Childrearing

Dual Mom Duty: I’m Caring For My Parents And My Daughter

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It’s a sobering moment in a person’s life, the time when the tables turn and you have to start caring for your own parents. It’s not a moment that I was prepared for, or expected to find myself in anytime soon. But that didn’t stop it from happening when a family medical emergency left me torn between helping my parents and caring for my daughter.

My own mother had her in-the-middle moment the day her father passed away. He was so strong and so in control. I was in fifth grade when he had a heart attack while out chopping wood on his farm. When she and her siblings lost him, they suddenly became responsible for caring for their mother, as he had always done.

In the years after, I watched as my mother juggled her growing kids and the needs of her own mom. My grandmother suffered from severe health problems. She would spend weeks in the hospital, my mom at her side. We kids got to be teenagers, so it’s not like my mom had to hire babysitters or worry about getting us to and from school. My dad was always there to help. But it was still an intense amount of stress for a mother of three teens to deal with, caring for a parent who desperately wanted to be independent but physically wasn’t capable.

I think the only reason that I see this struggle now, that I understand the difficult time my mother was going through, is because I finally hit that moment where I was torn between taking care of my mom and taking care of my daughter.

We had a recent health emergency in my family. It included a scary couple of days, an intense surgery and over a week in the hospital. I sat in that hospital room with my mother all day for almost a week straight. Evenings, my husband did his best to entertain our little one. They went and saw the new Ice Age movie. They had a “Rock Star Party” that included blue nail polish and fake tattoos. They went to parks, ate pizza and generally did anything to excite a four-year-old girl who is angry that her mother hasn’t had dinner with her in days.

(Photo: Sense)

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