My mom is insisting that she does not want a stranger in the house. She does not need help. She is not old and frail and infirm. Only she calls me a dozen times a day, demanding I come help her with things. I run all of her errands. I check her bills when she asks me to mail them for her, catching endless errors I dare not confront her with.

She keeps calling me at work. When I tell her I can’t drop everything and come to her, she fusses over how it’s only a ten minute drive. As a life-long housewife, she does not seem to understand that I, as a single woman, am not just working this job on a lark.

When the neighbors, who are practically family, ask if she needs anything she tells them no. She’s got it all under control. And then she demands I do this and that.

The one time I brought this up — that it was hard for me to keep up with all the help she needs and the neighbors are more than willing to help — she started bemoaning how ungrateful I am and all that she did for me as my mother. That she may as well just die and get it over with for all I care. It’s her way or it’s histrionics.

I went ahead and paid one of the neighborhood kids to run some of her errands when I didn’t have time. It was busy at work and I was putting in 60 hour weeks, I could barely find time to do laundry or shower. She nearly lost her mind. She acted as if I’d sent a serial killer to deliver her groceries, not the honor roll boy scout she’s known since he was born.

I desperately want to use Lyft to bring her to doctors appointments, since she makes me stay in the waiting room the whole time and won’t make a peep to say what the appointment is actually for, but she might actually harm herself from the hysterics she would make.

I tried to suggest that if I wasn’t spending so much time putting her dishes away, taking care of the laundry, changing lightbulbs, mowing the lawn, taking the trash out, picking up groceries, running to the pharmacy, driving her to appointments, picking up her mail, driving her to friend’s houses, and whatever else comes up we might actually have time to enjoy an afternoon together. She was not moved.

The more I feel like her personal servant, the less I feel like her daughter.

Anonymous

Written by Guest Author
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21 Comments

  1. I agree please I set no boundaries and as an only child I ended up in ER more than once with exhaustion and stroke level blood pressure and I’m not out of the woods with heart issues from stress. I tried and tried to keep up with two elderly parents in their 90’s with numerous medical issues and dementia. They refused outside help. Between the falls and daily crisis I was crumbling. Their doctor stepped in when they fell ill and sent them to care facility. I was called every name in the books but I can’t afford not to work. Now even more because they paid all bills except they didn’t believe in Medicaid or paying medical bills which are now in the thousands. Please don’t let anyone make you feel guilty . Ever.

    Reply
  2. I agree please I set no boundaries and as an only child I ended up in ER more than once with exhaustion and stroke level blood pressure and I’m not out of the woods with heart issues from stress. I tried and tried to keep up with two elderly parents in their 90’s with numerous medical issues and dementia. They refused outside help. Between the falls and daily crisis I was crumbling. Their doctor stepped in when they fell ill and sent them to care facility. I was called every name in the books but I can’t afford not to work. Now even more because they paid all bills except they didn’t believe in Medicaid or paying medical bills which are now in the thousands. Please don’t let anyone make you feel guilty . Ever.

    Reply
  3. Been my mom’s caregiver 4 1/2 years 24/7 been in verge of nervous breakdowns numerous times

    Reply
  4. Been my mom’s caregiver 4 1/2 years 24/7 been in verge of nervous breakdowns numerous times

    Reply
  5. My experience too. Here’s what helped me: When processing speed starts to decline, and memory shorts out , the awareness of failing cognition takes hold, fear & and anxieties of errors that makes memory worse. Security, ability to anticipate the world in order to try to function -comes in the form of demands for the familiar, sameness and routine and habits. (The world goes too fast, they can’t adapt, can’t keep up to respond , or problem solve. )So Make yourself only part of her routine that you can handle timewise- e.g. visit once week to do bills , shop with her, dr visits only on that weekday , call same time every day without fail…. the rest of the time you are not available to her. What routine would work and can caregiver come few hours a day- few days a week help her live that life? Please please get support for your self to stick with structures ….from a senior care manager, or counselor ,social worker… you might have tough it out with her but help structure her life -don’t give up yours.

    Reply
  6. My experience too. Here’s what helped me: When processing speed starts to decline, and memory shorts out , the awareness of failing cognition takes hold, fear & and anxieties of errors that makes memory worse. Security, ability to anticipate the world in order to try to function -comes in the form of demands for the familiar, sameness and routine and habits. (The world goes too fast, they can’t adapt, can’t keep up to respond , or problem solve. )So Make yourself only part of her routine that you can handle timewise- e.g. visit once week to do bills , shop with her, dr visits only on that weekday , call same time every day without fail…. the rest of the time you are not available to her. What routine would work and can caregiver come few hours a day- few days a week help her live that life? Please please get support for your self to stick with structures ….from a senior care manager, or counselor ,social worker… you might have tough it out with her but help structure her life -don’t give up yours.

    Reply
  7. Wow! I can so relate to this article!

    Reply
  8. Wow! I can so relate to this article!

    Reply
  9. My life definitely. I am an only child and had to give up my career to take care of my Mom who is now 93. She will not accept help from others and it has to be me only. I just turned 50 ( I was a late in life child) and I would love to be teaching again and actually have a life plus provide for my family. She also refuses to go to a senior living facility because to her they are nursing homes.

    Reply
  10. My life definitely. I am an only child and had to give up my career to take care of my Mom who is now 93. She will not accept help from others and it has to be me only. I just turned 50 ( I was a late in life child) and I would love to be teaching again and actually have a life plus provide for my family. She also refuses to go to a senior living facility because to her they are nursing homes.

    Reply
    • I feel ya. My mother is the same way. She only wants my help an running her house an mine can be exhausting. Plus her errands. She wont go to an assisted living facility. I keep telling her assisted living is a very good thing for her. She wouldn’t have to do anything. But she refuses.

      Reply
  11. I understand this post oh so well.

    Reply
  12. I understand this post oh so well.

    Reply
  13. My dad tried pulling the no strangers card. I finally had enough and put my foot down. There were some fierce screaming battles, but he eventually came around. This is going to sound mean, but don’t let this behavior take a foot hold. Once it has, it’s twice as hard getting “your space” back. And you NEED your space.

    Reply
  14. My dad tried pulling the no strangers card. I finally had enough and put my foot down. There were some fierce screaming battles, but he eventually came around. This is going to sound mean, but don’t let this behavior take a foot hold. Once it has, it’s twice as hard getting “your space” back. And you NEED your space.

    Reply
  15. SOUNDS LIKE SHE IS JUST LONELY, NEEDS A SENIOR GROUP, CHURCH FAMILY, MAYBE VOLUNTEER WITH A NON-PROFIT, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE AND SHE IS ASKING TO MUCH. NEED TO RULE OUT MEDICAL ISSUES. SAD BUT TRUE,

    Reply
  16. SOUNDS LIKE SHE IS JUST LONELY, NEEDS A SENIOR GROUP, CHURCH FAMILY, MAYBE VOLUNTEER WITH A NON-PROFIT, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE AND SHE IS ASKING TO MUCH. NEED TO RULE OUT MEDICAL ISSUES. SAD BUT TRUE,

    Reply
  17. It’s okay to have boundaries no matter what they say..its okay to stand your ground…

    Reply
  18. It’s okay to have boundaries no matter what they say..its okay to stand your ground…

    Reply

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