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To just not want lists of jobs all the time

(41 Posts)
Welshmaenad Mon 20-Jul-15 20:14:10

I'm trying to explain this so that I don't sound like a horrible human being, because I promise I'm not.

My dad was widowed last year, quite suddenly. He's relatively young but disabled with a complex range of health problems. He manages day to day pretty well but can't do heavier chores and so on. I'm genuinely happy to help wherever I can, my sister and BIL chip in where they are able and my DH goes after after work to cut the lawn etc.

At the moment though, it just feels like any conversation I have with my dad is based on a litany of pretty heavy duty jobs he wants me to do. He will sit and reel off all the things he wants done - clearing out the shed, clearing the spare room, heavy landscaping, moving furniture. Dh and I have recently removed several large appliances for him, I've done a load of gardening. I was there today and emptied his freezer ready for the new one he had me order and I've to go back Thursday to move furniture so the new one can be delivered then refill it.

I have 2 kids, am on break from a demanding degree and about to start a part time job. Dad lives 45 min drive away so it's a trek to get there. I've recently been diagnosed with a condition that causes bone and joint pain and I'm on heavy duty painkillers and I am bone fucking tired.

I sound like I'm whining, I know, but whenever he starts with his lists of jobs he wants me to do it makes me want to cry. I know he adores me and he's generous and lovely, but he will interrupt me mid sentence and start talking over me with his lists of jobs for me and it is really getting me down, but I can't say anything to him because I'd rather die than hurt his feelings.

Perhaps this is more of a rant than an AIBU! I love him to bits but I'm so tired of all our interaction revolving him planning how I can do major chores! I'm a dreadful daughter aren't I? sad

whois Mon 20-Jul-15 20:18:23

Not a dreadful daughter - he is probably feeling a but lost without his wife, and maybe using this subconscious as a way to bind you closer together but the situation is not sustainable.

Does he have any much income? Can he pay for a gardener and a cleaner? How many 'heavy lifting' chores can there be to do?!?

Can you have a reasonable chat with him - let him know you love him and are here for him, but can't do so much practically (time, health, distance) and suggest ways he can get help?

Welshmaenad Mon 20-Jul-15 20:22:42

He's financially comfy and has a cleaner for day to day stuff, he was paying stupid money to have the lawn cut so DH happily took that on.

If it makes sense, I think he is planning all the jobs for something to do, not because they're pressing. He has so much time to sit and think without Mum there, and he cooks up all these jobs.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Mon 20-Jul-15 20:22:49

I wouldn't have thought so. If DW goes under a bus tomorrow, I don't expect DD to be acting as an unpaid labourer. Frinstance, when the loft needs emptying. I'll get a skip, a couple of lads to lift and fetch, and pay them cash. DD has a life, as do you.

Be firm.

Stripyhoglets Mon 20-Jul-15 20:23:40

I think you will have to tell him outright that you can't help with heavy duty stuff because of your own health, and he will have to find a handyman type person. I don't do heavy duty stuff for similar reasons. Just say what you can help with and what is beyond you for physical or time reasons.

CalleighDoodle Mon 20-Jul-15 20:24:49

This might be better on relationships. You dont sound unreaaonable or terrible. Just in need of emotional support.

Littlef00t Mon 20-Jul-15 20:27:28

My dad got a local retired chappie who was still in good health and v happy to do odd jobs for not much money. With your condition, I think he needs to find someone.

Howmanywotwots Mon 20-Jul-15 20:29:35

Sounds like a hard situation for you both. I would maybe ride it out a bit longer until he has grieved some more

Welshmaenad Mon 20-Jul-15 20:38:08

I do t think I've ever ventured into relationships!

I just feel burnt out from constant demands on me. I'm very good at being that person that helps out, and terrible at asking for help for myself, so in the author of my own decline really; but I just feel like I do a lot of looking after people and I'm drowning trying to keep everyone else afloat. I'm just so so tired.

Welshmaenad Mon 20-Jul-15 20:39:28

I feel like a traitor posting this even! Like I'm letting my dad down by moaning when he needs me.

EduCated Mon 20-Jul-15 20:42:56

Would it help to sit with him and write a proper list of things he wants doing, and see which you can allocate to people, or which he could pay someone to do, but making clear that some will be longer term projects/not get done for a while?

You don't sound selfish at all, just tired and worried. And you need to look after yourself.

WineIsMyMainVice Mon 20-Jul-15 20:44:41

Sorry to hear things are so hard for you at the moment.
You are not a horrible daughter - it sounds like you've got so much on your plate! Be nice to yourself.
Agree with others about getting an odd job type person in if possible.
Good luck!

BackforGood Mon 20-Jul-15 20:46:33

You're not being terrible at all.
As you say, it's probably because he's sitting there with nothing to occupy him that things pop into his head, that wouldn't be important if he had a busy life.
I think you need to have a chat with him, and say, when you come over, you'd like to be able to spend time talking with him, or taking him out to different places , or watch the football together or whatever he likes, rather than constantly be doing jobs, and that he needs to start thinking about how that can be resolved. You can then suggest selling up and moving into a smaller, flat or bungalow or retirement apartment where there isn't any maintenance, or maybe offer to try to find a local 'odd job man' he can call on when he needs help.
This way, you can let him know you still want to spend time with him, but that it's just not working for you to be maintaining two households with all your other commitments.

BifsWif Mon 20-Jul-15 20:49:09

You're not a terrible daughter at all.

I like a PP idea of sitting with him and putting together a list, then working out who can do what. It's too much for you to do it all, and you'll be no help to anyone when you make yourself ill trying.

amazonqueen Mon 20-Jul-15 20:49:18

I think you will have to let him know the type of jobs you are comfortable with .Sorting the odd cupboard or admin type of thing rather than heavy lifting for goodness sake.

He probably thinks these type of jobs are the only reason you agree to come to see him so he gathers and ever increasing list of them just for you.Clearing out a shed ? Moving a freezer? Those are once in a decade type of job so cant be urgent at all.

Have a quiet word and make the time you spend with him be better for both of you.

blink1552 Mon 20-Jul-15 21:18:09

Good replies already.

DH and I have mental lists like this but we have more realistic expectations.

I think you need to sit down with him, write a long list and try to get him to put realistic time estimates on these things. Explain that you can't do heavy lifting. Ask him how much of your week he thinks you should do jobs for him. I suspect he has no idea of the scale of demand he is placing on you because it's always "could you just..." one thing more, and he doesn't see the list all collected together. If he realised what he's asking, he might reassess.

Ultimately you might have to say to him that you can do 4 hours a fortnight or whatever, and get him to prioritise. At least that way you have some hope. At the moment so you are doomed to 'fail' to complete the ever growing list. Also you need to prioritise yourself - is DF's spare room tidying really more urgent than you doing a particular DIY job in your own home? It's a tough one though, and gentleness is important.

Purplepoodle Mon 20-Jul-15 21:21:54

Could u get him a handy man? Someone who can do all these jobs for him?

Whodathink1t Mon 20-Jul-15 21:42:21

Not even slightly unreasonable! My parents only ever call on me if it's of a medical need type situation (I'm their emergency contacts as they are divorced) - I am first port of call for emergency admittances, and for runs to hospital if other friends can't be called on.
They make sure that other than this, I'm not the first port of call. DF mentioned that he might need some stuff lugging round his flat, and by the time we'd got round to discussing dates around when we'd be free, he'd already sorted it, DM was similar when she needed her dog sat and a load of meals bringing round.
They know I have enough of a job keeping on top of things in my own home that if they pile too much on me I'll crack - I'm of an anxious disposition at the best of times, and they've seen me in pretty rotten states recently when we were doing too many family visits.
My DM's parents relied too heavily on her, IMO, and she remembers the effect it had on her - I hope that she continues to remember. At the moment, she's very good at being sensitive to what I can manage, but I suspect that if her faculties deteriorate, I'm going to have a bit of a battle on my hands.

I wish you well OP - I do think that you need to be a bit more firm with your DF - you need to look after yourself otherwise you can't look after those you love.

SniffsAndSneezes Tue 21-Jul-15 00:49:23

YANBU, and you certainly aren't a bad daughter or person. You say this began after your Mother passed away, but consider; are these tasks she would have been expected to carry out?

As a PP sort of suggested, I would hazard a guess that he's doing this to keep you around. I'd just talk to him, explain that you're happy to help out with verity things that he can't do, but that it needs to be reined in a bit.

I'm very sorry for your loss too OP. flowers

BL00CowWonders Tue 21-Jul-15 04:44:30

Agree with all the previous posters.
He sounds lonely and as if he's needing his list of jobs to make sense of his loss. Is this just his way of communicating? ie is he reeling off lists of things that need doing rather than saying 'I'm lonely and need more regular contact with people'?

WingsofNylon Tue 21-Jul-15 07:48:57

It is likely to be a way of filling his time. Are you able to help him find something else to occupy his thoughts. A new interest or hobby?
That way he's not sitting around thinking about all the jobs that need doing.

ThoseAwfulCurtains Tue 21-Jul-15 07:57:05

Is he thinkibg up these jobs as a way of getting your company? To him it might be easier than talking about feelings of loneliness. Also, is he doing the jobs now that someone eould need to do if he died? Getting his house in order so to speak. You're not horrible. You sound lovely.

SisterMoonshine Tue 21-Jul-15 08:08:53

I don't want this to sound patronizing, but any activities he could take up,?
To give him other things to think about and not become so fixated on things that need doing around the house.

SaucyJack Tue 21-Jul-15 08:11:49

No, you're not horrible. You have your own house to manage. It's not U not to be able to take on someone else's housekeeping as well.

Maybe you just need to try and re-establish your time together as social time, rather than DIY time.

My mum has set days that she goes and takes my GD out for lunch or shopping. Would that help?

Hardtoknow Tue 21-Jul-15 08:18:59

I'm another one who thinks it sounds as though he is lonely & has too much time on his hands.
I also wonder if these are tasks your DM was always talking about doing but never got around to (we've been meaning to sort our shed put for at least two years now) and your DF wants to do it because of that.

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