Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

November 11, 2012

family vs work

Ellen, 44, recently returned to work after a ten year absence spent raising two children and caring for her mother, 71, and to add to the drama of her first day at work, feeling terribly out of date in all respects, her mother had a fall and needed immediate attention.

"When my mother telephoned that night and asked me to come over immediately because she had suffered a fall," sighs Ellen, "I burst into tears with utter frustration."

“I had gone home that day armed with three manuals to read – one for the computer system, one for the word processing program and one for the company standards,” explains Ellen, “and I was desperate for a few hours of peace so that I can learn about my new job and not appear so out of date.”

"The reason why I had taken so long to return to work was largely due to my mother's dependence on me," explains Ellen. "The kids had been old enough to take basic care of themselves long ago, but mom had bad legs and needed someone to do things for her and that person turned out to be me because my sisters were working and I wasn't."

“At the time my mother rang, I was in the middle of preparing dinner for my husband and two children and was rushing around like a mad thing in order to gain the time I needed after dinner to plough through the manuals I had brought from work.”

“I just wiped the tears from my eyes and gritted my teeth on the drive over to my mother’s place,” says Ellen. “The manuals never got read that night – but the experience forced me to call a family conference about sharing the cost and burden of caring for our mother.”

Read more about Ellen:

  • the family conference
  • a relic from the past

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