I wonder what other lessons are on their way.
Full disclosure here. I’ve been mom’s full-time caregiver since December 30th. That is ten days, seven hours and 14 seconds. I knew it would be hard. It’s one of the reasons I avoided it for as long as possible. I even know it is not forever since we will be getting hourly help during my working hours and eventually mom will be moving into a new living situation. But Omicron has put a crimp in these plans.
Hourly aides in general are hard to come by since so many have been able to get higher paying jobs. And the number of people testing positive for COVID has made it even more difficult to place aides with families. Associates testing positive has placed a temporary halt on visiting and moving people into assisted living facilities.
All of which is incredibly stressful for mom and me, leading to short tempers and many misunderstandings. For God’s sake, I wrote a book on effective family communications. Why is this so much harder now that I’m living with her? Well, not having the opportunity to go back to my life at my home is one huge reason, because it makes it hard for me to have a sense of perspective.
When we are together all the time, it is too easy to fall back into unhealthy patterns that are left over from childhood. It is too easy to feel like that pre-teen when everything is about me and no matter what comes out of my mother’s mouth, I take it as negatively directed at me. And 95% of the time, that is not the case.
I will admit to biting my tongue a lot during the last two weeks to keep the peace. It was one of the times I felt attacked when I realized my mother was having difficulty moving around that day. Maybe, just maybe, her comment was not directed at me, but rather at the situation she was finding so frustrating and physically difficult.
I can only imagine how difficult it is to move around in a 90-year-old body. Listening not to what she says, but observing how she moves, her willingness to contribute to the day with tasks like putting away the dishes or reminiscing with me, is probably a better way to understand why her words can seem hurtful. It is not always about me.
I wonder what other lessons are waiting for me….
Disclaimer: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, consulting with a physician, lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other qualified professional.
Deb is available as a caregiver consultant. She will answer the question: “Where do I start?” and find the resources to alleviate your stress. If you would like to invest a half hour to learn how she can help you, please contact her at: Free 30 minute consulting call
Deb is the author of “Your Caregiver Relationship Contract.” Available in both English and Spanish, this book explains how to have an intentional conversation and the how unspoken expectations can cause problems. Click here to learn more about Your Caregiver Relationship Contract.