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When my mother died 4 years ago initially I was helping my father around the house with cleaning , ironing etc . He literally has never touched an iron in his life , he's in his 70s, fairly fit and active and can care for himself pretty well . You see my mother did absolutely everything for him. Now that she's gone I'm getting the impression that he is seeing me as some sort of replacement for all the chores that she used to do for him. I didn't mind at first as I was working only part time but now I'm in full time work I'm so exhausted, and the two days I do have off I'm having to catch up with all my own chores etc . Is it my responsibility to be doing all his chores? I have older brothers who I've discussed this with many times but they just seem to think it's funny. It's really starting to get me down as honestly I work so hard all week and now have this burden over me. I'm actually avoiding him pretty much now.

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Has he actually told you he expects you to do things or do you just do them because you see they need to be done? Just stop. It really is as easy as that.

My my aunt once gave my father’s apt a good cleaning. I was fuming as I knew he would expect ‘ someone ‘ to continue doing that in the future. My aunt is old school. Never had to work outside the home to support herself. She would tell me my father’s apt needed cleaning. I would ask why she is telling me and not him. It never occurred to her that he should clean his own place. I guess that is what daughters are for.
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Don't do it anymore. Just bite the bullet and tell him clearly that you cannot do it. It's NOT your problem.
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Just because someone (who is not your minor child) thinks that you should look after them does NOT mean that you must do their bidding.

I've always believed that one of the hallmarks of being an adult is that you know how to and have at least once said to your parent "no, I can't possibly do that".

I guess it helps if you've seen your parent say that to THEIR parent.
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Do *you* think it is your responsibility to be doing your father's household chores?

What troubles me more than anything else is that your answer to that question seems to include some scintilla of yes.

What your mother chose to do was her business. I have met many a person who would much rather nobody else interfered in household routines because they get in the way, break stuff and don't do things properly. I myself once heard the words "who's been doing unauthorised laundry???" come out of my own mouth when my daughters were back from college and my then partner was staying with me.

But you are not your mother, you are not your father's housekeeper, and you are not a maid of all work.

So if you *still* have some little inner voice telling you that poppa needs his shirts ironed... sigh. Tell it to shut up. And then call round a few agencies to get him domestic help, for which HE pays and not you.

Although if he won't pay, you can tell your brothers it's their turn. See if they're still laughing then.
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paulfoel123 Dec 2018
CM you're a star..... :-)

I understand OP might think it is her responsibility BUT like my Dad there are people out there who think that SOMEONE needs to do x,y, and z and look after them.
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Sounds like my Dad - if someone does something for him to help him once then it becomes their job for life. He is quite happy for someone else to do things for him that he can easily do himself - in fact, I'm sure he actually likes having the power to get people to run around for him. Its weird.

Not helped by the fact that he considers certain things "womens work". Yeh really. He got divorced, moved into his own flat in his late 50s. Refused to get a washing machine - he said he didnt know how to use one and it was "for women".

For years (hes 84 now) he got his older sister to cart his washing home and back (and she doesnt drive). She did it for years. Then various brothers' GFs did it. He occasionally asks me to ask my wife- no chance I tell him (shes got enough to do).

OP you're not alone.
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Your brothers think it’s funny because it is... so u think the brothers think it’s their obligation? Nooooo.... and it’s neither yours.... immediately stop and leave him to his own devices if he is physically and mentally capable of taking care of himself or he can hire a maid.. u r not his wife replacement....
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Give him a deadline that he will need to make arrangements to live his life as he sees fit. Re read what I just said in my last sentence except replace"he" with "I".
My husband is in his mid 60s. He never had to shop for his food, iron, do laundry. We are both familiar with demands of declining parents. Now I have health issues. I plan to head down south on my own for warmer weather for a few months, but he chooses to stay home. This will force him to self care when supplies run out as kind of a dry run. I may return to a messy house which may need to be professionally cleaned when I return.
Your dad may need your help to set up hired help. I remember an old Ann Landers saying, " no one can take advantage of you unless you let them". Keep this in mind again
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Dad either needs to learn, pay for help or dispense with chores - who irons anything these days? If he is reasonable healthy and with-it mentally he is now in charge of his household tasks. You have NO responsibility and should feel free to refuse. It is much healthier for him to learn to care for his own household.
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I do. Cotton and linen need it. It's actually a therapeutic activity if your not overwhelmed with chores.
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If he is fit and active simply tell him to learn how to do things then observe what he does. Can he afford a visiting maid? If so problem solved.
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Rosses003: "If you ask me, the solution is very easy, hire help that comes at least once a week, I don’t know in your area but in mine it can cost around $100 per day. It will be money very well invested! Maybe the person can cook for your dad and leave food made for the week (it is actually very simple and practical)."

Great idea, but have dad do the hiring or the Laughing Brothers. KCALMAR33 has already done her fair share.
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No, it is not your responsibility. When my 92 year old dad's wife died 3 years ago, I never once lifted a finger for him as far as housekeeping. I knew better. Do a job once and it's yours. I helped him with all of his financial stuff instead. It was not until we got care in for him that they began doing light housekeeping. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. It's ok to say 'no'.
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My DH will be 72 in Jan. He can vacuum, wash, make a sandwich, and is not a slob. He can do dishes. Your Dad needs to do these things for himself. Tell him now you work f/t you just don't have time anymore. W

Women do their husbands no favor waiting hand and foot on them. Or, raising their sons this way either. My Mom did the same thing. I didn't.
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Kcalmar33,

I believe you know the solution to the problem but are hesitatant to do it because you don’t want to let your dad down or -even worse- let yourself down, because you may feel as “a bad child” if you don’t do these things for your dad.

You know the logical answer is ‘don’t do what you cannot do,’, simple; specially because it is not a serious situation where your dad needs help.

Save your energy for when you actually have to care for him way beyond washing and ironing clothes! Trust me, if that moment comes you will need every drop of your energy!

Talk to your dad and just say exactly what you said here, maybe not mentioning that your mom used to do everything for him, etc., as the intent is not to upset him, just to share with him a problem and try to find a solution together. Keep in mind, he did not cause the problem, so there is no reason to be mad at him, he is just being who he has always been, you took over the tasks by choice..and by love. If you ask me, the solution is very easy, hire help that comes at least once a week, I don’t know in your area but in mine it can cost around $100 per day. It will be money very well invested! Maybe the person can cook for your dad and leave food made for the week (it is actually very simple and practical).

Best of luck!!
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rovana Dec 2018
Well Dad is not the same as he was - he needs to step up to the change because his wife is gone. No one is responsible for keeping his former life-style unchanged. Please do not go down that road.  Read the thread from Dorker if you want to find out all about - "my life must go on as it always has, no matter what or who suffers."
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KCALMER- You said it yourself, "When my mother died 4 years ago initially I was helping my father around the house with cleaning , ironing etc .
I didn't mind at first as I was working only part time but now Im in full time work I'm so exhausted..."

It seems that you set the pace here. I do not criticize I myself am guilty of this. Like for me with my Mom, since my Dad passed away, I felt so sad for her, so I wanted to do anything for her, just to ease her grief. Well, those things that I began doing out of love and concern, have become the "norm." Now they are the expected. I have no one to blame but myself, and I love my Mom so I will not let her down, for the world.
You began doing these things for your Dad, now you are frustrated because you are exhausted, it has become taxing on you.
But, before you began full time work you stated that you did not mind doing these things. So you see, you only mind now, because it feels like more work now that you have taken on a full time job.
And now that you see him as a burden, I would recommend that you try and get some help for him from someone who will not feel burdened, because now you are avoiding him for something that you chose to do.
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What would he say if you told him that he needs to make you his sole heir if he expects you to be the only child who does his chores?
Also his DPOA?
And while you are at it, he also needs to put your name on his bank accounts and will you his home.
That should open the door for more conversation and less laughter from the brothers.
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Could he afford any housekeeping assistance? He sounds young enough that you might be able to reason with him and indicate how busy you are with work and perhaps the time you spend together could be more enjoyable if it was not all housework related.
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No it is not your responsibility. If he can do them he needs to. If he can't he needs to hire help or look at an assistant living situation where he gets taken care off.

People are funny animals, they will let you work yourself to death if you want to. It is up to you to tell him that you were willing while he was grieving and needed time to adjust, now it's just taking advantage and you can't continue, he, for his own wellbeing, needs to step up and start taking care of his life again.
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Your father is not looking after his own needs, even though he could if he wanted to. Your brothers sound as though they were brought up the same way - what do your SILs say? If he can't or won't look after himself, he needs to go into AL so that someone else can do them for him, or hire a cleaner/housekeeper to do his share of the jobs. You are not a servant, certainly not a slave - like you, slaves don't get paid. You need to stand up for yourself and be a good daughter, not an unpaid servant. Give him the option - do your fair share here, or pay someone else to do it, either here or somewhere else.
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