Dealing with Burnout: The Difficulty of Being a Mother to Your Kids and Parents!
Being a Mother and taking care of your children and parents can be overwhelming. My friend recently had lost her Mother to lung disease. On top of that, her Father had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her son had just graduated college.
This is a troubling situation in which very few people wish to be a part of. The stress had begun to get to her, and it became obvious that there was a problem. She began abusing substances like alcohol and prescriptions, which strained her work and personal relationships. Her son reached out to me and asked for some advice.
Here are some different ways to address some of the problems that can come from this relationship:
1st: Identify the problem of stressors:
The first step to working through the problem is recognizing what the sources of the issues are. Before she could move forward we had to talk about what was going on. For her, it was the stress of loss in two senses. She felt disconnected with her son, as well as the loss of her parents.
We sat down and looked at various websites, detailing personal stories of people dealing with parents and Alzheimer’s. I shared my experience with senior dementia as it has some similarities. It helped her with recognizing that she was not alone in dealing with these problems. Recognizing these issues allowed us to work out a plan on what to do next.
2nd: Addressing poor coping mechanisms:
She recently picked up drinking and it went from a few glasses of wine at night to something much worse. Her drinking had begun to interfere with her work and familial relations. Her problems with it were intersectional. While the loss was hard, her drinking was preventing her from getting clean. She felt that her ways of coping were hindering any ability for her to work through that problem. I sent them some information on women’s alcohol rehab clinics. They found one that worked for their budget and provided psychiatric care.
3rd: Getting your affairs in order:
During that period, we worked out how best we could take care of the situation. First, they looked getting their finances for rehab in order. Her son decided to relocate and help out her boyfriend in paying bills and making sure she did not fall behind. They contacted their family and reached out to one of her sisters who was able to help with some of the payments.
Next, her son talked about taking a medical leave of absence from her workplace. This part was probably the easiest to deal with. Her boss was aware of some of the issues and was supportive of the decision.
4th: Providing support:
During rehab, her son would often talk with the nurses on her progress. He stopped by to visit on almost every day that was possible for him. He would write her at least twice a month. She was always a reader and it was meaningful for her to have something to go back to when she was struggling.
After his Mother returned from rehab, their house became dry. Her boyfriend and son attuned themselves accordingly and would not go out and drink. While she has her good days and bad days, they have made an effort to support her on the long and positive road she has ahead of her. They have worked with the clinic in making sure that she was able to maintain sobriety, and has been clean and will hopefully remain so.