My mom was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes when I was in middle school. As a compulsive eater, it didn’t come as much of a surprise to any of us. Neither did her complete disregard for doing anything about it. She just couldn’t spend an evening in front of the TV without her M&Ms and Doritos, and wasn’t about to start exercising. Being only a preteen, I didn’t have the voice to tell her that she needed to take care of herself. It’s only been the last few years, now that her health problems have caught up to her, that she’s made some efforts to get healthier. But she spent ten years ignoring her condition, and now it’s too little and too late.
Her chronic high blood sugar means that she now suffers from stabbing pain in her hands and feet called neuropathy unless she takes medication three times a day. She can’t feel anything below her mid-calf, and her hands are slowly becoming numb, too. Worst of all, though, is the Charcot Foot. The bones in her right foot have slowly become mush and now her foot is deformed. That, combined with sores in her sole that are slow to heal due to the reduced circulation, mean that she’s not supposed to be on her feet a lot. This, of course, makes it hard to find work.
Two years ago, the expenses of living on her own became too much, especially with all the medications she has to buy. My husband and I offered to let her stay with us while her feet healed so she could then be in a position to get a part-time job. It meant she had to move three states away, but she would also get to see my daughter, then only six-months old, every day. It was really nice for a while to be nearby. But then… it just wasn’t anymore.
I was only 24 when she moved in, only out of her house for six years, only married for four. I had just had a baby. I needed encouragement, companionship and respect. Instead, I got condescending advice. I don’t think she remembered that she moved in with us, not the other way around. She did not remember that I was now the “woman of the house” and she was the guest. The dynamics were twisted, and none of us were prepared for the repercussions.
It is nice for her to help me take care of my now-toddler and new baby. But that does not mean that she gets to make parenting decisions. We like having her around, but that does not mean that she should get offended when my husband and I want some time to be alone together. I’m not so great about keeping things tidy around the house, but I don’t deserve the patronizing comments that I receive daily, ones that steadily chop away at my confidence. I am well aware of my shortcomings. I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of two kids, keep the house clean, clothes laundered, and get a hot meal on the table most days without losing my sanity. Having to take care of another picky person who is critical of most things I do doesn’t help me much. But the worst part is that my husband and I are not so sure now that she has any intention of moving out at all.