Guilt about supporting mum

My 86 year old father died in May, leaving myself as the main source of support for my 78 year old mum. I am 36 and have an 8 month old baby and a very supportive partner at home. As mum lives around 2 hours away from us currently, we have been going to collect her and having her come to stay for a week every few weeks to try to support her and break up the time for her.
She loves seeing her grandson and I know this is a great source of comfort to her. I am finding her latest visit to us is causing me problems as she is sleeping much of the time or not engaging very much with things which I know is totally to be expected after the loss of dad. I find I can’t help myself getting irritated and annoyed though when I am trying to manage my own change in life circumstances, grief and a fussy 8 month old who doesn’t sleep well! I am guilty to admit that I am looking forward to her going home in a couple of days so I can get my own space back but also know I will feel bad that she is then left at home with her grief. She will eventually be moving to be near us and whilst I know that is a positive thing at present it is causing me fear and resentment about what my life will look like. I feel like I am grieving both the loss of dad but also the loss of what my life previously was.
Does anyone else have experience of this and any words of help?

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Dear Esnowdrop,

Your feelings are normal and perfectly understandable. Even when we love our nearest and dearest very much, we also crave, and need, our own space. This is normal and should not be frowned upon. You also have quite a lot on your plate with a new baby and looking after all your loved ones.

I will admit that when my mum was very sick and living in Italy, I was relieved she had a partner who could look after her.

It is a tricky balance to achieve in life when some many factors are at play.

Please do not feel bad.

My best wishes to you and your family.

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Dear Esnowdrop

What a difficult time you are going through.

Your message made me think that perhaps your anger and irritation is that your mum is not able to be there for you and that you could do with her support. Thank goodness your partner is supportive, which is wonderful. But you have lost your Dad, it’s a huge loss and you are naturally grieving.

You sound such a thoughtful daughter and your mother must be comforted by the fact you are there for her. I hope it will be easier when she is living nearer to you, and as time passes the pain and isolation will lessen and hopefully your mum will find new life and friends, which will take a bit of responsibility from you.

Your mum and dad were probably together for many years, and his death is truly as if part of her is missing; she is rudderless without him, that is hard to deal with, for her and you. It will get better, but just take time.

You say she loves being with her grandson, can you use this to your advantage so you can grab some time for yourself? In time you will get your life back.

Like others, I’m thinking about you and wishing you well. Let us know how you are doing won’t you.



Thank you for such a lovely thoughtful message. I think you are spot on about my anger /irritation being about her being unable to support me. Anger always stems from fear I find do mine at present is related to a fear about the future and a fear of seeing my mum age and become unable to care for herself or me as a result. I also hope that when she moves to us we will be able to spend shorter periods of quality time together without being in each other’s pockets which will be better for us both.
Thanks so much for taking the time to send your message, it has made a real difference and given me lots to think about. X

I do appreciate you letting me know that I helped you see your situation a little clearer. We are here anytime, and I do wish you a more peaceful relationship with your mum.

Miche24 x