lake-775911_640They say that when a person is drowning, they'll grab on to whatever they can and hold on for dear life. They'll even grab a hold of someone trying to save them. Sometimes, they push the person under, try to climb on them, or pin their arms. Sadly, both will perish. This is what caregiving feels like for me right now. I am trying, but I am sinking.

I work from home and put in between 40 to 60 hours per week. The other day, I had roughly two hours of work that had to be done before bed. That was it. My mom woke me at 6 a.m. and I tended to her. Got her ready for the day, fed her breakfast, etc. and by about 8 a.m., I began to work. By 8:15 or so, the kids were up. I got them ready for the day (the little ones are 4 and 7) and sat down to work again around 9 a.m. About 15 minutes later, my mom needed the restroom and wanted to go lay in bed. Okay, so I sat back down to work at 10 a.m. I fielded a few kid-disputes, got a round of snacks, helped the youngest in the bathroom, and worked in between until about 10:45, when my mom wanted to get up again. I could go on and on, but the shortened version of the story is that it took me about 12 hours to complete two hours of work that day.

I have explained to everyone at home that I have to work. There's no money for outside help to come in--it would eat through more than what I can earn. (I have someone who comes for a couple hours once a week, and I usually use the time to sleep.) I have to be able to support the household, and to do so, I spend a considerable amount of time at my computer. My usual day starts at 6 a.m. and I often do not go to bed until 2 a.m., just so I can log in enough hours to be able to feed everyone and keep the power on.

But, people don't seem to understand that. My kids do a better job of understanding my work time than my mother does. She gets edgy and nasty. I've changed the way I interact with her and now I ask "Is it urgent?" when she summons me. If she needs a bathroom break, I stop work right away. If she just has a "want," it waits until I can stop at a natural braking point. Even still, she doesn't seem to get it. She'll curse at me. (I hear her through the baby monitor that I use to communicate with her. I called her on it once. She denied it and then called me a liar.) Then, she won't tell me when it really is urgent, and gets mad at me if she doesn't make it to the bathroom on time. Sometimes, I feel like my 4 year old is more responsible and communicative than my mother is.

My mom gets mad about everything these days. Even if she only waits five minutes for me, it's too long. She's treating me like a servant. I don't understand how she can be that way. She gets edgy when I don't wake up right away. The other day, I had only two hours of sleep, and she told me, "get up off your lazy ass."

I am still waiting for Medicaid to come through. My mom wants to move to an assisted living facility. I keep calling and asking them to move on it, but there's a line, first-come-first-served... yada yada yada. The decrease in my ability to work has drastically cut my pay. My credit cards are maxed. Before my last payday, I found myself scrounging for quarters so I could go buy a package of hot dogs and some buns so everyone could eat. I can't believe how difficult day-to-day life has become. I work my fingers to the bone, and all I get is cursed at from the very person I'm working to help.

Every day, I walk a fine line. I don't know how people do this. I know they do. You, the person reading this, have probably been fighting the same battles. How do you do it? How do you balance between the good of the household, and treating the caree with dignity and concern? I really feel like my mom is sinking us all and I don't know how to stop it.

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Thank you. :)


Thank you, Jen, for taking the time from everything you do every day, for writing down your thoughts and sharing with with us. I'm embarrassed to say I do not go through a fraction of what you do, or carry nearly what you carry every day, all day. I do understand your feeling like your kids behave better than your mom, and the frustration with a mom's perspective that it's \"all about her\", when it really isn't. I'm sad to hear about the pain you feel when your mom doesn't appreciate everything you do for her, and everyone around you. The fact remains that you still get up every day and do it all over again, because you have to, not because you have a choice, and I truly respect you for that. I hope for all of your sakes that the Medicaid comes thru quickly and your mom can move to the assisted living facility. Then you will look back and realize just how much you did and how powerful you are.


HI Jen--It's good to hear from you. I'm glad you reached out to us. \r\n\r\nYour post reminded me of the blessing and the curse of working at home. It's great to be at home because you're right there to provide the care. It's sucks, though, because you have to fight for the time you need to do your work.\r\n\r\nIt's heartbreaking to read about your mom's abusive behavior. It sounds like you are treating your mom with dignity and respect. I guess it's making sure you have what you need--and you need office hours. Would it help to set office hours? You'd have to enforce them, which is tough and a lot of work in and of itself. But, perhaps it would help to post a note outside your office door which indicates your office hours and when you're available to help (like 10 minutes every 2 hours).\r\n\r\nWill things get better when summer is over? \r\n\r\nI feel for you. It's awful to do so much and just feel like you're spinning your wheels. One step forward brings 20 steps backward.