Caretaker to my FIL while also caring for my 3yo son. Advice?


First of all, please do not assume that my FIL's family is not helping- they are, but they all live in different areas and have jobs/ health problems/ finances of their own to deal with. My husband makes the 4-hour drive once a week to stay a couple days then goes back home. We also just began getting visits from hospice, which helps. My main concern is trying to find the balance between mommy and silver-sitter. Not only is my son young and energetic, but he also has a communication delay, which means that sometimes he doesn't understand directions or situations and can as a result get very frustrated with things. My FIL is 78 and does not have the energy to even move from his bed to the couch, much less play with my son or tell him no, etc. Ideally, I would be able to go for walks daily with my son to help with his energy levels, but I am afraid to leave FIL alone, as he has fallen several times in the past, sometimes gets confused, and usually needs help. It's easy to play one-on-one when grandpa's sleeping, but I hate having to tell him no so often when grandpa is awake and my son wants to play. I do not have my son in day care as he and I are not exactly here permanently (as well as his special needs that need to be catered to).

If anyone has any suggestions on how to be effective as both caretaker and mommy, please throw them out for me because I really have no idea what I'm even doing right now (j/k- mostly)!

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I would figure a way to get outside help to come in so that you may take your child out for play dates, activities, etc. Plus, it would give your FIL a break. Being around a young child, even those without special needs can be draining and annoying for seniors. I have a special needs child in my family and I know how it goes. She needs more attention, guidance and redirecting 100% of the time. There are guidelines, but she is a handful trying to teach them to her. I would imagine that all of that would be very taxing on a Hospice patient. Granted, it is family, but I think he might rest more if the place was more tranquil. Of course, he loves the child and cherishes the child, but can't do both. I wouldn't pretend otherwise.

You say your husband drives there and stays for 4 hours. Why only 4 hours? Aren't you living there? I'm not sure I understand what arrangement you are describing.
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For goodness sakes- I didn't say anything like that! Sweetie - my 23 yr old son functions at the level of a two year old. It's been a long hard road with plenty of insults and injustice - I've had to develop a bit of a thick skin a d clearly you are too if your going to get insulted that easily. I was just offering a little advice about attitude in general when raising a child with a disability. You were the one who said his special needs needed to be catered to. That's it - no further agenda.
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Rainmom, I'm not sure why you think that I am letting my son run around the house like a wild animal, but I assure you that we do have rules for him. The issue is more whether I can adequately keep my FIL comfortable while also letting my kid be a kid, which to me means letting him explore and play.
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I have one suggestion regarding your son - a maybe it was unintentional wording - it's the "catering" to your sons special needs - DONT!!! Of course you'll have to make adjustments in regards to his special need - and it could very well clear up and catch up over the next couple of years. Still catering to you son will only set him up to think everyone is going to do it. And when they don't - he will most likely be confused and angry. My son has sevear autism but he knows he must behave himself and all the expectations are the same - one of the best things I ever did for him.
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Tsalite, from what I have read on the forums, I really don't think there is any way of balancing between mommy and silver-sitter [good term :)]. Each one will want 100% of your attention and that will be impossible.

I noticed you mentioned that FIL is on Hospice Care? If time is short, then continue with staying with Dad-in-law.

If FIL has retirement funds, maybe he [with your help] can hire a part-time caregiver to be with him for a couple of hours per day. That would give you more me time with your son... get him out of the house, maybe find a play date.
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