According to Merriam Webster dictionary, a CAREGIVER is a person who provides direct care as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill. Based on that definition, we are all caregivers on some level whether we are parents, daughters, sons, nurses, or teachers. As a busy mom, I generally spend my evenings, overseeing homework, and transporting my three school age kids to various after school activities including competitive gymnastics, choir, football, and piano lessons to name a few. I have to be honest, some days I am completely worn out and I spend a little too much time in my vehicle. All in all, they are happy well-adjusted kids. I know it’s not surprising hearing that from me, but they really are. I’ve seen the fruits of our labor in their development, achievements, milestones, and their compassion for others.
Most recently, I have added another facet to my caregiver role, that of caring for my mother who is ill with lung cancer. My goal is to make sure all of her needs are met and that she feels comfortable and loved. As the oldest girl in my family, I somehow adopted the role of caregiver. I’m not sure if adopted is the best word but the caregiver role for me seems to be a combination of personality and expectation. So I am a caregiver at heart, in many areas of my life. I took care of my siblings growing up and was expected to do so.
As a caregiver, my natural instinct is to want to make things better. I have to remind myself often that I am not the “fixer” in the family. I will leave the fixing to Olivia Pope and her gladiators on Scandal. I have learned that there are some things that you just can’t fix. Sorry Olivia. So knowing that, I can’t fix my mother’s diagnosis but I can love on her as much as I want to. My mom and I share some good laughs from time to time especially when she is having a “chemo brain” attack. Have you heard of that? They say chemo can affect your memory. We are in the middle of a conversation and she can’t remember what she was going to say. I sit and wait patiently……birds chirping. Then she smiles and says, forget it, I don’t want you telling everyone that I’m crazy.
My husband and I read the book, The Five Love Languages (by Gary Chapman) and completed the assessments several years ago. I learned that my Love Language is “Acts of Service: actions speak louder than words.” No Surprise there. Although this book is intended for couples, I think it applies to all of our relationships. So caring for my mom is in alignment with who I am but I already knew that. I enjoy caring for her and those I love. Do you know your love language?
I don’t want you to think that I am superwoman. I have days where I am exhausted and could use a nap. It is important to take time for myself to recharge. So how do I recharge?
- My mom’s best friend calls me at least twice a week to touch base. She has been an AWESOME source of encouragement and support. We have known her since we were little kids. She’s family. She knows my mom very well, and helps to guide me. I look forward to her calls. I also receive weekly calls from my brother and wife who have been super supportive as well.
- Pray a lot. Read and meditate on topics read in daily devotional books. Know that I am honoring God by caring for my mother.
- Walk through the mall for an hour in the evening.
- Go to the gym for a class or workout.
- Meet a friend for coffee.
- Spend an hour in the evening reading through several blogs that I enjoy.
- Force myself to sit on the couch for an hour. It usually ends up being a nap.
- Schedule a date night with the hubby.
- Plan a get-a-way. We have scheduled a 5 day get-a-way cruise to Cozumel. It took a lot of planning and coordinating but we did it. I do realize not everyone has the resources for a trip like this. This was a gift from my husband. There are many ways to recharge that are cost free or low cost, several of which I mentioned above.
It doesn’t take a lot for me to recharge. How do you recharge from a busy day of caregiving?
Peace and Blessings!
All opinions and book mentions are my own and I am not being compensated.
Peace and Blessings,