Mother of 2 Preschoolers, Baby #3 due, Dealing with Disabled Parents

I'm 38, have 5 yr old, 4 yr old and baby on the way. I live in Louisiana....Dad fell down stairs and became paralyzed from neck down. Mom quit her job to take care of Dad to avoid the nursing home but rapidly fell into severe depression with the difficulty of the task.


Older sister lives in Missouri, older brother lives in Arkansas. Parents lived in California at time of the accident. Roughly 2 years ago I visited my parents and discovered they were both severely emotionally spent and barely able to care for themselves without assistance.

After discussing with siblings, we decided to "move" my parents to Louisiana where one of us could be close by. My state of residence was chosen because we have other family here (mothers' siblings) and we get little to no snow, and the medical community is better. Also, because I am a stay at home mother and presumed to do nothing all day. Alone, I had the sole responsibility of finding land, a home builder and managing construction of a home with all the disability needs that my dad has. My parents had the money to pay for it, but it sounds as if money might be running low.

Now, for the past 2 years, with a husband, 2 very young kids, and trying to be room mom for my kids and get involved with their school volunteer system, I have dealt with constant complaints from my parents that they are miserable and depressed as Mom is unable to get out of bed other than to feed Dad - this can last for days at a time.

They both are on so many medications that my mom's personality is completely gone. She is a zombie half the time with the anti depressants, anti anxiety and anti stress medications she is taking. She refuses any counseling to deal with the burden of caring for my physically disabled dad.

I ask my siblings to call them more often and for about a month they might call once a week and then they lose interest and go months without calling our parents. When I tell my siblings of the severe depression, the mood swings, the anger that is unleashed on me, they act as if I am dramatic and making it up. My mom hides her depression from them because she is afraid if she is "a bummer on the phone" then they won't call.

So, she puts on a rosy tone and talks about things as if everything is a party here. Then the next day she will call me hysterically crying demanding that I drop everything and come over at once to help her with even the smallest of tasks that she sees as an unclimbable mountain. She has a house cleaner, a nurse that comes to the house 2x a day to help care for my dad with showers and moves from bed to wheelchair.

I clean my own house and often can't get to it because I'm having to deal with my parents. I'm upset with my siblings for refusing to acknowledge all that I have to do, all that I have to deal with and all that I am carrying for the three of us. I am upset with them for not acknowledging that I have a very hard job taking care of them especially when my parents are not even openly appreciative. I feel unappreciated.

My parent's money is running out, I'm worried that my husband and I are going to be stuck with future nursing home expenses and yet my sister asked my parents to pay for 3 plane tickets to fly her to town to visit for Christmas ($1500) and then she barely spent any time with them.

She ran around shopping at our malls and visiting with the other family members - drinking into late hours and partying with family. I thought when they came to town they would help take some of the "work" off of me and do some of the household things that they make me do....hang pictures on walls since they moved into the house, help my dad set up his computer, unpack boxes that are STILL in the garage, etc. They didn't do anything to help our parents, they were on vacation and when I suggested a small task my sister said "I'm not doing that, that's not my job".

What I've learned from reading some of these posts is that I need to tell my siblings every time I am called away from my family, my kids, my husband, my house, my life to care for our parents. I had actually stopped telling them anything at all because it just upset me to see how much I was doing and know that they were sitting in peaceful ignorant bliss of the headaches that lie in the South.

Can anyone give me any other advice? I also am criticized by my sister (not my brother) when I handle something in a way that she thinks is not correct.

Comments for Mother of 2 Preschoolers, Baby #3 due, Dealing with Disabled Parents

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Start using birthcontrol #1
by: Anonymous

You sound stressed. Please figure out birth control and don't have yet another child into this mix of your doing-too-much.

And start calling on official governmental programs/apply for assistance with your parents'....don't try to do it all on your own. Good luck.

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You are not Responsible
by: Anonymous

You are not responsible for your parents expenses. Your mom needs to consult an attorney and get the assets divided before putting your father on Medicaid and putting him in full time care.

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Children are the Future.
by: Wendy

Hi I have read the previous person's comments. I am a child of a mother who spent mine and my sisters childhood caring for an elderly aunt who lived with us and my embittered bed-ridden grandmother.

My mother was a victim, stressed, angry frustrated and she took it out on my sister and myself. Please don't dump your emotional stress onto your children they deserve better.

Thinking of your Wendy

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Walked All Over.
by: Lisa

Hi, I can relate to how difficult it is to care for your dad. You need to give your siblings the address of this website so they can read what you wrote. Lay it all out for them.

My parents used to tell me all the time when they laid their problems on me: don't tell your brothers, they have enough to handle without worrying about this. I bought into this even though at that time I had so many problems of my own, it never occurred to me that my parents were actually being so uncaring about me. After years, I thought 'what about me?'.

Trust me, when your children's childhoods are over and you've realized you missed their growing years because of the stress of mom and dad, no one will put a hero badge on you and show any appreciation. What you will get is criticized for everything they felt you did 'wrong'.

Your kids deserve better. You deserve better.

Your mom can 'rally around' to sound cheerful on the phone for your siblings, but is willing to put you through hell even though she knows you are raising her two young grandchildren with one on the way? That's not love, that is abuse.

You have to stand up for your family and I don't mean your parents.

Your mom can't look after your father, that much is clear. You can't look after the two of them.

Your dad needs to go into care, that house should be sold and your mom needs to stop her self pity and get a small place of her own. Period.

Seriously, do it before your own kids are grown and you end up regretting the time you let your extended family steal away from them, you only get once chance there are no do-overs with their childhoods.

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