Follow
Share

After I divorced, my 68 year old mom suggested I move in with her until I got on my feet. That was two years ago, and somehow I've become a fulltime caregiver for her. I cook, clean, and run errands for her, anything she basically needs or wants done I do. During this time our relationship has become very strained, as I feel and treated more like I work for her than I'm her daughter. I've come to the decision that it's best for me mentally and financially to begin the process of moving out and finding her someone else to help her. I fear that she will use guilt and could possibly strain our relationship even more, I know there will be consequences, but I feel I need to look after myself as I do her.

Please don't hire your mom's help when you move. If she asks, then you can find the name of a good agency. But you don't want to be in the position of being in any way associated with someone she will come to resent and fire.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to surprise
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 19, 2020
Good point. When I backed off caregiving to mom I stepped away entirely. There is no point to walking away and still trying to micromanage her life.

I think at times we choose things based on emotions without thinking of consequences.
(12)
Report
You are very wise.  I wish I had your strength.  We all need to quit lighting ourselves on fire to keep other people warm.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to onholdinmidwest
Report
cindyjo50 Feb 21, 2020
Beautiful saying! I wish someone had told me that one years ago!
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
The plan was for you to move in temporarily. Not forever. After 2 years of care giving, I'd be quite surprised if she DIDN'T try to use whatever tricks she could to keep you there and keep you care giving for her. Remember that you are entitled to your own life, free and clear of guilt, and that's what you should do: MOVE OUT. When she lays the guilt trip on you, just keep repeating that you were only living with her temporarily, and it's now time for you to move on. You're not abandoning her or resigning as her daughter, you're moving into a place of your own, which is your right.

Good luck & have fun!
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

Thank you for all the advice.I'm going to start putting plans in motion,and if all goes as I hope,will be out the first week of March,
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to koreemenei
Report
cindyjo50 Feb 21, 2020
All the best to you!
When my dad died, my 2 sisters and I were so concerned about our 66 year old Mom. But little did we know that within about 3 years she was corresponding with an old (1944)prom date. By the time she was 70, she eloped and spent the next 17 years deliriously enjoying her life in the Sunshine State, until her 'old flame' died. Then she had to move back up north to be near her daughters. She lived to be nearly 94. Of necessity, the final 20 months were in skilled care.

My point of all this is, you never know! Never underestimate us 70 year olds!
(3)
Report
I think that you are correct, actually moving on, after a period of time will strengthen your relationship. Of coarse, this will take time, you will need to be patient and roll with the ups and downs.

You are entitled to a life of your own, keep in mind that your mother could easily live another 20 years, don't put your life on hold for her.

I wish you the best, do what is right for you!
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to anonymous912123
Report

You need to move out and assume the role of her daughter again.  Just say "you know mom, after my divorce when you suggested that I move in with you until I got on my feet, that was very helpful to me and I want to thank you for it.  Moving in here not only helped me, but I think it helped you as well because you obviously needed some assistance with a few things.  After two years, I finally feel like I'm ready to try it on my own again.  Would you like me to help you find an agency or someone who can come in and do some of the chores / errands I've been doing around here or are you going to be ok on your own?"  That way you acknowledge and thank her for letting you move in.  You also point out that you have been helping her and you also offer assistance in getting someone to help her.  She may still be angry, but you have been thankful, polite and helpful and that should help erase some of the guilt that we all feel when we make tough decisions like the one you are making.

Good luck and take care of yourself!
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Jamesj
Report
Judysai422 Feb 21, 2020
Great response! Would also suggest that daughter include the option of independent living as it sounds like mom might benefit from the company, activities and help available with regard to cooking, laundry and cleaning.
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
Buy her a lovely thankyou gift for helping & supporting you. She may be gracious or sad. She may be angry & bitter.

And yes, move out. Time to spread your wings & fly solo.

Become a loving daughter who visits or goes out for coffee instead. Your relationship may need a cooling off period but will eventually be probably better for it.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Beatty
Report

These situations can be tough because it's hard to discern who is the giver of help and who is the receiver. Sounds like both of you have some needs - you needed shelter and support until you got on your feet and she needed companionship and care until - when? Sounds like she may be pretty content with the situation and she may be assuming you are content as well. Are you back on your feet? If you're not, please be honest with yourself about that and develop a plan to get there. Also make an honest assessment of what your mom truly can and cannot do for herself - I can almost guarantee you will need that information for something at some point.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Mysteryshopper
Report

She is 68 and already that needy and dependent on you. Trust me, it will only get worse, much worse. She could live another 20 - 30 years. Get out now and far enough away or u will still be expected to come over and do everything and take her everywhere. They will suck the life out of u. I'm 64 and my health is shot from the stress. Ruined what should have been good retirement years. Mom died and I'm still stuck with a 96 yo sociopathic father. Please SAVE YOURSELF!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to NavyVet90
Report

Your description reminds me so much of what happened in my relationship with my mother. It was different circumstances but the feelings are identical. I essentially became my mom's servant rather than her daughter and it absolutely puts a strain on the relationship. For me it damaged our relationship.

I was already caring for mom before we lived together. She has Parkinson's disease. She was no longer driving because of the disease and seizures so naturally I felt an obligation to help. Let me also say that I was the child who had always been closest to my parents, long before I had cared for my parents. I truly loved my parents. Were there conflicts? Of course, there are always conflicts in any relationship. Anyone who says that they have a perfect relationship without any conflicts in life is a liar.

Anyway, after a major storm in our city, Hurricane Katrina which left my mother homeless, I invited her to live with our family. All was well in the beginning and I truly wanted to be there for my mom. Things changed. Mom started needing more care. I had to quit my job. That nearly destroyed me. My work was a part of who I was. My full time job became mom's caregiver. It sucks the life out of us.

Mom changed. I changed. Friction became greater and greater. She did not handle boundaries well. She refused to pay for outside help. The end result, I burned out. Mom involved my siblings. My siblings never helped me but they surely did criticize me. They quickly turned on me. It became a big mess and resulted in me asking mom to leave my home and live with my 'know it all' brother who did not really care to understand my frustration. It was awful. Please, move forward in your life. Don't become stagnated like I did. I paid a big price and so did my family.

Don't let your stress build to the point of losing your mom. I have only spoken to mom a couple of times on the phone since she left. I refuse to have a relationship with my brothers which was never that great before the conflicts but became unbearable afterwards so I feel I must protect myself from retaining a toxic relationship with them.

Am I sad? Yes, I have sadness. I wish my relationship was not strained with my mom. Regrets? I did what I had to do to heal. Real damage can occur in these situations. I sense damage has happened in your life and you are looking for healing and you deserve healing. You will have questions or perhaps doubt but you will not miss the agony. You will see once you do step away that in spite of any discomfort it is for the best.

I am not sure if I explained the emotions attached to these situations clearly enough but I hope you will find some encouragement in knowing that there are valid reasons for going forward in your life. We can't sacrifice our entire life for anyone.

As my priest once said on the alter, "Not all of us are called to be like Mother Teresa." It really helped me to hear those words because I believe they are true. Yes, some are able to manage, not without sacrifice, struggles or frustration but they cope better. We are all individual. Be true to yourself. Be who you need to be.

Best wishes to you. Take care. Resume your life. Thank your mom for her help but tell her that you need your independence.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report
JoAnn29 Feb 19, 2020
I like what the Priest said.
(8)
Report
See 1 more reply
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter