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To be reluctant to do this

(49 Posts)
justdontknow15 Fri 13-Nov-15 14:22:52

DM has asked me to move in to her house to care for my elderly aunt (her sister) for 4 days in mid December whilst she and my DD are off to London for a holiday. My initial reaction was to say no and then she got majorly stroppy with me....and is now laying on the emotional blackmail...what are we here for if not to help each other out...etc. I have said I would think about it.
The background is that my parents live about 30 min drive from me, my aunt lives around the corner from them, NOT with them normally. She has dementia but manages with carers coming in at meal times. She now has some major problems with her flat so is having to move in with them whilst work is done. No one seems to know how long this work will take but it's looking likely to take a while and therefore affect my parents holiday. My DM will not allow my aunt to stay in their house unattended( I can see her point) so wants me to be there when they are away. I have my own house to run and teenage DS to organise (DH can organise himself) as well as many other things I usually do, plus all the extra stuff that has to be done 2 weeks before Christmas. DM is expecting me to drop all of this as I "don't have a job". I think she was genuinely shocked when I didn't immediately say yes, and I think her assumption that I don't have lots of stuff to do and I would just happily agree is what has upset me the most.
After my initial reaction she has asked if respite care would be a possibility, but is pressuring me to say whether I would be willing to step in if there is no respite available, because she and my Dad need to know asap so they can book exhibitions etc when they are in London, otherwise "it wont be worth going".
I am now feeling guilty for not immediately just saying yes, and am wondering if I am being totally unreasonable for ever considering saying no. FWIW I will most probably end up saying yes, people pleaser that I am, but just trying to process why I'm feeling so aggrieved by this.
[As an aside this is not a longed for holiday...it was booked fairly recently and my parents have already been on 2 holidays since this September and have 2 luxury cruises booked for next year.]

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 13-Nov-15 14:37:37

I don't really see why DH can't 'organise' a teenager and what needs to be done for hours every day. But then I work, have a 4 yo and also am part of a program housing homeless pregnant women. And Christmas still happens. That isn't me being holier than thou, I just think that's not the actual reason.. .

I do think you need to process why you feel so pissed off about this. It's OK not to want to do it but your reasons seem a little spurious so I think it's something else.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 13-Nov-15 14:38:25

Presumably moving in to their house won't preclude you from going out and running errands. If your DH can organise himself then for 4 days he can organise your teenage (not child, teenager) DS (who can presumably do some of his own organising too).

They look after your aunt all the time and you can't do it for 4 days? I agree, this is what family is for.

PrettyBrightFireflies Fri 13-Nov-15 14:45:53

As I read it, your DM agreed to your Aunt moving in with her temporarily, without thinking through the implications and she is now worried that she will have to miss out on her trip to London with your Dad in order to fulfil the commitment she has made, so is trying to guilt you into doing it for her?

While it would be a generous gesture on your part, you certainly aren't obligated, and given the reasons why your mum wants to hand over the responsibilities she took on voluntarily to someone else, I think it's very reasonable for you to refuse.

Bumshkawahwah Fri 13-Nov-15 14:47:27

I think you are being a little bit unreasonable. Yes, it's a bit disruptive for you, but I think it would be a little mean not to help out. She doesn't sound very difficult to care for. Plus presumably it'd be nicer for her to have you there than have respite care. It sounds to me like you just don't wNt to put yourself out.

misscupcakes Fri 13-Nov-15 14:50:36

Could your aunt stay with you in your own home for the four days?

justdontknow15 Fri 13-Nov-15 14:55:51

DS has dyspraxia so organising himself is very difficult, and DH and he often rub each other up the wrong way especially if DH is trying to help with his organisational skills!
The hours of stuff that needs to be done....well some of it is for me...for my mental health and for a new business I am going to be starting. I guess I am annoyed that my DM places no value whatsoever on this....when I asked her if she'd even briefly considered what I wouldn't be able to do whilst I was living in her house she admitted she hadn't. Maybe it's the way I was asked that is the major issue confused
And as for going out and running errands...My DM will not countenance my aunt being left unattended in their house at all...despite the fact she is unattended in her own flat for the majority of the time.

justdontknow15 Fri 13-Nov-15 15:00:11

Not enough room in our house misscupcakes.
Agree about the respite care being disruptive for my aunt, and as I said I am likely to say yes anyhow, just trying to get myself to a place where I don't resent it and it causes problems in my relationship with my parents.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 13-Nov-15 15:02:58

Maybe it's the way I was asked that is the major issue I think so. My Mum is queen of having me/DH do things and still feeling mild guilt and discomfort. I don't know how she does it but everything feels expected and slightly less than what was required. It makes every kind gesture a chore IYSWIM.

Is the Aunt nice? Does she warrant your time and energy?

Grumpyoldblonde Fri 13-Nov-15 15:04:45

It is 4 days and she is your aunt, I do think this is what families do and from what you have told us I think yabu tbh.

CocktailQueen Fri 13-Nov-15 15:05:32

It's only four days. You don't have much else on. Your excuses sound thin. Why don't you want to do it? Do you get on with your aunt? Are you apprehensive about caring for her with dementia?

GruntledOne Fri 13-Nov-15 15:05:42

I'm finding it difficult to understand why, when you aren't going out to work, you have so much to do before Christmas that you can't take 4 days away. Can't you just start your preparations a bit earlier? And will it really hurt to postpone starting your business for 4 days? Indeed, could you do some of the work at your parents' house?

could you all go and stay at your DM's aunt might like the additional company.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Fri 13-Nov-15 15:07:37

So your mum wants you to not even pop out for milk unless your aunt comes too? hmm she needs to be more reasonable if she wants you to help. Yes to not leaving her alone for the 4 days or overnight but for a few hours in the day with you on the end of the phone? What does she actuslly think aunt will do?

DH and DS should be able to manage for 4 days. They could treat it as male bonding time.

Your health and business are real issues, but if your mother were to "allow" you to run errands etc, could this all be done from her house?

Spilose Fri 13-Nov-15 15:08:07

Personally I would absolutly do my best to help. It's family - it's what anyone in my family would do. Infact I can't imagine where I'd be without the help of my parents so I'm always happy to help them out.
The emotional blackmail is not okay though and I'd call her up on that if I had a genuine reason for not helping out.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Fri 13-Nov-15 15:08:09

Will you be expected to do this in future? So, they can book whatever they want at whatever notice they want and you'll be expected to drop everything to let them go on holiday? That's a slippery slope.

I'd go with middle ground. You can do 2 days, you have too much on to do all 4 days. They will have to book respite care for the other 2 days.

They are going on a jolly to London not going for emergency surgery. You should not be expected to fully drop your life for that.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 13-Nov-15 15:12:58

"After my initial reaction she has asked if respite care would be a possibility, but is pressuring me to say whether I would be willing to step in if there is no respite available"
And I think we can all be certain that if you say yes then no respite will be available.

I actually think this is a pretty huge undertaking they are asking of you. They expect you to keep your aunt safe, keep their house and belongings safe, undoubtedly on edge the whole time in case anything goes wrong. ANd I can just imagine the sour little faces and comments when if anything should go wrong!

I would say no. They decided to take on this responsibility, and they should have thought about the impact on their London break when they did so. Expecting you to do it instead - not on.

paulapompom Fri 13-Nov-15 15:14:38

OP you say your DM was very surprised when you said no. Do you feel she takes you for granted/thinks you have loads of free time?

Do you think that might have put your back up? It does annoy me when people ask for help, but the 'asking' is just a way of saying 'you need to do this'.

Whatever you decide, it might help to chat to dm about what life is like day to day for you; I think she might not have the full picture.

Wineandrosesagain Fri 13-Nov-15 15:16:57

YANBU - this is a major ask - to effectively move in with your aunt for 4 days and not be able to leave her alone at all? So everything in your own life gets handed over to DH or put on hold. I have looked after PIL in my own home and it is a major undertaking to care for someone with dementia. However, I think you may find it very hard to say no, and in your place I think I would feel as you do, but would end up doing it anyway, rather than parents losing their break. But I think your parents have to realise that you will need to run errands sometimes, especially if aunt is still coping for periods of time on her own in her own home. Presumably your parents don't want her to be alone in their house because they think she may damage it? I would also ask them whether she currently has carers visiting her, because those carers could then come to your parents house instead, which would help you over the 4 days too (because, let's be honest, you probably will do this won't you?).

TheAuthoress Fri 13-Nov-15 15:28:07

Is your DM going with your DD or your DF? You said DD in your first post but I'm wondering if it was a typo. If it is your DD, can your aunt not sleep in her room while she's gone?

VestalVirgin Fri 13-Nov-15 15:29:08

And as for going out and running errands...My DM will not countenance my aunt being left unattended in their house at all...despite the fact she is unattended in her own flat for the majority of the time.

Okay, now that's unreasonable.

I don't know how severe her dementia is, but surely she won't destroy the house while you are away for a few hours, if she is alone most of the day in her own flat?

My grandmother had alzheimer's and she sat in front of the TV for hours, not really watching ... she was not very mobile is what I'm saying.

If you agree to do this, I suggest that you set boundaries. I.e. you will move in with the aunt, but still go out on errands, etc.

If there are certain things your mother is concerned about (like, her favourite set of bone china mugs or something) you could agree to lock those things in a room while your aunt is there.

Jhm9rhs Fri 13-Nov-15 15:30:29

It's up to you whether you want to do it or not. I think I'd step up and do it myself, though I'd certainly have a grumble if it was around Christmas which is a busy time.

But I understand your situation with DS is different.

How much of your saying no was down to you being offended by your mum's false assumption that you have a lot of free time?

BitOutOfPractice Fri 13-Nov-15 15:57:06

It's 4 days. It's for family. It's to allow your own DD to have a holiday. I think you are just looking for excuses and tbh it's not coming across as very nice. Just do it

miaowroar Fri 13-Nov-15 15:57:37

What did they do on their last two holidays and what will they do for their cruises? I presume they could leave your aunt as she was in her own flat. Is that right? In which case why book yet another holiday until she goes back.

I agree with a PP, if you do agree, make it clear it is a one-off, or else they will be booking holidays willy nilly.

GruntledOne Fri 13-Nov-15 15:59:03

Will you be expected to do this in future? So, they can book whatever they want at whatever notice they want and you'll be expected to drop everything to let them go on holiday?

Presumably not, given that the aunt is only with them temporarily whilst her house gets sorted out.

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