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My baby due in two weeks.... juggling caring for elderly dad...... no support

(5 Posts)
poppyXsmile Tue 25-Mar-14 08:45:04

Sorry I just need to write this down somewhere. Over the past 14 months, my mum died who I was really close to, I had an ectopic pregnancy, I have been diagnosed with a mild hearing impairment, I moved house twice, I no longer speak to my mum's side of the family due to a number of issues, I had to leave my job, and my husband and I moved in with my dad to a new area as my dad has health issues and is losing his sight. I am an only child, so have no siblings to help, no one on my mum's side of the family help, and my dad's family all live far away. I am due my first baby in two weeks time. I am 30 years of age and my dad is 68.

My dad has always been someone who has mood swings and can be quite controlling and aggressive (he puts on a face for other people like he is mr wonderful, but behind closed doors it can be a different story. He had a very successful career where he has managerial responsibility and this met his needs for control, adoration, power etc). It is like there is two of him - the normal, pleasant, rational side, and then the grumpy, mood swinging, verbally aggressive side.

He has diabetes which is affecting his eyesight. He has had to give up driving and lacks confidence to do things and go places on his own. I know it is very difficult for him and a big lifestyle change, but I am sick of his aggression and mood swings and swearing being aimed at me when he can't do something or doesn't have the patience to learn to do something differently. He also won't monitor his blood sugar properly which is making his eyesight worse. He is only 68.

The house we have all moved into together has an annexe, so he has his own living room, kitchen and bathroom, and upstairs, a huge bedroom with an ensuite. This was so my husband and I and the baby and our two cats would have out own space in the house, but my dad would have his own space too. We share the office, where I hear my dad shouting and swearing at the computer. He is now refusing to sleep in his bedroom saying he doesn't like it, and sleeps in me and my husband's livingroom, using my good cushions as pillows. I worry about getting up through the night when the baby is here and having my dad sleeping in me and my husband's livingroom. My dad goes in a huff and marches out the room if I say that it is a livingroom and not a bedroom.

My dad has done well to attend social groups in the area and groups for people going blind, however he relies on me to transport him to these groups. I keep on saying to him that he should get a support worker to help him go places as I will not be able to take him everywhere when the baby is here. He just dismisses this. I worry he will see the baby as an inconvenience when he gets here, and will say things like "I won't bother going to the group then if you can't take me there". How is this fair? I will have a baby to look after yet he doesn't seem to understand that my baby will be my priority and I cannot just go here there and everywhere with a newborn baby in tow? I will still do as much I can for him, but I want to have time for me and my baby.

My husband is getting annoyed at the situation too. I am dreading today as my dad gets his computer back from the repair shop, which will involved lots of swearing and aggression as the settings will have changed and he will need me to help him with it. Also he has only slept for about 2 hours which will put him in a bad mood. He has talked of getting a futon for his livingroom area, so again it will be me who has to take him from shop to shop or look online with him. I wish I had someone else to help me. My husband is brilliant and helps my dad as much as he can too, but my husband works 40 hours per week and it is not fair that I burden him even more.

Sorry for moaning, but it is really hard some days. I miss my mum, my dad has major attitude problems, I am worrying already about juggling my dad and my new baby. I find it hard to talk to my friends who have just had babies as they have their mums, sisters, grans, aunties etc to help them and I don't. My husband's mother lives 15 minutes away but she doesn't drive and doesn't like my cats. They are very nice in laws though and they are really looking forward to the baby coming.

Thanks for listening to me, I know a lot of other people have it tough too.

shoom Tue 25-Mar-14 09:19:15

That sounds really difficult. Your dad is frustrated too and taking it out on those who are near and will accept it.

Have you been in touch with social work? If not done already, request assessments both for your dad and for his carer (you). Tell social work that you will do no care, transport, anything otherwise they'll expect you to do it all, and will offer no support. And you'll muddle through then realuse you can't have a night out or holiday or consider going out to work and what happens when someone is ill... There will be local carer groups that can keep you, provide information etc. Your GP practice can help and offer advice if they know you are a carer. Decide with your husband where your boundaries lie and stick to them.

Long term, I'd be looking at moving out as I don't think it's going to work- maybe ok without children but it's not realistic or fair to your child or your dad to put up with each other's routines and preferences. With your dad's age and condition I think you are fighting a losing battle in trying to get him to modify his behaviour to a level that's acceptable to you all, and he probably can't (as well as won't) tolerate the reality of the baby and toddler years.

You've gone into this with the best of intentions but there's no shame in saying it isn't working.

You've had a difficult time and are probably in fire-fighting mode of just getting through each crisis as best you can. The baby's arrival means a longer term plan is needed. Good luck.

shoom Tue 25-Mar-14 09:25:09

Also with unmanaged diabetes there is a risk of vascular dementia, so consider that if his behaviour seems to fit (as well as the obvious forgetfulness think about him feeling scared, unsure, lack of confidence...)

Sorry to add that to the party but it's a consideration.

You could be living together until your baby leaves home and in that timescale uncontrolled diabetes that is already bad enough to affect eyesight could cause many difficulties. But you know this already.

riskit4abiskit Tue 25-Mar-14 15:17:14

Sounds really tough, dont forget to look after yourself in all of this.

I agree with previous posters who suggest moving out as the only solution. You can't have your dad swearing and losing his temper with a baby or toddler.

I think you need to get to the root of why your dad won't sleep in his room. This might give you some clues to other hidden problems (is he wanting to be near a bathroom, anxious alone etc).

Best of luck

pippop1 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:46:22

I agree, it doesn't sound good long term. Can you find him a small flat nearby and rent out the annex to pay for it?

You might be able to get him to move as he doesn't like where he is and he may well be able to access more support as someone that lives alone. Best to do this now while he still has sight.

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