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My mother it's in the end stages of COPD (she is still smoking) and because the doctors could do no more for her lungs they called in hospice. She is getting weaker but is showing no signs of immediate death.


I've only been married for 5 months and I currently live in another state but came home to take care of my mom.


She expects me to leave my husband and take care of her indefinitely. She says my husband does not need me and he's perfectly fine living alone and that she needs me to take care of her. I've been waiting on her hand and foot. She bosses me around, often condemns me and in the past whatever I've done for her it has never been good enough. She even told her friends that was a terrible daughter because I didn't previously go to her every bec and call. (I was a widow myself working a full-time job trying to take care of my two youngest now 20 + 23)


I do love my Mom very much and of course I want to take care of her but I also don't want to abandon my marriage. She tells me, "Fine, if you want to go home to your husband then my granddaughter will take care of me!" I can't do that to my daughter. She has two little ones under three and she can't do it neither and I won't let her because it's my responsibility.


I feel such extreme guilt! I want to take care of my mother but I also don't want to leave my husband hanging on for an indefinite amount of time.


I was going to take her home with me but after reading many horror stories of 24/7 care with demanding parents I knew there was no way I could put my husband through this.


My mom has been a good mother and grandmother for the past 30 years but when I was a child and teenager she always put her husband's first before me and I always took the back burner. Now she wants me to give up my marriage to take care of her and I find it very unfair and I'm angry. She lived a very full life, taking vacations and going out having no worries with her last husband who she was with for over 30 years but now she is sad and making me feel guilty because I want to spend time living my life with my wonderful husband. I'm 53.


She has plenty of money to get in home care but she wants me to do everything. I'm a Christian woman and I know your spouse comes first but yet you are supposed to honor your mother and father. The guilt consumes me. I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't. I would love to have any advice from those who have experienced similar issues.. Thank you

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I agree 100% with NeedHelpWithMom. If I knew 2 year's ago what I do now, I would not have brought Mother to live with us. Granted, she didn't ask me to care for her, but I couldn't bear to know she would be in a home where she would not make friends or be with people that want to include her in life.
Living away from her for over 30 years and only seeing her once or twice a year helped me to forget how dismissive, critical and emotionally unavailable she was in my formidable years. But she hasn't changed. Well, maybe she's a bit more passive aggressive than I remember.
I am angry a lot. I am depressed a lot. My relationship with my husband is solid, but I don't feel like I put him or my teenage son first, where they should be. I feel a lot of guilt in that respect.
Growing up I didn't really feel that mother daughter bond like I have with my own daughter. I forgot about that because it was so long ago, like another life. But now the wounds are all fresh again and it is very painful.
Last year my family had a little get together for my birthday and she never even acknowledged or said happy birthday -- even when everyone else told me.
This year my family had a little get together for my birthday, same as last year, and she didn't acknowledge it say happy birthday.
Honoring our elders doesn't necessarily mean living with them and waiting on them because they say we should or because we will feel guilty if we don't. Honoring them means making sure their basic needs are met and they are safe. Sometimes this is best done by placing them somewhere that these needs can be met and not necessarily with a family member -- assisted living, nursing home, or in home care.
But really think it through rationally.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 27, 2019
MumsHelper,

I love your answer! I understand it completely. There isn’t anything wrong with not housing our parents. It is a personal decision.

We do feel invisible to our moms at times. For what it’s worth, I hope you had a fabulous birthday. You deserve it! Happy birthday!

My relationship with my daughters is different as well. The silver lining in the cloud is that you and I learned what NOT to do from our moms concerning our daughters. I too feel some guilt not being as available to my husband and children, friends too as I would like to be. You brought up many valid points.

I also wanted my mom to live a happy life and include her in our lives.

My mom does not see or realize certain things about herself and she will not allow herself (never has) to accept constructive criticism or feel the need to change in any way. None of us are perfect. She does have many good qualities too, so I overlook a lot!

My kids have told me things when I did things that they didn’t like. For instance, telling others about an upcoming job interview. My daughter doesn’t like if I do that. So I no longer do it. I understood when she told me that if she didn’t get a job she didn’t want to necessarily speak about it to others. I get that. I’ve always respected their privacy but had to learn to do it in all areas.

I appreciate her telling me because I don’t want to overstep in any way. I don’t want her to be uncomfortable with me and feel as if she can’t speak to me honestly. I wish I could have honest conversatios with mom.

I can speak to my daughter honestly as well. Like when I tell her that having her hair colored is not an emergency! Yes, I have had to remind her that finishing her education at her university is what is most important right now and we aren’t going to pay for her expensive hair coloring at the salon when we have to budget.

She doesn’t have her job at the restaurant anymore after her boss expected the university students who worked there to sleep with him, sickening! She is looking for another job. Every age has challenges, right?

Everyone has differences of opinion and that is fine but we need to respect each other. That is all I ever wanted from my mom. My kids and I don’t always agree on things but we do respect each other.
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Google Narcissism.

Your mom wants what she wants with no regard for YOUR needs. She cant put anyone but herself first.

She is making a totally unreasonable request of you. You should feel mo guilt in saying " no Mom, I cant possibly do that. I can come and visit ( once a week once a month whatever you CAN) But I cannot be your fulltime caregiver."
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smilingtulip Mar 25, 2019
Thank you. That's what I was feeling yet she makes me feel so guilty. Everytime I leave the house, even though I am helping her she has a terrible time and let's me know about it. She has that way of subtle underlining messages of I can't live without you.
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I've been in a similar situation with my Mom for the past couple of years. Mom was driving me crazy being her "go-to" person in the beginning. I wasn't spending any time with my husband because all my free time was taken up by my Mom. I was neglecting other areas of my life too - my job, health, friendships, etc.

I finally decided my Mom's happiness and well being were not my responsibility. It was hers! I took time to figure out what I was willing to do for her and how much time I was willing to spend doing it. I set a schedule for visiting her twice a week and stuck to it. I still have to tell her "no" sometimes and it's hard. But, I'm much happier since I set some boundaries. Having control over my own schedule has made a world of difference.

DO NOT feel guilty about setting boundaries. If you don't, you will end up without your peace of mind, health or your marriage!
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A few things, smilingtulip:

1. Good for you for sticking up for yourself! Take the guilt and toss it. You DO NOT deserve it.

2. You're not to blame for your daughter choosing to take your grandmother on.

3. Please pass this site on to your daughter. She's the one who'll need support soon.
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Thank you all so much for your advice. It was like rain in the desert washing away the grime of guilt. My guilt stems from the guilt I felt leaving my whole family behind, including grandchildren in October of last year. My Mom was not in the best of health when I left but she has been that way for many years. She guilted me then for leaving her while she is in poor condition.. I said Mom, you can easily live another 15-20 years. What do you want me to wait to marry Dave when I'm 70? 

My husband and I made a plan that I would fly up to visit every 3 months and I've been doing that. My kids are actually very supportive of my move and my husband and we keep in constant touch. I also call my Mom every day and had the kids come over there to check on her because she needed an ambulance. I flew home to be by her side and have been here now for three weeks.

I booked a one way flight home on April 1st Once home, my husband and I will work out a schedule to see my Mother. Again, I can not thank you enough! I knew she had narcissistic tendencies but yet she can be very kind and giving as well. I do love her very much and next to my husband she is my best friend. I guess over the years I got so use to her rude, selfish comments that they didn't bother me anymore, but when death approaches it kind of changes your perspective. You all helped me to get back on track. Thank you!
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 27, 2019
I wish you the best. Your choice.
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Amen to Barb...absolutely do NOT leave your husband to take care of your mother. You can help to get her live in caregiver or help her get into ALF
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I think if God had meant "... and by 'honour your mother and father,' I mean wait on them hand and foot whether they need you, you specifically, to do that work for them or they're perfectly able to recruit resources elsewhere; and nuts to your husband" He would have said so, don't you?

Honour your mother, and love her. She was a good mother, she was a good grandmother, she is a person in her own right, she deserves support and care. Help her to access services, if she'll let you. But even if she WON'T let you, don't do them yourself. The Smilingtulip Home Care Agency is not an option for her.

And if she makes one more move towards roping in your daughter: lose all sense of humour, do not even smile, and tell her if she even tries that you will bite her.

On the other hand. With advanced COPD, it isn't likely that your mother weighs up and considers everything she says before she says it. She probably does feel sorry for herself, and would like some pampering, and who can blame her? But you can sympathise without *complying.* Just don't base any practical decisions on her poorly sentiments ahead of your own good judgement.
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My mom is in memory care and almost every week when I go to see her, she gets teary and says "I wish I still had a home. I wish I had someone who cared enough to take care of me." To which I always answer "We've discussed this before. You need 24/7 care and I can't provide it. I have to work and support myself and my kids. It has nothing to do with not loving you and everything to do with your safety and well being." They do get very self involved with dementia. They don't know or care what your personal situation is - everything is about them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: not everyone is cut out to be a full time caregiver to a loved one with dementia. I know I'm not and I think it would be a disaster if I tried. I had mom living with me for 5 years when she was still relatively lucid but when the wandering started, that was it. I did not want her getting lost or hurt while I was sleeping or at work.
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I have cared for my mom since 2005. Don't do it! Enjoy your life with hubby. Have a relationship with her if that is important to you but don't allow her to control your life. Don't kid yourself with this boundary thing. If someone is living with you, there is only so much you can do. Even if you do succeed in boundaries, it is an enormous sacrifice.

I would not consider having mom live with me if I had the chance to travel back in time. I have had people tell me that they have not regretted caring for parents at home. This is only my opinion from my perspective. As you know, the choice is yours. It is entirely up to you.

We are all equals. No one trumps the other. Your husband is not inferior to your mom. Choose your hubby. It shows in your writing that you want to be with your husband. Be with him. Explain to mom that this is your time with your husband and you will help her get settled with appropriate care. Best of luck to you. Please know that you are not an uncaring person. An uncaring person would not even be posting a question on this site. Take care.
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MumsHelper: "Honoring our elders doesn't necessarily mean living with them and waiting on them because they say we should or because we will feel guilty if we don't. Honoring them means making sure their basic needs are met and they are safe. Sometimes this is best done by placing them somewhere that these needs can be met and not necessarily with a family member -- assisted living, nursing home, or in home care."

Yes, yes, yes...a million times YES!

Way too many people think "honor" means waiting on them or meeting their every "want." And that honor means the parent is more important and gets to suck the life/health out of their caregiver. I've read about it being the "right thing to do." Oh, no, it is NOT!
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