The Worst Day Ever: Why you shouldn’t try to cram all your mom’s appointments into one day

Have you ever taken the day off of work to shuttle your mom around town to doctor appointments, trips to the bank, a meeting with her lawyer, and grocery shopping? Do you do this regularly?

What about when you visit your father-in-law who lives out of state? Are your visits overrun with driving him to all the places he needs to go but can’t get to himself? Is it a three-day whirlwind of chores broken up by the occasional meal out?

These days aren’t fun for you or your aging parents.

Do you really need us to tell you why? Ok, here you go:

  • They want to relax and spend time with you. Whether you see your mom regularly or just a few times a year, she doesn’t want her time with you to be a long list of errands. Wouldn’t it be great to spend your time reminiscing and getting caught up on what’s happening in your lives instead of reading a magazine while you wait for her to finish her appointment?
  • They don’t want to feel like a burden. Your mom knows that it’s a pain for you to take time away from your life to chauffeur her around town and that doesn’t make her feel good. She wants you to spend time with her because you want to, not because you feel obligated to do so and there’s nobody else who will do it.
  • You don’t want to feel like their parent (and they don’t want that either). Sure, sometimes you have to be the bad guy and make your mom do something she doesn’t want to do. But it’s important to remember that your mom is an adult – and she has been since before you were born. She’s used to making her own decisions and running her own life. Let her maintain her independence to the extent possible (even if you don’t always agree with her choices). Often, this includes helping her create a schedule that works for her – not just for you.
  • Plans change. You (and your mom) would likely feel better if you had some flexibility. What happens if something comes up that changes your schedule – a meeting, your kid gets sick? What if Mom gets sick or isn’t feeling well and has to cancel? It’d be hard not to feel frustrated if you spent days getting your mom’s appointments organized perfectly only to find out the day before that she needs to cancel them all and reschedule.
  • It’s hard on them. Likely a day of running around town is more tiring for your mom than you realize. She’s not used to zipping from place to place and getting everything done at once. She prefers to have one outing per day, or maybe even every other day.
  • It’s something to do. It may be more convenient for you to get your mom’s errands run quickly, but she may not feel the same. If she’s at home by herself most of the time, she may prefer to space her appointments out to give her a reason to leave the house and interact with the outside world each day. She may enjoy having a reason to style her hair and put on a fun outfit, even if it’s just to go to the dentist. And she may want get dressed up tomorrow too!

Spacing appointments and errands out can make life a lot easier for your mom, but it may be more difficult for you. Before you plan the “worst day ever,” take some time to think about how days like this affect you, your mom, and your relationship with her. Ask yourself if this is really the best solution for everyone. If it isn’t, maybe it’s time to look into alternative options to get your mom to her appointments.

Then you can go back to being her daughter or son, instead of her chauffeur.