I've been living with my mother (and my two children) in my mother's home for 15 years.
My mother is 74, has quite severe COPD/emphysema, and has no friends apart from me.
My son is 22 and leads a very independent life, not really being involved with the family very much.
My daughter is about to turn 19, passionate about her ballroom dancing, in a long term relationship, and looking for work.
And I am 43. I have a fulfilling job that goes from 4pm til 2am 4 days a week. I have a long term partner who I have been dating for 15 years (!).
My partner and I have managed with a "part time relationship" for so long it sometimes feels like we will just go on like this forever... But we really can't keep doing this. We need to feel like a normal couple... Or at least more normal than we can be with my spending only one night a week with him. Smses and phone calls and IMing help, but they can't take the place if just being together.
So we have made a decision that our goal is to at least live together, and hopefully to marry. We have not yet discussed this with my mum, because we want to have some sort of real plan, that addresses the potential problems, before we do talk about it.
For a number if reasons, my partner simply moving in with us won't work, so we need to work out some practicalities that will let me continue to take care of my mother, while letting me be a Grown Up in my own relationship and house, rather than just a daughter-carer in my mother's house and a visiting girlfriend in my partners house. My partners home is literally 5 minutes drive from my mother's house - he bought there to be close to me.
What I'm asking you kind people for is practical advice. How do I work out what is fair to mum? How much time should I spend helping with the practical things? How much time should I spend giving her companionship? How do I find out what services are available in our area to help us?
The emotional side of things will, of course, be difficult and painful for both of us, but we are good communicators, and I believe we can work our way through that minefield relatively unscathed.
I've been writing a list of the things Mum needs help with, and next weekend my partner and I are going to go through the list and come up with potential solutions to each one.
But it feels like a huge job, working it all out, so any advice you can offer would be very much appreciated.
I'd also LOVE to hear someone say that I'm not being a bad, unloving, selfish daughter by wanting to have my own life, apart from my mother.
Thank you for listening,