Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

August 11, 2010

the family conference

Because her two sisters were working, Ellen – a stay home mom – had borne the brunt of care for their mother; but all that changed when she decided to return to work and, on her very first day in her new job, her mother had a fall, needing immediate attention, and precipitated a family conference.

“I decided that the best way to handle this crisis was to bring mom back home to live with me temporarily,” explains Ellen, “but that same night I telephoned by sisters and demanded a family conference about alternative care for mom.”

"I was a working woman now, just like my sisters," says Ellen, "and I was determined to make a success of my return to work job."

"At the family conference I laid down the law to my sisters," says Ellen. "Finally, we agreed to share the cost of paying for a personal care professional to take care of mom in her own home.”

“It works out well because the caregiver needed a place to live, and she provides companionship for mom, too."

"However, with the additional expense of sharing the costs of mom's caregiver," sighs Ellen, "I'm really not saving much from my income at all.”

“Returning to work involves a lot of expenses I never had before - commuting, business clothing, buying lunch, etc - and it's amazing how fast my money gets spent."

"I'm really upset that for the ten years I was looking after mom while my sisters worked, they contributed nothing towards her care. It doesn't seem fair, does it?"

“Maybe I should call another family conference and suggest some sort of back pay for all the years I took care of mom,” says Ellen. “Either that, or the shared costs need to be paid according to our income, not split into thirds as originally agreed when I was in crisis mode.”

“The more I think about it, the more I think my sisters took unfair advantage of me,” says Ellen. “I hate to think about costs and burdens in respect of our mother, but unfortunately that’s what it all boils down to.”

Read more about Ellen:

  • family vs work
  • a relic from the past

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