Thursday, June 25, 2015

Introduction to Strange Nest - who we are and how we live

I'm Starry, young, fun, and single.... and living with my elderly parents in what I refer to as "an interesting social experiment"

Our nest is strange, it is cramped, one of the birds is deaf, we're all cracked.

I've been dealing with the huge age differences in our family for as long as I can remember. My parents were middle aged when I was born, senior citizens when I was in university, and elderly when I was in my twenties. 

At first my twenties were awesome - I lived in my family home solo while my parents went grey nomading. Paradise! But health statuses change, and I started to share the home with my parents, which was weird at first, plus its socially awkward admitting that you live with your parents but our mindset has begun to change and we see living as a team as a really smart option. As a team we are stronger and more financially stable. I'm not a mooch, I pay my way, I do the tasks they can't do, I avoid the rent crisis, they get to stay in their home for as long as possible (hopefully the rest of their lives).

To succeed as a family we have to reinvent our existing family dynamic. If you've got older parents, you know what I mean - at a certain age you parent them.... but they don't like it. And it gets tense. They need to see me as an adult, and understand it is not usual for me to live like this. I need to understand that their abilities are changing, and that it is still their nest and I'm the guest (who can be addressed far more rudely than you'd ever entertain speaking to a real guest)

If you want an idea of what its like to look after aging parents, or you're trying to decide if you can cope with bringing your parents into your own home, this is probably the blog for you - you'll get plenty of insight here, and solidarity too. Sometimes the most important part of coping is having someone you can let off steam with. Plus sometimes you will laugh until you cry.

At the core of this experiment, is my belief that family is one of the greatest blessings but also the biggest trial a person faces in their life.

I hope our concept of "living as a team" prevails over our trials. But even failure can be fascinating (people are still intrigued by the Titanic, after all)

So behold... our experimental lives!


  1. I'm still in that situation. I went from being in my 20s and finding my way through life to caring for my mother. I often think of it this way. One night I went to bed at 18 and woke up the next morning at 40. I'm 41 this year and put up with so much garbage from my mother I feel like one of us needs to leave or die for this to be over.

    How bad is that?

    I get absolutely no respect, am constantly yelled at and then told to stop screaming at her when I'm only raising my voice, even in an animated conversation I'm told to shoosh. I'm told to stop swearing, that people who swear aren't nice people, am criticised, demeaned and treated like garbage. I do pretty much everything while she sits on her lazy arse all day. She is quite capable of doing stuff but doesn't, using her pain as an excuse, which she has done for at least 15 years. My opinions are not respected, I'm told I need to learn to shut up and say nothing, and she talks over my opinions and always tells me I'm wrong.

    Everything I do is not good enough for her so she criticises and tells me how to do it instead of just letting me do things my way as I have my own health problems to deal with. I'm the one who makes the phone calls, deals with the garden, deals with the Housing Trust and all that entails, pays the bills, does the shopping, deals with her bank and anything else that arises. I have five older siblings and none of them help. Mum's in her 70s and I had enough a long time ago.

    This relationship is verbally and emotionally abusive and I wish she were dead. I cannot be free until I leave which I can't as I don't have enough money, or someone to help in some way, shape or form, which there is no one. No charities seem to help carers, I can't afford a car and couldn't afford to move to Queensland which is where I want to go.

    So, I put up with it and get on with stuff. What else can I do? I did write a book about this, my journey through it.

    That didn't help emotionally except for in the moment. Life still sucks as caring means no partner, no friends, no life, no kids of my own, no nothing. You don't get to have a life when you do this 24/7. It's all about her and what she needs and where she needs to go and none of it is about me.

    I could go on, but I won't.

    1. wow, its like I've found a kindred spirit. I don't have a good relationship with my Dad at all, he was my childhood abuser, and I feel I am the one who makes the effort to be here and let the subject of the past drop (I can't bring it up again, I can't have him reject my experiences one more time) so I make all the sacrifice and he looks to me to say "I love you" and when he's on his death bed at various times he asks me to tell him he was a good father.... it gets a bit much to put it mildly but I am trying, especially for my Mum's sake (who herself can be totally passive aggressive and childish) and my distant siblings when they visit think I am not patient enough with my parents but its easy to come in for a day and be shocked by their deafness, forgetfulness, meandering conversations, and commentary, it takes a lot to live with it every day!
      But I'm sorry your life is so taxing and stressful, I wish you had uplifting relationship with your Mum or siblings and my heart goes out to you.
      Any time you want to share in order to survive, I'm happy to hear you.