I have a precious 83-year-old mom that I care for and I feel like a real bitch with her and I don't know why!!!!!

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I am the only child of three that no longer has a spouse ..my kids are grown and moved out of the house, and I lived close, so I was the obvious choice to move in with my mother to let her stay in her own home. My problem? I shouldn't have any. She is sweet, complimentary, kind to me, has her mind, does the laundry and dishes, cares for her own hygiene and loves me very much. I love her very much, also, but she drives me crazy. I have been living with her for three years. I work in retail, so my hours are a bit crazy, but never over 40 hours a week. We have enough money to be simply comfortable. She was my only parent after their divorce for 4 years, so she cared for me as a teenager, on her own. We have always been pretty close and my siblings have always considered me her favorite. So what do I possibly have to gripe about? I don't know!!! I take care of her needs outside of the house, ya know, the doctor visits, the hospital visits, if she wants to go get something for herself. I do all the driving, by my request, she gave up her lincense. I just feel so closed in. I go nowhere, except work..I have no other life outside of her. There are no siblings close to care for her if I want to go spend time with my kids. One of them will step up for me, but then I can't see all my sons at the same time. I just feel the walls closing in on me. For everything she does that gets on my nerves, I can justify it because I am all she has, close by. I love her with all my heart or else I wouldn't be here..but I know I will feel so guilty if anything happens to her. I have even gotten to the point when she goes in the hospital, I enjoy my time alone. This is not right. I don't want her to die, but sometimes I think of my life without her, and I get a bit blissful..another thing not right. I joke about some of the things that drives me crazy and I am sure people think I am cruel...but joking relieves some of the stress. When I am off of work, I don't want to do anything, so I sit in my chair and watch TV with her until it is time to go to bed. I enjoy going to my room, but don't because she doesn't understand me just wanting to get away. So I wait until she goes to her room and just sit real quiet so I don't wake her, and enjoy my little bit of time alone. She would give me the world if she could....so what is my problem? People tell me to get away for awhile. Where? I don't have the ability to just jump in a car and go, besides, where would I go and then I would worry about her the whole time I was gone. I am just having a hard time sorting out my feelings and when I do...where do I put them? If most people saw my life, they would really wonder what my problem was, but then I am not sure what my problem is, either. I am really starting not to enjoy my life at all. I know one thing that bothers me...I am living here for her to die in her own home. What a terrible way to put it..but it is the truth. Well thanx for letting me vent my little problems..I know there are so many out there who are dealing with some very big things, and I am one of the fortunate ones to have it so good. So if I sound like a whiner...well I must be, I can't figure out why I am feeling this way...I just am.

9 Comments

Cwgrl, There is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling. We all get that way from time to time even though we love the one we are caring for. I say give yourself more recognition for what you are doing. Even though your Mother isn't in really bad shape you are still letting your whole life revolve around her needs and wants.

Honey take a little time out for your wants and needs also. If you can't get away right now for a trip, then start taking a few hours out here and there and get out of the house. Go do something good for yourself. Go walk around a store if nothing else. Go see a movie. And please feel free to go into your room when you need some alone time. We all need that. I've been taking care of my Dad for 4 yrs. now and at one point I got to feeling exactly how you described yourself feeling. I had to learn to do the things I'm suggesting and now when I do spend time with Dad I can think up fun things to do together and enjoy it. There are times when I've had to say "Dad I really need some alone time" it about killed me to learn to tell him that but he would follow me into my room to just hang out with me while I was at my computer. I was feeling so boxed in also. A couple of times he even got mad and stormed out of the room and I had to pray about not giving in or apologizing for needing this alone time. He got over it quickly and started to become more considerate of my needs. I say you're a wonderful daughter to move into your Moms house even if it was easier for you than it would have been for your siblings, you still did it. Here's some friendly advice.. recognize you are human and your needs are just as important as your Mothers. I hope this helps you. *Hugs*
You have children. Do you love them more than anything in the world? While you were raising them would you have sacrificed anything for their welfare? Did you do your utmost to take care of their needs and provide some of their wants?

And were there days (sometimes many days at a stretch) when you felt the walls closing in on you? When everything they did got on your nerves? When you wondered where to go to resign from motherhood?

You are doing what you want to do, because you love your mother. This was a choice. Good for you! But that doesn't mean it has to consume your whole life. Reread cricketinafp's advice.

Did you raise your kids without ever using a babysitter, without ever leaving them at Gramma's or as they got older without ever leaving them alone? No matter how much you love somebody, not matter how responsibile you feel for their welfare, you also have to have some "me" time -- you have to take care of your needs and wants, too.

You are a great daughter. Please do not try to be a martyr.

cwgirl. I get it. Most of us here do. Nothing to feel bad about.
Your Mom sounds awesome! And thats part of the problem! Were she a real pain now, or had she treated you badly or indifferently in your younger years, you would have excuses about hating the situation you are now in. heres the thing . . . most of us here are grown women with adult children of our own - to find ourselves again in the 'daughter' role, however pleasant Mom, seems unnatural. We've regressed to a role we had years ago, instead of assuming the role we expected to have now - wise old Mom, doting grandmom, maybe spending time with old girlfriends shopping or vacationing or getting our nails done. Sigh . . .

I have had this vision in my head for many years where me and my besties, (once we had outlived our husbands), would find a lovely place together and do the Golden Girl thing - supporting one another both economically and socially, through our golden years.

But back to you. Would it be possible for you to once again live nearby but not with Mom? Does budget permit this?

Would it be possible - since Mom is lucid and mobile - for her to go for an extended visit at the home of a sibling - and then perhaps another? if you have a good relationship with the siblings, NOW is the time to go and talk to them. To tell them you regret having moved in with Mom, that you need time and space to yourself, and to find out if they would be willing to actively help you with her care.

Since there is (not yet) any care issues like changing diapers, bathing, etc, perhap they will agree - and if you need to make up a little white lie to make it happen, so what? Maybe you say you need to go to a work related training thing, or an out of town friend needs you to help her for a while.

You need NOW to prepare for the time to come when you truly will not have the freedoms you can still enjoy.

I have 3 wonderful daughters, and we have always had a great relationship - but I can't even imagine how we would get along if we HAD to live with one another now. You might even find your Mom feels the same way -and that she is just being nice.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Please don't forget that your life is every bit as important as your Moms.
You have gotten great advise so far. I too went thru this as well. My mother has Dementia so she needed help with EVERYTHING! I became so overwhelmed with the stress of caretaking. I was being pulled 3 ways: a wife, a mother, and a caregiver. I could barely go to the bathroom without being needed for something. I hit bottom about a yr ago. I have finally after 2 1/2 yrs learned how to prioritize my duties. Trust me it wasn't easy and somedays is still overwhelming. You need to find sometime alone now while your mother is still able to help herself.

Don't ever feel bad. Pat yourself on the back. You are a wonderful daughter for helping mom. Please find away to seperate yourself from your mother. Looking back on myself I wish I would have had a "plan" going in but you live and learn.

I hope you can find that moment to "breathe" and try to stick to it whenever you can.
Cwgrl, What I was trying to say is that you will feel so much more happier in your life if you make some time to reclaim it. Reclaim the part of yourself that is the inner you. Think about some of the things you used to like doing and make it a point to go do them.

I don't know if you're as bad as I was when I got to the same place as you are right now, but I used to feel like I was responsible for my Dad's happiness so I would feel guilty going off for a few hours without taking him. Once my own sense of self awareness slipped away from me I felt sad, like I had no purpose to live other than to take care of everyone else.. It was very much the same way when we as women put ourselves on the back burner for years while attending to our Husbands, Children, home etc., our whole life revolves around their activities and needs. After years of this we are left wondering "who the hell am I", we lose all of our sense of "me" and "my".

I am so glad you posted your feelings here because I could tell you are so emotionally beaten down. You are very much like your Mother in that you show love and attention to your family. Then when something just doesn't feel right we naturally tend to think that there is something wrong with us. It doesn't matter though how good of a person you are or try to be, you can lose yourself in the process. And that is what causes the sadness and feelings of irritation to set in. What your going through feeling like there is something wrong and you have no reason to legitimately feel that way because your Mom isn't that bad, is true. Your Mom isn't that Bad at all, in fact she is wonderful just like you said. Your feelings of frustration and irritation toward your Mom is normal. Your relationship with your Mom is not the problem. The problem is that your own relationship to yourself is being neglected. The way you are feeling is just your inner self telling you "hey, I'm still here to girly, don't forget me! Also your inner self is the part of you that is irritated at your Mom because she is getting everything from you at her expense. You show love to everyone else, your Mom, your siblings so now how about showing yourself the same love by caring for your needs. It might be true that your brothers or sisters are all caught up in their lives and have responsibilities and can't do the same as you do for your Mother but they owe it to you to help you figure out a way to get some worry free relief. You are just as important as they are. You're better in my opinion. LOL (sorry for the long post, I just had to get that all out) *Hugs*
What a wonderful mom you have, and what an awesome daughter she has!!! As has been shared, what you are feeling is normal, normal for the situations we are in.... and it has also been shared how easy it is to get lost... and for me, knowing this is my choice only adds to my problems sometimes... but if I got myself here, then I can get myself somewhere else... I can rethink my situation and make some adjustments..... and it sounds as if you can possibly talk with your mom about what is going on. Take some time to think about what and how you want to say it, then there is the possibility she will be very understanding.... you are an awesome daughter, and it is ok to feel what ever we feel... you have stepped out of your comfort zone and will make some great friends on this sight.... I would be standing in traffic if it weren't for some of the awesome friends I have made here... and the one thing they have given me that makes it all good, is laughter... just being able to laugh at silly things.... recently I was trying to get my internet hooked up, I had these phone numbers on a piece of paper... I called one, have no idea who it was, nor did they install internet.... called the next number and it was a friend of mine from this sight.... it was a crazy conversation at first, then when we realized what I had done, we laughed so hard our sides hurt..... only a friend in the same situatuon I am in would think any of that was funny..... so we both started the day with a great laugh, and the day went better for both of us... I don't recommend you get that confused, but at least it was someone who understood me.... hope you keep posting and making some great friends...... hugs across the miles to you...
It sounds like you need more separation from eachother. Can you divide your living space? Can you both begin more outside activities? There are so many adult daycare opportunities. Can you afford having in-home care even one evening a week while you take a class? I wonder if you need more stimulation in your life. Are you learning anything new? Do you have any life or career goals you are working toward? If not, then mom may be aggravating a larger problem. You keep struggling with why you aren't satisfied, well, why aren't you satisfied with your life? If you imagined your mom out of the picture, would you be satisfied with your career? your interests? your social life? BTW, you ARE rather wonderful for caring for your mom at home. Caveat: I am not in your position, so insert two grains of salt.
You hit that nail on the head when you wrote, "I joke about some of the things that drives me crazy and I am sure people think I am cruel...I am living here for her to die in her own home. What a terrible way to put it..but it is the truth." You feel bad because Mom is geting older and you are sad about it. She could be quite a few years away from dying or even needing more restrictive degrees of care, but you have no way to know. And when a situation is tough and you relieve stress with a little humor, maybe a little on the dark side, only a select group of other people who have been in the situation actually get it and laugh with you. You even feel bad for feeling bad. AND YOU GAVE UP YOUR OWN HOME for this! That's a huge sacrifice, and neither you nor anyone else should be taking that for granted. Some of the things that drive you crazy quite possibly could and should change. Your choices should not be to give up all your own wants and needs for an indefinite length of time OR give up being the caregiver who helps Mom have the best life possible. All any of us has is time, and all of us need some pleasure and joy in our daily life. I hope your Mom gets soem quality time with her grandkids too. My mom wanted nothing more than to be back in her own home, I can tell you that - it was not ever going to be possible, particularly not on her terms (no outside help coming on any regular basis), and the best we could do was move her to my city eventually, where at least those grandkid visits, whichwere just about the only tihng that ever put a smile on her face, could happen more than every few months or so.

Hey, God bless you and yours, you are doing a difficult but wonderful thing, and I pray it will end up being a great blessing for your whole family with no regrets.
cwgrl, sit your mom down and have a heart to heart with her. Ask her if she remembers how nice it was when you kids went to bed and she finally had some quiet time for herself. Tell her that's what you're experiencing how and put your heads together to come up with an answer you both can live with. She has her brains still, she's a nice pleasant person so far, so take advantage of that and talk to her. She can be your ally in this or your nemesis, I would choose ally.

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