Mom Treats Her Children Differently
“I care for my mother on a daily basis. I clean, cook, take her grocery shopping and transport her to all her doctor appointments. When I offer to take her on more fun trips like going out to eat, she always declines. She says it's too much, as though it is too taxing for her.
Now when my brothers come from out-of-state, Mom will go with them anywhere, even overnight! What is that all about? Why does she turn me down? When I ask her, she changes the subject.” - READER
What an interesting situation! I may be able to help you make sense of it all as an unbiased third party with no emotional attachments to your mother or siblings. You might be surprised by what I have to say.
I am going to start by highlighting an example unrelated to your situation. When my children were young, their father loved to wrestle with them on the living room floor. For some reason that I may never fully comprehend, this wrestling was great fun for both the kids and their dad. Our daughter never got it. She wound up crying and hurt almost every time she participated. I believe she was far more serious about it than the boys. But there are many fun things our daughter did with her father that the boys never did.
Now, look at your situation. It appears that your relationship and time spent with Mother is different than that of your brothers. You have the luxury of regular contact and dialogue. You share daily stories and are likely closer to your mother than your siblings.
The time you spend shopping, going to appointments and participating in activities of daily living with your mother is all valuable time. Your brothers likely wish that they could have some of that time spent, though their life situations do not allow it. They are using their vacation time and travel expenses to visit and care for Mom during their time off.
Your mother is treating their visits as a bit of a vacation for herself, even if it is brief. Have you ever considered that she may also wish to give you a break by declining extra excursions with you? They are in relaxed vacation mode and you are generally fitting your time with her into a busy week.
Please do not begrudge your brothers' time spent with Mom. Take the break to have some of your needs met and encourage them to have a good time. I am certain that you have your own special moments with your mother. Different is okay.
I wish you well on your journey. It sounds like you have a wonderful family.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
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