Feeling Utterly Smooshed

I saw this post at Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna, and it got me thinking.

The topic is this:

An anonymous commenter to my last post says, “It would be interesting to see what your blog readers thinks that would help them manage multi-generational care giving responsibilities – a) flex hours at work, b) an understanding spouse, c) help from an outside source, d) technology advances.”

What do you think? What would help you the most to keep from feeling utterly smooshed?

I think I’d go with outside help, too. My husband is great…while my mom isn’t his favorite person, he’s great with helping with the kids (7 & 4) while I tend to Mom, and very supportive of me. I try to minimize their contact when I can in the interest of family harmony, but even when he has to interact with her, he’s a good sport.

I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I have a lot of flexibility, although I’m finding that I need to arrange for childcare a lot more. Which means that I either need to pay for it, or call in favors (which I haven’t had the time, energy or inclination to return lately).

For instance, when she was last hospitalized, I arranged to be at the hospital 8 of the 10 days. I called in every favor I could to arrange free playdates, paid for a sitter twice, and had my husband take half a day (a last resort; I couldn’t find anyone else on the day of her surgery). When she got out, I spent days at her apartment, and ran her to tons of follow-up appointments.

I’m burning out…and who knows how much longer I’ll be in for. And at what point do I move my kids higher up on the list?

My mom has some outside help, which I am SOOOOO grateful for. She gets help with showers and laundry three days a week, and at the moment, she’s getting checked on by a home healthcare nurse twice a week.

I feel so selfish, though…I know a lot of people have it much worse than I do, but after doing for my mom, my kids, my husband, the house and pets, I’m ready to have a couple of days to myself. I’ve tried to pace myself, but it’s tough.

I’m not even sure what kind of outside help I’d want. Maybe not so much for Mom, but me. If I could have someone in to clean MY house, say, once a month, it’d alleviate SO much of my stress. But when I mentioned it to my husband, I got a lecture about the rising costs and our dwindling savings and cutting expenses and getting a (paying) job.

Today I took my kids out to play. For the first time in weeks. Nowhere fancy, just a neighbor’s house. It felt so…normal. But I felt a little guilty. Shouldn’t I be rescheduling that doctor’s appointment for Mom? We haven’t seen her in a couple of days…don’t we owe her a visit?

And then I felt indignant. No, she can make it without seeing us today. My kids and I need a little fresh air and sunshine once in a while. My kids haven’t seen very many friends this summer. How could they, when they’ve been visiting Grandma and taking her to the doctor or being babysat?

Sure enough, when I got home, Mom called. Harassing me about rescheduling that appointment. I did it, but NOT cheerfully.

What do you think? Are any of you in the same boat, or have you been? Will you be?

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About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to http://about.me/kathleendheuer.
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One Response to Feeling Utterly Smooshed

  1. susan says:

    Hi. My blind mother-in-law, who has approximately 150 drs. appointments a week, lives with us. Last year my niece, 32 going on 12, moved in with us to take care of her. And then her boyfriend moved in. And then their baby came. And now we are back to caring for my m.i.l. ourselves. That’s the royal “we.”

    So I would vote for “outside help,” but maybe with a “be careful what you wish for” caveat.

    Incidentally, I have two kids (3 and 6) who love the weirdly multi-generational home. They are not right in the head.

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