To not visit my mother until she apoligises

(93 Posts)
fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:17:44

Sorry this is very long story but u need the background info.

My mother is in her nursing home, she is mentally all there but physically not able to do much for herself. All her care and basic needs are met well in a genuinely lovely home.

I have 2 kids under 6, a job and also look after my dad who has dementia but still lives in his own home. I also need to do a fair bit for my mother in law who is also in poor health and living alone at home. So basically I have a lot on. My husband helps alot but works long hours and has a health problem of his own which means it is really important he keeps fit - so that takes up a lot of time.

I feel like I am constantly spinning plates. About April time this all got too much for me - my hair was falling out, I constantly had a cold and no energy and was snapping at my husband and kids. Since then I took stock and have tried to make some time for myself (i now go the gym twice a week) and get 8 hours sleep a night.

Anyway my mother is constantly demanding my time, giving me tasks to do (like washing and taking her to routine medical appointments) which could done by the home she is in. She moans constantly about everything, the home, the staff, her health, my brother, my dad, how bored she is and also has digs at me.

So I get to the point now! On Thursday (my day off work) I never stopped. A well overdue opticians appointment for me, on the phone for ages trying to get a doctor out to visit my mother in law, on the phone getting plumber out to fix broken pipe, cleaning house, washing, cleaning my dad's house. All whist entertaining a 4 year old. When dh got in from work I went out to visit her on my way to a class at the gym. When i got to the home she was on the toilet. I waited a bit then left to get to my class. This clearly displeased her as she did not answer her phone when I called later - passive aggressive.

Anyway last night i tried calling her again and as soon as she come on the phone it was moaning about just about everything. It started with me being 'too busy to wait to see her on thurs and to complaints about the home and says she would be better in her own house. I gently remind her how difficult it was in her own home, but she continues about how she is abandoned in the home (she had had visits of my dad and her friends that day and I was there on mon, and I think my brother had either been there or called on Wed). I asked her if would just try to be more positive and stop trying to make me feel guilty when I was doing my best, her response to this was to say "well if the cap fits". I hung up on her (something I have never done before) and feel a apology and change in attitude is needed from her. What do you think is this reasonable?

neunundneunzigluftballons Sat 20-Jul-13 10:43:27

fedup123 I have a feeling she took more out on you before than you realise. You sound like you are conditioned to accept this behaviour there is no way in hell you should be missing your ds' graduation to go to a routine appointment where someone else could easily take her and the only reason you are is because she has conditioned guilt into you. The people in stately homes thread might make interesting reading for you.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sat 20-Jul-13 10:46:03
3littlefrogs Sat 20-Jul-13 10:46:05

Do not miss the graduation party.

Tell her you cannot take her, the home will arrange it. End of.

Sorry, but I have a parent in law like this. It is very draining.

AndHarry Sat 20-Jul-13 10:54:24

Please go to your son's nursery party sad For you more than for him really. It is not selfish to have time to do things you want to do too.

Your mother on the other hand sounds like a P.I.T.B. YANBU. Ring the home, tell them they need to get her to the hospital appointment and enjoy yourself for a week.

KFFOREVER Sat 20-Jul-13 11:02:22

Wow you do have a lot on your plate. I havent read the wjole thread but i think you should pay very little attention to your mums comments. Shes feeling lonely and probably misses being in her home. She has a lot of time on her hands and perhaps has forgotten how busy life can be with 2 small kids. Regardless of an apology please continue to visit her because if something happens to her you will regret not visiting her. Life is too short and mothers have too much pride.

Nanny0gg Sat 20-Jul-13 11:15:00

If you don't make a stand, she won't stop.

Other than moaning, what can she do if you refuse to bend to her demands? She can't punish you, she is the one who will suffer if you don't visit.

Tell her that if she wants to go to her appointment, the home will take her. If she would rather miss it, then it's her choice. It's routine, so she won't die if she misses it anyway.

Get all the practical help you can for yourself (cleaner, carers etc), carry on making sure you have time for yourself and your own DH and DCs. Visit her, do what you can, but let the home do what they're paid to do.

It's in your hands, OP. You're doing the best you can with all the plates you're spinning, but you must learn to say no.

And what does your brother do? Is your DH an only child or are there siblings who could help with his mother?

Sister77 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:27:13

Hi Fed up, I'm sorry you've got it so hard at the moment, it's tough and no one knows what it's like till they've walked in your shoes.
Make a list, of everything you do. Anything that can be cut out/cut down do. For example: when your mum was well, how often would you visit? If it was once a week and you've increased it to 3 visits a week, why? Do you feel guilty? Drop the visits to 2 days.
Get a cleaner, your time at home should be quality time because it sounds like you don't get much me time. It WILL make a difference.
Find out what the home offers and take advantage if they attend patient appointments (and there shoul be provision) let them go. They can also take residents out so they should.
How bad is your dads dementia? Does he need more care? Can a care package be put in situ for him?
And most importantly, YOU come first! If you drop then how will anyone (most importantly your DC cope)?

JaxTellerIsAllMine Sat 20-Jul-13 11:27:48

So she had a tantrum re the appt when you said no. Then your family all changed plans to suit your mum. You are enabling her behaviour op.

Stop enabling her!

missesjellybean Sat 20-Jul-13 11:33:57

I think as hard as it is you need to be a bit firmer with her and as awful as it sounds if she is acting like a toddler then treat her like one. I would definitely not miss your child's nursery graduation for the sake of a routine hospital appointment. you'll never get those memories back.
I'd say to her I HAVE to go in nursery on (date) so do you want me to postpone your appointment until later so I can come with you or do you want someone from the home to go with you.
thst way you are empowering your mother to make decisions but still offering to go with her at a later date. thst way if she tries to moan afterwards you can tell her it was her choice to do a or b.
I'd do that with most things from now on anything that doesn't fit in around you. eg I can either take you to m&s next month or xxx appointment.
just just need to remember to be firm. I'm sure you wouldn't let you child dictate to you like that you'd offer alternatives that were ok for you and not back down, and that is with a child not an adult who is old enough to understand how much you have on your plate.
as long as your nice with her even if she tries to guilt you into doing stuff just nicely say ive told you I can't do that so do you want me to do a or b because what you want me to do is not an option....she'll quickly come around if she wants you to keep visiting...

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 20-Jul-13 11:37:23

You poor thing. Please listen to the others and go to your DS's party. I speak as someone who missed taking DD to her School Prom last year, missed last week taking and picking up DS from his school trip last week plus missed dropping him off for his transfer day at middle school, though I did pick up.

It couldn't really be helped in my case as my Mum was unwell really those times but even so I do feel quite bitter. If she'd taken medication as told when younger there's a chance she wouldn't be in this situation. She will be fine with someone else taking her.

My Mum has Dementia so a different situation but before she was diagnosed I spent years listening to how she's had to do what I'm doing - er no, she didn't have to deal with herself. I have come to the realisation that I won't be able to change her thinking but what I can do is change the way I respond, you can too. Sometimes it takes time to realise it is ok to say no.

You can get someone in to do some of the things for your Dad, laundry , shopping , cooking meals he can eat later etc even if he isn't in. they could have a key or you install a key safe.

fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:30:13

Thanks, my dad still cooks ready meals and if i phone him just before (not too much notice or he will forget!) we are about to eat he will walk to mine for his tea.

The big difference between my dad and mother in law and my mother is the lack of demands. My dad never asks for anything and my mil only asks when really needed. And she will always say things like 'thank you' (which mum often does not) but also 'I am sorry about this i know you have enough to do' (genuinely meant rather than the sarcasm of my mum).

I am thinking of sending my mum a text - how does this sound???

"I realise you are frustrated and lonely but making nasty comment to me about feeling abandoned and that you would be better at home is not going to improve the situation. All you are doing is trying to make me feel guilty coz ur disabled. If you want to go back home - fine - tell me and I'll sort it out. But stop the negatively and emotional blackmail as all is doing is making me want to see you less'

Please advise on improvements i could make to the text.

fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:36:04

btw - we have tried the carers at home option before - which she hated - she cried all the time - was phoning me all the time - at work included if the carers were late. Slagging of my dad constantly for not getting her this or that.

One day she even phoned me whilst i was at a children party in the next town to tell me she 'needed' a macdonalds for her dinner. When i said i was at a party and not near a macdonalds she started crying.

Another time she was feeling unwell so had not wanted to eat - she told the carer when she come she had not been offered food all day. I then had a social worker ring me at work - investigating neglect.

It made my dad worse as he was getting really angry and shouting.

It was a terrible time and she knows it - so she is just saying she wants to go home to get at me.

IAmNotAMindReader Sat 20-Jul-13 14:43:50

Don't send the text. Things were more difficult at home for her before she moved to the home. They would be impossible to manage now.
That text basically says to her I will bend over backwards and do whatever you want. I will sacrifice my own health and happiness, my relationship with my husband and my relationship with my children all for you. She won't notice the rest of it.

Of course she knows its your DSs graduation she is competing for your attention with a child. She is being very short sighted and selfish because she doesn't seem to care how always putting her needs before his may affect your relationship with him later in life.

I'm not saying she is a horrible person but she has got herself stuck in this rut of disabling herself by digging in and refusing to have anyone else but you do these things because she thinks you should. She is feeling a bit out of control and is trying to feel she has a better handle on things by focusing all her control onto you. Understandable, but it will break you as the more you give the more petty infractions she will invent as an excuse to rage, where she knows she's not justified in raging at her situation because its the best you can all do for her.

tiktok Sat 20-Jul-13 14:47:05

fedup, I have and have had elderly people in my life.

You cannot send your mum a text like that - not because it is a dreadful thing to do, but because arguments/confrontations/challenges are more effective spoken face to face. Why would you not do this? If you are scared, there is no need to be. What can she do? You are near enough to her to say these things to her face to face.

It is 100 per cent unacceptable that she 'makes' you feel you should be taking her to her appointment and thereby missing your little boy's nursery event. You are irreplaceable at this - though it's lovely that your dh is going anyway, you need to be there, for your memories and for your ds's. Your ds will want you there!

A few home truths shared with your mother, calmly and assertively, would not go amiss.

If you are still frightened by your mum, it's time to grow up smile

ratbagcatbag Sat 20-Jul-13 14:48:12

Just don't put up with it, first thing I'd do today is ring home, explain that they will need to arrange to get her to hospital next week, end of. Text your mum, say your unfortunately unable to make next weeks appointment but you will visit on x, the home are making arrangements for you to attend your appointment. If she misses it, that's her choice as an adult to do that. It's not your DS's choice for you to miss his graduation. You don't want to look back on all the pictures realising you missed lots of events.

If you go and visit your mum and she moans, just keep repeating I've explained why I'm not available you have another way of getting there, do not be drawn into the whys and why nots.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 20-Jul-13 14:48:31

I don't know Fedup as I don't entirely trust my judgement at the moment as I managed to inflame the situation between my Brother and I this week.

But from what you said about what she was like at home I wouldn't offer to take her home personally. My Mum is very demanding and sees things as my duty as a daughter.

I think if I were you I would ring the Home today, say you will not be able to take her it the appointment next week as you have something on with your son you need to be at and ask them to sort someone to take her.

Next I would try to relax this weekend as much as possible. Monday I would text her to say something like 'I am going to DS's nursery graduation next week and have made arrangements for a Carer to take you to your appointment'

Just the facts. Start saying if she wants to come home then I think she will just to make you sort it. If she does it will go all wrong again and you'll be back it square 1.

If she then insists on going home and she cn then do this , get a SW involved. Make it clear what happened before and ask for help handling it. Some can be really brilliant though it does depend a lot on who you get .

redcaryellowcar Sat 20-Jul-13 15:03:36

I am sad to read about your situation it must be very difficult to juggle your time and prioritise, I do think that even if appointment ends up being postponed that you should attend your sons graduation, I think maybe try prioritising things you will regret later. I can imagine your son would feel sad if everyone else's mummy went and you didn't.
On separate note I wonder if it might help you to see a counsellor? I was in a difficult relationship with an exP who through some counselling sessions I realised was unlikely to change and therefore I changed my thinking and was much happier, I think as others have said she is unlikely to change so in order for you to feel happier you are in a better position to change your thinking than hers?

formicadinosaur Sat 20-Jul-13 15:09:13

Can you write to her and list every responsibility you have at the moment and how little support you get? Then acknowledge that she wants more attention but that you are flat out and doing your best to cope as it is.

redcaryellowcar Sat 20-Jul-13 15:10:00

...And I wouldn't send the text, doesn't sound like it was working well at home before and sounds like your mum is no less happy but your dads life is improved as a result of her being in a home and importantly she is safe in a home.

looseleaf Sat 20-Jul-13 15:27:55

I wouldn't text either but a kind, calm conversation (keeping your head as it must make you very upset and she seems to totally overlook your own needs). If it's appropriate i'd tell her why you need to retreat a bit and why she is responsible for her own happiness and driving people away which is the last thing you want.

Does she have any of her own friends?

fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:02:38

The part about 'if you want to go home' was just calling her bluff - there is no way on earth- I am 99.9% sure that she would even contemplate going home. My dad irritates her- she cant stand beig around him. He still visits her and she is rude to him.

I feel sure she was just saying the bit about she would be better at home as emotional blackmail.

I have made the list of all i have to do for her before - made no difference - she called me the next morning telling me to get her tena lady before the end of the day as the ones they have in the home r not to her liking.

The example of the appointment on the day of ds nursery graduation - was just an example of how self centered she is - I have no already said I will take her so i cant go back on that. But thanks everyone for the support on it.

i was just thinking the text might hit home more than a conversation as the conversation has more or less been had before to no use. As I mentioned in the opening post since i got ill and my hair was falling out at Easter I have retreated a bit from her and do not visit as much or for as long (just to avoid the negativity).

She does have a couple friends that visit each friday. She had another group of friends but when she went in the home, and they were planning to visit she rang and told them not too and said something along the lines of it not being a zoo.

She had a group she went to once a month (on a day I work) but has refused to go since moving into the home as she does not see why she should pay for a taxi there when she has a car.

ratbagcatbag Sat 20-Jul-13 16:13:11

You can easily change your mind re the appointment, I'm sorry but you need to prioritise your son, he will expect mummy to be there, if she was in hospital at deaths door fine, but not for a routine appointment someone else can take her too.

I'm sorry but you need to think of yourself and your immediate family unit.

And I dj understand, my dfil is in a home and it was the only one who could take him so he's ten miles away, I ran myself ragged during my pregnancy and so did my DH. We just say no now, we can't do it.

tiktok Sat 20-Jul-13 16:15:33

Of course you can change your mind and go to the nursery event.

What are you scared of?

You have simply reconsidered and you find your priorities are now different!

Just tell her!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 20-Jul-13 16:19:09

As ratbag says, you can say no. I can pretty much guarantee you will regret it if you don't . I looked at DD's prom picture and just felt sad. She emotionally blackmailed you into it in the first place. If you don't take a stand where will it stop ?

Mum's CH said to me yesterday that I should take a week totally out to look after myself as I have a family to look after and they need me. Your DS needs you.

looseleaf Sat 20-Jul-13 16:32:59

Maybe a letter if the conversations aren't helping? Or are you close to your brother who could say something protective about you ? And don't feel guilt as she should be encouraging you to be there for your DC not making it difficult. The years your children need you this much are very short and she should remember how intense and important they are. Wishing you well and wish she'd think about you more .

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