Depressed at Christmas

It is a week before Christmas and I am resentful and depressed. I am 49 years old and caught in a web of care taking for my 2 children, my husband and now his elderly parents. They do not live with us, but they depend on me very heavily. I love them but I am so weary of taking care of people.


My husband is a high powered business man who always put his needs first. He is a good man and I love him, but I am finding it impossible to pursue what I want to do in work or in life while meeting all of their needs.

My son just went to college and still expects me to do his laundry, as does my husband and high school daughter. We have a massive house that I hate and just taking care of it is a full time job. My in laws moved here in June and they are running me ragged.

My father in law has lung disease from smoking his whole life and both my in-laws and my husband constantly put pressure on me to make every get together perfect because it might be his last. It's exhausting and frankly my in laws are entitled; new furniture, new clothing, new computes, new TV's. On and on and on. It all falls on me and I'm so tired. Every time I see them they need me to run get this, take them here, buy me this, etc. They live in a lovely retirement community with a driver to help them and their meals are taken care of, but still they exhaust me.

I took care of my father in our home after my mother's death and he never asked for a thing and was so grateful for the smallest of things that it was a joy to be with him.

Recently I had been offered a chance to go for a week on a relief mission trip to Haiti after Christmas. I was going to be able to follow my passion for writing and write articles for a Mission organization. But, my sister-in-law and her family are coming that week and my husband chewed me out for not being there to host the get together. Heaven forbid that his sister grow up and minister to her own parents that she hasn't seen in almost 4 years and rarely calls! So I canceled the trip to keep peace and to honor my ill father in law, who will probably out live me. Now I will have 4 more spoiled adults to look after in addition to my own family. ARGH!

How did I end up in this role? They are not even my parents. I want to go back to work and get out of the house now that my kids are older and do something other than cooking and laundry, but with my in laws needs, that is now an impossibility. I have my own very serious health issues and I no longer can work and do every thing my family needs me to do. My family also depends on me emotionally. I know I should feel blessed that my family wants to be close to me emotionally and they all want my time, but I resent that too. Mostly I just long to be by myself, doing my own things, and not doing for others what I know they can do for themselves.

The irony is that I have no desire to do this to my own kids when I get older, which is good because the "little darlings" have already made it clear to my husband and I that they will not be caring for us in our old age. My husband's parents never lifted a finger to help us when our kids were young. They lived in Florida in a posh retirement community and frankly ignored us except on Christmas, where they came to visit and expected me to wait on them hand and foot and provide expensive gifts and 5 star home cooking.

Trust me they moaned and complained if it didn't meet their standards or if I did not entertain them to their satisfaction. My father in law has a terrible attitude and is mean and peevish. My mother in law is very needy and clingy and loves to brag about herself and is overly concerned with her wardrobe and keeping a perfect home.

I do tell them "no", like when the girl that irons my in-laws clothes quite, my mother in law expected me to add ironing their clothing to my chore list. Ah, no. M is for mother, not for maid, but most of the time I do feel like the "family" maid. When I get sick the laundry just piles up, as do the dishes and then every one gets mad because there is no food in the house and their needs go unmet. My husband is forced to help his own parents and all hell breaks lose. I swear my in-laws take it personally when I am ill. Selfish, selfish, selfish! Our family's curse!

So, I am depressed that it is Christmas because now I have mountains of presents to wrap, cookies to bake, a massive house to un-decorate after it is all over in addition to every thing else I normally do for my selfish brood. I've already returned my in laws gifts numerous times because they were not happy with what I had gotten for them. I, of course have to buy their gifts for the kids, and for my husband and for even me, and wrap them too. But my kids and husband expect me to do the same for them as well. It makes me hate Christmas!:( I just want to get through the holidays so I can get back to a place I can handle emotionally. I have never felt so out of sorts, exhausted and depressed around Christmas. I feel guilty that I am dreading Christmas day and that the spiritual component that I hold so dear to my heart has been lost to my resentment. My family is blessed in so many ways, but entitlement is an ugly master.

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Depressed - Know How You Feel
by: Anonymous

I know how you are feeling- I am bringing up two kids, have a husband who travels a lot on work, and am taking care of his mother after his dad died in an assisted living facility.

We brought her home to live with us because she would be alone and probably have died within the year after he passed. Well. It started out with the best of intentions, but it is no picnic looking after my Mother In Law!!! There is a reason I am on this site as I am going through a lot of the same emotions as the stories I am reading. Some things have helped me-

We hired a nursing aide - she comes in for a few hours everyday and is a huge help to me - she takes care of the cleaning, etc., for my Mother In Law, showers, room cleaning, laundry, bathroom etc, so thankfully I am not burdened with those.

I know from experience how selfish people (siblings, kids, etc.) can be, so I am going to raise my kids to do their own work as much as possible. Also due to past experience, I have stopped caring about "what people think" - I think you should do the same.

If you announced to your kids that you were no longer going to do their laundry - and that if they didn't do it, their clothes would end up with Salvation Army - what's the worst that would happen-maybe you should try it!

When your in-laws start their demands - just say no! tell them you don't have the time, are too tired, not feeling well, have other commitments, etc. but, you have to stop being at their beck and call. Alternatively, you could start on a course (educational or otherwise) or get a job that would take you out of the house and give you some peace.

Do something for yourself everyday-make it a priority! Wish you all the best:)

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I Hope Things get Better for You
by: Anonymous

Hello. I came across this site a little while ago. I hope you find peace in your difficult situation. I also hope you find the strength to be kinder to yourself.

It sounds like you have a lot of stress in your life. Believe it or not, it's alright to say no sometimes and to expect other people to help themselves/grow up. Best wishes for a happier new year...Depressed in California

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Depressed during Holidays - Empathy
by: Anonymous

First, I'd like you to know that you're not alone. My situation is very similar to yours.

The only difference is my father-in-law has since died and my mother-in-law moved in with us.

Despair is the first emotion I feel when I wake up and the last before I fall asleep.

I will pray for you. I think it's the best Christmas gift anyone can give.

Merry Christmas.

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