The times they are a changin’. Can’t you just hear Bob Dylan. Ok, maybe that’s just me.
Things are changing a bit here at Pardon Me, My Crown Slipped. Mostly for me, not quite as much for you. Bringing in a bit more balance for all.
Yes I am a caregiver, but I am a parent too. Most of the posts and resources are about caregiving. However, my most popular posts are actually the parenting ones. So I am going to be trying to balance that out.
Besides, the unfortunate reality is our caregiving won’t be forever. Hopefully for all of us the parenting will be.
I have written for months about the lack of help and the feelings of being overwhelmed. I will readily admit that it’s not the work, though it appears that way on the surface.
Wife, homemaker, mom, homeschooler and caregiver. True it’s a lot. But the kids help, the schooling has been a modern and eclectic approach with much of the work done through online learning, independent study and using life as a teacher. Think skills like cooking and home repair.
Caregiving, yes it’s tiring. But my grandmother does sleep a lot. She needs assistance getting out of bed and in the bathroom. Somehow, it’s less work and stress, since at least I can “control” the safety. Mostly.
Since her dementia has advanced her anxiety is actually better because now for the most part she is completely indifferent to most of the day to day happenings. She was always an anxious person. Overly concerned with what’s going on, particularly with the kids and outside the window. Micromanaging my cooking or laundry. Apparently there is a very specific way to put clothes in the washer.
While it is sad that she doesn’t seem to care, it is easier for her and honestly for me that she is no longer anxious. She seems happier when conversing. Doesn’t seem to be bothered by normal life clutter on the table or toys in the living room and in the yard.
So it’s not the work or the time management since I have always been a pretty organized person. My forgetfulness or habit of not getting something done isn’t born out of lack of routine or systems. It is plain and simple stress. I just have no energy to do it.
I have taken on so many responsibilities. Throw in my perfectionism and my people pleasing habit. Oh and let’s not forget that I’m an introvert. Not the kind of introvert that is quiet and dislikes social interaction. More like the kind that absolutely requires time alone to recharge. I have created a perfect storm.
I am an all or nothing person. Once I commit to something, baby I am in. Any project I start, I become hyper-focused and I will eat, sleep and breathe that project.
Apparently you can’t do a whole bunch of projects like that at once. Who knew? LOL. So, something’s got to give. So I decided this time that it wasn’t me. That is no longer an option. I feel and look terrible. Instead of choosing myself last, I am choosing me first.
I sat down and made a list of all of my responsibilities.
Taking a look at each one as objectively as I could. I began to assess each one. Not necessarily the amount of time they took, but the energy level they required from me. The more emotionally invested I was in each one was not necessarily something that needed to stay. In fact, those ones were considered first to go.
What can be put into someone else’s hands?
What duties were causing me the most distress and why? These were the energy drains. For me it’s usually an area that the outcome is unknown and that my control level is high, whether self-imposed, imagined or real didn’t matter. It’s the roller coaster of the unknown and indecision of how to make it work that matters.
Glaringly obvious, my biggest energy drain is homeschooling. For me the fun was in the planning and not in the implementing. It was a constant source of “am I doing the right thing?”
As moms we are always worried about that. But it isn’t working on so many levels. I chose to homeschool for all the right reasons and chose to continue for all the wrong ones. Some of which were the same reasons by the way. Oh, life is so complicated.
Mean kids, a poorly performing school system and my own confidence that I could do better set us out on the homeschooling journey. With a dad that was a retired teacher in my corner, I figured I could do it. I believe I could have. I still could, but something has to go, this is it.
We’ve tried changing methods, curriculum styles and more. I let it go on convinced I could fix it. It’s been over 2 years. Our rural location and the inability to get out more just isn’t enough to make it work to everyone’s benefit. I still believe in homeschooling, but not for us, not now. None of us are happy with the arrangements. There crying, anxiety and fighting. And that’s just me.
Both boys want to go back. They talk about it almost daily. Of course they aren’t the decision makers. We don’t run a democracy. On the other hand, all opinions are listened to.
Even my oldest who doesn’t like school wants to return. He was always a good student, but his lackluster attitude towards all of it has never changed despite homeschooling. His 1st and 5th grade teachers created a deep negativity towards school that all his other great teachers and homeschooling just could not change.
No matter how much I tried I couldn’t fix it. I finally realized it’s not my job to fix that, it’s his. I realize now that he needs many voices to influence his way of thinking. How ironic that my fear of how impressionable he is, is also what he needs to move forward.
Although he and I have a very open communication, my opinion about learning isn’t really getting through to him. Or so I thought. Resorting finally to the I give up method. Of course, I didn’t say that. I just stopped bugging him every chance I got to learn something, read something, think about what he’s interested in. I “ignored” it all. Too bad I didn’t try it sooner.
Suddenly, he wants to apply to the local technical high school. When I was a kid it where all the kids who weren’t “going anywhere” went. Now kids are fighting to get in. They have a fantastic curriculum and are recognized nationally for the educational and vocational opportunities they provide.
Funny how, Mom and Pop’s opinion was scoffed at until he hears the same things from his peers at scouts and suddenly is asking “what do I have to do to make this happen?”. Who hoo.
My daughter is still tiny. She is a 5th grader and looks about 6. This isn’t going to suddenly change. Again the hold back is the catalyst for change. Mean girls will always be part of the equation. Experience with the problem is going to be the only way get beyond it.
She will be the hardest sell to get her back to school. She and my youngest are super close. He will be in a different building. However she loves learning, has experience with great teachers and she’s friendly. At least it’s a new school system. It’s a fresh start.
My youngest only went to Kindergarten, he loved it, who didn’t? He wants to go back. Already knows kids through sports. He was so far ahead in class it was ridiculous so I thought he’d enjoy homeschooling because we could go faster. He was bored here too. More work and faster isn’t always better. Just because they can understand the work level doesn’t mean they have the maturity level to handle the quantity.
The next change is I am finally getting some help. Can I get a “hell yeah”?
My mom is releasing funds for someone a few hours a week so I can leave. She has also agreed to come herself a few hours during the week and some on the weekends so that we can all go out as a family.
I finally spoke up and it all went over smoothly. As usual I was afraid for nothing. I always hate asking for help, like people are going to be upset, think less of me. I know that’s not real. Totally my imagination. It still holds me back.
Funny thing is she said “well we’ve been telling you, you can’t do it all.” Hmmmm. Wondering who the “we” is because she’s never said that before. LOL.
One final change. In an effort to make my Pinterest account better serve you I have been revamping it yet again.
I have hidden away the boards that don’t encompass either Parenting or Caregiving. Maybe they’ll come back someday.
I broke out the Elder Health Care board into separate boards like Activites, Safety, Books, For the Caregiver and more to make it easier for you. In my excitement I wasn’t thinking and removed the Elder Care board. This caused so, so many of you to be bumped from my followers. NOOOO! There is no way for me to fix it on my side.
If this happened to you, I am so sorry. If you need to re-follow or haven’t followed us yet, CLICK HERE.
Let me know what you’d like to see either in the Pinterest account or here on the blog.
Thank you to all of you who answered the newsletter telling me your stories. I love hearing all about your lives and how I can best help you.
If you haven’t shared your story with me, you can still send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org . I reply back to every one.