How can I manage all of this mess without going crazy?

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I have the worst headache right now! It's about 12:30 at night and I can't sleep. Here's what I did today: 6:45 am: Woke up 11-year-old cousin for school. 10 am: Woke up and got Aunty ready for the 11:30 visit by the home health nurse and the 12:30 visit by the physical therapist (who came just for an initial evaluation). After she left, Aunty decided that she doesn't like the therapist and may call the agency to tell them that she doesn't need physical therapy). After that, she complained because I misplaced some important paperwork of hers (which resulted in a shouting match because this is not the first time I have los t something of hers around the house.) Later, when POA cousin came to pick up her son (whom we watch after school), we went out to get take-out for everyone's dinner. Back home, I realized that I forgot to get 11-year-old's food (he wanted something from a different store).So Aunty complained about my forgetfulness. This led to another discussion of how I lost a piece of her jewelry while she was in the hospital. When cousin POA went out, I had to watch the 16-month old. She returned, then we ate.She stayed for another hour or two and left, but the 11-year old is spending the night and I have to wake him up for school. After a while, I got Aunty ready for bed, ironed the 11-year old's school uniform and ran his bath, then cleaned up after him when he was done. Then I watched a little TV with Aunty. When our show was over, I went to bed but couldn't rest for about 2 hours. Typed this post , then took a Tylenol PM. Hopefully I'll get to sleep soon.

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SamIam I am with you all the way hun in principle it just that while it is superb theory I cannot get to grips with putting it into practice...well not true I can put it into practice I cant bear the endless repetitive moan that comes when Mum gets focused. It feels like she has aspergers she just gets stuck in the loop .
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Why is it that people feel that when they ask for help they can also demand it on THEIR terms? If you need my help = it will be on MY terms.
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I can remember my son being quite knowitall when I mentioned about him growing up and taking responsibility for respecting me and my house. He was a bit of a lovable rogue in the lady department seemed to have a different one every night for a while and this particular morning there was a pair of tiny ladies shoes in the hallway.

I was murderous at the lack of respect to me.

So when he went out I went shopping and bought a large suitcase from a jumble sale I think it only cost me a couple of pounds/$ .When I got it home I wrote in large felt tip pen letters

Why dont you leave home while you know it all?

Well that night he called my bluff and went... I was devastated but i knew this was a lesson he had to learn. He was 17 so I rang his head of year - and explained the whole situation to him through the tears. He was quite supportive but I could tell he thought I was a loony tune.

My son stayed away 3 nights and then rang me to ask to come home. He came home but home was very different. If he couldnt be in by the designated time the doors were locked and bolted. I was reasonable midnight or even up until 2 if he rang to let me know at weekends 11 pm duting the week BUT ONLY IF HOMEWORK WAS DONE FIRST. And my house was not to be used as either a hotel or a cat house

He is now a great guy but he never forgets that I set him boundaries and forced him to acept them or go..... his choice. He's had to set his own boundaries with his children of late and he now knows just how hard it is to do but how important it is to do it from the get go.

So go set those boundaries gal if you dont you will rue the day hun
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Jude...I also like your idea of the talk....11-year-old is about to graduate from elementary school in a few weeks, so this is the perfect time to make the connection to a "growing up, more mature, need you to be more responsible" speech. Maybe l will rub it in a little bit thick and say he's " almost a teenager" and boost his ego up to encourage him to help me more . He has jealousy issues with the 16-month old, so maybe this will help. (Hey, all those years in the classroom reading kids' brains may come in handy now.)
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Babalou... (funny, spellchecker keeps changing your name to my street name that has a similar spelling! ! :) I used to go to therapy years ago for another traumatic incident that happened to me , so I may look into that again if I can get time to do it.
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Yes but that has a flip side too Oregon. My son is a superb cook but he started at about 3 helping me weigh out flour, whisking eggs in a bowl I set on the floor for himm etc. yes we ate some weird stuff for a while but he soon learned and by the time he was 5 (the same with my daughter I might add) he could cook a meal if supervised (he would have tried unsupervised given the chance - he wasnt given the chance)
By the time he was seven he could cook a sunday roast and time it to get it all cooked by the same time. While my daughter was the plain cook and followed instructions my son was inventive so we had roasted vegetables long before they became popular - trial and error stuff and some disasters (brussel sprouts dont roast well!) They tidied their rooms from the time they could get things out of the toy box - if they can get em out they can put em back. They helped me do the washing loading unloading or hanging out theyhelped me dust so they knew how to do it.
SO they were well versed. Now however my son drives me nuts - he is almost OCD about tidiness in the home. My DIL is a very tidy person but cant boil an egg, however she can do all manner of things artistically and my grandsons room has had a full disney park painted on all four walls by hand and then a cars scene and now it is about to become Jurassic Park so between them they have amazing skills but they have tidiness at the top of the list. He never leaves a spoon unwashed let alone the breakfast things, she puts every reel of cotton back in colour order in her reel case (Idont even have a reel case for heavens sake)
I dont regret teaching my son and daughter that all the work in the house is to be shared though - my son can knit and sew, my daughter can clean gutters and wield a paint brush
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Well, with the training I gave my son, he married a professional women. With both of them working long hours and for good pay, they both share in everything. But, my daughter in law does not stop thanking me for training my son to be creative in the kitchen and carry the load with the house. They share as it should be. Not the way it was for many of us.
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Sad thing is that there are plenty of women who would accept a man who wouldn't do for himself. Once all women just cooked the bacon and cleaned up. Now they're expected to bring it home, too. I've seen women that work all day, then take care of the kids while the husband does nothing at all. A lot of girls are raised that way.
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Boy Jude, I am with you. Set that child down and tell him the facts of life. First and foremost, they are creating a boy who will be a man and no women will want him. PERIOD. I told my son, learn to cook, clean, iron and be responsible or you will never get a women worth anything. A women requires a man to carry his load these days.
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To answer your question directly: you cannot manage this level of stress without getting sick. You are breaking down already. In order to save others you must first save yourself. If you wait due to avoiding their unhappiness, you will fail physically or mentally or both. You could start the change by talking with a free mental health professional or pastor or similar non-family member. Plan, then Act.
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