I know I’m not alone in caring for an aging parent, in my case my almost 82-year-old Dad, a former engineer who was married 54 years to my mother and only now lives on his own.
Turns out, increasing numbers of us are finding ourselves in the role of parent to our own parents. Some of use have nearly raised our own children, while others have never had them but find themselves caring for an aging parent, family member or friend. Surveys put the number at 70% of working adults who are caring for one, or more, aging family member.
Like all of them, I never in a million years thought this was how it would be. My parents were strong and capable people, vibrantly alive and engaged in adding something to this world. My whole life they have been a source of support and (at times unwanted) advice. When sickness came they were able to fight it off with gusto for years before disease got firm hold.
If I’d only known in the early 1990s what I know today… I’d have been a good deal more hesitant, had a few more sleepless nights, worried that my husband and I weren’t up to the task… that our different approaches to parenting would tear us apart. Now there’s no time for that — we’re in this, 3 kids deep, for better or worse.
In truth, most of it has been really wonderful… the best use of my energies that I can imagine. I wouldn’t trade a moment of this experience for a childless, orderly existence.
It’s just that no one tells prospective parents that beyond the softer skills — love and patience and humor, raising a child will call for innards of hard, unyielding steel. That’s right, steel.
I’ve been working from home, part time now, for almost eight years. They’ve been the best eight years of my life. But I remember when I was considering (some might say obsessing about) leaving my corporate job for the work at home world…
I’d hemmed and hawed about it for months… discussed it with my family and friends until they were sick to death of the subject… and spent many fruitless, lonely hours debating the pros and cons while the rest of the house slept on. Still the answer eluded me. Should I return to a job I loved or stay home with the children I loved?
It’s the question every working mother asks herself, at some point or another. (more…)
Today I was intrigued by a discussion of relationship myths, and this got me to thinking about the ones I find most bothersome. These are the ones I want my children to recognize and avoid like the plague…
1. He’ll settle down (change his mind) after we’re married.
2. She’ll grow to love my family (or they will come to love her).
3. He won’t spend as much (go out as often) after the baby comes. (more…)