You have been heavy on my mind ever since our lunch recently. You are such a great woman with so much love and compassion; it’s time you give some of that love back to yourself.

You told me stories about your life. I know how desperately you hate your job, and you would love to quit. You have so many talents that you want to tap into, but you can’t risk not working because you have to support your kids. You see yourself moving to a small town in Oregon and starting over. I think you need to do it.

When we talked about your mom, you broke my heart. You explained how your mother was an alcoholic for her entire life but now sober for the last five years. That is awesome, hats off to her and her success. What I hated to hear was when I asked why you couldn’t move to Oregon, you told me since your mother has been sober, she doesn’t have any friends other than her former drinking buddies. She needs you to be here for her.

Hearing this took me back to the time when I was packing to leave home and move into my first apartment. My two older sisters had already moved out so being the baby; I was the last to depart. While I was packing, a thought entered my head that brought me immediate sadness. I was raised by a mother who was unable to take care of herself. During the entire time I was growing up, this fact never dawned on me. It came crystal clear to me on that day when the thought entered my head, “when I leave, who is going to take care of my mother?”

I was 19 years old and moving out of the house I had lived in for the last seven years. The house I was living in was the same house she was sharing with her fifth husband. Why did I feel this way? How could any parent inflict this on their children?

Let me tell you, it’s time to let go of being responsible in any way for your mother. Think about it for a minute. You are a mother. Would you want your children to feel this way about you or would you want them to get out and live life to it’s fullest? No healthy mother would settle for anything less for their children.

Raising my daughter now after being raised in such an unhealthy environment, I want so much more for my daughter. She is being taught to become a strong, independent and healthy woman. We are giving her wings to fly out of this nest, and when the time comes, we will give her a little shove. We want her to fly away and experience all that life has to offer. We want her to live, love, experience heartbreak and joy. All the while we will be there for her and support the choices she makes. Never will she ever feel that taking care of her parents is in any way her responsibility.

Life is forever forward moving. By burdening our children with thoughts of being in any way responsible for us, it’s child abuse. We try to teach them about making good, solid, well thought out choices, right? Doesn’t the same apply to us? If we can’t make good choices about our life and our responsibility to ourselves and our future, how can we expect them to know how to make good decisions.

My friend, I want you to move to Oregon and take your family with you. You need to visit your mother and tell her that you love her and that you are no longer raising her as one of your children. It’s time she takes responsibility for her life so you can do the same for yours. You can love her, and then you have to leave her.

I promise this will be the hardest thing you have ever done. Once it is done, and you allow yourself to let go of the need to help her, you will feel like a butterfly with a heavy burden disappearing from your life. You will notice this load is no longer yours, it is off of your shoulders forever. It is a feeling like no other. You carry too much as it is, you need to let this one land where it is supposed to be, on her lap. Then you will be free to take care of those that should be depending on you. Your kids deserve it.

To support Cari and her writing & speaking journey, please click here!