeling very comfortable entering our house.

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It was about 9 am on a Sunday morning and for us, it was a busy one. Literally minutes before she arrived we had tradespeople over quoting for repairs to the house and I had about 10 minutes to dress the children, pack lunches and bags before I needed to get out the door for an appointment.

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I felt rude that I couldn't offer a coffee or anything but at the same time, I also found it grossly arrogant to arrive at someones house at that time (or any time really) without at least checking they were home, didn't have plans or didn't have people over.

I would never simply turn up at someones house expecting that they would be home with nothing to do.

I have young children. Any mother of young children will tell you that you live, and die by the routine. I also work part time which means I use any spare second of available time to work or catch up on housework. I really don't have time for people to drop by during the day for a coffee and a chat.

I know that some people would say because she is family I should feel happy she is so comfortable to come around casually. The problem is though that my mother and I have never been close. In fact, there was a period of time where we didn't even speak for about a year and a half. When she is around, it's not like she is a doting grandmother happy to lend a hand with the kids. It's usually just me waiting on her, making endless cups of coffee and listening to on-repeat conversations about herself. At the best of times our relationship is one of tolerance and it's taken a long time for us to get to that place. Having her drop around to my house, my space so freely, frankly, is an intrusion.

However, I don't feel I can just tell her not to come around, especially at the moment. She suffers badly from depression and tends to rely heavily on those around her when she is going through a rough time. I know that right now is one of those times. She is lonely, depressed and desperately needing support. For this reason I just don't know how to say to her that I don't appreciate the unannounced visits. She is incredibly fragile and has at times, been suicidal. I know her feelings will be hurt if I say anything so what do I do?

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Do your parents drop by unannounced? How do you feel about it?