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To want time for myself?

(52 Posts)
Bluegal Wed 20-Jun-18 17:48:43

Ok so life has its ups and downs. Have posted that my life is fab but then suddenly...its turned on a dime (Quote Patrick Swayzee). My 89 year old mother has suddenly become so demanding I can't cope! (to put you in the picture I am 65, work part time, have ten GC I look after in relay and have a dog not to mention a husband!)

Anyway, Mum has suddenly decided, she needs me there more than anyone else. When am at work she phones constantly telling me things ranging from the neighbours have parked outside her house to she thinks she's dying. If I don't respond immediately, she gives me a hard time.

My daughters and brothers (2) often phone to say they are going round but mum puts them off; saying things like she is just going out or she has other visitors. Yet when I phone she tells me she has not seen or heard from anyone all week.

I have set aside Thursdays to go and clean her house and do her shopping. I also take her to Doctors/hospital appointments and often have young kids in tow. Mum loves the kids but wants me all to herself so I try to arrange it round her. I also arrange to work around her EXCEPT this week we had an emergency at work and I had to work more than usual. Mum was livid and we ended up arguing about it (mainly because I was so tired) To put you in the picture - I had gone to work Tuesday morning at 7.30 a.m and didn't come home until Wednesday at 10.30 a.m, then took 2 youngest GC to playschool until 12.30 and then walked the dog and gone to see mum at She started arguing with me about not caring about HER!!!! I got so mad, I walked out......

We will sort it - but AIBU to think that I might just want a life of my own at some point? OR do I just resign myself to the fact I am lucky to have such fabulous grandchildren AND still have my mum around? I do appreciate it but just sometimes I want to shut the door on all of them AIBU

tessagee Wed 20-Jun-18 17:52:58

Good heavens, how do you do it all? I suggest that you book yourself into an assertive training course asap and learn to quietly say No to all of them at least some of the time. Good luck.

tessagee Wed 20-Jun-18 17:52:58

Good heavens, how do you do it all? I suggest that you book yourself into an assertive training course asap and learn to quietly say No to all of them at least some of the time. Good luck.

sodapop Wed 20-Jun-18 17:56:24

Oh dear Bluegal you do have a lot on your plate. Time to prioritise and make some time for yourself, you can't look after everyone else if you don't care for yourself.
I'm sure your family will cooperate if you sit down and talk things through with them. As for your Mum you need to be firm and say no sometimes.
Don't feel guilty you need time to recharge your batteries.

agnurse Wed 20-Jun-18 17:57:18

I think your mother is being very manipulative here. You need to start telling her No. If she thinks she's dying she can call an ambulance. If people are parking in her yard she can call the police non-emergency line.

It's not reasonable for her to expect that you will be her sole companion and caregiver and devote all your time to her. If she's having a hard time coping on her own it may be time for her to consider moving to a seniors' residence or community.

NanaandGrampy Wed 20-Jun-18 17:57:50

I’m tired just looking at your life Bluegal !

I know on a good day you’ll say you’re fine but plainly there are bad days when you’re not.

A wise woman once told me to schedule in ‘me’ time into my hectic schedule. It can be as little as a 20 bath, with door locked to avoid interruptions , or steal 30 mins for a quiet coffee or to stop and smell the roses.

You are as deserving of that as your Mum is of your attention or your fabulous grandchildren. In fact isn’t it imperative you take care of YOU ?

You need some down time to be able to be the first class juggler you clearly are .

PECS Wed 20-Jun-18 17:58:19

Hi Blugal it does sound a bit like manipulation on your mum's part! I would set up a visit timetabe with other family members, as they are willing, and stick to your guns and your Thursday plus appointments! I try not to get into a routine with visiting my elderly rellies . No parents alive but extended family. I found that they came to expect me on set days etc. and that prevented me doing things with other friends/family. If you were her only visitor it might be different but seems she has lots of people to keep her NO YANU to want a bit of control over your own life/time. flowers

Billybob4491 Wed 20-Jun-18 18:20:03

"Bluegal" time to prioritise, what happens if you become ill? Who looks after your Mother? Who will take care of the grandchildren etc., Could your husband be encouraged to lend a hand with your tasks, take a step back and take a good look at yourself before you run yourself into the ground.

JustALaugh Wed 20-Jun-18 18:50:19

Why don't you have a think about getting carers to visit a couple of times a day? A friend of mine is going through the same thing as you....her mum though has recently been diagnosed with mixed dementia (apparently Alzheimer's AND Frontal Lobe). My friend works full-time, is 61, hasn't got a husband or grandchildren, but has got 2 adult children who also expect help with things.

Could your mum go into a home for a week's respite?

Bluegal Wed 20-Jun-18 19:29:43

JustALaugh - my mum would not agree to anything like that. Outwardly she is as capable as you and I. I suspect she may be heading into dementia but to the outside world she is completely fine. She is amazing on computer and orders all her own food. Is even doing several family trees! She goes out shopping with her neighbours (although still complains to me she never goes out!) She emails family abroad. She speaks clearly and doesn't cause anyone else any concern. My only concern is her total obsession with ME! I can't seem to do enough for her. I have to say this is only recently. Been a fabulous mum all my life but now, now that I have so many kids and grandkids and still working, she is making my life difficult.

Its what I don't understand and what I think may indicate she is ....not quite herself? If you know what I mean?

The only other explanation is she is ....jealous? She can no longer go on holiday - her choice though. But she says she can't face it so I respect that and I do as much as I can with her. Days out etc. I don't 'get' her at all. My whole family would go visit but she just seems to want to make me 'pay' if I go away or even to work! Its not just my imagination, all the family have queried it. BUT as for suggestion of respite - its a resounding NO as she doesn't feel she has any problem. Well actually, SHE doesn't - its ME that does lol

PECS Wed 20-Jun-18 21:28:06

Oh dear! sounds familiar. My aunt often tells me she never goes out or has visitors. Then when I call her to arrange an outing it hard to find a day she is available or somewhere she has not just been! She does a good line in 'the martyr'. to be fair she is 93,and haas lots of parts wearing out! She skypes , plays a mean game of Scrabble and cards, is up to speed with current affairs and looks after appearance. She takes several different lots of medication for various ailments. Her sons and DGC do not live near. She tries to make me feel guilty if I do not visit at least once a fortnight ( she is not immediately local to me). I love her to pieces and have much admiration for her..but I have other people to care for too, me included!

OldMeg Wed 20-Jun-18 22:28:11

Growing old is not for whimps, truly.

I feel sorry for both of you. It sounds horribly as if your mother is in the early stages of dementia. She probably can’t help the way she’s acting.

But, for your own sanity you must enlist the help of your siblings, whether she likes it or not. Forget all the excuses she’s dreaming up and get a rota going.

silverlining48 Thu 21-Jun-18 08:21:21

Agree with old meg. Get a rota, involve your siblings and others, maybe try and cut back a bit on childcare, it’s been a bad week but you can’t do it all this on your own.
It does sound a bit like early stage dementia which can be a frightening time, whether your mum admits it or not.

eazybee Thu 21-Jun-18 09:09:45

I don't think your mother is heading for dementia; I think she has an iron will and a strong survival instinct, which are revealing themselves more as she gets older; I saw it in my paternal grandmother, a friend's 103 year old mother, and a work colleague. She is trying to bend you to her will, and probably regards it as your duty because you are her daughter.
The colleague was driven out of full-time, part -time and finally supply teaching by her mother, who used your mother's tactics: making her feel guilty, ringing her up incessantly at work, demanding she came home, and refusing to get off the phone until she did; eventually she became unemployable.
You are not in quite the same situation, but your mother will intrude more and more in your life as she attempts to manipulate you, and you must fight back hard to prevent her. You are doing more than enough for your family, and it is good that your brothers and daughters are doing their best to help and you can share the problem with them. Stick to what you are doing now, and no more. It won't be easy, but your mother will ruin your life, and health, if you allow her.

Luckygirl Thu 21-Jun-18 09:11:47

I agree that there needs to be some sharing of visits with the rest of the family, and it might help you to have that on a more formal basis, so you can say "Oh, I will think you will find X is popping round today."

Maybe you are too kind! It is possible.

Tweedle24 Thu 21-Jun-18 09:20:58

I think I agree with eazybee that your mum is getting more and more manipulative. She could also be a little depressed now that she is on her own and unable to do a lot of what she did when younger,
You say that she tells other potential visitors that she does not need a visit. Can you, perhaps, enlist their help? Get them sometimes to say something on the lines that you are unavailable but that they can visit instead?
You certainly need more time to yourself or you are going to make yourself ill. Good luck!

Pebbles77 Thu 21-Jun-18 09:46:53

Sorry to hear you Mum is getting to you
I lost my Mum aged 38 . She was 80 dad was 75 they died 9 weeks apart .. ( had me at a time when aged 42 to give birth was very rare and taboo ) .. bless them I was very overwhelmed and thank God for my rock of a husband This was 16 years ago and Mums anniversary is coming up Tuesday ... yes get you “you “ time .. it’s imperative ... and also ... as frustrating as it is .. please .. cherish Mum ... your life will never ever feel the same without her again ... my neighbour is same age as you and her Mum is making her very stressed ... I understand and I also want to look her in the eyes and say ... “ tell her you love her even through gritted teeth tell her eceryday .... and take each day as it comes ... go for a spa day or something ... totally shut off ... but please totally cherish Mum .... ?. We all get old ... I intend to be crotchety lol ... p??

stella1949 Thu 21-Jun-18 09:47:51

It seems very likely that she has dementia. Talk to the rest of the family and get a visiting roster organised - and stick to it.

Remember what the air crew say in the safety talk , " put your own oxygen mask on before helping others to put theirs on" , in other words look after yourself before you look after her. If you wear yourself out you'll be no good to anyone. Good luck.

kwest Thu 21-Jun-18 09:56:05

How about " Mum , I love you very much and have always been willing to help you out. However I am feeling less fit than I did and cannot cope with my whole general workload. I will help you to organize some regular help and I will still come to see you but those visits will be more precious to us both and I don't want to be doing housework instead of spending time with you".
Something similar could be explained about tandem child-minding. Working the hours that you do is more than enough to cope with along with running your own home. Offer to help find alternative care but say you are worried about your increasing tiredness and that your body is telling you to slow down.

Camelotclub Thu 21-Jun-18 09:59:04

You need to say No or you are going to get ill, mentally and/or physically, and be no use to anyone!

Jane43 Thu 21-Jun-18 10:11:54

I take my hat off to you Bluegal. From what you have said your mother is very capable, not housebound, so there is no reason for you to devote so much time and energy to her. The house cleaning and shopping on a Thursday with the occasional phone call and Doctor’s appointment is way more than most old people get. I think you need to set some ground rules, perhaps one of your brothers or your daughters can help by talking to her.

Of course you want some time to yourself and you are not being unreasonable to expect this.

Coconut Thu 21-Jun-18 10:12:19

I don’t have as much as you to contend with ... am retired but do casual work at times ... 5 GC to assist with... but also have an 88 year old Mum who can be demanding. My sister mostly lives in Spain, my brother is seriously ill, so I do bear the brunt of things. We have had words when I won’t do as am told ! However, I deal with it very firmly and assertively as I refuse to be dictated to by anyone, especially when I am trying to help everyone but also have a life of my own.

Aepgirl Thu 21-Jun-18 10:14:41

How I sympathise - I've 'been there, done that' and know how exhausting and frustrating the whole situation can be. It wasn't until a friend pointed out that the whole 'caring' thing was wearing me out that I realised I needed time for me. White lies are very useful - if used sparingly! You've got to be strong and assertive, shut the door just occasionally, and pamper yourself. You'll be no help to anyone if you 'crack up'. Good luck.

peaches50 Thu 21-Jun-18 10:16:47

My darling mum no longer here but I recognise your life and challenges - and the journey many will face as I did. Mum did have mini strokes (undetected) which changed her personality until she was fully diagnosed with dementia. From sheer bloody independence so wanting to look after dad never asking for help before he died she too became fixated fixated on me - one sister never visited, one lived abroad, other with a mental illness. Mum decided it was my duty to care for them both - so dancing back and forth between the two of them and my own family. Friends just had to take a back seat - my life on hold for two awful years until she got the specialist care Mum needed by going into a care home. I miss her maddening demanding ways and though I was there and did as much as I could I see with hindsight I should have got help (try UK Carers) much earlier. Good luck and unburden yourself with us when you want to scream flowers

holdingontometeeth Thu 21-Jun-18 10:35:34

Put yourself first.
With so many people relying on you if you burn out they will all miss out on your care.
Make time for yourself and then prioritise your other commitments.