I'm so disheartened and angry.

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I've posted before about in-law care-giving. Aged mother in law, lives in same town.


We are at the tail end of a visit from sister in law from several states away. Sister in law has been here for 3 weeks caring for her mother. A much welcome respite.


It had been discussed, prior to her arrival here on the scene, she would be talking it over with her mother, to try and get her mom to come up to her home, for a stay of maybe a few months.


This, in my opinion, is absolutely essential, as I am expecting twin grand-children, due in about 1 month (if they don't come sooner, as is the case a lot of times with multiples pregnancies). The expectant mother also lives locally here, and has a 4 year old daughter. I will be on that front, helping .. as much as is needed. And not on the front with mother in law and care-giving, and have made that as obvious and apparent as I know how to make it. It would be great if mother in law would agree to go to her daughter's home (several states away) for a period of a few months .. and allow me the latitude to put my energies where I want them to be, on my daughter who will have had a c-section .. and my grand-daughter (4 years old) and new twin babies.


Nothing doing. Mother in law has dug in her heels, and will not hear of it, going to stay with her daughter for any period of time.


What are her reasons?


In mother in law's defense ... her daughter ... I don't even know how to describe it. I will say that when her daughter comes here to visit, she all but breathes for her mother and if she could find a way to do that, she'd do that too. She is the most nervous nelly, never sit down - ever ... worry wart, do everything, all the time .. person that I've ever encountered.


A great example, as I was taking her to the airport yesterday for her departure, . I reached into the fridge to grab myself a bottled water and shut the fridge and turned to walk away, as I've done for all of my 50 plus years living on this earth .. and she said to me, "Oh make sure that fridge shut". WTH???? Like I don't know how to shut a fridge? That's just a small, very small slice of what she is ... how she is.


She is so very hyper-vigilant, seeing to every minute details down to it's finest most minuscule point, fine tooth comb, questioning every point along the way, "should we do thus and so, but maybe if we do thus and so, then such and such will happen, maybe we should do it thus and so .. but then so and so might happen, maybe we shouldn't do thus and so, but do "x" "y" and "z" instead, but if we don't do it that way then ..........", on and on and on and on it goes. And usually in hyper warp speed, as to every single friggin thing.


If her mother moans .. "what's wrong mother?, why did you moan, are you alright?".


Mother: "Yes, I'm fine, I was just sighing out loud".


Sister: "Why did you sigh? Are you hurting, are you sure you're alright, why are you sighing what's the matter?"


Mother: "For God's sake __________________, I was just sighing, .. calm down, I'm fine".


Sister: "Are you sure, .. because if something is wrong you need to tell me".


Mother: "Everything is fine, I'm fine".


Sister: "Are you sure, we did a lot yesterday, did we do too much, maybe we shouldn't of gone to two doctors in one day .. was that too much for you, are you too tired now, maybe we need to move those other doctor appointments so we won't have two in one day, is that too much for you, for one day .. is that why you were sighing .. what's wrong, are you sure you're alright".


Hopefully that kinda gives a little bit of a snapshot of what goes on when sister is in the ring directing things.


So in mother in law's defense.. I do get it, why she wouldn't be chomping at the bit to go to her daughter's home.


BUT ....


The only experience she has with her daughter, in the last years as mother in law has aged and been unable to go anywhere much, has been the daughter coming here, periodically, for periods of about 3 weeks at a stretch. When her daughter comes here, she moves heaven and earth for her mother and then some, and doesn't sit down, doesn't stop .. the WHOLE ENTIRE TIME.


Is there a possibility maybe (as I said to mother in law, when she expressed that isn't happening - talking to me - her going to her daughters .. ever) .. could it be possible that maybe if you would go to where she lives .. she'd be more busy managing her own life in that setting than your's and she would get out of your backside .. and not be as hyper-drive-vigilant as you experience in her, when she's here, could that be possible.


The daughter is retired, lives several states away. Does come here, generally, every few months .. and stays for a period of about 3 weeks at a stretch. I wish I could make a list of everything the daughter did when here this last time, but it would take up the whole character allotment:

1811 Comments

Would sis come back? Would staying at daughter's for several weeks be an option? Does mom need 24/7 care?
Just a continuation of above:

Wish I could post here the litany of things daughter did while here on this visit (it's that way every time she visits). It's too much to list. Suffice it to say, she does everything and then some (we should all have someone like her at our disposal), everything one can think of ... and beyond ...

So I do get it that her hyper-vigilance ... it can be problematic to deal with. I do understand that.

But what, I suppose, has me so on edge ..

This is all so true, .. as we were leaving to take her daughter to the airport yesterday, she must've told her mother (we're all aware that I, the only person that mother in law truly can depend on .. by her own fault .... as to any help .. will be spoken for as to my focus in the next coming weeks, a daughter having twins, etc), she must've told her mother the following, at least 10 x's for each directive:

Now Mother you have got to be so careful and not fall
Now Mother you have to eat right . and not get sick .. you can't get sick .. nobody will be able to help you
Now Mother .. you have to be so very careful in everything you do, you have to take good care of yourself

The above directives, each said at least 10 x's ... as we were leaving.

This, because .. obviously, the only other person in mother in law's life that is able to help her, is me. This is nobody's fault but mother in law, who refuses outside help from neighbors, our church people, who are more than willing/able to help, professionals, etc. Won't accept help from anywhere, other than her son (my husband) who can't be at her beckon call, he works for a living, owns a small business .. and so if he isn't working we all sink. Or me, .. she has me, that's it. But I'm going to be spoken for, for the next few months at the arrival of twin grandchildren .. and a 4 year old sibling to those soon to arrive twins.

I was so hoping that mother in law would agree to go stay with her daughter for a period of a few months, which would free me, to focus my energies where I want to focus my energies, which is on my daughter .. expecting twins, and the new babies and the sibling to those new, soon to arrive, twins.

Truly, I don't want to be in the position of getting a phone call from sister in law, several states away, .. "I know you are so busy with the new babies on the scene and your daughter, but mother isn't feeling well, I think she needs to get to the doctor, but of course, she's too weak/frail to get there, is there any way possible you could squeeze that into your already-too-busy agenda".

I don't want to even be put in that position.

I shouldn't have to be, this isn't my mother.

I had stressed, .. all along, as we've known twins are coming .. that will be where my focus is .. and it has already started, as mother has now been required to stop work, .. and rest more, stay off her feet. And so I'm already taking the 4 year old off of her hands, .. most days and not available to mother in law.

I was so hoping that her daughter would dig in her heels with her mother and explain to her that she can't be here .. she has other commitments with her own grown kids on her end, and needs to be home at that time (pet sitting for a daughter that travels a lot, recreational travel, but none the less, and a son coming from the other side of the world with his family, a son and his family she rarely gets to visit .. since they literally live on the other side of the world).

I was so hoping she would dig in her heels just as hard with her mother .. that she will need to go to where her daughter lives and be with her there, .. so she can be adequately assisted, . absent anyone on this end to do so.

Not to be.

Mother in law has spoken her piece, she isn't going, not now, not ever.

I am so disheartened and angry. I know, wringing my hands, I just know, I've lived it the last several years, .. I will be called upon .. when my plate is already full with my daughter and that scene .. called upon to help mother in law, be that her dog is ailing, or she herself is ailing .. something .. and I simply cannot be two places at one time.

I am so angry that I will possibly be put in the position of actually having to say to sister in law calling from so far away with the "mom sure doesn't seem to be well, could you possibly .............", I will have to tell her no. No I can't, I told you all along that my focus was going to be on my daughter and that situation, and that is the absolute truth .. I don't know what to tell you. This is why I have shouted from the rooftops .. but no one listens to me ... we need more outside help .. and because she calls the shots and is allowed to continue to do so .. she who is the one in need .... she doesn't want anyone else helping .. no outsiders ... no to neighbors helping, no to our church folks 0 who are willing/able to help, no to professional outside help .. no ... and yet you guys you and my husband (her son) allow her to continue to call the shots on all that, you allow her to refuse to go with you to your home .. I told everyone involved, all along the way .. that I will not be available. Don't know what to tell you.

Just so angry an disheartened.

LIMITS. There must be limits, set by you. ie, you will go over to your mother in laws house 2x times per week. If she needs more than that, let her call the shots and commandeer other people. If she refuses, then she sits in the house and figures it out on her own. Why do you take it upon yourself to do it all?
Dorker, I'm sure you're right that your SIL must be more on edge away from her own territory. On the other hand, seeing as MIL must know her of old, it could also be that she's like that only less extreme the whole time. I happen to have indigestion as I type, and reading your description of SIL's non-stop neurosis made it worse even though there is zero risk that I'd have to cope with it: so I can quite understand your MIL's dread.

Still. Be those things as they may, aren't you creating a false dichotomy here? There must be more options to choose from than the either/or of MIL's living as a full-time dependant with you, or going to stay with SIL. What else is available, preferably near SIL?
I would make MIL know, in no uncertain terms, you will not be giving her care for a couple of months when babies are born (soon)

I would put it to MIL straight....she WILL be alone.

She sounds cognizant... force a decision. She can go into a facility or with daughter. No other choices,

I feel you need to bring this to a head..right now. You are almost out of time.
"I sure hope you've lined up some local resources to call on when I'll be busy with Kate and the twins. I won't be able to help out at all for the next six months" . Make sure you say this to both SIL and MIL.

MIL is refusing outside help? What makes it more fair for her to refuse something? You just refuse right back.
Your mother in law sounds like she is of sound mind - if that is the case - no matter what you and SIL think and how much you nag, she can choose what she will or will not do. She is an adult.

Now - you also can choose what you will and will not do. If you have determined that you can only give MIL say one afternoon a week - that is all you can do. She will have to fill in the gaps. What doesn't get to happen is that MIL refuses all outside help and by default you fill the gap.

Seriously - you are being walked over. This is MIL's to figure out - not SIL, not you. You have told her about the grandbabies and new mother, so focus on them. MIL might be forced to actually use some of the other services available to her. Boundaries and backbone!!
I am concerned that you will end up doing for MIL after all. You will not be able to refuse her, because she's entrapped you by her refusal to accept anything or anyone else. She will inevitably call with some crisis for her or her dog, and you won't be able to just ignore it.

Dorker,
Please don't let your MILs stubbornness dampen your joy!

Maybe your hubby needs to tell his Mom what her choices are. That under no circumstances will you be available.
I appreciate the responses. I am going to try to hold steadfast and do what it is that I've said all along, focus my energies/time on my daughter and her end-stages of pregnancy with twins here, .. and her daughter-the 4 year old g'daughter and the twins when they are born.

I have talked at length to sister in law, that I disagree completely that her mother should be able to call the shots here, as to no outside help, and that she should be able to refuse a trip to stay with sister in law for a period of a few months while I focus my energies where I want them to be.

Sister in law disagrees with her mother, as does my husband. Sadly, it seems this is all being hung on the "well let's hope she doesn't get sick or fall". "Hope....". That's what this hinges on, "hope". Not good odds.

As I expressed to sister in law, and will be expressing to mother in law (but it will do no good), .. she generally does relatively okay when all is well. It's when things de-rail that she cannot adequately care for herself, and needs loads of support.

Most recently, when her dog got so sick and her up all hours of the night 2 and 3 x's nightly, caring for him, letting him in and out, etc. And she got so ran down, she couldn't even put one foot in front of the other to think, much less get the dog seen at the vet, and communicate with the vet as to what can/should be done. I had to take that situation on, and work it to it's resolve, as mother in law was pretty much laid waste with the whole thing.

But listen to mother in law, her words, .. if I've heard it once, I've heard it 1000 times .. "I know what I have to do here, I am not going to so and so's ... I know what I have to do here, to take care of myself and I'll do it, I will manage".

SIGH

Like she didn't know what she needed to do above, and became so far set back .. she couldn't even function.

Prior to that, she herself had gotten ill, .. and so it was a matter of running to her home daily to ck on her, making sure she was adequately hydrating, getting supplies to her, etc, getting her to the doctor. But "she'll manage, she knows what she needs to do".

Or prior to that, several months earlier, .. she'd gotten sick .. and had gotten so far run down (has mobility issues and so isn't able to adequately care for herself) ... she'd gotten so sick, that she'd fallen in her dressing room, trying to get to the bathroom, .. and had literally .. excrement all over the floor as she'd rushed (she can't rush .. she has too much trouble navigating to rush at anything, ever). She'd fallen and couldn't get up .. and so a phone call to us (yes, she has a life-alert button, and no she wouldn't/couldn't, didn't want to, who knows, activate it), .... phone call from sister in law several states away .. "mother has fallen and she can't get up, . she won't push the life alert button, I'm trying to get her to do it, but she just moans, .. I don't know, she says she's okay and just leave her alone, she'll work to get herself up .. but she just moans .. and I don't know, can you go see about her".

I happened to, at that moment, be completely on the other side of town, about 45 mins away and so she asked if her brother (my husband, is he any closer, can he get to her). I put in a call to him, he too, about 30 minutes away. He did drop everything and go in that direction. Found mother in law, behind a locked bedroom door (she insists on locking her bedroom door when she sleeps .. and that has now been changed to a locked knob .. so that if this ever occurs again, we have a key to enter her bedroom). He found her behind a locked bedroom door, and had to literally remove the doorknob before he could get to her. Found her in the floor in her dressing room, excrement on the floor and had to assist her to get up and then work to clean up the floor and clean her up. Ambulance called, because we weren't sure she hadn't broken anything, she complained that her back/ribs hurt. Trip to the outpatient ER .. determination that she hadn't broken anything but was dehydrated. IV administered, and sent back home.

But "she'll manage, she'll be fine, she knows what she needs to do and she'll do it".

I don't think it's very good odds to hang all this on "well let's hope she doesn't get sick, let's hope". "hope".

And she refuses all help. She has a neighbor that has told her, us, repeatedly that she will help. She doesn't want to ask her, and won't allow any of us to do so. She has a housekeeper that lives around the corner, .. and has offered to help .. no, she won't allow it. I've tried to get sister in law, to enlist the help of a home health aid, that the doctor would order, if we'd just ask .. nope .. she won't allow it. She won't go to where her daughter lives, to stay for a period of a few months .. she'll be fine, she'll manage, she tells you.

I am just at my witts end with it all. Just completely frustrated.

I talk to my husband, .. who is her son, .. about all the above, and my anguish as I'm generally the front line to all of this, and I will be out of pocket here. His take on it all is, that his mother doesn't want to give up her independence. His take on it all is that if the worst happens, then he will try to do what he can (but reality dictates that he can't do that much .. he does go .. when he can, but he still works daily and cannot be there on the scene), his take on it all is that her daughter drives her crazy, read above .. the neurosis.

I think I'm going to have to find a way to put this worry that I feel over the situation into a box and put it on a shelf and leave it there. I'm not able to achieve that, yet.

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