My family is mad that they can't stay in my house for the holidays because I am caring for my mom. How do I get them to understand?

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First, you have every right to take care of yourself, if you are worn out, you can't even care for your mother. In your situation I would give myself permission to tell family members you would love to see them but that you have all you can handle at home. Tell them you will assist them by giving them names of appropriate hotels/motels nearby.....maybe there is an extended stay motel within reasonable distance? That way they can cook meals for themselves. I would be kind and polite but FIRM in stating that they will have to make their reservations and also plan to eat at least two meals a day in restaurants. If they come for dinner, they need to bring in food and do the cooking...and the clean up before going back to their hotels/motel. Be clear and be firm, keep it kind and polite but make sure they know exactly what to expect....no overnights and only one meal a day at your home....they provide food, cook it and clean up. It's okay to give yourself permission to stay well and happy...! God bless you, just do it!
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I am anticipating a visit like this in the Spring. I am thinking about saying to them that its great that they will be here with our 94-year-old Mom. (she lives with me now) I will ask them for a date so that I can plan for time away at that time. I want to let them know that this will provide private time with Mom for them as well as much needed respite for me. This will be very hard thing for me to say, since I'm not assertive nor confrontational, Mom can be difficult and manipulative, and previous calls for help have been blown off by my siblings. Advising me to play Parcheesi with her is the nearest offer of help or advice I've had from them. Sometimes I think I'm losing my mind. This site has done remarkable things for my sanity! And I am very thankful for that!
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I would like to echo Lilliput's point by illustrating what happened at my house on the Friday after Thanksgiving: one of my siblings had been here since Wednesday afternoon. Second sibling came on Friday for a visit and to take other sibling to depot. Since it was lunchtime, I mentioned fixing something, and both were more than happy to let me do that for them. Neither had cooked or brought anything, not even a "hostess gift". (Haha--I am so funny)
Second one rubbed back of first one as they watched me with my bad shoulder stir with my left hand. I said, "Gee, I"M the one who could use that, since I cooked all day yesterday, got up with Mother all night, and am now fixing you two lunch."
Second one smugly said she didn't want to distract me from what I was doing. First one--loser male--just glared at me.
(I just noticed this is my SECOND response. Oops--guess it really pissed me off. LOL) Carry on!
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Any family member who becomes "offended" that their sib cannot accomodate their stay is either woefully out of touch or cheap...either way, it is not the primary caregiver's problem. I noticed the family did not say to Marcella: "we'll come so you can take a break," or organize a function outside her home and offer to do errands etc. In most every family one member steps up while others step way back. The "me against them" mentality is not generated by the caregiver but by absentee sibs who are more than happy to look the other way.
ljk: "a large dose of forgivness" would not be necessary if all sibs pitched in to help. You can do things, both big and small, to help whether you live in the same town or even across country. At the very least, contact your parent on a regular basis, offer to come stay on a monthly or even yearly basis, call the caregiver and ask (not tell) what you can do to help.
Marcella owes her family no excuses or even "diplomacy" if they are rude enough to insinuate themselves on an already brutal situation. All armchair family members need to become FULLTIME caregivers, with all it entails, for a LONG period of time before they can judge anyone's actions.
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As the daughter that is far away I would suggest that a softer approach than some suggested earlier would be best. It is also hard to be only able to visit your parent when you are the guest of your sibling. A hotel is possible occasionally, but I would celebrate the fact that your family still wants to be in your mother's life. I wonder if you made a list of tasks and brainstormed with your family on how those could get done? Perhaps people could pitch in for respite help or cleaning help for you during the holidays so that you could welcome them staying with you? Perhaps there is a place you could all visit together instead of your home that would pamper everyone? I think making it a "me against them" situation is never wise, especially in families. I'm sorry you are so exhausted...I have been there when I have been away from home for weeks trying to take turns with my sister and be by my mom's side as she died. Neither role is an easy one. When people are burned out they are not at their most diplomatic and a large dose of forgiveness is usually required.
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Oh-they're offended? Situations like this make me say, "T---- S---. Tell them to get a hotel, and then come over and help with everything. Do you have the word "Slave" tattooed on your forehead? Sorry--am I being obnoxious? Freeloaders and advantage takers bug the heck out of me. JUST SAY NO!!!
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Plain and simple "No, that isn't possible, but I will miss seeing you". Clearly, they don't understand or don't care. The fact that they are offended IS offensive. Keep your response short and sweet, but very firm and do not waiver. Good luck and enjoy your holidays as best you can. You are doing a very hard job.
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When I moved in with mom I rearranged the house to accomodate her walker, wheelchair, potty chair, etc. to make it easier for us. In doing so, a lot of furniture was put in storage, the dining table was downsized, and Ma's room was put next to the living room. With no extra chairs, family ("guests") do not feel as welcome, and those that insist on staying HAVE to sleep near Ma, thus hear all of her restlessness, and talking in her sleep.
Those that came for Thanksgiving were directed to help Ma with whatever she needed (since I was "busy"), then they ended up eating either standing up, or on the back porch (it was about 60 degrees). Nobody stayed long afterwards, and there has been NO mention of being here for Christmas.
I may not win any awards for being the best Martha Stewart type hostess, but my priority is the comfort of one little 94-year-old (who doesn't remember these other people) and the 2 of us who care for her 24/7 (whom she also doesn't remember sometimes). The others can "get over it", as it works for me.
Good luck and Peace.
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OMG...if I hear of one more sibling (or groups of siblings) acting inappropriately I will become unglued (not much "glue" left anyway.) I understand that one cannot fathom the full extent of caregiving unless they have experienced it. On the other hand, we are all over the age of 9 and any adult in their right mind would have to know what an inconvenience it is to add to your "guest" list.
It sounds as if you plan to hold your ground. Good for you. Caregivers by the very nature of the word are "givers." So we nod and say yes to even the most unreasonable demands just to "keep the peace." For me, personally, it is making me more resentful and short-tempered. I used to be this laid back person...now I do not even recognize myself...it's just exhaustion.
Maybe the answer is to draw the line in the sand and not let anyone cross it. If they become upset with you...they will get over it. Also, as many have said above, tell them, "oh, Mom would love to visit with you, when can you come stay with her?" Then listen for the sound of crickets in the distance.
Sorry if this note is a little "edgy" but I was just regaled with my Mom's praise of my no-where-to-be-found sibling. And you, my dear, have heaps more on your plate than I.
In light of the upcoming holidays, I wish you (and everyone here) some respite from these dark,stressful days.
Peace,
Lilli
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Dear Marcella,
I feel your pain. My 89yr. old dad has only been with us for 3 weeks but it feels a lot longer. My 3 older and 1 younger sisters have seen him 1 time since then. I had the same issue for Thanksgiving, my sister and her daughter decided to stay to "help" (by the way they only live 30 minutes away). Some help, my sister didn't lift a finger, left my son's room a mess with newspapers all over the floor and my niece was texting the whole time she was here. What I would say to your family is, "it's very nice you want to spend time with Mom, so I will give you all the time you need and I'll make the supreme sacrifice and go to a hotel for the night!" Believe me, they will think twice before they pack an overnight bag. I hope you enjoy your holidays.
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