Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Planning a solo trip but worried about Mom's reaction

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn!

My mom was always strict and overprotective. I wasn't allowed to do a lot of things that other kids my age were doing growing up.

Now I'm 37 and know this stems from anxiety. I'm planning my first solo trip and I'm very excited about it, but I hate the thought of telling my mom. I want to give her enough time to get used to the idea, but I'm dreading the months of hearing about everything that could possibly go wrong and trying to talk me out of it.

She has serious boundary issues and will expect me to manage her anxiety, but I know it's not mine to manage. Plus I have some anxiety of my own, and adding hers on top of it can be too much (I'm in therapy).

I know I can't change her reaction, so how do I handle the next few months? Any advice is much appreciated!


-- Solo

Wait a minute. Why do you have to "give her enough time to get used to the idea"? It's not her trip; it's not your job to manage her anxiety -- as you say yourself; and it's going to cost you dearly over these next few months to do so. So, why do that to yourself?

And, why do that to her? For someone with anxiety, advance notice usually means just more time to worry. Let's say your trip is a week long and you tell her about it the day before you leave (which I don't recommend either, by the way; this is just a hypothetical). That's eight days of stress for your mother, and one lousy conversation for you. Hold that up beside the months of mutual agitation and inappropriate risk-haggling, and it's an easy call. Less is more.

If you were traveling with your mother, and your mutual ability to enjoy the trip hinged on a carefully managed rollout of the itinerary and other arrangements, then, OK -- I could see giving her some adjustment time.


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