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Bacolod City, PhilippinesWednesday, June 5, 2013

My husband’s mother lives with us

Dear Tita,

My husband, Rene, and I have been married for seven years and we have three-year-old twin boys. Any mother with a three-year old son knows how taxing it is to take care of a very active little boy. With twins, it is doubly taxing. I have my hands full running after them all day. Their yaya usually only stay for a couple of months, then leave.

Two years ago, Rene’s 80-year-old widowed mother got sick with pneumonia and, after her illness, she could no longer take care of herself. She had been living in their ancestral family house with a maid who left when she got sick. Rene is an only child so there is no one who could help take care of her. Finally, Rene decided to bring her to stay with us. This has totally changed our life.

Ever since she came, it has been very difficult for me. The caregiver we hire usually do not stay long as she is hard to get along with. My kids can’t play inside the house as she complains about the noise. We have to go around on tiptoe when she is asleep so as not to disturb her. She keeps on complaining about everything: the food, the weather, the noise, etc.

I try my best to do everything for her but she keeps on complaining. I feel tired all the time taking care of her and our twins. I don’t know how long I can stand it. Her mother and grandmother both lived up to their late 90s, so I know that she might live that long, too. What do you suggest I do?


Dear Very Tired Wife,

I sympathize with you.

This is a very difficult situation you are in. You need an understanding and compassionate caregiver who can take good care of your mother- in-law. Isn’t there a female relative who can do this? Abroad, there are good nursing homes for the aged where they are well taken care of. We don’t have that facility here, so families usually take care of their old parents until they die.

This needs a lot of patience and love. I’m sure Rene knows what you are going through, and he must love you more for the sacrifices you are making. Don’t lose hope. You might get lucky and find a good caregiver for her. Keep looking.



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