Wife, Mother, Caregiver
As many of you know…not only am I a wife and mother (and all that comes with those responsibilities), I became my husband’s caregiver after he came back from Iraq disabled. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m just glad he is here by my side every day.
Because of this, I feel guilty to say I need help. I feel like I should able to do it all with ease.
This Mistake can Cost You
Caregivers, homemakers, and often many human beings have trouble doing one thing…asking for help. I am one of those people. From a caregiver perspective, it is difficult to ask for help because I feel guilty, after all it IS MY RESPONSIBILITY to care for my husband. So, I feel I should be able to do it all with no mistakes. I am a failed perfectionist.
A gypsy fortune teller might say, “There is a price….” for this stubbornness. It happens to be your sanity. Trust me, I have been there. I have tried to do literally everything myself, no help, no one to talk to. I can tell you that it wasn’t a happy time in my life. I can tell you that I regret that choice much more than asking for simple help. Remember, as the Homemaker or caregiver your attitudes and choices affect the lives of everyone in that home like a ripple in a pond.
During the time I tried to do it all, by myself, I was stressed, worn down, exhausted, not able to enjoy normal activities because I was so worried about making all of my responsibilities happen flawlessly.
I am Only One Person
But, if you are a caregiver, homemaker, or housewife you must come to understand you are only ONE person. You won’t be perfect, but it is okay to work very hard to do your job well.
Let me repeat: you are only one person.
This makes it important to have a support network. If you have close family or friends nearby, ask them for help. You aren’t weak, and it is possible they will say no, but chances are they won’t mind sitting with your loved one for an hour or so, whether it be kids or the loved one you give care to. If none of that is possible, find it in your budget to get a nurse or in home caregiver to come help. Or, if you need help with the children — a babysitter.
I honestly don’t know what the cost is to attain a nurse, but I know as a VA Caregiver, they have many resources to help if I am feeling frazzled or cannot find help. It was my choice to not take advantage of that help for so long.
Here are some tips to get the most chance to acquire some help from family or friends.
1. Tell them exactly what you need. Don’t sugar coat it. They need to know what exactly they are in for. No one like surprises in this regard.
2. Tell them how long you need their help.
3. Work out a time that the person(s) can come over. Do your best to be at their convenience.
4. Make sure they have everything they need to successfully do the job during that time, and take all precautions for things that may come up.
5. Leave a list of emergency numbers to contact.
6. Depending on who you ask, they may or may not require compensation. However, it is kind to at least offer to make them a nice dinner to Take to their family, or some gesture of appreciation.
If there is one lesson I have learned in all of this juggling that I do, it is to communicate what you need…CLEARLY. Loved ones will hear your message and in most cases are happy to help. Sometimes, they have even been waiting for you to ask. Trust me, the people that really care, see how hard you work.
Don’t forget you need to take care of yourself, and as one person you can’t do everything, you are only human.
For more information and help with caregiving please visit the National Caregiver Alliance.