gwhite85 Asked July 2008

I stopped taking care of mother because she has a caregiver and my husband thinks I'm abandoning her. Should I feel guilty?

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Husband feels abandoned when I stopped helping mother (feeding, cleaning her, laundry, house cleaning, dishes, taking her to therapy) for over four to five years but it just became too much for me with four kids, a full time job, and in school for a doctorate degree.

She has a caregiver that comes in for six hours per day primarily during the week and sometimes on Saturday. The majority of the weekend care fell to me because my husband had to work.

As a side note I have been taking care of people who were either sick or dying since I was 18. I feel burned out.

I told him I did not want to do it anymore. Now he feels I have abandoned her Should I feell guilty? When my mother was sick I did not ask him to help me - especially cleaning her and trying to move her (she is a very heavy woman). I need some advice!

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Jul 2008
No you shouldn't feel guilty. Of course you are burned out. Anyone would be.

Part of your note is cut off, but it looks like you are caring for your husband's mother. You don't have to quit visiting, but he needs to get more help for her. In-home help can be gotten on weekends, too. You have children who need you, a job and school, for heavens sake!

Don't cut her out of your life, but tell your husband you can't keep it up. You are not abandoning him or anyone. You just can't do more, for the sake of your own heath. You may need to get your husband to a counselor and lay it on the line so he can see how much you handle. He is likely in denial about how much you do as he doesn't know where else to go for help. You can consult with your county social services, if money is an issue. The eldercare locator at www.eldercare.gov is a good place to go to see what services are offered in your area. He needs to get care for her so you can be a mother, wife, employee and student.

Guilt has no place in your life. This is a situation that needs to be fixed, or you will be the one who needs care. You don't want your kids to have to care for you, I'm sure.

Carol
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gwhite85 Jul 2008
Thanks. I had been paying the aide to come in on the weekends but he told me to stop. It was helping but he felt that I was avoiding doing my part. I tried explaining to him but he had a strong opinion about it. It has put a strain on the marriage because he doesn't understand.
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195Austin Aug 2008
GWHITE
Stay strong let him know that you are right that you can't keep doing all that you are for his mother and then do what you need to do and understand that you are being realistic and he is not, that is what I did- I always gave in to keep peace and now that I got strong and understood I could decide how much a load I could handle and I was worth more than that it made a big difference and everyone tell me I look better and can honastly say I am now a happier person. Keep in touch and give yourself a pat on the back or better yet go by yourself to get an ice cream cone and slow down for 15 min- it works wonders.
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