Haven’t we all felt a sense of guilt from time to time? I know it doesn’t take much to make me feel guilt. I’ve been feeling a real sense of guilt since Monday when I went to visit my mom. Let me explain.

My mother resides in a 24/7 skilled nursing care center. I go to visit with her at least three days a week, and more often if she isn’t feeling well. When I go to see her I make a point to find out if she needs any personal care items because she doesn’t like the generic brands the care center provides for the residents. I let mom know I go to the grocery store every Wednesday, and remind her to let me know if she needs anything before I go shopping  so I can bring it to her on my next visit. In the past, I would look through her bathroom myself to see if she was running low on anything, but mom thought I was treating her like a child so I stopped doing that out of respect for her. However, I can almost always count on mom calling me over the weekend to tell me she forgot to let me know she needs something. When this happens of course, I make every effort to get to the store and buy whatever she said she needs, and take it right up to her even rearranging my own plans to accommodate mom. I do this because I feel a sense of guilt if I don’t. Then, to make it worse, when I drop everything I’m doing to go get whatever it is mom needs, I sometimes start to feel frustrated because she didn’t want me to check to see what she might need, but now she seems to expect me to jump through hoops to accommodate her. And, the more frustrated I feel, the more guilt I feel because I got frustrated with my mom…it seems like it’s a never-ending cycle of guilt, frustration, guilt…

Well, after months and months of this merry-go-round with mom not letting me know what personal care items she needs before I go shopping, I decided I was going to put my foot down and stop jumping through hoops to get things up to mom each and every time she calls me with her list of things she forgot to let me know she needs. So, this past Monday, when I was visiting mom, I didn’t ask her if she needed anything and she didn’t tell me she needed anything. We just visited for a few hours, then one of the aides came to take her for her shower so I told mom I would see her on Wednesday, kissed her good-bye, and left.

When I got home, Bill, Shantel, and I were all discussing our dinner plans and the movie we rented for the evening. The phone rang and it was mom calling to tell me she was out of depends. She wanted me to bring her some up right away. She knows I keep a case of them in the garage for her, and I can’t tell you how many times I have asked her to let me know when she is running low so I can bring up another package. I’ve tried to keep a spare package in her room for her, but they always seem to walk off if there are extras laying around…I told mom I would bring her another package of depends up on Wednesday when I came back to visit. She sounded disappointed and said she just had her shower and doesn’t have anymore depends, and doesn’t want to wear the “diapers’ the care center provides for the residents. I remained firm, but kind, and told mom I couldn’t come back up now, but I would bring the depends to her on Wednesday when I come back to visit her.

Do I feel frustrated, yes. Do I feel guilt, yes. Did I let it make me leave my family and our plans to take mom the depends?…No. Does that make me a bad daughter? I don’t know, what do you think? How far is far enough when you are dealing with elderly parents? How much is enough, how much is too much? It is so easy to say what we think we would do, but an entirely different story when you are in the position of mothering your parents.

All I know is I try to do the very best I can to look after my mom’s needs and still have a life of my own. But, I can say for sure, because I know me better than anyone else…when my mom goes to her great reward…I am going to need my family and friends to remind me I really did do a good job, because it will be the few times when I didn’t jump and run to accommodate mom’s need of the moment that I will think about in the end.

Next: Your Not My Mother!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracie Blackwell
    May 30, 2012 @ 02:47:29

    You are a great daughter and do not feel guilty. You have your own life and are balancing the best you can and from what I can tell, do more than most children would do. I understand the guilt — I feel it everytime I visit my brother…constantly thinking I need to do more. If I was a better sister, I would do more, give more time, etc. I’ve done this to the point where I’m suffering severe anxiety attacks on a daily basis. It’s getting so bad I’m having trouble leaving the house — everything throws me into an instant panic attack — I feel like I can’t breath, start sweating just thinking that I have to go out into the world. I have to find a quiet place away from Jerry and the dogs and just chill out then I’m much better. Guilt is a horrible thing cousin. As well as you balance things, perhaps you should have joined a circus…oh wait, our family was the circus 🙂 Love you!!!!


    • beyondcinderella
      May 30, 2012 @ 13:54:13

      Thanks Tracie. I really appreciate your comments and that you follow my blog. It really means a lot to me. You are right about our familes being a circus…I guess it’s true that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I think we are living proof of that:) Hang in there girl and call if you ever need me. Luv & hugs. Cindy


  2. gotham girl
    May 31, 2012 @ 17:12:57

    Oh my…how we can ALL relate to this one in some form or fashion. And you know…people can tell us all the time not to feel guilty, but we will. What I’ve begun to do is to tell myself I can’t control “it,” whatever “it” is. Because I can’t…and somehow that makes me feel better. But bottom line, I think it’s just there and we’ll struggle with it forever. But having said all of that…you are a WONDERFUL daughter and just don’t forget that! xoxo


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