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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?

3littlefrogs Sat 20-Jul-13 16:36:43

OP you are so brow beaten you are not thinking rationally.

You must go to your son's nursery event. Your mother can be taken to her appointment by a carer.

Everyone on this thread is saying the same thing.

It sounds as if you have been ground down by your mother all your life and you cannot prioritise your own needs or those of your family.

Fairyliz Sat 20-Jul-13 16:43:57

Another vote for saying go to your son's graduation.
Just tell you mum calmly that you are not taking her, ensure the home know they have to take her and if she plays up just leave.
I am sorry but she has had her time, your loyalties now must lie with your DH and son.

starfishmummy Sat 20-Jul-13 17:05:53

When you tell your Mother that you can't do something because......she will come back at you with a reason why you are - in her opinion- being selfish/neglecting her. So stop telling her why you can't do things, just say that whatever it will be is not possible. So for the appointment - "I can't take you to the hospital on xx but the home will organise transport" is enough.

fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 18:12:16

At the risk of going on and on - my brother has offered to take her, but she has refused, she 'needs' me there as I 'will listen and ask questions'. She is perfectly capable of doing this herself.

My dh calls her the spolit child.

RandomMess Sat 20-Jul-13 18:20:45

She is a spoilt child and you are enabling her. "That is not possible for me", "No" are perfectly valid responses from you to her.

Every time she starts being horrible walk out/hang up on her. Ring up the next time/visit her with smile on your face and repeat. Any bad behaviour and you ignore her!

cq Sat 20-Jul-13 18:28:09

OP, a few things jump out at me here:

Your mum has become the child in your relationship, which frequently happens as old people age. They become cranky, unreasonable and demanding. I have seen it with my grandparents, my in-laws and starting to see it in my DDad. It's really hard, but you have to try and rise above it like you would a tantrum-ing child. As starfish said earlier, just say "I can't take you to the hospital on xx but the home will organise transport".

Secondly, your mother has 2 children, and your DC has two parents. And yet you seem to be running around doing all the parenting and all the care of elderly parents.

You need to protect yourself by getting your DH and brother to step up more and take on some of the duties. Why is your DH expecting you to care for his mother as well as his DS, esp if you are also working?

The immediate issue over DS's graduation has brought all your conflicting duties to a head, but you need some long term help and solutions, not just this week.

Time to get tough, OP, or you will crater and then you'll be no good for anything. Wishing you strength and clarity.

TimeofChange Sat 20-Jul-13 18:48:38

OP: Excellent advice on here from loads of people.

Please get yourself some good quality multi vits and minerals.
They will help with the hair loss. You are obviously really run down.

Is it possible not to answer the phone to her if she is ringing at such inconvenient times - like when you were at a kids party?

Get tough and protect yourself from her.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sat 20-Jul-13 18:59:14

Please go to the graduation. Just say I can't let DS down so I've asked the home to take you to your appointment. If she replies that you're letting her down or similar just say I'd rather do that than let down my 4 year old son. And walk away if necessary.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 20-Jul-13 19:29:35

Seeing as your Brother had offered to take her you are sorted. I would leave it till nearer the time then say Brother is taking you Mum, he will know what to ask as well as I do.

Then refuse to engage in the subject. I know it seems now that you are trapped and can't but is just because you are so worn down with it . Once you start saying no you are regaining control and you will feel better .

themaltesefalcon Sat 20-Jul-13 19:44:54

I'd let the old bag stew in her own juices for a bit.

You'll have a long wait for an apology, though!

Nanny0gg Sat 20-Jul-13 19:49:53

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.

Of course you can!!

And your DH is right!

fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:52:44

cq - My dh does an awful lot for my parents and his mother. However, he works much longer hours than me i work 3 days he works full time which is often about 60 hours a week.Plus as mentioned it is really important he keeps fit due to a health condition so is busy with that too. I have no issues with him - I feel he more than pulls his wait.

My brother is more like my mother and they rub each other the wrong way. He has the capacity just to walk away when it get to much. He could do alot more than he does. I feel rather peeved he dosent. But what can i do - i have asked him and explained but he just says he will do what he can.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 20-Jul-13 21:01:01

only read the first page, she sounds very similar to my mother and it is hard work and emotionally draining. She does things like this (and much much worse then refuses contact) all the time and i have just learnt to let her stew in her own juices until she makes contact again, she does, when she wants something or realises she has been a twat. I never get an apology and hell would freeze over before the words "im sorry" leave her mouth.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 20-Jul-13 21:05:20

Sorry, but nursery graduation??? really???? lol, how cute is that grin

fedup123 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:14:07

Sounds very similar Lemisdisappointed.thanks

watchingout Sat 20-Jul-13 21:16:21

YOU have the capacity to walk away when it gets too much too!

I second, third, and on.... What other posters have said. Your son comes first. Then, as he is leaving nursery, why not take a few days holiday with him, and leave DM to her own devices?

She has care, Internet and all her faculties. Just no manners.

Your son will not "graduate" nursery again.

There will be many other chances for you to help your mother, WITHOUT being a doormat.

Tough love....

Kat101 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:48:24

The road to hell is paved with good intentions....

Your mother is stuck in a miserable mindset and will continue to take out her misery on you. She won't change. Disengage further. It's not harsh, it's a living reality for many people with busy lives and aged relatives. The worst that can happen if you choose nursery over her is that she'll be angry, guilt inducing and basically no change there. You have zilch to lose and everything to gain by going to the graduation.

Don't overthink it. Just do it. You'll feel so much better.

sammythemummy Sat 20-Jul-13 23:02:58

Some of the stuff posters are coming up with leaves me in shock, did you all have crap parenting?

Op your mum seems like she doesnt like the home and she clearly misses you, so as her child who she has brought into the world, cared for should carry on visiting her and explain that your feelings were hurt.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sat 20-Jul-13 23:51:05

My grandma was like this when I was growing up (well, she still is but has dementia now as well). My mother never did learn to stand up to her, she just constantly feels guilty and kowtowed and even now drops everything for her. My poor mum had a horrible childhood at the hands of this horrible narcissistic woman, and has never been able to stand up to her or put her family first.

She was a wonderful mum, like you she tried to do everything for everybody and she was the one who suffered. We often came second to my grandma's demands just because of the sheer force of personality she had. Put your own family first, please don't try to be a martyr.

Your mum is not in a bad situation, she is in a nice home with all of her faculties. Let the home take some of the strain.

cleopatrasasp Sun 21-Jul-13 00:41:49

Wants are not needs OP, your mother has wants, her needs are already taken care of without your input. She is sucking you dry, your own body is clearly telling you this. Go and see her once a week or twice tops. Any complaining or being nasty from her and walk away until she learns her lesson. If she is nice reward her with longer or more frequent visits. Your brother is actually right, he does what he can without compromising his own life, you should do the same.

Nanny0gg Sun 21-Jul-13 01:38:13

sammythemummy So the OP has got to carry on running herself into the ground, and putting her family's needs last so that she can pander to her mother's unreasonable needs?
She's not wanting to abandon her. She needs her brother to help out and she needs to let the home do what they're paid for while she sees her mother socially, not as a carer.

And she shouldn't miss out on her son's events because her mother is being awkward.

Rulesgirl Sun 21-Jul-13 01:57:02

I think you need to seriously start looking after you first cause if you don't then all the other people depending on you wont have anyone anyway. But you have to be selfish here. People cope when they have to so your mother can have her needs met by the nursing staff and you can just visit her and chat etc. Get yourself the cleaner. Waiting for her to apologise might not happen. She may just act normal with you as if nothing happened. So what you need to start doing is practising some assertiveness and change the way you talk and deal with her. Always have some stock phrases to reply to her with that are neutral and non aggressive so your not stuck when she starts moaning at you.

ratbagcatbag Sun 21-Jul-13 03:01:35

Please tell me fed up you are going to see your son graduate? It's all about control, her wants do not take priority over yours and your sons wants.

We're in a similar position as I said with dpil, my dsil does a lot more than we do, we're not being horrible, my DSS missed so many of his activities over winter due to dfil in hospital then care home, my dd is 18 weeks old, we cannot keep doing what we were doing unfortunately. We try and get up once per week and take dmil, I have spent a lot of time doing other practical stuff for her such as separating finances for them etc. BUT I'm sure my dsil thinks we could do more, our stance is if she wants to run herself into the ground that's her choice, we can't help that but were not putting ourselves in the same position, maybe that's harsh but tough.

Interestingly, my dmil is lovely, but a few family members are saying she's become quite selfish and denanding, really?!?, nope only if you let her, she tried it once with me, being off because I didn't drop everything immediately, I explained why and she started being stroppy on the phone, I called her on it immediately, she's never done it again. She does it with my dsil because she can.

I'm really imploring you just to say no to this one thing,it will feel huge now but it's so important for your son and you. Don't tell her until the night before if needed, if it makes you feel better prep a list of questions for brother to ask, if she gives you hassle, explain calmly this is what is happening and refuse to discuss further. If she carries on, tell her you will speak to her on x date and you're going. Turn off house phone and mobile unil after nursery graduation.

GingerBlondecat Sun 21-Jul-13 03:38:43

I wish I hadn't read this. All it did was remind me of being my Mum's carer, got burn out. All I manage now is an occational phone call that is triggering in itself. She hasn't changed.

(((((((((((((((Huge Soft Warm Hugs))))))))))))))) OP

Please, Protect your own health and sanity.

olidusUrsus Sun 21-Jul-13 04:46:34

As an ex-care home worker, I have to admit, I did automatically side with your mum a little bit. A care home is often truly miserable place to be if you are physically unable but mentally fine. Depending on the type of home she's in, there may not be many other mentally-well residents and you may be one of her few forms of adult company who isn't paid to be there.

However, I would start letting the home do their jobs. Let them take her to appointments, to the shops and maybe she will get to know different carers, different people and eventually start making some new friends and bonding with those who care for her.

If I were you, the time I would be spending with my mum would be purely leisure and recreational, going to cafés together, perhaps bringing the children, wandering round garden centres, stuff like that. I would spend no time doing chores for her at all. Perhaps once she is relying on lots of readily available staff and not on one busy daughter, she will become calmer and less stressed and the time you spend together could be relaxing for you both.

I'd kick start this new routine by brightly saying "I'm sorry, I have to do stuff with the kids that day. Unavoidable. One of the carers will take you. Perhaps you could ask so-and-so, they're lovely".

Don't send the text, don't confront her about being a misery, because I suspect all this anger is a manifestation of loneliness and pain. Pointing it out won't help. But anyway, best of luck with it all.

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