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I wanted to get some advice ...I don't know if my parents realize how much I do for them. I certainly can't tell them. After receiving several comments from this site I finally stopped going as much during the week. However, the job is twice as hard when I do go....cleaning the house once a week. I literally hurt the next day and feel exhausted for a couple of days.


My question is this...my parents will tell me they plan on driving somewhere that involves a lot of freeways and traffic. If I do not know a week in advance, I will not want to go...call me crazy but I have to know and plan. I have some agoraphobia issues. Probably after years of being on call as a flight attendant. Anyway...my parents KNOW I do not have a life...single mom. How can I feel okay about saying I cannot go? Without worrying about ALL the repercussions. They are going somewhere tomorrow and know that my plan was to clean their place? ...uggh...and my mom can be so passive aggressive that it has manipulated my entire life. But...they are not doing well. And probably won't live too much longer...so I relent and go...I do love them very much......any advice?

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I see from your profile that Mom is 52... how old is Dad? Why are you cleaning their house? Why don't they clean it themselves or hire a housekeeper? Is there some reason Mom and Dad cannot navigate a lot of freeways and traffic?

Some points you need to consider:

(1) Your parents are responsible for taking care of themselves - helping them does not necessarily mean taking over a task. My mother has had spinal stenosis since I was a toddler. I started cleaning the bathtubs/bathrooms around 6 because the bending required was painful for my mom. After Mom was no longer caring for her parents and I took a traveling job, (Mom's late 50s and early 60s) I purchased various reach extenders to aid Mom in getting things off the shelves, cleaning the tubs/floors/windows, opening jars, getting groceries in (cart), etc. I helped with the heavy cleaning one Saturday a month. You should _aid_ your parents in doing as much for themselves as they can - and that includes finding "helpers" for housekeeping or showing them how to purchase groceries using a website.

(2) You are responsible for caring for your two children - NONE of their needs should be compromised to provide care for your parents. They may have a few wants that don't happen because you need to see about their grandparents, but that's all.

(3) You need to take care of yourself, you have two kids that need you today and tomorrow. Cleaning your parent's house to the point that you hurt and are tired for days afterward is too much.

(4) Passive aggressive and/or manipulative behavior requires you to enable/agree to it - so STOP. Listen, decide if the request is reasonable, decide if you can do it without compromising your ability to take care of yourself or your children, and then do it or tell Mom sorry but that's not an area where you can help.

(5) My understanding is agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder. Please get help and keep this under control. I cannot believe worrying about your parents and stressing over some last minute trip is helpful. If a week is your time-frame, then don't go anywhere without a request that's at least a week old. It may take a trip or two for the parents to learn you mean it, but they can adjust - either by making requests in a timely manner or making the trip without you.

There's only so much of you to go around. Your parents should be included on all the compromises. For decades my mother cleaned the entire house every week. When she needed my help, she had to compromise on some chores only getting done monthly or some things every couple of months. When my parents needed more care and I had young children to care for too, I decided we could live with the cluttered look in my home and only completely picked up all the toys once a week for a good vacuum and mop. No one died from dust bunnies.
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You state on your profile: "I am caring for my mother Carolina, who is 52 years old, living at home with age-related decline, depression, heart disease, lung disease, and sleep disorder."

My Dad had "age-related decline, heart disease, and lung disease" when he was in his 40's and he lived to be 77 years old when he died of a heart attack.  My Mom had "age-related decline, heart problems (she had a pacemaker implanted in 2000 at age 70), and sleep disorder" and Mom lived to be 87 years old.  [Mom died of a heart attack last month on September 17, 2018 at the age of 87 years old.  She would have been 88 in December 2018.]

So, if your parents are in their 50's, and you expect them not to "live too much longer" (AKA "they will most likely die within the next 3 months"); then I would expect them NOT to be healthy enough to travel anywhere other than to the doctor or to the grocery store.  Have you talked to their doctor(s) and have the doctor(s) told you that your parents have XX number of months to live?  If their doctor(s) have told you that your parents have only 3+ months to live, then they need to look into having Hospice take care of them since they are going to die "soon".

Isn't it more likely that your parents are the ones who told you that they only have "a few months to live " in order to get you to do what your Mom does not want to do--clean house??   You also state "my mom can be so passive aggressive that it has manipulated my entire life".  Well, honey, she sure has done a great job if she has you convinced that she is going to die soon, yet she is healthy enough to take a trip to where ever there are "lot of freeways and traffic".

It is time to take your life back.  Time to set boundaries and to let your parents take care of themselves.  It sounds like they are healthy enough to do so.
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Your profile says Mom is 52? Is this correct?
How old are your kids?
Time for boundries. If your parents can travel, then they can afford someone to come in and clean. Tell them cleaning for them means your house suffers. No one says you have to go with them. Tell them sorry, you need some down time. They need to realize you need a life of ur own. They have each other.
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What are your parents’ issues that they need you to care for them? You say they aren’t doing well and probably won’t live too much longer—but it sounds like they travel frequently. Do you have to go along to provide care?

Maybe time for them to hire hire a housekeeper and companion to travel with them. As long and you tolerate their using you, they will continue to do so.
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