My sister and I are not speaking because of our arguments over my mom’s temporary care, and I find myself needing some outside perspective.
Background: My Mom recently had a major surgery to remove her (7th!) cancer. She lives alone in an apartment. The plan was for her to go stay with my sister for the first few weeks, while she needed 24 hour care and had doctor follow ups. My sister is a stay-at-home Mom with two little girls. Once she felt better and like she could be on her own for longer periods of time, she would come stay with my husband and I, who both have full time jobs but could be with her in the evenings and weekends. Once she was really ready for it, she would move back to her apartment. My major task would be driving to my moms house every day to take care of her dogs and get her mail. Everyone voiced that we were good with this plan. (Side note - we have a brother too, but we all agreed it doesn’t make as much sense for her to go to his house at all for various reasons).
Mom’s Condition: My Mom successfully moved in to my sister’s home and started the recovery process. While she did need someone around just in case, it’s important to note that she did not require any hands on care. She could go to the restroom by herself, she could bathe, get dressed, walk and eat all on her own. She just needed someone around and wasn’t ready to be in an apartment all alone, plus she could not drive herself to her doctor appointments.
The Start: Less than a week after my mom moved in, my sister asked if I would come spend the entire Saturday with my mom so she and her husband could have a day out for his bday. Their daughters would be with his mother. I was annoyed by this for a few different reasons, some I think logical, and some rooted in deeper family issues. I mentioned to my sister that i was willing to do this, but could we put some kind of time parameters on it? Did it really need to be for “the day” or couldn’t it be for them to have dinner and a movie, something with limits. She was annoyed by this and we bickered. Side note: this day she had planned was not something her husband specifically requested, she planned it before even consulting him on what he wanted for his own birthday. After some back and forth and plenty of tension, she said the plan was for them to leave their house at about 10am and return at around 5pm. I was good with this. The day of, 10:30 rolled around and I finally got a call from her saying “we’re still just farting around here at the house”. I felt this was unfair. She gave me time frames, and the longer it took them to leave their house for this day, the later I would have to be at their house for. I called my sister out for this, and she did not like it. After their day out, we sat down and had a pretty good discussion about it. She felt that asking me to come stay with Mom should not be considered her asking me for a favor, I felt like it was a favor because the day was for her and her husband, not my mom. Seeing as how the plan was for my mom to stay with each of us for a time, it felt unfair that she decided her and her husband suddenly needed a day out during what would be their portion of time.
Problems Continue: Because my sister is a stay at home mom, the plan was for her to take my mom to all of her doctor appointments, since they were all in the middle of weekdays. One day my sister tells me that her mother in law can’t watch the girls, so can I please take off work so I can take my mom to her appointment. I was confused, isn’t there a way we can make this happen without me taking off work? What is stopping you from taking the girls with you? If you don’t want to bring them in, can you not drop Mom off and pick her up when she is done? There is a drop off area and staff specifically there to help with escorting patients inside of there are problems. Giant fight ensues again in which she tries to make me feel like I’m selfish and unwilling to help, I try to explain that I think someone having to take the day off work when there are other solutions is nonsense. Words were fired back and forth and now we aren’t speaking.
What I ask of you is: Am I wrong for not just jumping to say yes any time my sister asks for help, even when I think it doesn’t make sense? Does this make me selfish and unhelpful? Am I wrong to believe that my sister taking Mom to the doctor, something that was agreed upon because she does not work, should not be contingent on whether or not she can get someone to babysit her kids? Why do I have to be made out to be the bad kid who isn’t helping and my sister gets to act like the martyr all because I think there should be logic and reason used in deciding how things are done?
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