On the other hand if my parents had nine children maybe I wouldn't feel so overworked taking care of mom. I'm the eldest and since my parents had four years to mold me before I was replaced by my middle brother, my childhood was brief. I brought my dad's mom from Virginia to California for my baby brother's wedding and she stayed with my parents for many years. Mom took really good care of her mother-in-law, even after my dad died. With that background I fit the model of the daughter driving herself into the ground.
No criticism intended, but this is all pretty standard advice both from friends and professionals. But often caregivers can’t or won’t peel themselves away. When an adult child, especially a daughter, refuses to delegate anything and runs herself into the ground, what is going on emotionally or within the family that makes it impossible for her to back off a little?
Except that it isn't as fun, but at least I have a clean conscience and know that I've done the best job I could under the circumstances. I would no more abandon my mother than I would my substitute children.
This is an area where family history plays a huge part in how we respond to the caregiving role. If part of the family lore or story is that grandmother took care of eight children under the age of 7 while also taking care of both her aging parents and working as a seamstress while her husband worked in the mines — that becomes ingrained in us each time the story is repeated, and the story takes on different meanings in each of the listeners, like the childhood game of telephone.
So the Treasury Department wants to
Janet, thank you very much. Your help is greatly appreciated.