October 3, 2018


Hey Nikki! My mom is taking classes and ever since she started, she’s always staring at her computer screen. I tell her how it makes me feel but she always takes it the wrong way. I cry and cry, but no matter what I do, she never really takes the time to pay attention! I miss my Momma the way she was before going back to school! HELP!

Desperate Daughter

Hi Desperate Daughter,

This sounds like a big change for both of you. You’re used to having a lot more time and attention from your mom. And SHE’S used to having a lot more time and attention for you. That’s hard.

As much as we all complain about our moms, they do a LOT, right? Whether they work outside the house or not, in most families they’re wrangling everyone’s schedules and making sure lost things get found and people have clean clothes and everyone has food and siblings aren’t ripping each others’ hair out…

So if she’s decided she wants to go back to school, even with everything else she’s got going on, it must be really important to her! MOST likely she’s going back to school in order to qualify for a new kind of job. Which REALLY means that she’s doing it for the whole family, to help provide for the family’s needs. (She’s probably also thinking about how you’ll be in college before she knows it and someone will have to pay for that!)

Try to consider the big picture of WHY she’s doing this, if you can. And try to imagine how she feels when she’s trying to focus and you’re nagging her to spend more time with you. I don’t know if you have little siblings, but I’m guessing she feels something like I feel when I’m studying for a biology exam and Brianna is “helping” by reenacting the life cycle of a grasshopper all over my books.

But even if you understand WHY she’s working so hard, that doesn’t mean you don’t miss spending more time with your mom. I get that.

I think you should find a time to talk to your mom NOT when she’s studying and NOT when you’re in the middle of a crisis, but just a time when you are both calm and can listen to each other. You might need to tell her during mealtime or bedtime when you have a few minutes to talk to her about something important. Or, ask her when would be a good time.

When you do sit down to talk, try not to whine. She probably already feels guilty about not being able to spend enough time with you (and if you have siblings, then she has even more guilt). Tell her that you’re proud of how hard she’s working (and try to mean it). But tell her that you miss spending time with her.

Ask if there’s a way to plan for regular time together, even if it’s small. Maybe once a week you both get up a half hour earlier and have a quiet breakfast together before the rest of the house wakes up. Maybe you can both do your homework together. Maybe you can help her study in some way. Maybe there’s a way you could help more around the house, which would free up some more time for her to spend with you when she’s done studying.

It will mean a lot to your mom to know that not only do you want more of her time, but you’re willing to put some effort into making that happen.

How do you handle it when you want more time and attention from your parents? Tell us in the comments!