I am beginning to wonder if I am in a league of my own.
A bit of an unusual title post for Valentine’s Day, eh? Hoping this photo will tie it all in together as a gesture of love amongst friends is a blessing. *smile*
Challenges and blessings seem to come as one package for our family.
*family members~ be prepared, this is a candid post~ truth is what it is.
We finally have a diagnosis, of sorts, on Grandma M’s struggles. With that comes research on how best to take care of her. The circumstance hasn’t changed, but the title gives us direction. So as I research, I come across the acknowledgment that I am a care giver. But I don’t seem to fit into a common mold of that title. As the ‘professionals’ share the need to step in and care for our loved ones, it mentions a few hours a week, to 14 hrs a week, to eventually a full time job of a 40 hr week. Does that seem puzzling to confine care to hours? And to label ‘care’ as a job. Well, it does for me. For one, it is a 24/7 type of lifestyle, and love shouldn’t be labeled as a job.
As I continue to research our circumstance, I am discovering we are considered the ‘sandwiched’ generation. To raise a child and care for a parent at the same time. Yet, we have additional circumstances within that title. Now, I do realize that someone, somewhere, has to be somewhat facing a similar journey (and feel free to share if you know who they are).
Here is my *new normal* since moving to our new house in our old hometown last June.
We have 10 people in our home. Not so new for us in sheer numbers, but a mix about of different people is new.
*We live off of 1 income.
*We homeschool; a college student, a high school student, a 4th grader, 1st grader, & preschoolers.
*One of my homeschoolers is a special needs child.
*We also have a foster son, of sorts. Although he goes to public school, and technically is an adult…he still needs guidance and mentoring.
*I tutor a 4th grade girl, whom I recently quit homeschooling due to the extra needs of Grandma M.
Keeping up with everyone! That one’s obvious, eh? Juggling housework, lesson plans, encouragement, care, routines, meals,
bills (Fred took that one over), shopping, errands, & extra-curricular activities is enough to make superwoman herself quit. Lucky for me, God’s grace is sufficient.
Caregiver burn out. That is another thing I came across while researching our circumstance. Hmmm, I did have a meltdown a few weeks ago. They (the experts) recommend getting respite care on a regular basis. We have been fortunate enough to have Chanelle (Fred’s sister) come for a day and a half visit every month, but we don’t actually leave for a break. She has recently moved further away, and is beginning a new life with a beau. I am happy for her, but can’t help but feel a bit abandoned in her expectation of me with her mother’s care. but I love her, and it is what it is. So back to respite care, which is not an option. Did I mention there is no income, nor medical insurance for all these medical appointments? Which also means no respite care. And to think all I want to be able to do is go visit my own mom once in awhile. Do I sound like I am whining? I probably am. *sigh*
Lucky for me, there are other ways to avoid caregiver burnout.
1. Keep love in the picture. My mother-in-law may not always like me, but I care for her out of love.
3. Eat healthy and stay fit.
4. Take a break anyway I can~ which is by way of a Monday night ladies Bible study.
5. Keep a sense of humor.
6. Naps- 1 hour quiet time every afternoon (can I call it my sanity hour?)
Children who adapt well to the changing tides.
A husband who does not waver.
Older son who mentors middle son.
A daughter whose girlishness reminds me to stay gentle.
Youngest son whose rambunctiousness requires nurturing.
A special son who boldly states right from wrong out of a loving heart.
Son #2 who is taking his time figuring out life before jumping in.
Friends who listen.
Son #3 who steps up always, and without prompt.
An income in this economy.
A husband who does not recognize Valentines Day, but brings work home with him so he is near us. His presence adds a peace to my heart. I love that man!
Without challenges, the blessings would not be so significant…
so I choose to travel this narrow road….
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.