I moved in with my mother over a year ago after she had several mini strokes. ( All of which occurred in early morning hours). She recovered well and is still very active...she actually takes care of an elderly couple in their 90's.
I love mom dearly. In many ways she is my best friend. But I find she is increasingly difficult to live with. She is very stubborn and will work herself to death in the yard if I don't hurry and do it all first. I still work myself and I try to keep everything done, but sometimes I just can't cook, clean, mow, work and do it all on her time schedule.
That really isn't even the real problem. I closed up my home to move in with her. I have two small dogs who she will not allow in her home and now they live in her guest house. Mom would really like for me to sell my home and leave her home to me. I don't want her house. It is not my style, the yard is too big and when I speak to her about allowing the dogs to move in she is very adamant about there will never be dogs in her home.
I have spoken to her about how this makes me feel like I am displaced. I try to spend a night or two with the dogs in the guest house ( she used to resent this, now she doesn't say anything). I also try to spend one night with my boyfriend. The rest of the time I am with mom and I usually even sleep with her. She says she doesn't need me and if I'm not happy with the way things are to move back to my house, but she doesn't say that with sincerity. If I moved back to my house she would be very pissed and would hold a deep grudge.
I feel like I am trapped and cannot have a life unless it meets her approval. Mom and I have always had a great relationship, but the older she gets I feel she is getting more demanding and more selfish. I pray about this. I hold my tongue. I feel I have put her needs above my own, but I don't think it is fair that she wants me here but only on her terms.
I am the only one of 7 children that have stepped up to help with her care. This week I needed a break so I went to my house with my dogs for three days. It does help, but I end up resenting having to go back. Please, I need suggestions. My mother's health is pretty can I make her understand that it isn't fair for her to want me there and expect my pets to live alone for the next however many years it may be?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Texas, your mother is making choices. Bad ones, but that is her right.

You also have the right to make choices.
To live where you choose.
To have animals.
To have a career, a love life and to live as you wish.

You appear to be tied to your mother's approval. Most adults go through a phase of development during early adulthood where we start being able to make choices without thinking " what will momma think?" We internalize the values that our parents instilled in us, and they become OUR values. This is useful when, as parents age, they sometimes become unreasonably demanding. As your mother has become.

Your mother seems dead set (pun intended) on working herself to death. That is her choice.

In your shoes, I believe I would pack up and leave tomorrow, but that's me. I think I understand why your siblings are missing in action.

Does your mom's doctor know how much work she does? Does he think she should be living alone?
Helpful Answer (7)

Some may say I'm picking the least of it - in this situation- to focus on - but honestly it's the part that breaks my heart the most - your poor dogs.

How this can be allowed to continue is beyond me. You made a commitment to those two loving creatures that needs to be honored. Dogs are social animals that need the love and attention of their humans. How are they spending their time - their lives? Waiting. If you can't  do right by your dogs - which is also the best thing for you, by the way - and pack them up and move back home with you, then you should find them a loving home where they will get the love, time and attention they deserve.

If your mother was being realistic or at minimum grateful for the sacrifice you're making I might be inclined to have a different opinion but it seems that since she is determined to work herself into the grave and merely accepts you as a spectator - well, don't you have better things to do with your life? Like living it for yourself?
Helpful Answer (7)

" If I moved back to my house she would be very pissed and would hold a deep grudge. " And ... ?? It seems like you hold deep resentment now (and if not, you should!) Why is it better for you to have the bad feelings than for your mother to?

Your life is absolutely as valuable as your mother's. Your pursuit of happiness is just as important as hers. If you do not believe that, then I guess it makes sense that you continue to sacrifice and feel displaced. But if you accept your own worth, then you need to make changes. Move home. Reconnect with your dogs and your sweetie.
Helpful Answer (5)

You sleep with your mother? That seems like a tad over the top even if you are afraid of her having another stroke. Some one else could be hired to be there overnight.

"how can I make her understand..."

It is very simple - you can't. ((((((hugs)))))

It looks like your mother is narcissistic or she would not allow you to give up your life and have herself be the centre of yours. Healthy mothers not do this to their children. It also looks like you are deeply lost on the FOG of fear, obligation and guilt. Making your decisions based on FOG is not healthy for you.

As has been said above, your mother is making her own choices and you are free to make yours. At present, you choose to sacrifice your needs to hers - note choose. You can make other choices. We all are encouraging you to do that. Do you realize you are giving yourself a life sentence of servant-hood to your mum. As she gets older, and it sounds like she could live another 20+ years, she will need more and more care. Is this really how you want to spend the rest of her life or yours? Think about it. Talk it over with your boy friend and a counselor. You deserve better.
Helpful Answer (5)

You can't stop your life to be your mother's slave. Move back to your home. If it makes you feel better hire someone to stay with her at night. If she refuses, that's her choice. The time will come when she needs a caregiver, not a slave, and you can reevaluate what you want to do for her.
Some people want to live their lives to the fullest until they die. Let your mom live the life she wants to live and get on with yours.
Helpful Answer (4)

BarbBrooklyn has a great reply for you. Deep down, you know your mother is engaging in foolish, dangerous behavior. And you are enabling it by being her caregiver. Your sibs are probably staying away because they don't want to enable her.

Is your mother working for an agency? Or is she freelancing and being paid under the table? What happens when she injures herself in the couple's home?

Perhaps thinking of it that you are participating in her dangerous behavior by enabling it by being her slave and living with her. Do you want that on your conscience?
Helpful Answer (3)

Great answers above! Don't let her guilt you anymore- her choice to work herself into a frenzy if you don't choose to complete tasks on her schedule AND you work full time?
Those poor dogs! For your mother to deny you something that gives you much pleasure as you help her so much is downright selfish.
Move back to your own home, hire a CG to be there overnight, and live your life again. She is manipulating you while not even meeting you half way to assure your happiness.
Just my opinion. Call me silly but refusing to let your dogs live with you would be the last straw. Is she worried about her furniture? All materialistic items that can be replaced, and she has no regards for your feelings. Your mom needs to appreciate the sacrifices you make for her every single day.
Helpful Answer (3)

Step back and appraise your mother's prospects.

She has already been having mini strokes. That means that the big one is probably on its way. It may kill her, or it may leave her severely disabled. Have a contingency plan.

Meanwhile, you really, really do need to suit yourself. You have a life, thank you, a very nice one, with your own home and your companion animals and a relationship you would like to cultivate. How much of it you're prepared to give up, or temporarily suspend, is up to you. Don't fall into the trap of making sacrifices for the sake of another person, and then internally or explicitly blaming the other person for choices you have freely made.

What exactly is it that your mother needs from you? Wants from you? Would like from you in a perfect world?

I like the sound of your mother. What determination! What grit! She has been through experiences that would have made many other people retire to their rocking chairs and do nothing useful for the rest of their lives; and instead she remains h*ll-bent on staying active and purposeful.
It's admirable.

But, there is a downside: her determination also makes her determined to ignore certain realities. Such as that, at 77 and with known health risks, she might do better to accept a gradual winding-down in order to enjoy her later years. It seems that she prefers to keep going full speed ahead until she blows up.

Well, if she prefers not to face up to reality that's fine; but it doesn't mean that you have to. In your position I would be thinking about:

a fall back plan for the very elderly couple;
an assessment of your mother's needs, wants and nice-to-haves;
some research into how those needs etc might be met - and not all by you;
a few cool-headed decisions about what you need, want and are genuinely content to give up.

You ask how to deal with her increasing demands and unreasonableness and resentments in a firm but loving manner.

Step one is to recognise that changes in her personality and temperament are not really anything to do with you. Even if she wouldn't admit it under torture, it is likely that she is not feeling terribly well; who doesn't feel bad-tempered and anxious when they're not well? Adjust your expectations to those you would have, perhaps, of someone who had just had a nasty bout of 'flu.

Again, even if she is refusing to acknowledge it, she is 77, with her medical history, and there must be a bat-squeak of fear about the future on her mind. She refuses to be ill, she refuses to be old, she refuses to admit even that she needs you - or any of her other six children, wow. Well, again, I admire her will of iron; but reality goes on regardless.

The good, strong relationship you have always had with your mother is an excellent foundation. You probably are the best choice of person to be her advocate and protector in her later years. But that does not mean doing all of the work, providing all of the hands-on care, or enabling foolish choices on her part that may be increasingly at odds with reality.

You are going to have to let go of wanting her approval. Instead, start to trust your own judgement. You love your mother, and your assessment of what is best for her is likely to become more reliable than hers.
Helpful Answer (3)

How on earth can someone who needs caregiving be the caregiver for a couple in their 90s????

Exactly what kind of caregiving are you doing for your mother, and what kind of caregiving is she doing for the couple in their 90s?
Helpful Answer (2)

Reading your post, I can see myself all over. I was SO tied to my Mom's approval but the strange thing was, she never gave me it. I spent my whole life chasing after her love and attention, even when she became ill and moved into a nursing home eventually. when I look back at my behavior, it makes me sad. But I guess it's all a part of being a human and a daughter.

You have limits, and that doesn't mean you're uncaring to set them. It just means that in order for you to function optimally you need to set up certain parameters around your life. Plus I agree with Shane regarding your dogs. They are probably feeling a little confused and abandoned. They thrive on consistency but it sounds like their routine is out of kilter.

Our intentions can be for the very best, but reality often reveals just what is, and is not, possible.
Helpful Answer (2)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter