Loving your life starts with redefining your role as a caregiver.
Do you struggle with feeling misunderstood when it comes to caregiving? Do you feel that people don’t really understand what you do or how hard it is for you to do it?
We so often struggle with not feeling valued and accepted. We know that caregiving is extremely difficult but feel like no one really understands what we actually do.
Maybe you feel like people think your caregiving role is passive.
Like they think you…
Go along with them to Dr’s visits.
Sit with them at the hospital.
Spend time with them at home when they aren’t feeling well.
But if you’re a caregiver you know that what you do is anything but passive.
You advocate for your loved one.
You fight to get him the care you think they need.
You seek to understand how to make life better for them at home.
You work tirelessly to make sure they are well cared for.
Caregiving is a 24hr JOB!
So why don’t we give it the credit it is due?
Not others but ourselves?
I think the answer is fairly simple… we are in a constant battle to either recover from what life throws at us or understand what the heck we are supposed to do in order to survive what is happening to our families at any moment in time. We have no training before becoming caregivers and things rarely work twice. Their reaction to chemo can be different the 5th time through. Surgery recovery can take longer than the last time. So even though we can learn patterns over time we are never really fully prepared for anything. We just learn as we go and over time some of us are able to become a little more resilient.
Define your role as caregiver and parts of your life will change.
Let’s look at a paying job.
Every paid job has a job description. You walk into a new job knowing what you are expected to do. You’re ready to learn how to take on those responsibilities appropriately and you ask for support from people who are qualified to support you. You have the ability to set boundaries to your day without feeling like you’ll be judged for them. You take vacations, time off, sick days, holidays because it’s acceptable. When people ask you what you do you know exactly what to say and you communicate the value of that job through the tone of pride in your voice.
Do you have that in your life right now?
If someone were to ask you about what you do how would you answer? Do you feel the pride well up in your chest, head tilt a little higher, and, with conviction and strength, tell then that you are a caregiver?
It’s usually the opposite. Maybe you don’t even use the word caregiver. Maybe you say you don’t work because you HAVE to stay home to take care of your spouse. Maybe you don’t even mention it all. Maybe you tell them you are a lawyer for a firm in town and, even though caring for your wife is a struggle and makes more difference in the world than any job can, you never mention it.
Why do we do that?
What you do is the most selfless thing a spouse, parent or child can do! You give up so much of yourself, of your life, to take care of this one person. A person who you chose to stick with through the pain and hardship of a disease or disability. You have the ability to enrich the life of a person who is confronted daily with how hard and fleeting life can be.
OWN the fact that you are a caregiver. Define what that role is for you.
Accept if you will
Be a caregiver full time.
Work outside the house and be a caregiver at the same time.
Be a caregiver but pay to have a lot of the things done for you.
Once you’ve identified how much of your life will be devoted to caregiving make a list of all the things you do. Make it as broad or as precise as you’d like. Here are some broad tasks that are a part of a caregivers day.
Look at your list and allow yourself to be impressed and proud of everything you do.
What you do matters and makes a difference in the world even when you don’t feel like it does.
Own that caregiving role!
I’m here to help you. Learn more here.