You probably live a busy life as a married woman with kids and a career. Being a caregiver to a parent on top of everything else can push you over the edge. Many women are in this situation and it is tough. It takes them away from their job and their family, causing immense stress.
Caregivers often feel as though they are not doing enough. They have only so much time, energy, and patience to give. It is frustrating because by the time they are done with their caregiving duties, they have nothing left for spouses, children, and other loved ones. They do not even have any energy left to care for themselves.
Caregivers are pulled in many different directions. Their spouses and children are irritated because they do not feel as though they are getting enough attention. Relationships are suffering. There is animosity and resentment.
It is important to ensure that your marriage remains a top priority. Without regular communication, your marriage could be headed for divorce. Here is how to balance your responsibilities, reduce stress, and keep your marriage on track.
Check in With Your Spouse Regularly
Do not put this off. No matter how stressed or tired you may feel, you should find time to communicate with your spouse. Your marriage needs to be #1 in your life.
Talk About Everything
Do not bottle up your feelings. Caregiving is stressful. Let your spouse know what is on your mind. Talk about the good and the bad. No topic should be off limits.
Make Time for Each Other
Busy schedules can make spontaneity hard, but you still need to make time for each other. Not everything needs to be about caregiving. Take some time to have fun and not think about the stresses of everyday life. Go for a walk, go out for a date night, or enjoy dinner together. Enjoy a movie together on the couch. Spend some extra time cuddling. Just make sure you take time to nurture your marriage.
This is easier said than done when you are feeling overwhelmed, but try to look at the situation with positivity. Take a close look at your thoughts and try to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. Too much negativity can put a strain on a marriage, so try to look at life as a glass half full and learn to be thankful for what you have. If you are having trouble, read self-help books or learn to practice mindfulness.
Balance the Expectations of Your Spouse
A lot of stress as a caregiver comes from not meeting your family’s expectations—namely, the expectations of your spouse. They may be feeling resentment that you are spending all your time with your parent and not enough time at home with the family. They may feel as though they rarely see you. They may have had to take on more responsibilities at home in your absence, and this can cause them to feel animosity toward you and your parent.
You cannot have a happy marriage this way. Unless your caregiving duties are short in duration, such as a few weeks at the moment, you cannot expect to just put your marriage on hold. That is not fair to you and your spouse. There needs to be some degree of compromise and balance.
Get Help From Your Spouse
Ultimately, your spouse is going to need to pitch in to some degree to help the stressed out caregiver. Can your husband stop by and care for your parent one night a week? Can he take your parent to doctor appointments? Any little bit helps. If your spouse does not have a good relationship with your parent, can he at least help out at home? Can he cook dinner and take care of the kids’ needs? If your spouse is feeling resentful, then perhaps he needs to chip in and understand where you are coming from.
Set Boundaries With Your Parent
Sometimes spouses of caregivers feel resentment when the parent is taking up too much time. And this often happens—it is not uncommon for a parent to demand too much of their adult child’s attention. They may feel as though the adult child should be available 24/7, and then put the child on a guilt trip if they do not meet their demands.
This is why caregivers need to set boundaries with their parents early on. If you have a career and a family, you cannot serve as your parent’s sole caregiver. You will have to set boundaries early on—otherwise, your parent will likely take advantage of you. If you have siblings, enlist their help. If there are other family members, get them to help with caregiving duties, as well. Neighbors and friends may also be able to help a little. Depending on your parent’s condition, you may have to get paid help from an in-home caregiver or at least have one come by on a part-time basis. Do not feel as though you need to take on all the caregiving duties on your own. Give yourself a break.
Seek Legal Help
Caring for a parent can be draining, especially when you have a career and family of your own. It is easy to forget about your own needs, causing major stress and burnout. In some cases, it can cause relationship problems and even divorce.
If you choose divorce, Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler will be there to support you. We can help you navigate through all the elements and reduce stress. Schedule a consultation with our office today. Call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.