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Mom Thinks She Is A Burden


“Mom is so worried that she is a burden. She's 86 and very independent right now. But she is slowing down, living alone since Dad died.

I love helping her out, but when I share with her how busy I am, she stops asking for the help she needs. She doesn’t want to ‘bother’ us. How do I get her to realize that helping her is a joy? Yes, at times it is difficult, but she is worth it.”


Remember that your mother’s primary responsibility has always been to care for you. It is instinct. No matter her age, she is going to be concerned with your welfare. Your mother is simply being thoughtful, picking up on your stress and workload. Yes, she may need some support, but as a long-time caregiver, herself, she is likely to put your needs first. Thinking of her behavior from this perspective hopefully makes it easier to understand why she is pulling back right now.

It may surprise you, but the solution to this caregiving situation resides with you, not your mother. If you truly are able to help, your approach with Mom needs some adjustment.  

My recommendation for you is to avoid bringing the stresses of your life into her world when you see or talk to her.  Based on your mother’s age I am going to assume that you might be raising children, working a job and are firmly planted in the “hubbub” of midlife. When we are in the phase of life that involves transporting our children, attending plays and sporting sporting events, purchasing clothing that is quickly grown out of and cooking for a family, we tend to give off a vibe that one more thing will push us over the edge. Moms are really tuned into this, trust me.  

If you really are able and willing to help your mother, notice the things she needs help with and simply tell her that you are going to do it for her. Many, many individuals are reluctant to ask for help. Now throw in a child that is stressed and letting that stress ooze into every conversation. You would not be an individual I would want to ask to help me if you repeatedly tell me how busy you are.

What I am saying here is that you are the answer. When you  approach Mother with calmness and the illusion of control she will feel your receptivity. Your mother has always put her children first, and for her to accept your help she needs to know and see that you have the capacity to do so.

I wish you the best.

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