In this counseling answer:
• Start discussing ways in which everyone can help alleviate some of the burdens you are carrying alone.
• Have an open conversation with your husband. By working together, you can both aim for the best win-win scenario possible.
Thank you for your question and reaching out. May Allah reward you extensively for seeking to be a loving daughter who is caring for her mother and also a loving wife who is caring for her husband and honoring his family.
This is a really tough time that you are in right now. It sounds like you need help. While I appreciate you may be the best in caring for your mother, it also sounds like you will need to meet your siblings and find out how they can all help in caring for your mother.
Everyone may have a different specialty, but everyone can and should be doing something.
As the eldest, you can use your position to remind them of who their mother is and how much she deserves from all of them.
Start discussing ways in which everyone can help alleviate some of the burdens you are carrying alone. It might be a matter of training them what to do or simply a matter of creating an expectation.
Everyone is “busy” and so busyness isn’t an excuse. As human beings, we make time for that which is important to us. Let the siblings come together to create a plan that is fair to everyone.
While your father may not be in the picture that doesn’t mean he can’t help in some way. I’m not sure what your relationship with him is, but one thought is to reach out to him directly and inform him that you need assistance in caring for your mother. That could come in the form of hired help or resources to support her.
Of course, I’d need more information from you to know if that’s possible but I wanted to suggest it.
You live in a family and it’s time for that family to support you in the care of her.
When it comes to your husband, I would advise that you sit down and have an open conversation with him. What are his concerns? What are his needs?
Listen to him openly without feeling the need to be defensive. Give him a space to express his concerns.
Then let him know that you hear him and appreciate what he has shared and ask, “How can we care for my mother who relies heavily on me while also taking care of each other, our marriage, and honoring your family as well?”
The phrasing intends to help him think from a perspective of “we” instead of putting all the pressure on you alone to manage the entire situation.
He can be reminded to consider the reward he can receive from Allah for supporting you in honoring and taking care of your mother. To ask him to think of you caring for your own mother the same way you’d hope his own mother would be cared for if her health was the same.
By working together, you can both aim for the best win-win scenario possible.
There are seasons in life. Sometimes there is a newborn baby to deal with which changes everything. Sometimes there is a sick child who demands more attention from one parent over another. Sometimes it’s an ailing parent or one’s own health.
A loving marriage asks that both people seek to care for each other and the concerns of each other and share the burden.
Otherwise, one has to wonder what kind of a man is content with himself knowing his wife obeyed him and deserted her own parent who depends on them and is a great need. What would be accomplished by such an action?
In many situations, whether it’s a husband busy caring for his parents or a wife busy caring for her own, the reality is that one spouse misses the other. They want to feel cared for, special and receive their attention and affection.
Yes, in some degree of selfishness, they want to make sure they are still the number one priority in their spouse’s life. It happens with children, friends, demanding jobs, volunteer work, etc.
Think about the things your husband appreciates the most and exert energy there. You can’t master the universe. So, focus on the most important corner in it within his heart.
It’s a beautiful thing to also consider how Islam honors the caring for parents within our religion and the reminders given to all of us in caring for them.
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle as saying:
“Let him be humble into dust; Let him be humble into dust. It was said: Allah’s Messenger, who is he? He said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise.”
Amr bin Shu’aib narrated that his father, from his grandfather, who said that the Messenger of Allah said:
“He is not one of us who does not have mercy upon our young, nor knows the honor of our elders.”
It is reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah observed:
“The best of ‘the deeds or deed is the (observation of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents.”
Abdullah bin Mas’ud reported:
I asked the Prophet (ﷺ), “Which of the deeds is loved most by Allah?” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Salat at its proper time.” I asked, “What next?” He (ﷺ) replied, “Kindness to parents.” I asked, ” What next? ” He replied, ” Jihad in the way of Allah. ” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
I understand that some cultures have a very strong preference for the husband’s family. However, Islam itself seeks to honor parents no matter whose parents they are.
I pray with these reminders at hand that both you, your siblings, and your husband can home to an agreement that helps everyone honor and serve your mother for the sake of Allah thus opening the door of good deeds for everyone.
May Allah support you, reward you, and grant you patience.
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