I said no to my Mom today...

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My Mom lives a mile away at my sister's. My sister does quite a bit for Mom (brothers nothing at all). I work 4 days/week and take Mom on all my days off as I want to share the responsibility. It's hard, though, because Mom knows the days I am not working and books me for everything without even asking (doctors appointments, hair dresser, shopping...) Today I was planning a respite day for myself as I had to work extra days this weekend and will have her for the next 3 days. She called and asked me to run her errands - 5 stops in all. Nothing emergent, just stuff she wanted done (she doesn't drive). For the first time in months (years?) I declined, told her I had too much to do. In truth I sat on the deck in the sun and read a book that's been sitting on my nightstand since Christmas. I feel a twinge of guilt but honestly think this may be a bit of a breakthrough. I think it's ok to say no sometimes.

36 Comments

It’s very important when you are a caregiver, or even share caregiving with someone to maintain your personal identity. It took me a long time to learn to say no to my husband. He is not demanding as such, just has me under a microscope.

You didn’t have a question, but what you said is very important. Doing things for yourself when you are a caregiver is crucial to maintaining your sanity.
Bravo!!
So good that you did that for yourself. You may have made yourself so available that your mom forgets that you have thoughts of your own.
Mom doesn’t drive but does she go with on the errands? Does she handle the tasks when she gets to the store? If so, why can’t she use Uber? No need to wait for your day off.
I get it that you want to help out sister but you get no time off!
Does she stay overnight at your home on the days you have her?
Here’s to more sunny days on your deck.
Your mom is a lucky woman.
DO NOT feel guilty about this. You have every right to have time to yourself, just as your siblings do when you have Mom for your time with her.

You did the right thing - Mom needs to understand there are boundaries, and if you don't set them, they'll never be honored. That's not to say that she won't at some point in the future forget what those boundaries are, but for now, keep those boundaries so you have some time to yourself.
I am curious as to why you and your sister have to do all the caregiving. Why do your brothers do nothing?
Good for you! It is important to have boundaries. We have to recognize our own needs. I never said no to my parents and it just lead to anger and resentment.
CTTN55, I blame the previous generation, our parents. They expected nothing from their boys. Girls are the cargivers. There are cultures that still feel this way. We have members that are taking care of husbands parent or parents. The husband does nothing. It doesn't just mean boys, lots a siblings don't do for parents but are there to get their share when parents pass. Sad.
Good for you for standing up for yourself. I'd go bonkers if I worked and had my mom on all of my days off. You sisters need to get on your brothers to step up to help or to pay you to get some help for mom. But you did a good thing for yourself by setting some limits with mom. Keep doing that!
JoAnn29: " I blame the previous generation, our parents. They expected nothing from their boys. Girls are the caregivers. There are cultures that still feel this way. We have members that are taking care of husbands parent or parents. The husband does nothing. It doesn't just mean boys, lots a siblings don't do for parents but are there to get their share when parents pass. Sad."

Yes, I know this is often what the parents expect. I just wish the victims (the daughters) would simply refuse to bear the burden of elder caregiving alone. I wish they would start a revolution of sorts; just simply refuse to do it without the males helping out.
I say hooray and it’s about time. You didn’t ask advice but I do think those sons of hers should step up. Perhaps rotating the weekends with you. But regardless, I’m so glad you recognized you need time to rejuvenate and take care of your own needs. You are every bit as important! In fact next time just tell your mom you are unavailable on "these days" this month because you have other plans. Put it on her calendar in advance and take the day off. Most errands are not that important. I often order things online for my dad and have them sent to him. Easy!
I can't tell you the number of daughters I have heard say the same thing about brothers. I am sure it must be hard to break cultural and generational issues, but I agree with those who commented that it's time to break the mold. If your mother stays with the caregiver, maybe you could try telling your brothers when their day is and that you'll be dropping her off. Then do it. I don't want to presume others' situations, but it is ridiculous that male family members don't pull their weight.

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