Prospective mom worries about long-distance help

Dear Amy: I’m currently five months pregnant.

My parents live in India, while my husband and I live on the East Coast of the U.S.

It was understood that my parents would come over a month before my due date and stay with us for about five months to help out.

Last month, my mom stopped answering my phone calls. When I finally spoke to her, she was very angry and offensive. She also told me that she will stay with me for only three months. She seemed very angry.

I don’t think that it is her responsibility to care for my baby, but all this took me by surprise and hurt me. It also forced me to look for daycare at relatively short notice.

She has since calmed down, and now seems excited about the baby, concerned about my health, and so on. But now I’m constantly on edge, thinking her anger might return.

I guess that her mental health is affected due to COVID-related restrictions on leaving the house.

She has complained a lot about how upsetting these restrictions have been.

Can you shed light on this and/or give pointers on how to handle it?

– A

Dear A: It is safe to assume that yes your mother’s mental health has been affected by the pandemic.

It can be hard to think of others when you are looking toward your own joys and challenges, but one of the biggest lifts of motherhood is how it can expand your compassion and patience toward others. Let this happen to you.

You should arrange all of your childcare needs to the best of your ability in advance, assuming that the pandemic might interrupt your mother’s best-laid plans to be with you. In the meantime, if she is distressed or grouchy, you should understand her very real worries about herself, about you, and about other relatives and friends she has at home.

According to news reports, India is currently in a state of flux. Some areas seem to be opening, others are locking down, and virus variants are popping up, as the population awaits vaccine distribution.

Do your very best to support your mother’s efforts to travel to be with you but understand that – depending on the course of the pandemic, or other factors at home – it might not be possible.

Trust that this prospective grandmother will turn over heaven and earth to be with you as soon as she is able.

Dear Amy: I am a 62-year-old man who recently ended an 11-year relationship with my live-in partner.

Just prior to the pandemic, I brought my frail mother to live with us.

The stresses of this 24/7 care, coupled with COVID and my partner working from home were more than our relationship could bear.

As it is her home, she recently asked me to leave and I reluctantly placed my mother in a nursing home. I’m happy to say that she’s doing quite well there.

My ex and I still communicate daily, and she often mentions that she "wants me in her life," but has no interest in cohabiting.

I’m a skilled renovator and continue to perform jobs for her at her request. I’ve expressed my desire for a reconciliation, but she has no interest in that, while telling me she "loves" me. I find this mixed message confusing.

Am I wasting my time holding out hope for a reconciliation? Am I being taken advantage of?

She is a psychologist with an intimate knowledge into the working mind, which only serves to add to my confusion on her stance.

– Canadian Fan

Dear Fan: I don’t see these messages as "mixed": She wants to reconcile; she does not want you to move back in.

I hope you continue to see this as an opportunity to communicate about any future you might have as a couple, but if you are performing home repairs mainly in the hopes that she will want you to move back in with her, then come to my house!

Dear Amy: Reflecting on the terrible example offered by a middle-grade teacher who held a popularity contest which excluded three students ["Sad Colorado Mom"], when I was in middle school, on the first day our teacher "tested" us and put us into three groups: One, Two, Three. Guess what happened to the kids in Group 3?

Relentless taunting.

– Disgusted

Dear Disgusted: This letter prompted scores of readers to send in their own middle school memories. Few of them are good ones.