There are so many things about being a full-time carer for my mother that I did not expect to find difficult.
I knew I’d have to watch her slowly become weaker, less able to do things for herself, less mentally alert, in more pain etc, and it would be me who’d have to deal with medical emergencies requiring hospital etc. I know all this. I’ve done the same for a husband dying of cancer when I was half the age I am now. I am not looking forward to it getting worse, but I know I can cope.
But I did think it would be easier than it has been to find carers to come in and help me. It’s been hard work finding the care companies, meeting with them and arranging the times and days. And they are not that reliable. I have to learn to let go of needing things to be done just so and accept whatever I can get.
it’s also hard work to keep tabs on everything when there is a change from the normal routine. I have 2 care companies, because I was so badly let down by one of them (when it lost a lot of its staff) that I decided to hedge my bets in future. If I need to cancel or alter times I have to keep totally focused to keep track of everything. Having family members to stay in droves recently has resulted in a lot of mistakes in that quarter.
And that’s another unexpected difficulty. I love my family - I even like most of them. I am eternally grateful that they are now prepared to come and be with Mother now that she can’t go to visit with them. This gives me an opportunity to get away for the odd break or two now and then, on top of the 2 days a week I get off. But the point is, they are not just visiting Mother in her home. It is my home too. I live here. I try to make my own space here, in 2 rooms of a not-very large bungalow with an open-plan living area. I’m an introvert. I like my privacy. I like quietness and a sense of calm. I find people draining if I am with them constantly. Even people I love.
I’m also a triple Cancerian. My home is MY place. I don’t like having other people in my kitchen while I am trying to cook. Even a large kitchen and this isn’t a large kitchen. Some of the people who are standing round in it trying to help, are large.
They thing is, if I’ve been away and left them to look after Mother, when I get back, they are still trying to do all the things they did when I wasn’t there. Things I wouldn’t dream of doing in their kitchens. But in their minds it isn’t my kitchen or my house - it’s the house my parents lived in for nearly 40 years and to which they have been coming for decades to visit. And I need them there. I really do need their help or I couldn’t maintain the life I am leading here. But I’m not used to having them here. I’m used to taking Mother to theirs, and then having time on my own in the house. Even when there aren’t any family difficulties, and on the whole we get along reasonably well, it’s exhausting for me to have them here all the time.
At the moment I have a particularly irritating, but lovable, brother and his wife staying with me. It would be ok but there is also an election going on and this brother and I are at diametrically opposite ends of the political spectrum. He likes to talk about these things - rant even. I’m used to this, but this usually takes place in his home – not mine. I’m not used to having him around me for prolonged periods of time. He never came to visit with me when I was living in Wales in my own house, and I don’t usually stay for long at his home. I’ve had 2 sleepless nights because I’m so drained and yet wired from the constant background verbal emoting from him every time the News is on. I like listening to the News. I like keeping up with politics. But I found myself hiding in the study last night rather than stay in the same room as everyone else. But it’s my home. Don’t I have any say in this?
This situation would never arise if I were living in my own home, not in my Mother’s home as her full-time carer.