I wonder how many hearts have been burdened by the feeling of guilt. How many hours invested in nailing ourselves to the cross for either doing too much or not doing enough?
I gotta tell you, they ought to dedicate a chapter just on guilt in the future Master Caregivers’ Manual (if someone ever cares to write one).
This week, my mom was admitted to the hospital again. Initially, I was alarmed, scared and paranoid if something I did or didn’t do had broken her like a porcelain doll.
After talking with the clinical staff and confirming that she was stable and her vitals were good, the next thought I had was, “FREEDOM!! Who can I call and where could I go to get some good crawfish?”
Yes, this new development, while unfortunate has provided me the long awaited respite I needed. So while I miss being able to check on her every morning and I love taking care of her, I have honestly enjoyed the down time.
Yet, it’s grueling when I visit her in the hospital and she pleads with me to stay overnight and keep her company because she’s scared and lonely and hurting. A BIG part of me wants to stay, but, always in the end, what I want more is to go home after a hard day’s work, unwind, watch The Walking Dead and get some sleep. The guilt is real.
It’s not an easy feeling to shake. Ironically enough, my mother often shares the guilt she felt dropping me off at the babysitter when I was a kid or leaving me home while she went to work. What she would have done to give up her job and just play with me or spend quality time with me. The funny part is, my recollection was I had a perfect childhood filled with love and abundance. Go figure.
Especially, in light of International Women’s Day this week, I think of the tradeoffs that women make that inadvertently breeds guilt because of the constant displacement we experience. Family or career? Marriage or singlehood? Money or passion? Travel or retirement fund? Job or dream? Soccer game or happy hour? Our lives are riddled with the word “OR.”
Is it the way of the world or is it self-inflicted? Balance seems to be the buzz word these days and I wonder what that really means in modern-day adulthood. It doesn’t always feel like harmony; instead it seems like there’s an implication that we should have the ability to jam 100 things into a 24-hour period—family, career, fun, money, activism, dating, volunteerism, yoga, sushi roll classes, etc. And not only to do it all but to master them gracefully and on time with no error.
What about the option of just letting things flow however they flow? Maybe today it’s family but tomorrow it’s career. Maybe today it’s soccer practice but tomorrow it’s karaoke.
Perhaps with that setup, it feels less sacrificial and we can have more ANDs and CANs in our lives versus ORs.
I don’t know…or maybe this is just the ramblings of a Newbie Caregiver just trying to have balance in a world with too many juggling balls.