My two oldest are off at college and my younger ones are getting more and more independent as the days go on. The funny thing is, my mother is getting more and more dependent on me. Just when I thought my life would get easier, it’s not. While my kids are able to cook and do laundry for themselves, I have taken on that responsibility for my Mom.
Mom can make a sandwich, pour a drink the easy things. She has not touched the stove top, oven or microwave in probably close to two years. At first it was just the oven, then the stove top. I could explain that away since I was the one making the meals, there is no need for it. Mom still used the microwave up until about a year ago. The one thing Mom would do was to put something in the toaster. I noticed that she has not toasted bread, or had a toaster pastry in about six months. I believe she is unsure what to do and that is why she has stopped. She would never vocalize that to me, she wants to be seen as a woman who could take care of herself.
When my kids go out with friends, off to ride a bike and do something not closely supervised by me I worry. Now, that worry has shifted to my Mom. She wants to be independent, so she will go out for a short walk. If that walk has lasted more than ten minutes I worry. Did she fall? Is she lost? Is she confused? I don’t get that answer until my Mom walks through the door or I just “happen” to drive by and see her. I understand that she wants to feel like she is on her own and capable. The truth is, day-to-day she is my responsibility. I don’t believe my brothers truly understand the care my Mom needs. I don’t blame them for not knowing. They are not here day-to-day and couldn’t possible fully understand.
As hard as it is for my Mom knowing that she can not fully care for herself, its hard for me and my family. I am the one scheduling to make sure Mom is never alone for to long. My husband and my children are the ones changing their plans daily around my Mom. Every morning I have to make sure I am there to set my Mom up for the day and give her medication. Each evening, I have to be home by 7pm to give her medication again. That main responsibility falls on me. I am grateful for a loving supportive husband and children that will help, it’s often the only break I get. Initially, I have had a hard time wrapping my head around my new responsibility. Its getting easier, but I do miss the freedom I had before and long for the freedom that I was supposed to have at this point at my life. Its part of a responsibility shift that I have encountered, but to have time with my Mom I’ll take it.