I guess my feelings must be wrong because no one has offered a different perspective or how they deal with it.
Let me preface this with - I will never walk away from my mom, I will always be there for her no matter what and I wouldn't have it any other way. However, the cost is sometimes....frustrating. I'm not talking financial cost, I'm talking emotional and personal costs.
My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a while now, not to the point where we have under gone any fertility treatments, but those are coming. My doctor says it's time for the next step if we want to have a baby. My husband is 41 and I am 34. The problem with this is the time that it takes for my mom. She demands a lot of my time and attention, and no matter how much of it I give her, it's never enough according to her. I have been caring for my mom my entire adult life and I sometimes wonder when it will be my turn. When will I get to live my life and have a family of my own.
I get angry and frustrated and then I feel guilty for feeling angry and frustrated. I feel selfish for wanting to have time for my family and wanting to have the time to start a family. My husband is fantastic when it comes to being understanding of my mom's needs, but he gets frustrated too. He wants his wife to be around and to spend time with me.
I want my mom around forever, I'm selfish that way! But I also want my turn to live my life, have babies, go on vacations.... Is that wrong?
I guess my feelings must be wrong because no one has offered a different perspective or how they deal with it.
Sorry I haven't had time to respond unitl now. I certainly wouldn't want you to feel that your feelings weren't validated! I think they are completely normal.
I can't speak to exactly being in your shoes, but I know what it feels like to be "the responsible one" and "the caretaker" in your family. My father went blind when I was growing up and my mom left the relationship. This left me feeling in charge of my dad. I would never take away all the time we had together - my dad and I are extremely close, however, it set up high expectations for what I would offer others in my life. I often felt pressure from my grandmother that I wasn't doing enough and was sort of expected to be "the mother" in the family, even though I was only in high school. My family and I are all close, but I had a lot of conflict inside until I really learned to set healthy boundaries in my relationships. Not that those issues don't still come up every once in a while, but it is much better now that I realize I cannot be responsible for others' happiness. There is enough love to go around. I have to take care of myself, as well.
From the perspective of a person with illness, we do want to think that people in our family want to take care of us, but we have to be real. Taking care of someone with a chronic illness is hard. We need to be understanding of our family members' need for their own time and life. Chronic illness can be lonely, and your mom probably just feels her best when you are around. However, you have a family as well, that needs to be nurtured.
Some ideas I have to get you some breaks:
Do you have any siblings that can help? Assign nights to visit mom?
Any church members or volunteers through a community agency that could even visit once a week to give you some time to yourself?
Set healthy boundaries with mom. Tell her when you are able to come and be firm about when you can't. She can look forward to when she can see you. Mail or leave her notes on the days you can't be there to let her know you are thinking of her. Enjoy your time with her and your time caring for yourself and your family.
I hope it helps to know you are not alone and that it is admirable to be doing the best you can - and that's all you can do!!
Thinking of you!
I'm so sorry no one responded - it may be that we didn't want to frustrate you further by admitting that none of us has found a solution either. I think this type of frustration is almost inevitable when you are caught between the needs of your parents and your own family. But your feelings aren't "wrong" - they are 100% normal and understandable - you are in a situation where there are no perfect solutions. You want to have a child and that's a huge commitment, especially when you already have your mom to consider. And you need time for yourself and your husband, which is hard for a lot of couples to manage even when you don't have other obligations. Have you ever talked to your mom about how much you want to have a child? As a mom herself, I think she would understand that it doesn't mean you love her any less, but that you do need to spend more time with your husband, and keep your relationshiip with him strong and healthy so the two of you can nurture a child. Maybe her desire to be a grandmother will override her need to have you around all the time. I hope so. But, please, please, don't ever feel wrong or guilty for wanting to have your own life - there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You just want the same things that most married women your age have, what could be more normal than that? I just wish I knew something better to tell you.
Hi, Thank you both for responding.
I know there are no easy answers to the delimma, I guess if there were, it wouldn't be much of a delimma
Missy: I do have a hard time saying no to my mom, but I'm getting better at it. I do have a schedule with her and I try very hard to stick to it. Sometimes if something comes up, I may have to swap days around a little bit and if she's in the hospital I do go every day. Unfortunately, there are no siblings to help me with this. And I'm not very good at taking care of myself first. I need to get some help in that area. I am going to look into some counseling, just so I can get a lot of this stuff off my chest.
I thought a long time about posting this here. I didn't want others to think that people in their lives don't want to take care of them. I do want to take care of my mom. I have always done it when she needed me and will also do it. I guess sometimes it would be nice to know that she realizes all that I have done and will continue to do for her. I love her and will never stop taking care of her. The notes are good idea by the way. We used to do that a lot when I was in school because we were both so busy. I'll have to get a little creative though, because of her hands she has a hard time holding something as small as a piece of paper or a card. Maybe a dry board.....hmmmm
I have started talking to her about having kids and trying to get pregnant. I think she would really enjoy a grandbaby. I love my mom so much, but she is very selfish. She doesn't really think of other people or what they need or want....but I will keep talking.
I'm also thinking of taking one weekend a month to really clean my house good. I have so little time that it's getting really filthy and I hate it. Maybe I will send my husband on that weekend. I'd really like for him to give her a chance and vice versa. I think he's reluctant because of her illness and he lost both of his parents to Cancer - less then 2 years apart. I think he's afraid of getting close to her.
I know it will all work out, but sometimes it seems so overwhelming. I have a friend that used to tell me I'm juggling about 100 glass balls, and sometimes, they are going to hit the ground or each other. I guess maybe that is happening now, because I sure do feel lost.
Kokopelli, I really understand what you're talking about. The past five years has meant caring for one parent or another. In 2000 my father developed colon cancer, but he and my mother lived far from family, so came to stay with my husband and me while Dad had his surgery and follow up care. In 2002 the cancer came back, with a vengance. My parents had moved back to the same community we lived in so we were able to care for him in his home. He lived 4 months and we stayed with him much of that time. My mother had Alzheimers, and we needed to care for her after my dad died. We got a home health aide to come in from 4-8 hours a day; we went to the house most lunch hours; and between my brother and I we spent every night with her, for about a year. (My husband is a saint - he stayed, too.) After a year, we moved her into an assisted living facility and that really eased the pressure. But, 'no rest for the wicked' as they say...my husbands mother became terminally ill about that time. She lived with us until she broke her hip. She couldn't withstand surgery (bad heart, kidneys, and nearly everything else) so she just suffered from the pain until she died, many months later. My husband's brother was primary care giver, but we went there most every weekend to 'spell' him, until she died. My mother fell and broke her hip during that time, and that was the end of the assisted living facility. We tried other options, but eventually she had to go into a nursing home. Again, between my brother and I we were there almost every day for nearly two years. She just died on Valentine's Day.
Sorry to rattle on and on. It seemed appropriate to let you my history so you know that I DO understand. There were days I absolutely DID NOT want to go see my Mom. Weekends that I DID NOT want to care for my mother in law. I was lucky - there was at least one other family member to help in each case. I feel badly, Kokopelli, that you seem to be shouldering this alone, and have done it for so long. I know how hard that must be for you. You should NOT feel guilty for wanting and needing a life of your own. It doesn't mean that you love your Mom any less. I'm so glad you're going to get some counseling. There are help groups in many communities for care givers - more and more people are recognizing what a hard job it is.
I hope this helped some, Kokopelli. My prayers are with you - please take care of yourself.
"If you trust Google more than you trust your doctor than maybe it's time to switch doctors."
It actually helped a lot more then you realize. It's a matter of perspective and not feeling like you're in a battle all on your own. Sometimes just having someone who can relate in any way is a good sanity check.
I am sorry for all of your loss.
Someone sent me an email today about mothers and I just sat and cried. My mom touched and helped to create every part of what makes me the person I am today and sometimes, there's so much anger and it's not at her. It's at the doctors for not being able to "fix" her. God for allowing it to happen. The diseases for even being around. The nurses because they have more then just her to care for....and in all reality....it is no one's fault. It just is. Sometimes I get mad at her for being sick, but that is when I'm feeling selfish and wanting to only think of me or what I want.
I know as a caregiver, I have to find everything within me to be patient with my mom....but as the one being cared for...sometimes she needs to find the same patience with me. I am only human and can only do what I can do.
I guess maybe I'm spilling my guts hoping to help everyone...both caregivers and those needing care. Maybe by bearing my sole - good and bad - it will not only help me, but help someone else who maybe gets frustrated because they are needed by a loved one...or frustrated because their loved one seems to have moments of.....selfishness for lack of a better word.
Now I'm rambling....heh!
Here is a link to some caregiver resources in Ohio that might help.
Did your mother have a particular church affiliation? Many churches have ministry programs where they visit those in nursing care facilities. Does she have friends from the community who visit? If you could find other people to visit her weekly, it might take some of the burden off of you.
Thank you for the link. There is a lot of helpful information out there and I will be using it.
I know that the Catholic church does come to see her and that she attends the service they offer. However, churches do their one day of visits and have so many people to see that they can't (or won't) spend much time with each individual.
We are new to Ohio, so I don't have many friends here yet and she only has the people within the facility.
During the summer, my husband's family has several get togethers and I'm hoping to take mom to many of them and perhaps she will connect with someone who would be willing to visit her sometimes.
Most of the time I do fine, it's just sometimes it gets so overwhelming! And like last night, I forgot to turn the ringer on my phone back on before I went to bed, so I didn't hear her call me - 7 times - last night. I'm sure she will be pretty mad at me when I get ahold of her today. It was an honest mistake, but it's not a good one - I should ALWAYS be able to hear my phone ring. (We don't have a home phone, my husband and I each have cell phones.)
There is nothing at all wrong with needing a life of your own, sweetheart. Yes, your mom needs you right now, but so do YOU! Do y'all belong to a church? Maybe you could get some church friends to visit her when your own life needs attention.
About trying to get pregnant: After ten years of trying (with fertility drugs, etc) my stepson and his wife are NOW pregnant with their first child. they had invitro and it worked the very first time. So don't give up on your hopes and dreams. Love, Kathy