Family caregivers who still have children living at home have to work hard to balance caring for aging loved ones while also parenting effectively. Children require a lot of time and attention to grow into healthy, productive adults. As they get older, like high school or even college-aged, they need a different kind of time and attention than they did when they were little. If you still have minors living at home in addition to caring for aging parents or other family members you know how much of your time is already spoken for. You don’t want to miss special school or church programs and you want to be there for those precious moments when your child needs you to be present and available. You also know you need to be with your aging mom or dad for doctor’s appointments, senior luncheons, and community events.
Parenting in and of itself is a full-time job, and so is family caregiving. So how can you be successful at both jobs? It is possible, but as with anything else, it requires planning and practice, and a really great support system! You also need to be realistic. You won’t be able to attend every school function, sporting event, concert, or field trip with your child. You also probably won’t be able to go to every doctor’s appointment or be at every luncheon or award program with your mom or dad. Use a calendar and update it frequently with new information.
Consider which events take priority. Can your spouse can go to the play and video it so you can watch later with your daughter? Perhaps your sibling can take your mom to the doctor so you can chaperone your son’s field trip. Talk with everyone involved and strategize how you can best support your child or parent and also be supported by others. Honest conversations may lead to finding new solutions to scheduling conflicts.
Choose wisely and find a happy balance between supporting your children and your aging family members. Manage this well and everyone will feel supported and loved. Miss this opportunity and you might set yourself up for hurt feelings, resentment, and guilt. Both caregiving and parenting are already largely thankless jobs, but with balance and communication you can be a champion at both in the future.
Chris and I hope you are staying well during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about how to balance caregiving with parenting.