Guilt versus living my life.


My mom had a stroke about 2 years ago which left her physically unable to walk and she can only use her left arm. She did a short stay at a care facility, then a few months with my unstable sister. That didn't work out and although reluctant I moved her into my home. A year and so has passed and now I’m feeling the burnout. I just want my old life back; I’m 37, single, no kids and just want the opportunity to be happy. Add on the fact that my sister and her son have now moved in (until she find a place) and my two nieces need a place to stay (or may go to foster care). It's an emotional drain and it just falls on me. I know she didn't ask to be in this situation or my nieces to add either - but neither did I. Even with the help of a home health aid during the day, the strain of working full time and caring for my mother is just taking a toll. When we discuss nursing homes she's all for it until the moment it all comes to picking one. I feel selfish and guilty for even thinking of turning my back on my family and wanting to live my life. My mom and I had a beautiful relationship prior to her stroke, but even that is changing for the worse lately. Lately, I’ve been so depressed and just crying all the time. Is it wrong for me not to take my nieces and some how convince my mom that a nursing home will be better for her situation or am I being selfish? I'm sure my family will say that I'm being selfish. Just can't win either way..

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Why do other family members make you feel guilty? It is strange how THEY ARE SO BUSY and what THEY DO is so much more important - after all, you are alone, and they have a family. Personally, I think if all the kids can't pull together and care for a parent - then it is TOTALLY UNFAIR for just one to do it all alone. Your family will be perfectly willing to SACRIFICE YOU AND YOUR LIFE to your mother. It happens all the time. The only one who will save you is YOU. You can still care without having them in your home. In fact, it will probably be easier for you to really CARE! Your sister needs to do all she can to get on her feet. As far as your nieces - how old are they? Is there any other family member who could take them in - someone with parenting experience? Raising children is a life long task and not one to be undertaken lightly. But you certainly need a 'clear head' to make such a decision - because you life and the lives of those kids are involved.

The trips to the park for tears sure sounds familiar. That was me for years. It is not a good place to be. A cyber hug is coming your way.

That you're crying and depressed should tell you that these choices are not for you and DO NOT feel guilty about it. Why opt for something that you know is going to make you miserable? Will you love your mom any less if she lives in a facility? Of course you won't. I cared for my dad for 5 years in my home and for the last year all I did was cry and suppress an overwhelming compulsion to RUN. I'd leave the house in a panic, knowing I needed to get away, yet not have anywhere to go so I'd drive to a park and sit in my car and cry. When it got to the point where it was either him or me I chose me and my dad went into a nursing facility. Did I feel guilty about it? Hell yeah! lol Feeling guilty is part of being an adult child to an elderly parent (in my opinion). If you're getting pressure from family to take your mom in find out why THEY won't take her in if they're going to throw around the guilt. You can't do something that you know is going to make you miserable because other people want you to. It'd be different if your mom was facing life on the streets as a homeless person but I didn't get that impression from what you wrote.

When I cared for my dad that was my full-time job. I can't imagine having to work and care for him at the same time. Caregiving is a full-time job already. You need to take some things off your plate and get some perspective...and a little rest.

Whatever you do, don't turn your back on your family! You'll regret it forever.

But there is a huge difference between not turning your back and taking them into your home. Get your mother situated in a good care facility. Don't just "dump" her there -- continue to be part of her life, while others see to her day-to-day needs.

Do your utmost to see that your nieces are in a safe, nurturing environment. Visit them often. Have them over to visit often.

Encourage your sister to get back on her feet so she can be more independent.

Keep your family in your life, but do it in ways that are management for you, and still allow you to enjoy your own life.

When someone asks you to do something that you don't want to do, say "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that." Keep saying it, until they get the message. Set a deadline for your Mother and make her stick to it. Also, set a deadline with your sister to move on. Even if you have to give her one time funds, move her out.

I am not sure about the children that you mention. You might feel different if you didn't have the adults in your life, living with you.

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