Lupus and Caregiving: Making a "Miss" List
Caregiving is a lot of things: rewarding, purposeful, fulfilling, just to name a few.
But it is also...time-consuming.
With only so much time in the day, some of my personal routines and responsibilities have fallen by the wayside. I usually spend my mornings with my mom, then dash out to fit in some combination of work, errands, or exercise, and then it's nap time. After that, the kids come home, we do sports, homework, etc., and then I try and fit in another visit in the evening. Things that can be put off are, and housework, meal prep, shopping or any long range items are moved waaaay down on the list.
It's okay that my priorities have temporarily shifted. I expected it, and am happy to be there for my mom. But I think it's important that I acknowledge what I feel like I'm missing out on. If I do, I'm more likely to avoid feelings of frustration or resentfulness down the line. Jotting it down here might also prompt me to become creative about fitting in something I'm missing once or twice a week. Plus, once something's spelled out instead of just rolling around in my head, it always appears more manageable. (Or it becomes abundantly clear that I am way off base and I need to rethink things entirely!)
So if I'm completely honest, here's what I miss:
*Taking a walk with Tia and Johnny mid-morning.
*Taking Tia with me to do morning school carpool. (Because I've been going straight to my mom's, I don't want Tia to sit in the car for a couple of hours.)
*Going out in our canoe.
*Getting in a full workout.
*Making a batch of cookies, without rushing
*Doing stuff with my girls - like seasonal wardrobe audits, watching an episode of "our" show (Gilmore Girls for one daughter, Perfect Strangers for another), redecorating rooms, etc.
*Watching movies on a rainy day
*Stopping at (insert home store here) to browse for a few minutes during an errand run.
*Meeting up with friends.
*Doing long range planning for the business - marketing, strategy, fabrics, etc.
When I look at the list, I think there's definitely some low hanging fruit here. In fact, the morning after I wrote this post, Johnny and I took Tia for a walk. I just made it happen. I mentioned to my mom that I'd be in a little later, and arranged with a nurse to move one of my mom's every-other-day procedures (which I'm usually present for) an hour later than normal. It felt like the best walk ever - and I walked into my mom's energized and feeling accomplished.
What's more, the procedure ran long, and the doctor came in to chat afterward, so I ended up being there quite a bit longer than expected. But because I had already prioritized a walk, I was in a great place mentally to handle the unexpected delay. It was a great lesson that I hope to put on repeat!