How do I stop feeling guilty about wanting my own life?

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I live at home with my parents and my aging grandmother. My mom has severe arthritis and needs a double knee replacement. My younger sister is away at school. My dad works long hours. My mom runs the household... with my help. At 23, almost 24, I want my own life. I want to go out and not feel guilty that I'm not unloading groceries, or spending my only day off a week at home with my grandmother while she watches daytime TV. I was raised that family comes first, always, and I love my family. But I want to know how to take time for me.. without feeling guilty about it. I want to know how to spend a day relaxing with my boyfriend of three years without feeling as thought there is something I should be doing at home for the two women who taught me how to be a woman, and raised me to be the woman I am. Help me regain some of that twenty-something freedom I'm dying for... guilt free.

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Follow piratess' advice, by all means, talk and negotiation is always good, but call me cynical if you wish, most parents eventually revert to treating you as if you are 12 years old (in this venue anyway), and any kind of 'negotiation' will eventually break down If You Do Not Separate Yourself in some way. I try and 'make time' for myself, I have my pastimes and hobbies that I like to do, none of which I can pursue with any real relish because of the pressures on my time that are always there. I have not sat down to read a book for any more than 15 minutes at a time, I can't fill my house with music as I used to because she can't stand either music that is too loud (she prefers absolute silence, believe it or not) or that she does not personally approve of (I have a wide range of interest, from classical to Lady Gaga), and I hate earphones. In short, there is very little about my life of the last 12 years that I find at all satisfying. Separation trauma is a bad thing to deal with for parents but not necessarily for children. The reasons I am keeping mom at home have a more financial base, and have no particular place here.
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Hi Omasgrl...by the name you picked..."Grandma's girl", I think deep down you have plenty of deep feelings of rooted love in your family and do enjoy and love your grandma. But as a caregive that just ended her service to her mom, I know there was times I hated it...but after going through wouldn't have changed anything those 2 years went quick. But you do need ME TIME...otherwise caregives burn out.... So make timeout for yourself and time you spend with b/f. Somehow you can arrange it with your Mom that you can take ME time either for yourself like shopping or mani/pedi's or weekend away with B/F. It will give you time to find yourself again in caregiving. It will make everyone happier if you are not angry and burned out. Please explain to Mom that you all can make it a win win situation if you strategize and put your heads together...Mom can have time off and you can have time off...share the time. Poor Oma maybe she can help with folding laundry...the elderly love to be included....let her help with a few things if she still can. I hope this helps a bit...I of course am a caregiver twice your age..and did not have to do this at 24/25....this is your party years I know it...been there....but try to get some of that in while you can....!!!!!!!! Hugs to you and Oma and Mommy!
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I'm a firm believer in separate housing.
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Of course we do not know omasgirl's mom and grandmom, but I do know mine - she just does not know how to let go, tries to fit the role of a loving, cookie-bakin' mom and grandmom, but will whine and wimper (just like her mother before her) and work on my sympathy, and of course, I am the sucker. She does not understand boundries, will agree to them but when push comes to shove ignores them (like this morning - she is 'in a mood'). What can you do? If she has a talk with her, I hope omasgirl has a more understanding and independant mother than I do.
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omasgirl, why not talk to your mom? Why not ask her the same question that you posted here? Surely she remembers what it was like being young doesn't she? She's not a helpless baby just because she has bad knees. My friend went through double knee surgery, so I know how painful it was before surgery and also during the rehab. But believe me, if my friend wanted to go somewhere and do something, she'd suck up the pain and do it! So can your mother, she's not paralyzed just spoiled.
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Listen to cmagnum! Grab your chance, don't let anyone else in your bed. My marriage may have had a shot if it had not been for Two clinging mothers who did not know how to let go.

Someone once said, "If you're bleeding, look for a man with scars". Run, do not walk out of Dodge.
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omasgirl, I agree that your title says it all plus we do not even know what your real first name is which sounds a bit self invalidating. At 24, you are a full grown woman and not a little girl. Omas and your mother may not be helping you really feel this young adult identity but it is yours. Your identity is not your family. It is not your grandmother or mother. Your identity is the unique you that you are. Yes, with their input, but you are not a drone copy of either. Family members can become fused or emotionally meshed with each other which leads to being intrusive in another person's life because they don't get it where they end and someone else begins. Believe me, I've been there. It's taken years of therapy to get where I am today. Frankly, I don't think the boyfriend is going to wait much longer. Before you are really going to be able to give yourself and cleave to him, if he is the one, you must leave home and live on your own. From experience, I can tell you men do not like being married to more than one person. A man wants to feel married to his wife without having to compete with mom, dad or grandparents. A woman, likewise, wants to feel really married to her husband without some outside competition. I would not suggest living together because that is not a very secure arrangement for a woman to be in and I would not run off with this man only to just get away from home.
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Get your own apt. even if it's just a Studio. Visit your family anytime you want or when they need you.
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omasgirl - PLEASE! Read the posts seriously! You are to be commended for your own sense of family loyalty, but if he is the one, grab that guy of yours and GET OUT!!! The 'taking responsability' and 'family loyalty' roads are in reality slippery slopes and lead to deep, sticky bogs. I came back to the home town for the same reasons, and if I had had a crystal ball 12 years ago I simply would not have had the guts to go through with it, and I only have one person to look after. With 3 people to care for, you will never have a life of your own.

Furthermore, I simply do not believe that if they love you as much as they are supposed to, they would be making other arrangements of their own and not ALLOW you to tie up your life. This kind of thinking is a remnant of some old ideal that big families stayed in the same town, a'la "Its a Wonderful Life"and all looked after each other and shared the burdon for life in a warm sunset glow. Reality is much harsher and darker. My advice is to grab your guy and Get the H___ out of Dodge!!! You have a right to a life. Take it.
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Many blessings great post!

You know her name says it all "Omasgirl" Hopefully it goes to "OmasGRRL"
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