We mums tend to have a busy life. After all, caring for a child of any age is hard work. Of course, if you add additional caregiving duties to this, including when the responsibility for caring for elderly relatives fall to us, it can be even more challenging. Luckily, even if you do find yourself in this position, there are some tactics you can use to ease the burden. Read on to find out what they are, below.
Your schedule is your best friend.
Schedules get a bad rep, don’t they? This is because they tend to be associated with people that are control freaks and cannot let go. However, they can actually be a useful tactic when you a busy mum that is tasked with the care of two different generations.
Of course, for a schedule to work and help reduce your stress rather than grow it, it’s vital that you deal with it correctly. What this means is that you create an ideal schedule for your daily activities that can be used as a guide of what to do when. Something that can be particularly helpful if you have a relative that need medications at a particular time or kids with after-school clubs and appointments to keep.
Obviously, each day’s priorities will need to be assessed and worked into your schedule, and that means it will never quite look like the perfect version that you have laid out. That is OK though, as its there to scaffold the structure of your day rather than cage you in and add to your stress!
You can even choose to invest in a paper planner or a planning app on your phone, which means you can take your daily schedule around with you. Something that can help you keep organised and on time despite being a busy mum that has to care for both your kids and your elderly relatives.
Time to engage.
One of the most important reasons that it’s crucial to have a schedule each day is that as the primary caregiver for two generations, you will need to ensure that you don’t just manage your child and your elderly relatives’ care but actually engage with them on a human level as well.
Of course, when you are busy, overworked and stressed, this can be incredibly difficult, as you are just trying to complete all of the tasks they need to for a basic level of care. However, it is essential to remember that we are not only our physical bodies, but so much more than this, and that needs to be engaged and stimulated as well.
To that end, creating slots of time where you can have a conversation with your children and relatives vital. In fact, such time will allow you to build your relationship and create a genuine caring connection too. One that goes beyond their physical needs and that can be beneficial for your well being and theirs.
Move them in?
Now, it’s likely that while your children will be resident in your home at least some of the time your elderly relatives will not. However, you can make things a little easier on yourself by moving-in your elderly relatives as well as then you won’t have to travel to their home all of the time repeatedly, and so can minister to them quickly when the need arises.
Of course, moving your elderly relatives into the family home may not be without some problems. After all, you will all need to get used to being in each others space, something that it can take a while to adjust too, especially for older relatives that are used to having their independence in their own home!
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness!
Next, when it comes to caring for your kids and your elderly relatives, it’s crucial to remember that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but actually a sign of strength. Of course, you may be used to just ‘getting on with it’ and coping on your own, but this may be doing both yourself and your loved ones a disservice.
After all, if you exhaust yourself, you will no longer be able to provide such good quality care, and this will affect both your children and your elderly relatives’ well being. To that end, getting some help from professional care services for your child, or your elderly relative can help lessen your responsibilities and give you more time for yourself.
Additionally, there are many specialist organisations out there that offer things like Dementia Services for those that suffer from the condition, as well as those that are supporting them. Of course, by tapping into these precious treasures, you can not only ensure that your elderly relative is getting the best care possible but also gain access to carer workshops and even advocacy with medical professionals too. Something that can help you to not only help them manage their condition, but make it easier for you to care for them as well.
Self-care is important too!
Lastly, when it comes to caring for others as a mum, it is incredibly easy to forget to look after ourselves. Of course, this isn’t good for anyone involved because not only can it affect our mental and physical well being, but it can also impact on the care we can provide for our children and relatives.
That is why it is crucial to not only ask for help when it comes to your caring duties, whether that be from professionals, charities, or other family members but also ensure that our own life is balances as well.
What that means is that we do not allow our caring duties to get in the way of eating healthy, getting enough rest, and doing things that recharge our own batteries and will enable us to have fun as well.
Sadly, achieving this balance can be a challenge when it is just our children that we have to take care of, and adding ageing relatives to the mix can further complicate things.
With that in mind, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t overload yourself or take on too much. Also, do your best to set aside time for yourself to rest or complete a hobby as well, no matter how busy you are as a mum. It may just be the thing that fuels you to achieve all of your other duties!