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I feel like everyone's mommy . . .

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

(Long background and context, but the upshot is my mother is a very sad, needy lady who doesn't realize she's pressuring me to parent her the way she needed to be and wasn't.)


Just feeling the whole sandwich generation thing here lately.  I'm a SAHM to my adult out-of-state children (though one is home for the summer), dog, sometimes feel like I'm mothering my husband, and lately more and more my 81 year old mother.  I'm an only child, and she's always tended towards social isolation, preferring my help and interaction rather than other methods for addressing things.  We usually work that out, plus I've found a positive way to encourage her time with other people, her neighbors for example, that she's really been able to enjoy.  Her default, though, has been to be "nervous" and "worried" (her words) about almost any given situation in her life.  Definitely a glass-half-empty-and-what-if-it-breaks-help-me sort of person.


Well, since the beginning of this month, I've been out of state and then handling a bad infection DS2 had (he's the one home, thankfully) and being part of the sounding-board / cheerleading team for DS1 as he took a multi-day bike trek down to his summer job.  All of which meant I was less available to my mother than she would have liked.  Over the last week or so her phone calls to me for one reason or another had increased, and I've been so straight out with waking up nights and meds and long-distance check-ins and DH's long hours that I was only available for brief conversations.  On an academic level she understood, but on an unconscious emotional level I think she's started to feel abandoned, begun feeling physically unwell, gotten stressed about that, realized it and dwelled on the most serious possibilities out there, and now over this weekend her blood pressure's gone up, at one point to over 170 systolic.


So tomorrow morning I'm following DH to our mechanic's to drop off one of our vehicles, taking him by work, running home, getting a still-weak DS2 started with food and meds, and probably taking my mother in to the urgent care clinic.  I'm so sorry for her because I see her thinking and behaving in ways that bring her pain and harm, and I'm so completely furious because she's getting positive feedback about being sick in getting my time and attention.


No, I don't think it's conscious.  Yes, I do think it's deliberate.


Tomorrow morning I'll work out, enjoy the start of the day with my guys, and then do whatever I can to alleviate the misery my mother seems to need to get what she wants from her life, or at the very least seems to aggravate for herself.


Those of you who are also parenting your parents, I'm wishing you humor, strength, and peace.

post #2 of 3

Yes, I totally get it. My mom's needs are increasing, and it is for attention as much as actual care. She lived in my home until a couple years ago, when her needs just became too high for me to manage with then 4 kids and a job. She tries to be respectful of my limits, but sometimes she needs to go on for hours about the care she is receiving. The caregivers in her Personal Care Home are great, but they don't speak much English. Most of her gripes could be solved if there weren't such a language barrier, and I understand her frustration. So she really doesn't have anyone to talk with most of the day. I have found with her that if I can direct the conversation away from complaints and toward either current events or memories she ends up in a better state of mind. I still listen to her complaints, and take action if needed of course, but it becomes less of a focus. She enjoys discussing the newspaper, and frankly, my tolerance for that is much higher than for non-stop whining. I do lose interest when she tells old stories from her childhood, I fear my eyes glaze over, but I don't  think she has noticed. I visit or at least call her every day, and yes, it does feel like a chore at times.


But I love my Mom, and I treasure this time together. She is teaching me how to age, and I hope I do it with as much grace as she. I hope one of my kids will be able to give me this gift when the time comes. Strangely, I think it might be my autistic son. Who'd'a ever thought?

post #3 of 3

My mother passed away about 8 yrs ago. Before that she had injured herself and stayed with me while she recuperated. I was surprised at how my independent Mom became very dependent. It was difficult to handle with out getting angry with her. I did on a few occasions. It seemed like she wouldn't even try to get around on her crutches. She was afraid of falling. Getting her a walker helped some but not much. I even surprised myself at how angry I was getting about the situation. I usually have more patience. I think it is partly because we don't want to see them like that. This was only a temporary situation. Since she has passed away, I do not have to deal with a situation such as yours. Sometimes I wonder how she would have been. I did have a sister in the area, too, that would have shared caring for her and two other siblings farther away. They would have helped out if need be, I am sure. That would have meant a move for her, so not sure if she would have done that.


Glad you can vent and unload here! My wish is the same for you - humor, strength and peace!

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