Mom can be so mean

Mom was living on her own and still doing pretty well, until she fell last year and broke her hip. She had gone into her backyard to water her plants and caught the edge of her shoe on the sidewalk. Mom laid on her back walk for half of the day until her neighbor stopped by and heard her cries. Thank goodness I had given the neighbor my number. She called me and we rushed Mom to the hospital.

Mom had surgery to repair her hip and then months of rehab and physical therapy. I think she did pretty well for an 81 year old woman, but she just never seemed to get back to her perky self. As the months went by, I realized that I was spending every bit of extra time driving mom to therapy; going to doctor’s appointments; stopping by her house; taking in the mail; watering the plants; writing out her bills; cleaning her house and everything in between. I was happy to help Mom, but I can honestly say I was exhausted.

As the year has gone by, it seems the more I help my Mom, the more impatient she becomes. I have a fulltime job; a husband at home and two kids in college; AND I am helping my mother every day. I don’t think every person out there necessarily offers this level of kindness and care to their parent, so when she lashes out at me, it feels pretty awful. I actually got to the point a few months ago when I just felt so resentful. I really didn’t even want to see her or spend time with her, and the sad thing is that I really love my mother. She and I have always been so close, so this feeling was breaking my heart.

One night when I couldn’t sleep, I was thinking about this situation with my mom and suddenly realized what must be happening for her. Less than a year ago, my mom had been completely independent. She lived in her own home and could manage all of the pieces of her life and with one tiny trip, her whole world changed. Now she had to depend on someone else to get her to the doctor; do her laundry; care for her home and basically managing most aspects of her life. Her physical condition had deteriorated as well, which also meant a loss of independence. No wonder she was grumpy. No wonder she was lashing out. She had lost everything that really mattered to her and life would never be quite the same. I have to admit, if I were to lose my independence and freedom and have to depend on another person to live my life, I would be pretty upset as well.

The next day, I sat with my mom and talked with her about my revelation. At first she resisted the theory, but as I carefully broached the subject, a tear rolled down her cheek. She began to cry and shared with me how scared she was and how she worried that she would never get back to the life she knew. At that point, I knew that my theory was right. We talked, we laughed, we both cried some more, but we also bonded again.

Mom is now back in her home, only seeing the doctor once a month now and being extra careful when she goes out to water her plants. We both know that this lifestyle can’t last forever, but we also know good communication and honesty with one another will make any situation that arises much easier and keep our relationship strong.

About Carol

Carol Core, President and Founder of CarolCARE knows, first hand, what your life looks like when it comes to caring for your elderly loved one. Carol knows, because for over 12 years she was the non-paid family caregiver for her Mom, Dad and dear Uncle Earl. While trying to juggle full-time work; life as a wife, mother and grandmother; she managed the care, health, finances and safety of three elderly people.