Are you taking care of "You?" Have you ever asked yourself that question? I know I didn't. But, I've started thinking about it more and more. Especially, since I became a caregiver to my mom.
I always say my life changed in the matter of three hours on December 20, 2010. That's the day my father died, and my mom came to live with my sister and I. I went immediately into super saver caregiver mode, and I've never looked back. The next five years would go on to be filled with cursing, crying, depression, stress, laughter, hope, and love. That's quite a cycle isn't it? But, that's a caregiver life. We give so much of ourselves to others; that you sometimes forget about the most important person in this, you.
Mother is defined by Webster’s dictionary as a “woman who has given birth to a child or children.” Mother is also defined as an "elderly woman, someone who looks after someone kindly and protectively, sometime excessively so." There are so many different definitions, and yet they all go back to mothers being the givers and caretakers in life.
So, I guess that helps me explain why I’m celebrating Mother’s Day, even though I don’t have children. Yep, today is my day too, and I don’t feel bad about it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say I’m a “mother” in the truest sense of the world. But, I do have a “mother” and “sister” that rely on me every day to make it happen. I give them “life” by being a constant source of love and support for them. I would lay down my life with no question to ensure their happiness. I will be their loudest cheerleader, and their biggest “bodyguard”. Yes, this five foot tall woman can become a “giant” when it comes to taking care of my “divas .”
It’s been a crazy social April for us. The “travel bug” has bitten me, and I’m determined to make the most of it. Travel can be so challenging when you’re a caregiver. There’s so much planning that has to go into putting a trip together.
It’s a great chance to recharge, and you’ll be surprised how it can make everyone in your household happy. It was the perfect dose of “happiness” for my mom’s birthday.
The caregiving revolution must be televised. I can't ease my way into this topic. I can't tip toe around it in a colorful way. Caregivers have real issues & need real help.
I'm five years into the caregiving journey, and even longer than that if I counted the time when it was just my sister and I. But, at my level comes a peace. There is is an understanding that this is not going to be easy.
That I'll face challenges on all levels ranging from my health to my finances. The struggle is real. But, I'm finally at a point where I don't think about suicide; and I understand my happiness is essential to my family's success. But, there are a lot of caregivers who aren't at that point.
I know that’s hard to believe. Especially, since I’m so darn fly (just kidding, but not really). But, it’s sadly the truth. I went on a self-imposed “dating sabbatical” after my last online encounter. Click here if you want more information on that fiasco. But, all I can say is “Budweiser and Bullshit”. But, let’s get back to the present .
I’m ready to jump back into the "dating pool". But, I just realized something. How do you date when you’re a single “parent” with no kids? I know that sounds crazy. But, I can’t think of any other way to describe dating as a caregiver.
My Mom and Sister are my main priorities. They’re the first thing I think about in the morning, and the last thing I think about at night. Their well-being and happiness are the most important things in my life. Isn’t that what it’s like when you have children? They’re not my kids. But, they’re just as important. So, anyone I bring around them has to understand that. They also have to understand my time is limited.
I have to be available to drive my sister to work. I also have doctor’s appointments, and anything else necessary to keep this “ship” afloat. As I’ve said before, “I’m the Chauffer, Cook, Doctor, Psychiatrist, Comedian, etc." My roles are many, and I haven’t even touched the fact that I strive to have a life too.
Yes, I work out (even though I’m on strike at the moment. That’s another story), and I have a full time job that I love. On top of that I’m also sharing my life with you , and I have some good friends, that I spend time with occasionally. So, I’m pretty fulfilled. But, I’m missing a partner to share my life with.
I want that person who is my friend and partner in crime, who also happens to love my family just as much as I do. Everyone needs someone to love. But, caregivers especially need a loving partner.
We need a person that can be our strength when we feel weak, and our voice of reason when we’re off track. Caregiving can be so tough sometimes, and it’s not always easy to encourage yourself. Having a partner that supports, encourages, and prays for you can breathe life into our situations. It’s not always about someone paying your bills. It’s about that person being there, to help you be your best self. That’s what true love is all about.
That’s why I’m ready to jump back into the “dating pool”. I’m ready for my partner. I’m ready to open heart, and give the right person a chance to share my world. I’m not too sure how to go about that. So, I’m putting it out there in the universe, and I’m ready to receive.
I don’t know where this is going to take me. But, I’m glad you’re on the journey with me. Also, please share any advice you have on dating with kids or as a caregiver. Finding love can take a village, and I’m ready for some folks to guide my journey.