Should I go take care of Mom?

Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:27 pm

Mom wants each of her four children to alternate months, drive up to her place, all to bring her groceries in from the car and vacuum her carpet.

That means, three times a year, I must drive 8 hours to do about 1 hours' worth of work.

Since I own my own, small, struggling business, that 9 hours add up to a paultry-yet-significant $180, plus $30 for the gas, for a total of a $210 loss.

Believe me, I need the money. All three of the other children are very well off. One doesn't even work outside of the home and has only one nearly grown child left in the house. Another has to be making over $150 K per year, lives in a million-dollar house, etc.

I know all that sounds very, very petty. Perhaps, Mother really wants to see her children and all that.

It's just that she and I have nothing to talk about or to do with each other. Last time, we went to lunch, and we literally looked out the window.

It's just so odd.

She interacts terrifically with my two other sisters.

Everyone seems to think that since I work from home (about 12 hours a day!), I should go up and live with her. In the country. Away from any other job opportunities, should the need arrive, I might add.

I've seen Mom with her four husbands through the years. Believe me, she kept them hopping. I wouldn't have time to breathe, much less to work. I would end up destitute, exhausted, and shunned by the rest of my family, who I can guarrantee would not help me reestablish myself after years of fetching, carrying, and caring for Mom!

I don't see why I can't cut a check and get a local person to help her with these two tasks, and even anything else she wants that my modest check can cover.

I don't have the time to go up there.

I don't really want to go and live with her.

I did suggest a month's trial, where I take everything I would need, and actually set up shop there.

I advised her that since I have a roommate, my bills are only about a meager $350 per month. So, her offer of "free" rent, etc. buys her about 12 labor hours a month. I mean, you guys, this woman is insane with the chores. It never stops, I promise you!

She once had me clean her entirely spotless house. She's obsessive compulsive, among other things.

And, she's diabetic and isn't even trying to eat right.

She really wants to just literally sit in her chair and play bridge online and paint. If she didn't have to get up for something, she wouldn't.

I have visions of taking her food to her, emptying a bedpan, and giving her a spunge bath, all in that chair of hers.

I don't have a house. I live in an apartment. Why? Because I don't want to care for a house. It's a lot of work.

Why should I give up my wonderful life that I have finally created for myself, to go live in and create hers?

Needless to say, I was miserable when I was with her as a child. It's taken years and years to get over (unfortunately, I'm very thorough!). The three other children were quite happy at home, got everything they wanted. I don't see why I of all the children should be the one who makes this enormous sacrifice. I've just now discovered my happiness. I'd like to keep it and protect it and defend it for as long as my body and mind can!

Sorry about the length.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Any takers?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,121 • Replies: 56
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:37 pm
I don't believe you should do this, all things considered. Expect some criticism, though. Don't let anyone try to dump a load of guilt onto you.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:38 pm
God no. You should do no such thing! you'd be miserable and you'd probably end up driving each other crazy. there is absolutely no obligation for you to sacrifice your current life for your mother. it you and your siblings agree somebody should live with her, or come in to assist her every now and then, there are services for that.
I would not even do the one month trial.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:38 pm
I don't think that you are being petty. Your mother sounds like a self centered control freak who wants everything her way. The sibling with the million dollar house could hire a cleaning woman to do the stuff that your mother wants you to do.

IMO, you need to "draw the line in the sand", before you get sucked in over your head................and don't feel a bit guilty. She is being totally unreasonable.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:39 pm
Groceries are done once a month?
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:40 pm
i think all four of us posted simultaneously. tour de force! Laughing
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:43 pm
Thanks, Roger.

How are you?

BTW, I know what's involved with caring for a sick / elderly person.

I worked in a nursing home in 1978, when I was barely 18 years old.

And, my very dear sweetheart died from cancer in 1994 after a year of being ill.

All she really needs is about 350 sq. ft., you know, for her computer and paintings, and bed.

She doesn't need a huge house with two acres in the country.

She can have her wonderful, lazy life in the city, closer to any of her children.

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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:43 pm
dag- You know what they say about, "great minds"! Laughing

Seriously though dupre, when I read your post, I could feel my blood boil. That mother of yours has a helluva nerve. No wonder you don't have much to say to her when you see her.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:51 pm
I'm reading and rereading all of your posts, drawing strength of will from them.

How do I ... "just say no"?
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:56 pm
Just say no? Like, there's a relationship you are afraid of damaging?
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:03 pm
What's really strange is that she refused the month's trial.

She'd rather wait till my lease is up, have me put everything in storage, then give it a go.

Like, when I would have no alternatives.

My sister told me that's because Mom said I had so many rules . . .

I mean to tell ya, my rules were 12 labor hours per month.

I know she has no intentions of honoring that in the least.

How do I say no?

BTW, she does have a yardman and a cleaning lady come in.

I always ask her what's on the list of chores, but she won't say.

I have a limited skillset anyway, not much of a cook, can't do plumbing, electrical, all that.

About the only thing I'm good at domestically is cleaning. I've got that down.

What burns, is that all these years struggling to find a decent guy, get a degree, get a job, and finally start my business and enjoy my piano, she has ALWAYS wanted me to fail, so I would HAVE to go and live with her.

She would pick at my life till I questioned its worth. I finally realized she was setting me up for failure because she wants to "take care" of me, by having me under her control for the rest of my life.

What a nightmare!

It's sad when you can't trust your mother to help you celebrate your success.

The only conversations we were ever able to have over the last so many years have been her picking away at the value of my lifestyle and choices.

And, hey, I live a very conservative, frugal life, too!

Now, that I am blissfully happy--no small task--there is nothing, and I mean, an awkward, silent, nothing we can talk about.

Been that way for a few years now.

It's very odd.

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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:07 pm
I have a faint memory of reaading about your mother before, Dupre, and having the same reaction, but maybe I'm mixing people up. Anyway, there is a famous phrase, "just say no". No trial period - you've had that already.

Will saying no strike you off of an inheritance? Do you care? You're idea of her moving seems reasonable, but of course there are probably two sides to that.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:08 pm


Na, there's no real relationship unfortunately.

I can admit that it no longer takes me weeks and weeks to digest and get over her odd behavior and odd criticism.

So, it's not bad when I see her, it's just odd.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:21 pm

Oh, how right you are!

The last two times I lived with Mother was the summer of 1977 and the fall of 1979.

In 1977, while I was studying to graduate a year early from high school (under the direction and help of my high school counselor, who knew I was miserable at home and had run away once at the age of 14, and who feared I would not make it another year in that house), Mom came home one evening and unprovoked, proceeded to slap me back and forth. I excused myself dispassionately, said I needed to study, and then, while studying at the table, she came and threw coffee at me.

Then, in 1979, when I was working to pay for my wedding, I was living with her when she moved. She gave my dad--who had just divorced her--my bed. I had to sleep on the floor for many months before my wedding.

It's odd. It would have been okay, maybe, if we were like destitute or something, but this lady wore mink and drove a Cadillac and had a full-time maid, and so on, ... so it's really inexcusable that she would have me sleep on her floor, don't you think?

She wanted everyone in the community to think that I was a bad person, a problem child, but when they got to know me at the church--I was a church-goer in those late teen / early twenties years--they saw I didn't do drugs, didn't drink, read my bible, prayed, and sang in the choir, worked, studied, etc.

Yeah, she had her trial run.

And whether it was all my fault, her fault, or a combination of both are faults, it's clear that togetherness between her and me is really not a good idea, at least, not a good idea for me.

Even though I'm over "it" and really do not think about "it" anymore, ossobuco is right, the lady already had her trial run, and it didn't go well.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:24 pm

Like your mother, you want to be in charge of your life.

Unlike your mother, you have a right to be in charge of your life.

Three visits a year doesn't sound too-too terribly onerous--but then I don't know your mother.

Remember, if you don't fall in with her plans you aren't a bad person--you're an independent person.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:33 pm

You are right, three times a year doesn't seem like much to ask.

I just know that she or I can hire someone local to do whatever tasks she has.

It makes no sense for someone with my limited skillset to drive across the state to "help" her with whatever it is she wants ... which, BTW, she won't say ahead of time, so I can be prepared.

It also makes no sense for me to travel across the state to "see" her, so we can look at the window not visiting over a meal at the Chinese restaurant.

When I was a child, I went to the library and checked out books on real estate, so I could at least understand what she and Dad were talking about each and every hour of the day.

In my opinion, it's her turn to get onboard with my interests, or not.

Thanks for posting.

Thank all of you for your support.

I will come back and let you know if I held fast or was blown over.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:36 pm
Well, this is a pretty thick history. I don't see you owing her cleaning.

I see a kind of remnant of what some call co-dependence to even be thinking about it, paid or not.

I can imagine your wanting to visit for some reason having to do with working some accomodation out between you, but am not, from here, all that hopeful about that. Well, I sure could be wrong. But, cleaning won't affect accomodation. Some kind of joint therapy/counseling might.

You mother sounds to have been pretty disturbed in major years of your young life. Probably there was some back and forth from you as an adolescent, but I don't think that means you should be contemplating giving up your adult life of your own (good grief!).

I'm actually more interested in your sisters, and whether you want to retain friendship with them.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:37 pm
dupre wrote:
She'd rather wait till my lease is up, have me put everything in storage, then give it a go.

Go talk to your landlord and see if you can get a 20 year lease! Twisted Evil

I feel for ya! There's no way I could do it with my mother either.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:42 pm
No no no no no no no!

Don't do it!

How frightfully scary the whole thing sounds!

You finally are happy, hold very very tight to your happiness. It's hard to come by and easy to lose.

Do what is right for you.

Don't accept that guilt!
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:51 pm
Okay, the flipside.

I prefer country life.

If I'm happy here, I can be happy anywhere, it's a state of mind and a passion for many engaging interests, not necessarily where I live or who I live with.

The "free" rent and groceries, modest as they are, would be help.

I could pay off my student loan, my car loan, get new software for my buiness, or conversely, have more time for myself and play the piano; read Shaw, Wilde, and Molliere; ride my bike more often; get a 2nd degree or a master's; and so forth . . .

I could have a vegetable garden and a private garden for my own peace and pleasure.

She has a piano. I could sell mine.

She even has room for a grand, but doesn't want one, but I could maybe get one and we would both enjoy it.

Since we have nothing to talk about and not really much in common, living with her may be as charming, peaceful, and lovely as living here and working from home.

I work so much, that I do not have time to enjoy the city's offerings, and in my twenties, I enjoyed them probably as much as I want, anyway... politics, volunteering, fancy fund-raisers, etc. Been there, done that. There's nothing new there for me.

She's not the beast she used to be. She has grown. I have, too.

Who knows why she was the way she was? A lot of times, people don't really care to share, and I'm way past needing to know.
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