When you were a child, your mother was always there for you. If you fell down and scraped your knee, she bandaged you up. If you were hungry, she cooked you dinner. If you needed scolding for the dumb things we all do as children and teenagers, she was there to do it. But most of all, if you just needed anything, anything at all, she was there to help you in any way that she could.
Now that she has Alzheimer’s, though, the situation has reversed. Now you are taking care of her, and although it is bittersweet, you are happy to repay her for all she did for you by making sure she gets the best of care now. You love her, and you feel good that you are able to provide her with what she needs.
But there is a downside to this situation. Your mother took care of you when you were growing up, and now you are taking care of her. But what about your own children? You want them to have the same experience with their mother as you did with yours – you want them to have someone who is always there for them in good times and bad, in happy times and not-so-happy times. Someone who will cook them dinner and ask them about their day and get on them about doing their homework if they’re slacking off. How can you do all those things when you are busy taking care of someone else?
There are two things that are essential for someone in this situation: balance and support.
You have to find a way to balance, not just caring for your mother and caring for your children, but also having your own life and identity as well. While it is true that your mother will need help with many of her daily tasks, you should make sure that you also give time to your children, and always try to keep up with what is going on in their lives.
But how can you juggle all of these responsibilities all by yourself? The answer is that you can’t. You need a support system, whether it is your husband, a relative, a friend, or even one of your older children to be there to help you with all of your responsibilities. Maybe they can take over with your mom for a while so you can go to your son’s basketball game. Or maybe they can watch your baby while you take your mother to a doctor’s appointment. Maybe they could cook dinner a few nights a week, or help clean the house. You can’t do everything alone without stressing yourself out – the key is to delegate whenever possible!
If you still find that you have difficulty being both a caregiver to your mom and a mom to your kids, you might consider hiring a home care aide to help take care of your mother. They can assist her with her daily tasks while you focus on spending time with her and your children as a family. No matter what you choose to do, though, know that you are not alone, and that you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.