CAN'T SAY IT OUT-LOUD
"I don't want to take care of my parents anymore." This one sentence, as easy as it is to type, is nearly impossible for most daughters and sons to say out-loud. The truth is that many have felt this way for years and bury it deep inside of them.
"The world would think I'm cold and heartless. How dare I not take care of someone who sacrificed so much to help raise me?"
I hear this fear on a daily basis. Sandwich Generation daughters and sons fighting overwhelming guilt of their peers, other family members and the general public. Working with a company that has served hundreds of families of all walks of life, I can tell you that I have not met a single person that should feel guilty.
Caregiving is hard. Add in your career, a few kids of your own and you're lucky to get a few hours of sleep a night. You are only human and can only do so much. Do not feel guilty about this. Instead, focus on relinquishing yourself of the guilt with these tips:
1. RECOGNIZE THE GUILT
Identify what is really making you feel guilty. Is it something you did? Is it something you did not do? Should you have acted differently? Try to identify if you really should have acted or reacted in a different way. You may find that much of your guilt is self-induced and as a result of no 'mistake' at all.
2. MAKE AMENDS...
..Where necessary. The "where necessary" is a main point here for many in the Sandwich Generation. Choosing to take care of yourself and your children should not lead to guilt. If you do identity a misstep, ask for forgiveness and move on.
3. IDENTIFY WHAT IS IN MY CONTROL
We are a society that feels everything is (or at least should be) within our control. Look at what you really can affect and what you cannot. Change the things you can, delegate what can be changed but you do not have bandwidth to manage, and forget the rest.
4. FIND (HEALTHY) OUTLETS
Focusing on yourself is one of the most important tasks when it comes to caregiving. If you are not healthy and balanced, how can you care for another individual?
- Friends and family outings
- Reading relaxing books
- Finding a hobby (painting, sketching, photography, needlepointing, playing an instrument)
The Wrap Up
Guilt does not have to control your life. Find ways to help yourself. Check out our guides to help with these situations:
- 6 Steps to Long Distance Caregiving- Great for those caring for a loved one from afar
- 5 Step Guide to Staying Sane with an Aging Parent- When your parents health is worsening, use these tips to take care of yourself in the process.
Until next time!