Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Elderly parents- wwyd?

(11 Posts)
desperatedaughter1 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:00:56

Can anyone empathise?

My parents are late 80s, still managing to live independently but their marriage is not great and they live quite separate lives- they neither eat nor sleep together and 'live' in opposite ends of the house ( which is small.)

I see them roughly once every 2-3 months and it's a 5 hr trip each way.

The speak to each other- it's not THAT bad- but my mum constantly criticises my dad in front of me. I'd only been there for an hour before she was calling him a silly fool.

I find the whole thing very stressful- they are both going deaf so the TV is on loudly ( and often) and they each mishear things in conversation so it all gets really complicated as you can imagine.

They have 3 bedrooms ( one each) and I have the spare room- my old room when I used to live at home.

I am tempted to stay at a Premier Inn just so I can have some 'me' time and not be with them 24/7, which sounds awful as I am not there that often.

They are both always tired and in bed sometimes by 8pm.

Although they say I don't wake them up I am still conscious of noise and tip-toe around after they have gone to bed.

I am in a dilemma over whether to sleep in a hotel. I can't expect them to change or sort out their marriage now or for me (it's my father who has withdrawn and doesn't sit with my mum in the same room) but at the same time wonder if I ought to speak out and say how horrible it is staying when they live as they do.?

desperatedaughter1 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:02:54

p.s.
I know the obvious answer is to use their early nights as a reason to sleep elsewhere, but my mum would be really hurt, and also insist it was not necessary- or think the house wasn't 'good enough' for me in some way.

elastamum Thu 27-Feb-14 16:06:32

I wouldnt bother. They are very unlikely to change and it will only cause upset. Best to accept that they wont be around for ever and try to make each visit a happy one.

I wouldnt worry about waking them up either as being a bit deaf they wont hear you whatever you do! Take some wine with you and after they have gone to bed, put whatever you like on the TV and pour yourself a glass. smile

struggling100 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:07:14

I know a couple who bicker constantly. They literally will sit in a restaurant and fight all night. I find it extremely stressful to be around them and there is no way in hell I would want to be in a relationship like that. Yet they love each other and they have a strong marriage that suits them.

What I'm trying to say is that this way of being may work for your parents, even if it's not for you. Raising it as a problem may cause all kinds of angst and resentment, as it will seem like you are really questioning the basis of their marriage (which no-one likes!)

However, I do think you need to make sure you have some time to yourself, because their way isn't your way. So a hotel sounds like a great idea. I don't think you should ask their permission about it: I think you should book it and simply ANNOUNCE it! If they ask why you're not staying with them, maybe simply tell them that you're used to different hours and that you find the 8pm bedtime a bit early, but you'll still be there for breakfast in the morning just as normal and they'll barely notice you're not sleeping there, etc. etc. etc.

I would stay in a hotel and not think twice about doing so either. Do not feel guilty about doing this or being five hours away from them as well.

I do not think that speaking out will change anything fundamentally here. You can only do so much after all.

struggling100 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:08:22

OOps, I X-posted with your PS. Sorry! I think my point still stands: if you simply do this as a fait accompli and close down any discussion on the subject, they will get used to the idea!

They both get what they want from this relationship, it took them both to get the relationship to the stage its at now.

desperatedaughter1 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:12:44

They do love each other , but they bicker all the time. My mum was very unhappy at 70 and they almost divorced. She decided she could not live with the financial implications- moving from a small house to an even smaller flat in a not very nice area. She's made the best of it by creating her own social life.

I usually stay for 3 nights by which time I cannot bear it any more. I would like to be 2 hrs away so I could go for a day and drop in as and when.

The house is tiny, the loo is very central to the living space and you feel quite honestly that you can't fart or have any privacy at all. It sounds very trivial but having lived away from home for over 30 years it's a real strain going back and being in the midst of all their bickering.

Jan45 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:13:02

At their age I'd not even bother, they made it this way so they won't change just cos you are asking them, regardless of it being upsetting for you.

I'd grin and bear it and stay with the parents, esp if your mum will be upset, they are in their late 80s, sometimes we have to swallow the pill to keep the harmony.

Jan45 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:14:16

Just read your last post, of course you are entitled to privacy and it does sound like it's stifling there so yeah book a hotel next time, is your prerogative.

rookiemater Thu 27-Feb-14 16:24:21

I would just stay in a hotel, I have quite a hard attitude when it comes to things like this - whereas DH would bend over backwards for any of his relatives.
My view is that you are doing the right thing going to visit your parents, if staying in a hotel makes it more of a pleasurable experience for you then go for it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now