Shh-h-h-h! … Do you hear that? Exactly. That is the sound of an empty house, my empty house.
For the first time in months, I spent last night alone in my own home. The boys were off at their mother’s, my nephew was out doing what 19-year-olds do, and my mother was gone on a week-long trip trip to my sister’s house in Michigan. That left the house to me and the dog, and lots of silence. It was blissful. I read a book and indulged in watching two hours of poker on TV, a rarity in a household where four people usually demand my attention. There was so much me time, that I actually felt ill at times wondering what it was that I should be doing because normally there’s always something that I should be doing. Finally, I had to put my conscience to rest and accept that I deserved the night off.
What Happens When Caregivers Get a Break?
I wonder how other sandwich generation caretakers feel when they receive such a much-needed break? I wonder if others experience the guilt which plagued me? I suspect they do because I often read about the support groups for caretakers like me. And so I wonder what it is they tell themselves when they have a few precious hours alone. Do they repeat over and over, “I deserve this. It’s okay to do something just for myself. That’s not selfish.” Or are there other tricks?
I’m not cold-hearted or someone who doesn’t appreciate his family. Actually, the very opposite is true. I dearly love my two kids, and my nephew and mother, who also live with me. But combining work with the time it takes to care for my loved ones each week leaves little time for me to even collect my thoughts, let alone carve out some “me time.” And so that’s why last night felt so precious.
And, unbelievably, I have two more days everyone will be out of the house. My only obligation to anyone is to get home to let the dog out, and that is all she expects of me.
Shh-h-h-h! Do you hear that?
That’s the sound of no one home at my house as I steal the opportunity to go out for the night. I guess I’ll have to save feeling guilty about it for later…Posted in Caregiving, Caring At Home, Stress | 1 Comment »
Tags: Caregivers, Caregiving, family, unpaid caregivers