Life as a carer - I want my own life now

(55 Posts)
Rosepetals34 Wed 24-Nov-21 19:12:40

I’m 27 and single. My mum is in her 50s and got pregnant with my brother 8 years ago. Sadly, his father passed away when he was only a couple of weeks old, leaving just the 3 of us.
My mums health got progressively worse and she doesn’t have much mobility. I am her full time carer but not just for her, my brother too, since birth and we have a very close bond, I don’t work, I don’t have a relationship (I tried once but it failed) and quite honestly it’s getting too much. I love her and want to be there for her but I’m starting to resent it too. I’ve missed out on my 20s. I dropped out of uni after she got pregnant.
My brother has no one, no grandparents, and no one to provide for him beside me and my mum. I feel I owe it to him to be there for him. However, it’s a lifelong responsibility that I didn’t ask for but I love him dearly and wouldn’t change the fact he’s here.
He is now 8, if I stay around until he’s of potentially leaving age (say 18) I’ll be pushing 40! That scares me. I don’t know how I can have my life and also be there for him. It doesn’t seem possible but am I unreasonable for feeling what is now quite a lot of resentment?

OP’s posts: |
Mooloolabababy Wed 24-Nov-21 19:28:58

Ah op, that sounds really tough thanks
What is your mums illness? Can you get help for her? Presumably she gets PIP, can she pay for carers from that to get help in at all? It's unfair that it all falls to you, you need support as well, are you in contact with anyone who can support you? Do you have any social life?

Rosepetals34 Wed 24-Nov-21 19:38:17

Mooloolabababy

Ah op, that sounds really tough thanks
What is your mums illness? Can you get help for her? Presumably she gets PIP, can she pay for carers from that to get help in at all? It's unfair that it all falls to you, you need support as well, are you in contact with anyone who can support you? Do you have any social life?

She has MS and cerebral palsy. She can get carers but doesn’t want them and would prefer me, which I get. I used to have some support from a group that supported young adult carers but then I got too old and it went defunct anyway after covid. I have absolutely no social life. I rely on online friends which is less than ideal because that toys with my emotions at times too

OP’s posts: |
flapjackfairy Wed 24-Nov-21 19:42:35

Well she needs to get over it and let the carers take over. You cannot do this long term without support. It is impossible and v unfair on you tbh.
What a lovely daughter you are but it is time to put limits in place to enable you to have at least some time to yourself to pursue your own interests.

Cacee3029 Wed 24-Nov-21 19:45:48

That sounds really tough op. It's unfair if you do it all on your own. Your mums feelings of not wanting a carer is valid but not fair on your. I know little about how it would work. But could you contact local authority to see what help there is? Even if your mum had a carer for some days of the week and you do the other days, it will free up some time for you fo be yourself and socialise etc. I don't really know what to suggest regarding your little brother.

Your mum is very lucky to have you but you need to do you and have your own life too!

SandysMam Wed 24-Nov-21 19:46:27

Absolutely agree with @flapjackfairy. Your mum just needs to suck it up and use the carers. Get a bit more of a life and there is no reason why you can’t still play a big part in your brothers life but without feeling the resentment that will come from sacrificing your own life. Your mum is lucky to have you, show her this thread if necessary and if she can’t see it, then she is selfish, disabilities or not.

LolaButt Wed 24-Nov-21 19:46:40

Easy to just say that she has to get over it!

OP, you’re entirely justified in wanting your own life. Do you want out completely or do you still want to help but not as much? A gradual step back may be the best approach to give everyone time to adjust.

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BungleandGeorge Wed 24-Nov-21 19:47:18

Dropping out of uni was before you became a carer so presumably it’s not a course you’d want to go back to? How about open university or a part time degree/ btec which you could fit around the care? How much care does your mum need during the day? I don’t think you’d be wrong to decide you don’t want to be a carer at all anymore, nobody can expect their child to do that.

candycane222 Wed 24-Nov-21 19:48:16

Im sure she would prefer you, and im sure you woild like to clone yourself so she (and your brother) can have you and you can start to build your life. But as that's not possible you absolutely have to get in more help with both your brother and your mother. Does your Mum want you to "die an old maid" as they would have put it in the olden days? Surely not.

All 8 year olds not only are fine with, but can actively benefit from, more varied parenting/care. Meanwhile good carers for your Mum could effectively enlarge your family. My disabled FiLs carers were wonderful people who became true friends and enriched everyone's lives.

It sounds as though your household has become very insular, perhaps unsurprisingly in the face of so many difficulties, but to be so restricted to just the three of you is not good for any of you IMO.

Missmissmiiiiiiiiisss Wed 24-Nov-21 19:49:55

Do you know that at any time you can withdraw care and social services would need to provide it for her? Do you know you can request respite care?

I’m concerned for you that your mum is letting you do this. Does she say anything about what she might hope for you and your life? It’s very selfish to expect you to exclusively care for her at the expense of any life of your own.

Bagelsandbrie Wed 24-Nov-21 19:50:41

This will never change unless you start saying no.

I get it, I was my Mums carer (she had schizophrenia, crohns and copd) until she died aged 70. I lived with her until I was 32 - when I finally said enough was enough and we separated into two properties (we owned the house jointly) she made me feel that I had destroyed her life - rather than the circumstances destroying mine.

We had a very difficult relationship and I appreciate it may be different from yours but honestly her death has been a relief because I have been able to start living for myself.

You are so young and shouldn’t have to give up your life like this. Your brother also needs more people in his life that he can rely on- if you step back this will have to happen, carers and social services will have to get involved and provide support. It doesn’t mean you can’t still love them and help and even provide care but it shouldn’t be all on you.

Dontbeme Wed 24-Nov-21 19:51:46

She can get carers but doesn’t want them and would prefer me

That's all well and good for her but can she explain to you why she gets to decide to torpedo your future? Being blunt she decided to have a second child, you presumably didn't get a vote in that yet you are the one giving up university, opportunities to be employed, the time and freedom to pursue relationships, the financial security to provide for your own old age. She is expecting too much, and honestly your plan to wait until this young boy is 18 and then leave is unfair too, is the plan to repeat history and have your brother not so, not go to university, to be a replacement carer? Your mum needs to see this set-up is not working for anybody you, short term or long term. Can you contact your gp or any services in your area for support? It will seem cold but stepping back could be the best thing for all of you.

hangsangwitch Wed 24-Nov-21 19:52:33

Please try and find your local carers organisation. If they had things for young adult carers, there might be a branch for adult carers. They can advise you on benefits and respite for you. Do your brothers know about the home situation? He is a young carer too.

Its all well and good that your mum wants only you to care for her, but its unreasonable of her to expect you to sacrifice your life and her future for her. You need to discuss this and tell her how you feel. What happens if/when her condition worsens over the coming years? Are you expected to look after her into your own middle and old age?

As for your brother, he wont always be an 8 year old who needs constant supervision. He will grow and mature and you may find that you grow into a more adult sibling relationship with him.

I'm sorry if I sound hars, but I was a young adult carer myself and I now work for a carers charity. There is help and advice out there for you, but your relationship with your mum needs to be worked on. Best of luck to you.

User112 Wed 24-Nov-21 19:57:07

OP, I want to help you. Can you tell me more about your GCSE/ A levels? What were your favourite subjects? Were you good at maths?
What level of support would your little brother need?
I believe you can still have your own life/career while supporting your mom. A reasonable compromise is your mom accepting care from someone else while you are still there for overseeing the arrangement and support. Would that work for you? Once you are on a good career path, you might want to explore relationships aspect. I suggest 1 step at a time.

Big hugs to you. Please don’t be disheartened. You can turn things around. Be positive and strong 💐

hangsangwitch Wed 24-Nov-21 19:57:10

I mean - your brothers SCHOOL knowing about his home situation.

I reiterate what others have said here, you must not put your life on hold for your mum. You get one short life, one.

Cassini Wed 24-Nov-21 20:00:10

This may not be a popular opinion but this is what boarding school can be great for. There are about 40 state ones (around £12k pa) and hundreds of private ones from 7/8 years of age upwards and both types offer bursaries to cover fees if you apply. This would allow your sibling the stability of care during term times and you a chance to live your own life and have him live with you during the holidays or let your mother parent with support.

Ontheroadtorecovery Wed 24-Nov-21 20:03:07

Hi Rose Petals. You're in a tough situation but there is help out there you are entitled to a carers assessment in your own right. Your mum also will be entitled to care I know you said she would prefer you and obviously understand this but I think you need support to have a Frank conversation about how you're feeling right now. She could have some support and you could still help her but less. Think of it as you could spend more quality time with her instead of how it is now.

I think it's tougher with your brother but he may be able to do things with young carers himself.

Start small and then making more changes as time goes on might become easier for everyone to accept.
You must have time to live your life and feel fulfilled as well as little bro and mum having what they need.

Kangaruby Wed 24-Nov-21 20:06:53

Refuse to be your mother's carer, some people with MS can be unreasonable, my mother certainly could be, I was never her carer ( she was unwell from me being about 10 yrs) but when I got older, I got on with my life, moved away at 18.As for your brother, you can still have a life and care for him, he is 8, so in school plenty. You need your life, don't be guilt tripped by anyone

williremember Wed 24-Nov-21 20:22:42

Pursuing your own life will have benefits for you all, even if your mother can't see that now.

Ask your GP about counselling to support you in making decisions about what you want to do. You are not responsible for your mother and there are alternatives to you providing care even if she doesn't like it. The best thing you can do for your brother is to show him that children grow up, become independent and lead their own lives.

godmum56 Wed 24-Nov-21 20:23:19

Kangaruby

Refuse to be your mother's carer, some people with MS can be unreasonable, my mother certainly could be, I was never her carer ( she was unwell from me being about 10 yrs) but when I got older, I got on with my life, moved away at 18.As for your brother, you can still have a life and care for him, he is 8, so in school plenty. You need your life, don't be guilt tripped by anyone

Thank you for saying this. In my professional life, i met a lot of folk with MS and (and I mean no offence) its a known aspect of the illness that it can be linked to an unreasonable and demanding personality to a greater or lesser degree. My experience (sorry again) is that an aspect of this can be manipulating relatives and others who care for them.....

ToughTittyWhompus Wed 24-Nov-21 20:29:45

As a mother, I’d rather have carers than restrict my child’s life like this sad

The selfishness of people never fucking fails to surprise me.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Wed 24-Nov-21 20:36:12

candycane222

Im sure she would prefer you, and im sure you woild like to clone yourself so she (and your brother) can have you and you can start to build your life. But as that's not possible you absolutely have to get in more help with both your brother and your mother. Does your Mum want you to "die an old maid" as they would have put it in the olden days? Surely not.

All 8 year olds not only are fine with, but can actively benefit from, more varied parenting/care. Meanwhile good carers for your Mum could effectively enlarge your family. My disabled FiLs carers were wonderful people who became true friends and enriched everyone's lives.

It sounds as though your household has become very insular, perhaps unsurprisingly in the face of so many difficulties, but to be so restricted to just the three of you is not good for any of you IMO.

This....

It's a totally difficult situation OP. It's just completely unacceptable that you should have to torpedo your present and future to be carers for people who you never asked to be carers for.

I think your mum has been completely self centred here... Yes I can completely see, she would PREFER for you to do everythjng.... But equally you would PREFER to have a life outside these responsibilities... How come her, and your brothers needs trump yours?

Please get a carers assessment. You cna do this via social services dept. I would mention the phrase imminent carer breakdown.

Also with your family having no wider support... What would happen if you broke your leg /had appendicitis? Your mum would HAVE to have others looking after her.

Good luck! flowers

Crazydoglady1980 Wed 24-Nov-21 20:44:13

I have been in your position except for the 8 year old sibling. Mine was 16 and had plans to go to college. So I became Mum’s carer at 24 and it took over my life. I am now 40 and have missed out on so much.
Contact your local Carers service and have a Carers assessment, also contact social services for your Mum, so they can complete an assessment of need for her. It is possible to offer care from afar but it is difficult emotionally. I remover reading on here about FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) this is what keeps you in a situation and only you can make changes to this.

Gliderx Wed 24-Nov-21 20:52:52

You need to get out. You deserve a shot at things in life for yourself...a separate home, a job, a relationship, maybe your own children one day. It doesn't sound like any of that is going to happen living with your mum and brother. Also, you're not going to be able to help your brother long-term if your life is perpetually suspended to care for your mum. I'd be worried that as he gets older the cycle will repeat with him. Set him an example of independence instead and support him to know that it's ok to have boundaries and determine your own life and future.

MissMinutes24 Wed 24-Nov-21 21:02:38

I know a lot of people who put their life on hold to care for older members of the family.

When those older members died they were left with nothing.

The time they should have spent building a family and relationships of their own was spent caregiving.

Please don't let this happen to you.

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