I want to beat my family with a large mallet. (Bit long)

Recently I moved across the state so I can go to grad school. Many things contributed to this decision.

*I finally figured out what I want to do my thesis on. That was an important final step.
*I wasn’t getting anywhere in my job search. I was getting right tired of a two-year bout of interviewing with principal after principal (my bachelor’s is in English Ed.) and not getting anywhere. Frustration is not good for little spazcats.
*I was getting depressed by my substitute job. Teachers: please leave detailed instructions. Please.
*I was also getting tired of my family expecting me to take care of my mom. Herein lies the long part:

About three years ago, my mom started having serious memory problems. No one has any idea what is wrong with her, but all signs point to an undiagnosed stroke. It got particularly bad in early 2002, to the point that she needs constant care. This meant that my dad, who works at home, had to keep an eye on her on top of everything else. My dad is not used to this, as my mom was the one who took care of everything for the first thirty years of marriage. I moved back home to help him out. My sisters, who live sixty minutes away, did nothing but offer unhelpful advice. Said sisters also have chi’drens.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my niece and nephews dearly. But I don’t like it when they’re Mommy’s Little Excuse. My parents see their grandchildren once every couple of months if they’re lucky.

Back in March, I started dating one of my oldest and dearest friends, GnominClature, who I have known for five years. He lives in the town where we both went to college, so we were making weekend trips back and forth across the state from March to August. My car protested. Finally, I came to a realization.

I had several choices, but there were two that were staring me right in the face. I could stay with my parents, becoming more and more depressed in my lousy job, watching my mom disintegrate more and more as my sisters ignored the problem and my dad killed himself with work…


I could take this opportunity to finally strike out on my own and get my Master’s degree, moving back to ECU and living with my boyfriend since my car’s protesting had made my finances dwindle. This is the route I have chosen.

I tell my family of this decision. They all seem to be cool with it. No objections were raised except the “how are you going to pay for it” discussion and other such mundane details. This was the time to make any moral judgements, caregiver queries, and/or screaming fits of forbidding. None of these happened. I moved out and am now in the process of Preparing For My Re-Entry into College next year.

Then my mom gets sick. Specifically she had to have a gallstone operation. This is what is meant by the phrase “all hell breaks loose.”

Do I get a phone call informing me that my mother, the family member I was closest too, the person whose mental deterioration I have watched for the last year or so, is in the hospital? No.

Do I get a snippy email from one of my sisters informing me of this and an even snippier response when I inform her that the telephone is an effective communication device? Yes.

Did I tell my sister to go fuck herself? Not in so many words, but yes.

Did I discover that my dad is not cool with me moving and that my sisters are doing jack shit to help him out? Oh hell yeah.

Listen up, family, and listen good. I am twenty-three years old. I am not your little doormat. You may no longer foist your unpleasant jobs upon me. I have a life of my own and dammit, I’m going to lead it. I will not waste my life doing your jobs for you. You may not like what I am doing, but just remember, my sisters did something like the same thing with their husbands. Your hypocrisy annoys and irritates me.

And to you, my darling sisters, I leave you with this: You are the ones who are able to have children. Your children are watching the way you treat your parents. You sow what you reap.

Sounds like you’re making a good decision for yourself, SpazCat. They’ll get over it, don’t worry about that.

I would like to say:


Good for you. How old is your mom? There are all kinds of home health services available if she’s old enough to be on Medicare – or covered by good insurance. Help your father learn how to take advantage of them.

Why a mallet? Why not a baseball bat? It’s by far a superior weapon.

Or a 1920’s style Death Ray, even.

Seriously, I can sympathize. I am the youngest of 5, and the one left at home when my mom was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. So, who gave up everything to nurse her through the last 14 months of her life? Me. I had a toddler, but was still living at home, so I got the job. My oldest sister was some help; for instance, when she cooked Sunday dinners for her own family, she’d often cook double and bring it to us, so I wouldn’t have to cook one night. But one of my sisters actually had the nerve to tell me that I could do a much better time keeping the house cleaner if I would just organize my time better!!! So, I was: caring for a terminally ill mother, doing all the stuff she used to do (including running her home-based business), caring for a baby, planning my wedding, and I just wasn’t keeping the house sufficiently clean for my sisters’ liking? It was truly the year from hell, and if someone offered me 5 mil to go through it again, I don’t believe I would (although if I did, my family could then afford to put me in a really good mental hospital after my breakdown).

I think you’re doing the right thing for you. One big difference between your situation and mine is that mine was of a definitive time (we knew she was dying), and in a morbid kind of way, that made it more bearable, if you can understand that. Don’t know that I could have signed on for the job if it had been “For the rest of her life, but that could be 10 or 20 years”. Your siblings need to learn how to organize themselves so that they can help, and also to get outside help! Your leaving them might just give the dose of reality that they obviously need.

Best of luck!

I’m going to take a somewhat different tack: you should do everything you can for your parents; did they not do the same for you?

This is not to say that you should try and do things you can’t do. You’re not there.

You do need to have a very blunt conversation with your sisters. I’d suggest a good start would be to say that you and your SO are inviting your father to stay for a weekend to give him a break and could one of them please look after Mother?

Or a frozen leg of lamb. You can eat the evidence when you’re done.

I dunno, I get the feeling that you’re really mad at your sisters and your parents are getting hurt in the process. Who gives a shit if your sisters don’t help out the way they ‘should’? Any responsibility you have to help out your parents is YOURS, and is unrelated to your sisters.

Your sisters are crappy people who won’t help your ailing mother and struggling father. This does not mean that you should do the same. If your parents were good to you, they deserve help in their time of need.

This is, of course, balanced by your own needs. Nobody should expect you to live a terrible life just to care for your parents. Think hard about it, and don’t let your sisters bad actions affect your thoughts on it.

GOOD for YOU!!! I wish my boyfriend (soon to be staying behind in AK) would learn to do this. He has three perfectly capable, big strong brothers, but for some reason he’s become the only one his mom can count on, (her “manfriend” is pretty lame too, though he at least helps a little).

Drives me insane. My sister and I both share equally in caring for my mom. Not that she needs it, she’s a fiesty little thing that most people think is 10-15 years younger than she is. But family is supposed to help family.

You don’t dump it all in one person’s lap!!! And sorry to hear about your mom’s illness!

You may recall my thread last February, in which I complain about the same thing w.r.t. the boi.

Seems his parents (who raised all the rest of his siblings specifically to be self-centred assholes - no, really, that was their philosophy - and then kicked him out of the house for being a fag, to top it all off) abruptly found themselves needing help after his dad had a stroke. Naturally none of the other sibs gave a toss, so it was left to the boi to cancel his vacation (to come see me :mad: ) and help.

Forgive the multiple quotes. I’ve just now gotten access to a compy that actually loads at a reasonable speed (i.e., the page is loaded before I recarpet an average-sized room).

Begin at the beginning:

Eternal: My baseball bat’s in the shop for repairs.

Mama Tiger: My mom is 55. My parents have Eh, Do We Have To Pay? Insurance. My dad won’t listen to medical advice from anyone except my Dr. Oldest Sister. I’m going to try to get her opinion on my mom’s condition and get her on my side.

norinew: Death Ray, hmmm? Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I recently lost my grandmother to cancer.

qts: How would it benefit my parents if I snapped and went ballistic on them? 'Cause that’s where it was headed. One thing my parents taught me quick was that when the tempers start boiling, walk away, friend, walk away. While your question was valid, I’m going to redirect it slightly: My parents did all they could for my sisters, should they not do the same?

I would take your advice about inviting my dad over, but it wouldn’t work because it’s a one-bedroom apartment about 4 hours away from my parents’ house and my dad has wonky work hours. He’s a systems programmer if that gives you any clue about how wierd his work times can get.

Casey1505: Lamb is a meat unknown to me.

Cheesesteak: See first paragraph next to qts.

CanvasShoes: Exactly.

matt_mcl: I must have missed that thread. That situation sucks worse than mine. Boi’s parents, meet the Reap What You Sow Philosophy.

Anyway, to wrap this long post up, I did get to see my mom this weekend. She’s recovering fine from the surgery, should be getting her stitches or staples or whatever they put in her side out today. My Older Sister (not to be confused with Dr. Sister) recanted her previous bitch, assuring me that while my folks are proud of me for going back to school, the fact that I’m living with my b/f disturbs their Lutheran souls. Which is one reason why I’m not Lutheran anymore.