Monday, February 4, 2013

Aging Mother Could Use Help, But Would Prefer The Gift Of Time

Dear Tazi:

My mother is getting older and is unable to do all of the things she used to do, especially when it comes to living independently. Although she is still able to live in her own home, she has difficulty getting around, which makes chores difficult to complete.

I would like to lighten Mom’s load, but whenever I offer to do something for her, she either refuses or suggest I join her while she completes the chore. For example, I know how difficult it is for Mom to walk for a prolonged period of time, so I offered to do her weekly grocery shopping. She refused, but said I could come along and do it with her if I wanted. I am a working Mom myself, and my free time is limited; I do not wish to spend it replicating the chores that Mom is doing on her own.

I am reaching my wit’s end with Mom and her complaints that she simply cannot keep up with all that needs to be done, and how she is exhausted after everything is complete. I have offered to pay for services from laundry to landscaping, but Mom feels those services are a waste of money. She thinks you should not pay someone to do something that you could do yourself, and has suggested that I just come over and help her instead. I am considering just hiring some help for Mom, above her objections, so she does not have such a heavy burden to bear. My husband thinks this is a bad idea, and that we should offer to do these chores for her ourselves.

Tazi, I do not look forward to doing more housework after I finish cleaning my own house, and I cannot fathom how my husband will find the time to keep up with Mom’s yard on top of our own. My husband says that we should “suck it up” for Mom’s sake, but I am having a hard time doing that. What is your opinion of the situation, Tazi?

Double Duty

Dear Double Duty:

Has it occurred to you that your mother might want you to accompany her on her trip to the grocery store because she enjoys your company and would like more of it? This could also be the reason that she is refusing the paid services you are offering to hire for her; it’s possible she is hoping you will offer to come over yourself and assist her with the housework and have a nice mother-daughter visit while you are at it.

I realize that you do not wish to do extra housework on top of your own, or to replicate your mother’s chores by accompanying her as she does them, but as Mary Poppins taught us all as children, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! What could be sweeter than spending time with your aging mother?

 If you do not have the time to undertake all of the chores, talk to your mother about which ones she has the most difficulty with and do those for her. If your children are old enough to undertake chores, you could make helping your mother a family event, with everyone taking on one or two chores; if the children are too young to complete chores they could have a nice visit with Grandma while you and your husband - who sounds quite willing - take care of completing your mother's vacuuming, laundry, ironing, landscaping, car washing, grocery shopping, etc. Many hands can make for light work.

If I have not yet convinced you to put a little time aside to assist your Mom, please consider this: children learn what they live. If they see you and their father assisting your elders, they too will learn the importance of respecting them - and of assisting you when you are too aged to do all that needs to get done. I hope you can find it in your heart to make the selfless decision.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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