Caregiver

by Susan
(Lockport NY)

OK here goes...I'm the Daughter in-law or should I say as I've heard said by family members the outlaw! Three years ago my mother-in-law my Best Friend moved in with myself and her son my husband Mike.


She truly was one of my best friends I could talk to her about pretty much anything and we did a lot together. I would have her over for dinner a few time a month and send meals to her once or twice a week, shop together go to lunch and needless to say when she moved in I became a caretaker and lost my dear friend.

Our life's were not suppose to change but who were we kidding everything changed at 60 years old our kid's are all grown up and on their own and now we still have to make arrangements if we want to go away or even out to dinner.

She has COPD other than that she is fine still drives and is very sharp. When we discussed her moving in she sold her home to her youngest son and put an addition on our home with some of the proceeds a beautiful bedroom full bath and walk in closet, and with the rest of the money gave each one of the other sister's and brother 10,000 dollars, which is fine.

Here's the problem...I feel guilty if I don't feel like cooking or if I want or need my husbands attention or if I want to have my grand kids over or if I don't feel good I still feel like I have to make her lunch and dinner!!!

I do all the laundry fold her clothes and put them on her bed. I have OCD I know that my house has to be perfect at all times, she reads the newspaper all day and when she touches things I have to wipe everything, she spills her coffee every where I have to wipe it up if she gets crumbs on the counter she brushes them on the FLOOR with her hand my kids all 3 of them would never do that!!!!

When we have dinner together the conversation is pretty much between her and her son, when we have coffee in the morning on weekends same thing. I miss me and my husband having private time together I feel guilty feeling this way when we do go away for a few days a couple times of year his brother takes her which is nice but what about the rest of the year.

Her daughters live close by and I love them both but I need a Break once in awhile and need time alone with my husband I'm 60 but still desire a relationship with him, I can't talk to him about any of this because he thinks I'm just complaining although Mom complains everyday about someone or something!!

We just went away for 3 days and came home and had one night at home alone and it was wonderful she will be back tonight and I feel guilty but wish she could stay with his Brother for a few more days so we could have together time in our home.

Well that's about it we have to pick her up tonight wish her daughters would take her and spend a couple weeks a year with her so we could have a break!!! Am I a bad person? I Lost my Best Friend and will never get her back she will always be my Mother-in-law now!!!!

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Family Meeting Time
by: Sandi

Show the family this site. Let them read how this happens to a lot of people. Tell them that you love "their" mother but...you also need time for you.

Tell them that you would appreciate if each of them took her at least one weekend a month. In a year...that would be 24 days a year each...24 days out of 365. Not a lot to ask.

If each of them give you a weekend...that should help you a lot! I totally hear and feel your pain. I am in a similar situation only its my Mom. I have 3-5 days a month that I need my sister or brothers. I told them if I can't get help then my Mom will pay $15.00/hour when I do go out.

She has a little money and I will spend it until its gone to keep my sanity. That is their choice. Your husband also has to understand the demands this has put on you and that he needs to be there for his wife too!!! Good luck!!!

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Not Guilty
by: Susan

Thank you for your response! It is nice to hear from someone in a similar situation!!

My Mother-in-law also broke her arm recently which you know puts even more work on you, poring coffee,cutting there food etc.etc.I feel like if each one of her daughters took her for a month they would understand!

I know that would never happen it's just wishful thinking I don't want to resent the fact that they still have there freedom and one of them doesn't work anymore which I do and so does my husband. I work nights and weekends and my husband works days.

I have 12 grand kids, well one is a great grandson. I wish I felt comfortable enough to express how I feel with the family but I no longer can even talk to my husband about his mom because he simply doesn't want to hear it. I have a daughter who lives in Florida and am thinking about spending a couple weeks with her so that everyone would appreciate what I do.

I miss how things were. When people say nothing will change when you move a loved one in they simply don't have a clue!!!! I pray every day for patience and renewed Love!!!

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NOT GUILTY...
by: MICHELE

I understand your frustration. I have sole custody of my 87 year old Mother who has dementia, a broken arm and a new total knee replacement. I am single and in my 60's.

May I suggest that you have a family meeting with your in-laws and discuss them all taking a stint with Mother. Two weeks here and two weeks there or 30 days at a time.

Just because you opened your home to her and made adjustments to take care of her,does NOT mean that the others should not help out. Fair is fair...they took her $10,000, so they need/should help with her care.

Good luck and God bless.

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Anger & Resentment
by: Renata

My dear friend, I will say a few things to you:

1. This is your life right now.

2. I believe that the only reason why you're having this "emotional problem" (with serious potential), is because of mom-in-law's other children.

Mom doesn't see you anymore just her son - mainly because she's most needy of his love & attention after all he's the only one of her children still close to her - its normal - even though it can be hurtful.

3. She is now a major pain in the ass for you. So unless you do this as a labour of love - not necessarily for her, but for God and ask him to guide your efforts, eg. Have another table for her and someone else to join her- make sure you can sweep it clean easily after she eats. She's at another stage of care.

You could consider making suitable separate space for her apart from your own, so you can clean every 2/3-7 days instead of right away.

4. You've got to ignore whether the other children do something for her or not - they get the privilege to forget she exists for as long as they want - but you can't do that. So take charge & do what you must to make it easier for you. If they don't like it they can take her - but they WON'T.

5. You've got to ask Heavenly Father to help you everyday to do what you must as though you're doing this for God. What other reason if left? There is no other motivation that works!

6. What you need, you can't get it from anybody but God. When you receive the love and appreciation of The Lord you won't look to anybody for it. You've got to embrace the task - this opportunity to serve Him by caring for someone you care about but who is almost blind to your efforts and struggles of coping with her care/needs.

7. Finally, maybe you're better at this than you think. These other children of hers might pull their hair out if they had the task. Don't expect thanks. But be your beautiful caring self. Because it might be your gift in operation! Don't look around, just keep looking up...
You're a natural.

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