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Feeling tugged in a million directions. Hi, I am new here. Right now my Mom, who is 81 and has Congestive Heart Failure and COPD lives in her own home.
My father passed away last November. I just picked her up from the hospital today as she has been in for breathing problems. Although we stop in every day, and call her constantly, we missed the fact that she was in bad shape over the weekend. I brought her to the ER and they kept her. I work full-time and have my own home with my husband and occassionally my 19 year old son. I am planning on staying with her tonight as I don't think she should be alone. I don't know which way to turn, my husband wants me home, I feel I should be with my Mom. I have two siblings who do there part, but I am the one Mom counts on. She is very caring and would never want me to be going through this if she knew I was. How have other people handled this situation? I should say that a year ago, this week, we watched our Dad pass away from Pulmonary Fibrosis, so I am pretty emotional right now.
Does anyone have any hints to get through this?

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You are in a very tough situation. you want to do what is best for everyone and who knows what that is. If you give to one, it seems you take from another. While I wouldn't throw your marriage away, I think part of the vows were sickness and in health generally and it may not have been only yours it referred to. I would not say you are "enmeshed" becasue you love and want to care for your mother when she needs you. I would try to solicit as much assistance as you can, this situation is not going to get better, she will need greater amounts of care as she fails physically and it really is not something you should have to do on your own. This isn't like child-rearing where one growth stage follows another it is the reverse. You must get help from family and friends, and any services or agencies that provide services to the elderly in you area. Talk with your husband so he is aware of the issues and the bind you are in. It is unfair to give someone an ultimatum in regards to loved ones who need care. While you shouldn't have to make yourself ill looking after your mother, you also shouldn't be made to feel you are letting everyone else down when your mother needs such focused care. This is life, it isn't perfect or even convenient at times, but it is unkind to make someone make a "it is them or me" choice while they are doing the very best they can to please everyone! I hope you can find a way to work this situation out that is good for everyone, including yourself.
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Accounting,
It sounds like you're micro-managing everything, instead of letting your siblings pitch in. Take advantage of them actually WANTING to help take care of their mom. Don't let your pride of thinking that your mom depends on you more than them, ruin your marriage, health etc. Maybe mom needs to start being practical and move out of her home into asst living so that you wouldn't have to make these decisions. Taking care of a parent shouldn't mean the demise of your marriage. That is NOT what God planned in the first place when he created marriage. As long as she's being looked after sufficiently, your good to go. When mom dies, and you've put your marriage on the back burner telling your husband that he's a second class citizen, you'll be alone. And the same goes for him and his parents too.
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Yes. I have been there. My mom is not as old as your mom, but my dad died 15 years ago. He did it all. My mom was a homemaker. She didn't drive or do the banking. I am the sibling that lives the closest. At the beginning I was there all the time. I let my husband take care of our kids, my youngest being a toddler. Mom needed me!

He sat me down and told me that I could no longer neglect him or the kids. It was a wake up call I took to heart. I did NOT want to lose my marriage over this.

What do your siblings do? If at all possible get them to each take a day where they check on mom. You do NOTHING on those days. If you have to get someone to come in and be with your mom for 2 days a week, do it. They can check on her, keep her company and cook her meals. Listen to your husband! You will not regret it.
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Don't frame it to yourself as having to choose between your husband and your mother. Frame it as logistical needs to be met. Include your own individual needs, your husband's individual needs, your kid's needs, your mother's needs on the list. Some needs are obviously going to overlap: your needs include husband-time and your husband's needs include you-time, right? When you look at the list you'll see why you're feeling overwhelmed. So start solving the list -- find other ways to take care of anything that just has to be DONE, not necessarily done BY YOU. There's no substitute for quality time with you, but there are many other ways to get someone to and from doctors appointments or fed or checked on, etc. On top of the benefit of the actual solutions, just seeing you look for other solutions besides doing everything yourself will be good for everyone.
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Amen, Emerald4Me! Such emotional enmeshment with mom's is a tough battle from which to get free. We enmeshed adult children find it too easy to take on too much responsibility and burn ourselves, our marriages, etc. out because we feel like keeping mommy happy is our prime responsibility. When our emotionality wins the fight, we too often go into auto-pilot as if we are their little child all over again which is not what they really need nor handling life responsibly.

accounting, right now your emotions are understandably raw on this anniversary of your dad's death, and such feelings are entirely normal. It sounds like time for a family conference and for input from your mother's doctor about is she or is mom safe or not safe to stay home alone; then look into your options and as a family pick one. I do hope and pray someone has both kinds of POA but if your mother has not given that to someone, I would not wait to lead her in that direction one more day. My heart, my mind and my prayers go with you! :)
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This is for your family to decide. Talk about it with your husband and siblings and your mom. What does she want? What care is needed if any? Can she be accommodated in your home or the home of a sibling? Is she independent? Does she get along with all? Is her mental condition ok? What is the honest extent of her medical problem? Answer these questions and communicate.
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I'm glad that you and your husband are talking about this now is much better than one spouse going head first into overfunctioning which creates a lack of balance in the relationship to the point where requests to talk about things are ignored and sometimes this goes on for years after which we have read pleas for help here that their husband either speaks out very strongly or speaks with his feet. Contrary to society, we men do have feelings also and we don't like feeling that we are bascially a single person in something that once was a marriage. From my perspective as a man, a husband and someone whose wife has had some big issues with her mother, when a marriage becomes unbalanced like ours was, it does feel like you are married to more than one woman.

There are two really challenging times in a person's marriage. First, the birth of the first child. It is a major adjustment at which time some men leave; some couples loose themselves and each other by being a child centered fanily instead of an adult centered family; or they find a way to create some balance. Second, the decline of a parent for some places a challenge on one's marriage vows about forsaking all others and cleaving only to your spouse as well as the desire or for some people the biblical teaching to make sure their elderly parents are cared for. Women tend to be expected and sometimes even emotionally wired by a parent, often mom, so that they can press those old buttons of Fear, Olbigation, and Guilt which are so strong that an imbalance in one's marriage is viewed as normal. On the other hand there are some men whom mom has emotinally groomed to be her caregiver and these guys have a tough time not putting their mom ahead of their wife. This theme is a rareity on this site, but it does exists.

It's your turn at the second big challenge. It will require some solid communication between you and your husband. I'm not a therapist, but if both or one of you get stuck, please get a counselor to help. I think this posibility needs to be brought up at first, agreed to without pressure by both and motivated by wanting to keep and build a stronger marriage in this new part of life. This site is full of marriage toombstones and some stories where after being in a tailspin, the couple got back on course. If it is also full of the grief of hindsight and it's guilt for not seeing things clearly until long after the dust settled. By finding the right balance for you two, you will find clairity about how to love and honor an aging mother in need by a now adult daughter who has her our marriage. What you mother needs most and your marriage needs is for you to keep functioning emotionally as the adult daughter and the adult wife. This is also important for your own sense of well being. People who were trained as children that the main thing is to always keep mom happy and if mom is not happy then no one is happy have the most difficulty in not reverting back to the emotional child son or daughter. An elderly parent's decline has a way of uncovering remaining mom/dauther or mom/son type issues.

Like I said at first, I'm very proud of you and your husband talking about this and wish you well in finding the right balance. A very good book on this subject which addresses the need for balance and boundaries when our parent's get older is Boundaries in Marriage by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. There is more to having healthy boundaries in a marriage than just not committing adultery. I wish you well.
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I am a husband of a caregiver. I have had many obligations in business that have taken me away from home and away from the most important thing, my immediate family. But when these things occurred, I consulted my wife and partner as to her feelings about it before accepting it. Turning away offers that didn't meet our mutual interests.

What always gets to me on these chats is people who automatically assume the husband is selfish-self-centered for bringing this subject up with his wife.

Five years ago my wife came to me after learning her sister's, who has MS, was dying. In almost the same sentence she asked if I was ok with asking her sister to move in with us. My wife and I are in our upper 50's and started going out at sixteen, so she has been on my life a long time as well as my wife’s. I don't think either one of us truly understood the ramifications of this decision. However, I love her sister as if she were mine and agreed.

After five years and six figures in financial cost, we had decided we are whipped. Now we find that because she had given money to her children, she has an eight month penalty period with Medicaid to get a bed in a nursing home. A subject for another chat.

Now, during this process, I had to go to my wife and explain my feelings that I felt she had been taking me for granted as well as forgetting her own children. And while all this was going on her sister's mental health had been deteriorating and depression had taken over. She started attacking me to my wife and staying quiet around me. My children had told me what was going on and suggested that she was trying to separate my wife from me. At this time I brought it up to my wife and she thought as you did, that I was being selfish and she owed it to her sister to take care of her for life. At that point I had enough and asked my wife for a divorce, I had no such feelings especially since her children never cared and didn't lift a finger to help as long as we were here.

After talking with her children she my wife has since taken note, has gotten some help herself and we continue working on repairing our wonderful relationship. I thank God every day, as do our children that she was able to finally see through all that was going on.

So please do not always assume selfishness in a spouses request for another to reconsider their caregiving obligation. Sometimes in caregiving people start out with great motives and then guilt takes over when its inappropriate. I believe that the nuclear family, those we chose to marry, and those that we created and are clearly responsible for, to be the most important people on earth in our lives.
Not having been there, inj there specific circumstances, you can not see what anyone elses spouse is going through, nor know the promises they have made to each other. There are only two people in a relationship qualified to make those judgment’s and if reading thoses judgements keep a husband, or a wife, from going to their spouse and talking it out before it’s too late, it would be very sad.
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I am troubled over your husband appearing to be a selfish-self-centered-its all about me kind of person. Those kind of men are a dime a dozen,My dad never gave my mother a ultimatum-he respected her decision to take care of her mother-compassion is a good quality-[[I am a man and the world revolves around me]-those kind of guys aren't to hard to find.I tend to wonder if he doesn't have consideration for your feelings in other areas also.A confident man would support you during trying times-putting pressure on you is not support.Do what you know is best for who you are and your morals and family loyality-some folks just don't GET IT.Being a care-giver doesn't make you a little girl,it takes a very strong person to do what home caregivers do.Some people just aren't strong enough to handle stress-caregiving weeds out the weak and the wimpy real quick.
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FF I admit I always feel a little "ooooo!" of irritation when 2010 flashes up under a post; but the forum is for people to learn from others' experience, I guess, and the same problems do come up time and again.
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