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What is a mother to do?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 days, 19 hours ago.

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  • #221035

    diane
    Participant

    I really don't know what I should do.  My daughter has been diagnosed with an illness that I believe she has some control over.  She smokes and eats a very unhealthy diet. She is depressed. Her husband doesn't want to have anything to do with a sick spouse.  He forgot about the phrase “in sickness and in health” in his wedding vows.  There is ample evidence that quitting smoking and eating a specific diet can put her in remission for her disease. She has four children under the age of 10.   I worry all the time about the well being of the children and my daughter.    I work full time, but don't know if I should quit and be there for her full time.  I paid for a nanny for her this summer — but she says I “forced the nanny” on her.  This was after she was crying to me that she “needed help.”   Before she was diagnosed with this illness, she had another chronic health condition that made her last (unexpected) pregnancy high risk.  I was not working then, and devoted my time to helping her, taking the kids to school, staying with the kids. She would ask me to come over so she could go get some milk, then she would be gone for hours.  When she had surgery and couldn't lift over 10 pounds for a month, I was there to take care of the kids.   She lets the kids stay up to all hours, doesn't have the energy to clean her house (due to the illness and depression), and doesn't provide nutritious meals for her kids.  Her husband lives in the home, but is basically out of the picture, except to emotionally abuse her with complaints about her bad house keeping and being a bad mother.   She thinks instead of paying for a nanny, I should have given her the money to go toward a lawyer for a divorce and/or finding a new place to live.   I don't trust her with money – concerned that she would fritter away any money I gave her even if for a specific purpose –she has done it before.  My house is too small for them to move into.  Besides, I think they would destroy my home.  I don't know what I should do.  Her father says it is her husband's responsibility to provide for the family. We have already bailed them out financially a number of times.  Her father doesn't want to give her anymore money, and frankly, I don't blame him.  I take the kids to lessons and practices after I get off work and pay for lessons, club fees, etc. I cannot rely on my daughter or her husband to get the kids to where they need to be and it makes me very angry when I pay for something and they can't get them there.  I don't want to back off entirely, because of the kids.  I am going on a week's vacation in a couple of weeks, the first in years — and I am very worried about what is going to happen when I am gone. Thankfully, fall activities will not have started, so I don't have to worry about them getting to activities that I pay good money for.  My daughter and her husband have always thought it was okay to sleep in and let their kids fend for themselves in the morning.  I have gone over there at 11:00 in the morning and the parents are still in bed sleeping.  I know part of it is my daughter's illness, but I also know that she stays ups until all hours and will not get herself into a routine where she is awake when her kids are.  I remember ONE time when my kids were little that I slept later than they did –and we were visiting family who were there to take care of the kids.   When my daughter thanks me for helping, I doubt her sincerity.  Writing this all down has been helpful.  Is there anyone else out there with this kind of issue?  I see on television all the time grandparents who have taken in their grandkids because their parents are addicts.     My daughter needs help with getting her house in order — but I don't want to do it.  I have offered to pay for laundry, organizing, and housekeeping services, but she says she will do it herself (she was supposed to organize her house while she had the nanny this summer, but she was too depressed to do anything).  But nothing gets done and the house just gets in a worse state that ever.  Her husband is OCD and if he sees clutter, he just throws it in a closet.  Am I a terrible person for just wanting to get away from all this?  She will not listen to any of my advice.  She could qualify for disability, but won't contact an attorney.  She won't even go to the doctor to get treatment for her illness, because making phone calls causes anxiety.   At times, I have thought I should quit my job, get a bigger house so we can all live together, I can make her healthy meals for her to restore her health, etc.  and see that the kids have a normal routine.  But is that really my place?  Would I just be trying to control her?  What do I do?  I am legitimately afraid she is going to die.   This is not an irrational fear — with her illness it could very well happen.

    #221049

    anita
    Participant

    Dear diane:

    Maybe no one is completely hopeless but reads to me that having hope that your daughter will do what is right for herself and for her children is unreasonable: she has been consistently dysfunctional for a long time, so I suppose you can expect her to continue to be so. And then there is the element of  dishonesty  on her part, as I understood it, wanting you to give her money so she can decide what to  do with it instead of you paying directly to a nanny, school activities and such.

    I think that getting a big house for everyone to live in, including you, your husband, she, the four kids k(and her husband) is a bad idea, don't think you can survive that experience yourself. Which brings me to this point: you need to survive this. You are not a superwoman. You need to take care of yourself. No wonder you want to get away from all this.

    These are what I see as reasonable yet most caring options: that you contact social services perhaps so to find a way better arrangement for the kids (maybe having them live with you without their parents), or continue to finance a nanny, school activities and such having the benefit of the children in your mind, not expecting their mother's approval. In other words, focus on the kids alone.

    anita

    #221055

    diane
    Participant

    thank you for your thoughts, Anita, and for listening.

    #221057

    Mark
    Participant

    diane,

    Your daughter is a lost cause.  You cannot help someone who will not help themselves. You can lead the horse to water but cannot make it drink.

    It also sounds like her husband is the perfect foil for her so looking to get help for your grandchildren is a lost cause as well.

    Do what you can to help your children and let go of the rest.

    I agree on what anita has suggested except knowing how social services works in my state that calling them won't do much good.

    Mark

    #221069

    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, diane. I hope my response and Mark's are of some help to you. Post again if you'd like, anytime.

    anita

    #221227

    anita
    Participant

    Dear diane:

    Re-visiting your thread, I figure it is easy to give up on your daughter, it is for us reading your story: she will not change her diet, she will not stop smoking, she will not wake up early enough to care for her kids, she has four of them and neglects them, oh, it is so easy to figure she is indeed a lost cause. But is she?

    It is possible that it will be better for her if you do withdraw from her completely, if you stop trying to help her, if you no longer give her advice. This is something you didn't try yet, correct?

    “What is a mother to do?”- sometimes a mother is to stop trying to help, to withdraw. From personal experience, it is can be just the right thing for a mother to do. You can eliminate all contact with her, all communication, except maybe for arranging to pick up the children and drive them to and from the activities you mentioned, or drive them to a hospital in case of an emergency.

    Not so to punish your daughter, not at all, but to help her. She probably already knows of all the reasonable advice you already gave her. She probably knows she is an inadequate mother. She is already suffering. She doesn't need any more advice, any more pointing to her inadequacies.

    Space from her mother, maybe, is what you can give her. I hope you enjoy  your vacation.

    anita

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