aibu not to get too involved(19 Posts)
Hi, quick history. One of my friends has lost one of their parents and the other parent lives 15 mins drive from me. My friend lives 300 miles away in London but has a sister 30 mins drive from parent. It has been strongly hinted that I could pop in and see how the parent is when my friend has to return to London. I work full time from home and have two children of my own. I know this may sound selfish but I don't think this will be a on-off and I'll feel as though I have to offer to go regularly or do shopping etc... She could go and stay with my friend but parent has refused. Other child doesn't have a close relationship with the parent. I also have two older parents in their 80's who I look after. I've known the parent for years but only see them twice a year or so. I think I'm going to be asked outright in the next few days if I can step in when friend has to return home and think I'll struggle to say no...
Any advice would be appreciated on how to handle this or am I being completely selfish?
No it's too big an ask.
As a one off, in an emergency, fine.
But because the sister who lives almost as close as you can't be arsed, no.
"I have so much going on myself that I can't promise or commit to anything".
You have a lot of your own commitments, it would be unreasonable for your friend to ask you to take on anything else long term. I would expect the other child to step up.
Tell her you are fully committed with your own parents and say surely her sister will step up.
I'm so glad the people living near my 90yo granny don't have this attitude. You've not been asked to do shopping you're just assuming so I would decide what I could do and then go with that. Popping in for a cup of tea once a fortnight is very different to doing shopping every week. Df can do online shop on her parent's behalf. I find it sad the default answer is I can't I'm too busy.
I have been in a similar situation. Sadly it cost me the friendship when I was unable to continue my weekly visits.
My advice would be to be very honest now with what you can commit to - and if you are unable to commit to anything, that is ok.
Don't be the mug I was. On my one day off per week (n.b. friend in question worked 3 days per week; I worked 6), I would visit my friend's widowed mother, help her with shopping, chat to her etc. Friend and I both lived a two-minute walk away from the mum. When I saw on Facebook that the "ever so busy" friend was actually enjoying days at country clubs, golfing and Wimbledon with her husband while I folded her mum's laundry and changed her lightbulbs, I decided that enough was enough. It has taken years to rebuild the friendship and it still isn't what it was.
How wonderful for you mother that there are people around your 90 year old gran that are able to pick up your families slack.
Don't promise or agree to anything.
However if you do find yourself passing her area then it'd be nice if you to call in occasionally for a quick drink and a chat. But don't put yourself out.
Definitely nbu. You have commitments enough.
This may be an opportunity for your friends sibling to build a better relationship with their parent. Your friend may be quite controlling since it seems she is hoping to manipulate you into an undesired (by you) role in the life of her parent.
If/when you are directly asked, be ready to say "of course I will pop over in the next week or so to offer condolences. I'm only sorry it will be a one off with my on-going commitments. And on that note, as the daughter of aging parents myself, I know how vital it is for you to sort out a permenant plan for your parent ASAP".
Thank you for replies. Very helpful. I just know one thing will lead to another. My friend assumes, like many people do, that because I'm at home all day that I have loads of free time. Like today I've been home five minutes in between taking my parents for appointments so I'll have to work until 12pm to make up for not working during today.
Of course YANBU.
As you say, it's only going to get more, not less. It really isn't your responsibility. You already have enough on your plate, and the elderly parent has a child in the locality!
You could remind your friend of all that. Say that obviously if there were even an emergency and you were available, you'd do what you could - as you wold for any friend or neighbour - but you can't commit to looking out for their parent on a regular basis.
motherofdragons - I am amongst many on here and in RL that do look out for / regularly check in on / run small errands for / cook for my elderly housebound neighbours, but that is a very different situation from agreeing to take on someone else's parents who are 15mins away, when it really isn't anything to do with you.
Nothing to do with family being slack. She's lived in her house since she was 26 and loves it there. I cannot afford to live in the borough of London so am 4 hours away. My brother is in Canada with his family and we have family in the states, Australia etc. When she needs food etc we help but general popping in and company for her is provided by amazing people around her who are truly caring. Similarly, I popped in regularly for a neighbour and her dd lived in California.
Op shouldn't take on more than she can but she's not actually been asked specifics and automatically assumed it'll be too much. She could offer to be an emergency contact. None of this is obligatory but I'm glad those I know look after the elderly around them rather regardless of relation.
backforgood I agree and if op had been asked to do something specific the the df may be bu but the op is assuming her df is a demanding selfish cow, which I find odd.
But maybe the friend is a demanding, selfish cow? Maybe she has form?
The friend has another sister nearer who should take up the slack. The OP works fulltime and also looks after her elderly parents so why should this fall to her to do?
But I don't love locally. It's 15 mins drive. If it was just down the street, no problem, I would be in there every day.
I don't assume my friend is a demanding selfish cow, she is the middle of grieving so rightfully she's trying to do what's best for her parent. But I've known her for years and I know one thing will lead to another.
If asked I would simply explain as you have upthread, that the demands of f/t working, elderly parents and your own DCs means you don't have the spare time to do this.
It would be different if the person lived on the next street - even then though it would be too much to ask for a regular commitment - but a 15 min drive each way is 30 mins before you've even got there or done anything.
15 min drive is not the same as popping in on a neighbour.
Also if you start doing it, who else will do it? If the sister won't help now, she's unlikely to if someone else has picked up the slack.
I would be ready to say you are happy to be an emergency contact but can't commit to anything regular as it would be unfair to make promises you won't always be able to keep.
Frenchie12, you are not 'home all day' you work full time, have your own parents to think about and children of your own. if she does ask, you may need to set boundaries - explain that its only if your free and would be ' now and again' ( if this is what you can do of course!) it will be hard, I am also useless at saying no to people, but you might have to do just do it in this case. you obviously know her well enough to know that it will snowball if yo start things - best nip it in the bud straight away. good luck.
The trouble is even if you agreed to pop in occasionally the mother may begin to rely on you and start calling you directly for help.
I have a wealthy aunt who used money to blackmail people to help. If you didn't help you are out the will. She phoned me once when I was on nights because she wanted someone to talk to. Another time she wanted some lemonade. Now essentials I was happy to pop out for, but not a fizzy drink. We are NC now for other reasons.
Don't sign yourself up to this. I was asked to do the same for a friends mother after she'd had a stroke. They had it all worked out, I'd be eligible for carers allowance. I was the ideal candidate, I am retired so had plenty of time on my hands...which pissed me right off. I also have a DH who wasn't retired at the time, I also provided child care for my grandson three days a week. I said I'd think about it, I did think about it-for all of five minutes and said I couldn't commit to the level of care her mother needed, she was fed via a tube and also had to be helped with dressing and personal care.
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