Adapted from an online discussion.
Question: I rarely get a phone call from my mother - maybe once every several months - and never get an e-mail. I'm lucky if she "likes" a Facebook post or sends a text. I've tried calling and e-mailing but usually get no response. She says she's eager to visit and be a grandmother to my kids, but I don't see a lot of effort.
For what it's worth, she divorced my father a few years ago and is trying to have a second adolescence (ditching family for parties, talking of little besides partying and drinking, texting while driving with my children in the car, etc.).
Yes, I realize this is deeper than a tendency to text, but I can't even make the first steps toward repairing our relationship if all I get is a "like" once in a while. What do you think?
Answer: You say: "I can't even make the first steps toward repairing our relationship if all I get is a 'like' once in a while."
I say: You can't even make the first steps toward repairing your relationship if your mom won't admit and seek treatment for her drinking problem and the emotional problems underlying it.
Q: I know there's a ton of baggage my mother is carrying, and I don't understand all of it. But she's my mom and I love her and I want her to be happy. And I want to have a relationship. I just don't know how to go about it. She won't seek treatment and I know she really thinks she has done nothing wrong. I guess I just know life is short and I don't want to regret not repairing the relationship while I had the chance.
A: Of course, I don't question your motives. But you also need to be realistic about how much of that repair job is really under your control. Al-Anon might be a good next stop for you. Also, as many have written in to say, don't let Mom drive your kids anymore. Her judgment is too compromised.
Q: Thank you for calling this situation what it is. I've always known my mom has a drinking problem and said as much to my dad a few years ago, but I pushed it out of my mind.
In short, my mother has issues due to a trauma years ago that I don't know the specifics of (she said something in anger to me as a teenager but didn't elaborate). No, I haven't let her drive with my kids in the car since the texting incident and I never let her spend time with them without my supervision.
A: For more information, try the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services substance abuse referral and information line, 1-800-662-4357.