My mom had a refrigerator magnet that said, “I must learn to say NO”.
It was hard for her to say NO when people from a group would ask for her assistance. People loved her spirit and her passion to help others. I don’t know if she bought that magnet or if someone gave it to her. She would always be glad to help, but she knew her personal time was just as precious. It was the special time with family and friends that gave her the strength to be so highly involved with these important causes and groups.
My life has mirrored my mother’s in some respects. I share her passion to be involved. My immediate passion is the care and safety of my husband and his father. I will always be available to help them and care for them.
I need to remind myself that it’s okay to say NO, but how is it possible for a 24/7 caregiver to say NO to a loved one when everything that loved one needs is dependent on YOU?
I need a different magnet that says, “I must learn to say YES”. I need to tell myself that it’s okay to say YES to getting help with my caregiving responsibilities. It’s okay to say YES to substitute caregivers. It’s okay to say Yes to free time for ME. It’s okay to say YES to time with friends and family who have probably grown tired of hearing me say NO to them too often.
We, as caregivers, need to start reminding ourselves that it’s okay to get help for ourselves. For me, I’m going to start with a minimal commitment of just a few hours a week. This is time for me to get groceries or just be out of the house. This is time for me to gather strength so I may continue being an awesome caregiver.
I know that caregiving guilt is real because I feel it. Do you feel it, too? I’m trying to find that delicate balance in my caregiving role. I’m trying to say YES to friends and family more often. I’m trying to say YES to myself more. I’m trying…Will you try, too?