Deciding to go back to work or not.

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Any tips on how to make the difficult decision? My mom has cancer and my father has passed - mom is telling me to go live my life but I feel so guilty about possibly moving away for work. She isn't reliant on me and is pretty self sufficient in many ways, but I feel like when the time comes I'll wish I had stayed.


Financially I can afford to take a 'career break' but a small part of me wants to get back to work. I know I'm fortunate she doesn't rely on me for much....this is all coming from me and my anxiety about leaving her. Meanwhile she's adamant she didn't have a child to be her caregiver so I should go spread my wings (still has a sense of humor!)

Answers 1 to 10 of 15
Eglinton, a few more details would help us offer appropriate suggestions. Is your Mom 60 years old with a cancer that is typically curable or is she 85 nad ready for hospice? Are you an only child? Married yourself? Do you have career opportunities near swhere your Mom lives so you can d both things?
Thanks for any additional input.
Top Answer
Yes, go back to work. It could be years before you are really needed. Your mother is right. Sounds like she is telling you to leave the nest and fly off into your own life. That's what a parent should do, IMO. I wouldn't be surprised if you just get on her nerves if you hang around. GO!
Mom is early 70s and has two types of unrelated cancer - one is 'life limiting' (i.e. can often be maintained but is never cured) and she is still undergoing testing for the second type to see what might be done for that. She leads a pretty ordinary life except for the amount of drugs she takes and the fatigue from the first cancer. She frequently goes for in-patient treatment that requires someone with her on admission/discharge and has a lot of down days where she struggles to get out of bed.

I'm in my mid 30s, single with no kids. I have one sibling who isn't really involved and chooses not to be, and we have no other family here. I took a long time off when my Dad had cancer and subsequently died and I have no regrets about that, except for that when he died I found I had no normality to go back to. I don't know if the grief would have been different if I had to go back to work and try to be 'normal' again? 

In terms of career opps there aren't too many where mom lives and actually there are none where I live so I would need to move even further away, maybe up to a 3-5 hour drive from her. Where I live is a remote town I moved to for a specific job, and now that I no longer work there there's not a whole lot to keep me there either.

I guess where the feeling comes from is I think I'll never get to spend this time with my mom again but I have, in theory, a lifetime to work. I don't even think it's guilt really, I just feel I'd regret being away by choice if that makes sense?
Maybe when it's time, your mother can join you in your place. That way you could work, but still be there with her. Big hugs.
Is there any chance you could find work not exactly in your career path, but perhaps in a related field, nearer to where your mother is? You can easily explain on a resume later "while caring for mother with cancer." So many, many adults need to or want to take a work break for caregiving most employers simply take that as normal.
Hi, I believe if you moved farther away you would regret it in the long run. Glad to know you are financially good as most people in their 30s are not. It sounds like your Mom doesn't want to be a burden and you need to let her know that she is not. It is a sign of oncoming depression. She probably doesn't want you to leave but feels she is keeping you from your own life.

Most people don't look at their lives as including their parents. You are the exception to that. I took on my Mom as a caregiver about 7 years ago. She lived an hour from me and my family. It was difficult for me to get to her when she had a couple of mishaps. My Mom is now 92 and I got her to move to a town about 10 mins from where I live about 4 years ago.

My Mom still lives in her own house still drives although it is only to the Senior Center and back every week day. She really enjoys going there for lunches and playing cards in the afternoons. She also takes day trips offered by the Senior Ctr on a once a month basis. Maybe you could check to see if there is anything like this in her town.

Also check to see if they have a bus or van that could take her to her appointments so she doesn't have to drive herself. Maybe even check on having a caregiver come in once a day or a couple of days a week to help her or keep her company. It will help you as you can return to work even if it is something not in your field. You can maybe take your Mom shopping on the weekends or go out to dinner with her once a week. You would still be active in her life without your Mom feeling like she is a burden to you.

I'm sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis. I hope you can find a way that works for you both.

While I know that you want to be with mom if needed during her illness, before I made a decision, I'd consult with a financial planner. You state that you don't have to return to work right now, but, I'd consult with an expert who can properly evaluate your situation and how that might change if you are out of the job force for 5-7 years. (You have no way to know how much time your mom's treatment might take.) I'd consider if you can re-enter your field at that point if you have not created networks, stayed current in your field, developed your career? What if you sustained an injury or illness during this time? How would you sustain yourself then and what about retirement benefits. And if you are independently wealthy, I'd still be interested in asset protection and growth of your funds.

I also like the idea of mom moving to be with you, if you decide to return to work. Is she opposed to that? There are health care professionals who can be retained to step in and support her during her illness and treatment, so that you could also work if she lived near or with you. There are Geriatric Care Managers, who can transport to doctor appointments, monitor the home and the patient, coordinate doctor appointments, etc.

I'm interested in knowing your thoughts and how you proceed.
If this was me...first I would see what results are on the second cancer. Then u will have a better idea of where u need to go. Maybe a parttime job just to keep ur foot in the door. You r young. You still have time to get some Social Security quarters in. I have found where I live, that since jobs r in such high demand that companies don't tend to be sympathetic to personnal problems. I also wouldn't want to be too far away. You have a good Mom.
Hi Eglinton, Speaking as both a caregiver and as a mother, I can understand that your mom wants you to live your life. I took care of my mom (with my dad) who died at home of Alz. and I NEVER want to put my children through that. I've already spoken to them about it along with other EOL issues that might come up. Here you have been given some really good suggestions. I think you'd benefit from going back to work and I think that if your mom comes with you (maybe live next door in an apartment complex or in a city duplex) you'd both have privacy yet you'd be close enough to help and visit. I think that type of situation would work for me and maybe it'd work for you and your mom. Perhaps you might consider it. Blessings to both of you! Lindaz
Eglington You must make that decision, but remember You will have plenty time for work when Your Mom is gone, but You have only one Mama. Think back over Your Life at all those times Your Mother was there for You, always I bet She never let You down not once, even now She's pushing You back to work because She's so unselfish, always thinking of about Her Daughter and never Herself. That's a Mother's Love. There's an old Irish song called "YOUL NEVER MISS A MOTHER'S LOVE TILL SHE'S BURIED BENEATH THE CLAY.

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