My father recently passed away and my mother wants me to take on all of her hardships and his responsibilities. How do I tell her I do not want to?

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I have been helping her with all of the arrangements as well as her finances, cleaning her house, making food for her, and calling all of the places that need to know about his death. My mother is 74 years old and is able to cook, clean, and shop for herself. She now expects me to come over for hours every day and will not leave her home unless I take her to places such as the grocery, etc. She is very dominearing and demanding while making me feel very guilty if I do not go over for hours every day. I have an autistic son, a daughter in college, and a husband yet all of my time has been spent at her house with her telling me why she is miserable, lonely, and depressed. My daughter and son have been going with me but they will be back in school soon. When I tell her I need to go home and cook dinner she says I must not like to be with her in a very negative way. She wants to live with us but my home is small. She also wants us to buy a home next door to eachother. My mother has always been controlling and very hard to deal with as she likes everying her way yet she does love us and cares for my family and even pays for my daughter to go to college. I do not know what to do since I do not want to hurt her feelings or make her feel isolated but I need to have my own life. How do I tell her I do not want to go over for hours every day or that she can drive herself to the store?.

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I'm afraid that by your mother paying for college, you'll be stuck feeling the obligation to be her scapegoat forever. Gotta separate that out, as something she did for her grandchild, and not let it hang over your decision to stay away from her once in awhile. Start warning her that you won't be coming over tomorrow but that you'll see her the next day. Or something like that. Start setting boundaries.
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You need your own life.

Someday your mother may not be able to cook, clean, shop for herself. If/when that time comes you will no doubt want to step up and help her figure out how to get those services. But that time has apparently not come yet. Don't rush it!

Your mother loves your family, and is generous. That is positive, and you don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. But you absolutely need to establish some boundaries. Your mother knows how to push all your guilt buttons. You have to disconnect those circuits! It is outrageous to expect your family to pull up stakes and move under the circumstances. Your mother may live another 20 to 25 years. Do not set permanently in motion changes to fix what is probably a temporary problem of the lonliness of new widowhood.

"Mom, Dad's death was a huge loss to both of us, and settling his affairs was a big task. Now I need to get back to my normal routines, and establish some new ones. I'd like to got to lunch with you one day a week, and I'd like to come over one afternoon to play cribbage. Maybe we could even invite a couple of your friends for that. At least one week a month I'd like you to come to Sunday dinner. Let's get out a calendar and see how this would work out for a few months." You figure out what you have time for/interest in and take charge of your committment to her.

If she doesn't want to clean her own house, I don't blame her a bit. I've retired from that chore and I'm younger than she is. But I don't expect my kids to do it -- I hire someone to relieve me of that task. I am less interested in cooking now than I once was, and I have less time since I am working and caring for my husband. So I bring prepared food home from the deli and from restaurants fairly often. Just because your mom is a widow shouldn't make her dependent on you. If there are things she isn't good at/doesn't want to do, she can hire someone. The time you spend with her should be quality time, not cleaning the shower stall.

It is good that you still have a loving parent in your life. Cherish that relationship. Safeguard it so that it doesn't become a source of stress, guilt, and misery in your life.
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