I have to be honest, I have it pretty good if we examine this picture as a whole. My dad passed away last year, my mother is financially stable, generally physically healthy with all of her faculties, and doesn't need much assistance.
I'm 40+, single, no kids, and live about 45 minutes away. My siblings all live out of state. As a result, I was tasked with the more physical aspects of caring for mom. I've helped with routine things my dad would have done: changing lightbulbs, moving boxes, flipping mattresses. Since I returned to my home, I now spend every Saturday afternoon with her. I offered, as she mentioned that she would miss cooking dinner for my dad. Except...
She doesn't really acknowledge that I'm doing this for her. I work a 40+ hour job during the week. I spend Saturdays with her, which means that anything that I want to do, for me personally, has to be done on Sunday. Grocery shopping, Sunday. Get the plumber to fix my routinely clogged sink, Sunday. Take my old dog to the vet for his 3 month check up due to kidney disease, Sunday. Some Sundays I barely want to leave the house. Every Friday Night I cringe at the thought of having to drive to my mothers.
Our relationship is ... superficial. She is prone to anxiety, though refuses to acknowledge it. She is judgmental and opinionated. She believes she's always right. She's defensive when you try to establish boundaries or express emotions she feels are unwarranted. She is not interested in my job, my dog, or anything that I enjoy doing. So, if I do talk to her about these things, I usually do it with the knowledge that she's just placating me until she can talk about what she wants to talk about.
She has a favorite. All of my siblings are aware of it. And I truly believe that I may be my mother's least favorite child. I don't think she dislikes me per se. But, I have no doubt that she would rather another child be the one she sees every week.
Anyway, all this is to say - that as the year has gone on, I've found myself managing expectations. I don't think my mother views my visits as something I'm doing for her. I think she assumes that I want to be there, that it is not a hardship or a challenge. Lately, as the world opens up, she has also assumed I can drive her to things (she won't drive anywhere over 45 minutes away). That I will take days off to take her to visit family. She doesn't ask if I can do it, she just states that she wants to do it. In some cases she could take a train or a car service, but she doesn't want to. Leaving me feeling selfish and anxious that I don't want to.
My emotional stamina is starting to crack. I feel very alone in managing not only these weekly visits that usually leave me feeling picked apart or frustrated, but these new responsibilities that bring up my own anxieties (I hate leaving my dog and cannot take him on road trips, I'm also a homebody and an introvert, so I prefer to keep get togethers short and sweet, rather days-long stuck alongside my mom the whole time)
I've read about people caring for their elderly parents for years (and with more significant issues) and the thought TERRIFIES me. I had a difficult time with depression and repression before my dad died and I know that if I continue down the road I'm on, I will lose myself.
I'm sorry, this feels like a petulant child yelling that no one understands them. Shouting that the sky is blue, when they want it to be turquoise. But, I had to get this off my chest and I can only share so much with my siblings, as it just makes them feel bad that they can't do much to help me.