I've had enough of caring for my mum

I’ve been caring for my mum for the past 15 years. I have a brother who does very little for her and spends very little time with her. I take her out, on holiday, do all sorts of jobs for her. After a recent hospital stay we persuaded her to have carers. After two weeks she cancelled them without telling me. I was not happy.
Mum doesnt ask me to do things - she kind of expects me to guess what she needs doing. In her head if she doesnt ask then she is ‘independent’!
Things came to a head recently when I complained to her that my brother needed to do more and she said she didnt want his feelings hurting or to have any falling out. So I told her that wasnt on - Why should his feelings be protected, and hers but mine not be important. I havent spoken to either of them now for ten days - this has never happened before.
Ive had a childhood where I helped to care for my grandmother when she was sick and my younger brother as my mum was a single parent. I’ve had enough. I want my life. Am I selfish? What do I do? Anyone been through this?
My husband and I plan to move away to have some freedom…
Thank you

Hi Bamboo, you are being taken completely for granted.
Mum has NO right to ANY of your time.
Do you like your home? If so, then don’t move, just stick up for yourself, and say enough is enough.
Cancelling the carers without telling you is really the last straw.

I would suggest that you and your husband both go on holiday, for at least a week, ideally a fortnight.
Turn off your phones, relax.
Work out a future plan.
My husband and I cared in different ways for all four parents. Sadly, he died of a massive heart attack before my mum died, yet still she moaned about being cheated because dad died too young at 78. Never a thought about me and my husband who had died at 58!
So many dreams never came true. Don’t let this happen to you.

Thank you for your kind and understanding reply. I will take your advice on a holiday. Dont think I could switch my phone off though ( my brother turned his phone off on his last break away when I needed a password from him for mums online shopping account!). Sorry I just seem to need to rant.

Holiday first, then a plan. Sounds sensible. Thanks again.

My mum was disabled for 30 years, didn’t drive.
Dad was a top scientist who worked away from home a lot.
Neither of my brothers lived locally.
To start with, I just did “a bit of shopping”.
My first son arrived in 1977, second son in 1979.
He was difficult, it took years to discover that he’d been brain damaged at birth. Long, sad story.
Mum was happy to look after first baby, never cared for the second one, EVER!
As mum got older, the demands increased. The most ridiculous was to empty all her kitchen units, take them all out, lay the lino she’d bought years ago, refill the cupboards, all in under a week as her long lost cousin was going to visit. I told her I couldn’t. “Well it’s what I want”. I left in tears, and didn’t visit for weeks.
No consideration for me whatsoever.
This was the time when I realised that whatever I did, mum would want more.
The harder I tried to get on top of the jobs, the faster the jobs came.
Ultimately, when I was newly widowed, newly disabled in a horrific car accident, trying to run a national club and deal with 30 tons of vintage lorry spares my husband had left, I was on the verge of a breakdown. Even the toughest have their limits. I had counselling.
It was life changing. The counsellor was horrified at everything that I was doing. He said, rightly, that I was always trying to please mum, behaving like a “good little girl”. Absolutely true. I was brought up to never say no to mum. The counsellor gave me “permission” to put myself first, to do things I had to do. Most importantly, to set a “pecking order”. My son, unable to speak up for himself, had to come before mum. If I chose to do things for mum, I, not mum, chose how fast I would do them. Most of all, jobs had to be on a “one at a time” basis. “You asked me to do this, so I want to finish it before starting anything else”.

I wish someone had helped me 30 years earlier, so I wouldn’t feel constantly torn between everyone else’s demands on me, and looked after myself better. It’s too late for me, now unwell, unfit, almost 70. Hopefully, this will help you.

Hi Bamboo,

You are not selfish. You were not put on this earth to be at the beck an call of anyone else, despite who they are. I have recently had a similar situation as you.

I was the carer for my mum, I did this full time for five years. (part time for many years before that) Visiting every day, cooking, cleaning, acting as secretary, shopper, laundress life-coach etc etc.

My life was effectively living hers. I moved her into extra care which was nearer to my home and meant she had a carer popping in for 10 minutes, three times per day to administer medication (which I also had to order and liaise with the doctors, nurses, opticians, hearing aid people etc etc.

Mother is divorced and I am her only child now as my sister died many years ago. Both my sister and myself had one son each. My sisters son being spoilt from birth by my mother. My son ‘accidentality’ being called by my nephews name, all his life.

My nephew has always been able to twist her round his finger when he wanted something, usually money…In large sums

My mother never saying no. The phrase was ’ I don’t want to see him go without’

This is despite the fact he earns over £40k per annum. He 'phones only a couple of times a year. No Christmas, Mothers Day or birthday card. Even when she could have no visitors re lockdown, he did not 'phone to see if she was ok. Or even alive. That may sound brutal, but she is in a very vulnerable group with her health conditions and being almost 90 years of age. The fact she was isolated in her flat would make a call all the more important to ensure her mental health was also not suffering.

When he did visit after the lockdown, he stated he will only come when I was not present. That was due to him not liking the truth being told about his lack of visits, telephone calls etc and his lack of presence for the three hospital visits in the last two years. It would have been easy for him to have visited her as he passed the hospital to go to work and to go home again !

Long story short, mother and I, had a disagreement whilst we were out shopping (she needs to be taken out in a wheelchair) I took her back home after she had bought all her bits and pieces. I put her shopping away for her, asked if she wanted anything else and she stated, through gritted teeth, ‘no’

I wasn’t too worried about her as I knew she would have two carer visits later in the day, she had a well stocked cupboard, fridge etc. and I settled myself with doing the things that I needed to do for my son and me.

We did not speak the next day. The morning after, my mother called me, using the same derogatory tone she uses towards only me, demanding her key and the blue badge for my car.

That afternoon, the care manager called me to say that she was shocked as to the events of the last few days. I stated I did not know what she was talking about as it was a minor tiff and would ‘blow over in a couple of days’

The care manager told me my mother had called my nephew immediately after I left her flat, and always being the one with his eye on the main chance, he dashed over, telling my mother that he would not visit her again if I was ‘in the picture’.

He called the bank, putting my mother on the line to authenticate the call and ordered new debit cards, cancelling the one that I used to get my mothers shopping during the week.

My mother has full capacity and had the bank statements delivered to her, plus the receipts when I bought any item for her. If there was any discrepancy in the account, she would have noticed it. There wasn’t.

I was also removed as next of kin from the files. My mother also stated five days after the argument when thinking clearly, that even if we spoke, she would leave my nephew as next of kin.

To say I was shocked is an understatement.

Apparently my mother stated that she feels bad for what she has done to her daughter (me) but she has her grandson to look after her now.

The care facility have agreed that her care will be diminished as my nephew works full time and they will have to bring in the social services for a review.

When I called my mother to ask her if she wanted to speak to me, she growled ‘NO’

I have made my decision based on hers ie she did not want me in her life. She has stated she does not want my son to visit her as ‘your mother might be with you’ (I wouldn’t)

However, she is now leaving messages on my sons telephone saying she misses him and she has not ‘fell out’ with me.

To conclude, I have blocked her number, informed all parties : doctors, insurance companies, social services etc etc, that any contact should be made through her next of kin.

I am not sorry, in fact I feel liberated. I can choose what to do when I want to do it. I am not tied to the clock, have to explain where I have been and feel guilty that I did not take her with me.

I have my life back. I am in my sixties and feel that after a lifetime of work and raising my son alone, I am entitled to do as I please and to do the things that I wish to do. Which is truth is not a lot.

I believe my nephew is shocked that I have effectively walked away and let him do something for his grandmother who has given him everything.

Take back control, Bamboo, it’s your life. Live it.