Are there are others out there who are raising kids and parents?

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Most of my elder care, for all seven elders, coincided with my raising kids. It does affect our children and they have to give up a lot of us. I tried to juggle it all, and I'm sure I failed each generation to some degree. But I did my best. It was all I could do.

Carol
Here's my story.... and I am so there with you two! My mom passed away three years ago and all my dad would say was, "Who is gonna take care of me now?" and I knew the row ahead was gonna be a tough one to hoe... Two years later almost to the day of her passing, I had to put my dad in a nursing home... I would not put up with his verbal abuse nor would I let my kids (10 and 6) be around him. He's lazy and likes to be waited on and to criticize... My kids come first! He is incontinent and no longer has any muscle tone. He has basically sat too long. He fell, ended up in hospital, and went to nursing home for rehab but liked it so well and wouldn't do therapy!

I am praying for both of you, dstock and nina! It's not easy, I know...! The guilt, the worry, the lack of help from family... don't get me started!
I also am there. I have a 13 yr old and a 17 yr old. My mother does not live with us (thank goodness), but is difficult and lazy and expects me to do everyting for her. She lives in an independant living facility, so does get her meals, but needs a supply at home too. So I do the grocery shopping. There is a laundry room, but she refuses to take her laundry there, so I do her laundry. There is abus to take them shopping and to doctors appts., but she refuses to do it, so I do...She calls a dozen times a day and complains when I am too busy to come rushing over. If I say I'm doing something with or for my kids, she gets jealouse and tells me what a terrible daughter I am because "she should come first!"
It is not a pretty picture and we "sandwich" generation kids have a tough row to hoe.
Thank you all for sharing. I know it is not easy being in the position we are in.

I only can try to put things into place when I get to be an elderly person because I do not want to put this burden on my children. This is such an ruff life to go through and especially being young and want to taste LIFE.
Sometimes I wonder if I've sacrificed my young son to my needy mother. My husband says he feels he lost me. Sometimes I feel I've lost myself as well. I keep thinking I'll redeem what I once had some time down the line. Sometimes I think my son will be gone before I realize that I've lost him, too. Sobering thoughts.
I can understand how difficult this is for you. My in-laws are in their 70's & 80's and have lived with us for the past 5 years. Trying to take care of my 7 and 10 year-old while dealing with my mother-in-laws mental decline has been especially difficult on my kids. My father-in-law is able to care for her now, but she will eventually need more care. This situation has also opened my eyes at to how I might begin to plan for myself because I would like to avoid placing this kind of burden on my children. Take care of yourself and remember that your children need to come first.
I've been there and did that so I can certainly understand your predicament. Now my 28 year old son is back home after a really bad relationship and my 83 year old mother is living with me since my father died 2 1/2 years ago she to wants to be waited on and is lazy but thank goodness at my age my son helps a lot he cleans and cooks and does yard work and all sorts of things but I had his other grandmother living with us when he was 16 and she had alzheimers and a slew of other ailments she wanted to do things but couldn't and I think the frustrations she felt plus the fact she didn't know what she was doing or saying most of the time made her nasty. Yes it is a hard life and no help from siblings my husband is on the road all the time so the stress is insurmountable. Good luck to you there are a whole bunch of us sandwich generations.
The M-D stuff described by neonwocky is tragic and sick. neonwocky, I admire your getting therapy to be able to deal with your narcissistic mother. Mother's like that often have enslaved husbands and produce children who grow up with borderline personality disorder which tends to be more in women. I've become educated about this via dealing with my own mother in law, etc.

One danger of caring for an elderly abusive parent is that as they weaken, a temptation opens for one's anger over the abuse to verbally make their lives a living hell.

Your mother is blessed to have you or any family member take care of her for it sounds like she alienated everyone else.

I'm glad to hear that you are not talking her abuse. narcissistic people don't tend to change unless they want to and no matter how much you do for them or try to convince them you love them, it is never enough.

Do remember that it's the grace of God in Jesus not our being martyrs by trying to save an abusive parent that will get us to heaven.

I am glad that you have a loving church, that you know that you are loved, and that you are a loving person despite your abusive background.

Neither daughters or sons should have to grow up with narcissistic parents. This fact makes mother's day and father's day difficult for many.
neonwocky.

Wow, growing up with two narcisisstic parents is quite a nuclear reactor. It sounds like you have been quite a thinking person your entire life and I would say your intelligence and sharp intelect probably saved you more than you realize.

You are so right about not plugging into their energy, acutally chaos, for that is all part of being a self-differientiated person from our parents as well as from other people which is better than any emotional cut-off becuase being your own person enables you to be in contact with the feeling of others without being controled by them, to speak using "I feel or I think" language instead of getting caught up in group think like you are part of some emotional/intellectual Borg to use a Star Trek anaology. The same thing is also found in Tae Kwon Do. My favorite definition of Key Energy is the ability to see a situation for what it really is and respond not react with only the necessary amount of movement and power in self-defense. Sometimes, doing nothing is the most powerful thing you can do since in reality we are our own biggist obstacle to defend ourselves against.

My own family or origin was such that in high school, I chose some of my new Christian friends, both my age and their parents, as a new Christian myself to become my substitute parents and siblings. I basically re-created my own family outside of my biological family and thus survived.
Shortly after becoming a widower and leaving the Marine Corps, I took my 70 y/o mother in for about two years. I felt as if raising three children instead of two boys on what seemed self-destruct mode. In a nutshell, she moved in to spoil them instead of giving me a hand while I became accustomed to the idea of single parenthood. Whatever they wanted they got, including ear piercing at the age of 10 and calling each other names they weren't born with. I was mortified and asked her to make arrangements to move out to a senior citizen residence here in the South Bronx, but my sisters -- all 13 of them -- laid a guilt trip on me that allowed her to stay for another three years.

In the meantime, I continued to drop by residences for the elderly and noticed many of them behaved just like my sons did before hitting puberty. At first, I thought people do regress mentally as they get older. But then I realized my mother, like Michael Jackson, didn't really have a childhood. Instead of toys on Three Kings Day (aka "Little Christmas"), she got school supplies and uniforms. Play, the arena where children develop their cognitive skills, wasn't allowed. Neither were friends. She simply cooked, cleaned, and learned other skills that would eventually make her a desirable wife and mother at the age of 14. It became clear to me, then, that I was dealing with a human being that didn't get a chance to completely develop and predestined to a life of poverty, multiple pregnancies (16), and regular beatings at the hands of drunken part-time husbands and shadow fathers. Still, she scrounged around long enough and taught us the value of education and importance of self-reliance. I resented many things she did to us because I didn't know where they came from and there are no excuses for it, like collective punishment as a preventive measure. But compared to other "thugs in training" she did a fairly good job and kept me from ending up dead or in jail next to a burly, sweaty six-footer called Flaco.

I was grateful and loved her to death, but the reality was that she was my guest, those were MY children, and that was MY house complete with norms and individual responsibilities designed to maintain the structure necessary for overall peace, stability, balance, and a modicum of sanity. The ubiquitous "I'm your mother!," a built-in excuse to keep doing whatever she wanted, no longer worked; and she knew it. She had to finish growing up and maturing along with my children, the problem was putting everything in a language she'd understand and accept. I had to be consistent with the TLC if she was to get with the program and see me a a self-respecting man that will not put up with rebellious behavior -- even from his mother.

To make a long story short, we have a much different relationship from the ones she has with my sisters; a rowdy bunch of chickens chattering in a churchyard who rarely listen, let alone help anyone else. (You either love them or leave them alone, which explains why I avoid family reunions.) Mom lives in a senior citizen residence not far from my home in Kingsbridge, no longer curses, overdoses on bingo every Sunday, volunteers at a soup kitchen for people living with HIV/AIDS twice a week, and the daycare centers in her neighborhood wish she'd be available more often. She has grown; she has matured; and she is what she has always been in my heart: a goddess. All it took was a little tough love, patience, guidance, and mutual understanding.

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