Caregiving is new role after homeschooling

Caregiving is new role after homeschooling

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One thing that I didn’t expect when I plunged into my “life after homeschooling” chapter was the amount of time still dedicated to caregiving. Nobody actually ever so much as hinted about this aspect of an empty nest.

I only heard about pursuing interests set aside during the child raising years or changing careers or traveling or discovering new hobbies. One thinks, “Wow! What am I going to do with all this extra time?”

But wait! It’s not what you expect.

Hold plans loosely

Yet Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

That’s true. One should hold loosely to plans and expectations. Some planners (ahem) struggle with flexibility (and I don’t mean the toe touching type).

Swapping caregiving roles from raising children to helping parents began around the time I finished up homeschooling. We moved my mother-in-law to a smaller home, but this only meant taking care of all her yardwork and handyman jobs and other needs closer to home. One wouldn’t think it would be such a big deal, but the doubled workload causes stress.

For me the unknown territory of caregiving looms ahead and causes fear.

Caregiving emotions

According to The Caregiver Helpbook Powerful Tools for Caregivers (Third edition), “Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems. Caregivers frequently cite restriction of personal activities and social life as problems. They often feel they have no control over events—and that feeling powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health.”

I admit to the feeling of powerlessness. There’s nothing like falls, accidents, medicine problems, and sickness to throw a wrench into a day, week, month, or year. It’s not like when your children are under your roof. You have to travel or bring people into your home to live for a while. That disrupts routines for both parties.

Pronouncing drugs, let alone learning what each one’s purpose is, becoming responsible for following changes, and checking up on adults thrust me into new roles I felt unprepared for. I took a caregiver course in hopes of learning how to help and how to cope. I collected a nice pile of resources, learned plans of actions that needed to be considered and laid out, became educated on safety protocols, and learned about making plans to take care of myself. They also shared different communication approaches which I practiced. Yet, I still feel unqualified.

Doctor appointments and visiting assisted living facilities for determining future plans consume a lot of time. This is just the beginning of this new chapter that only leads to things most people don’t want to think about.

Trust God to direct plans

All my time management ideas look good on paper. The neat little time blocks and plans for efficiency worked in theory but not reality, so I had to adjust my attitude and lower my expectations. Perhaps I shouldn’t have set such high goals? It felt like the rug being pulled out from under me. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. At least that’s what I thought and struggled with.

Proverbs 16:3 reminds us: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”


Psalm 94:11 also tells us: “The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.”

Communication key in caregiving roles

Remember when you first became a parent and your day looked much different than expected?  You spent your time caring for this precious new person. You learned as you went on your parenting and educating journey. Now, this is similar, but very different, because we’re talking about adults with their own ideas. That’s why communicating and listening is so important.  Not just for the person you’re caring for, but for you and your spouse.

Our regular responsibilities march on with our caregiving roles. We learn to juggle. It all works out somehow.

We do our best to prepare. Sometimes our efforts are for naught, but sometimes they help a little. Nobody knows what tomorrow brings. Why do we stress about it?

Psalm 33:11 says, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations.” And Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”

Prayer helps

Why do we worry about caregiving? The Lord will work it all out. May we rest in that. We may not know what tomorrow or even the next hour will bring, but the Lord does, and He keeps His promises to never leave us or forsake us.

The older I get, the more I realize my dependency on prayer to reassure my heart as I step out to do the next thing. And stepping out takes courage sometimes; so carry on, my brave, caregiving friend. We’re in this together.

How has caregiving changed your life?

6 Replies to “Caregiving is new role after homeschooling”

  1. Michelle, you are an incredible caregiver. Your heart truly cares for those around you. This is a beautiful and transparent post which reminds us that God is in the details of every moment. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Gretchen, for your kind, encouraging comment. I was nervous about sharing this blog, but I thought if others felt similarly, we could all be encouraged with the reminder. Thank you again. I appreciate you joining the conversations. I hope you are having a lovely spring.

  2. I live by the theory don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. (Unfortunately my husband lives by put off whatever you can 😠)I’ve learned even the best laid plans have a way of pulling the rug out from underneath you. I didn’t know what to expect when the 2 of us were both retired. I WISH I had some time to be bored!!!! Then I could do the things “I” like to do. We never know what is around the corner and no one is guaranteed another day. So we do the best we can. I’m reminded of a line from a 70’s Song…”This world is not my home…I’m just passing through.”

    1. That is good advice, Deb. Some days seem like they don’t have enough hours. Thanks for sharing. You are right about just doing the best we can. I hope your days will fall into a less stressful pattern soon. Praying for you all.

  3. Caregiving is an incredibly complex journey, and each situation is unique.
    We had the pleasure, and pains, of caregiving for my mother-in-law and my aunt for over 9 years. Both lived with us, and for 2 years both at the same time. It’s a struggle to maintain harmony. As the caregiver, you become the responsible party. You are in charge of meeting the physical needs, doctors appointments, and dealing with family members who are quick to give advise (but not actual help). All the while being sensitive and mindful of their thoughts, feelings, needs, and concerns, (and sometimes strong or obstinate idea on how it should be done). Some personalities are more prickly than others, and it can be a struggle. This doesn’t leave much room for “me-time”,… or hubby time for that matter! I think that’s where I got in the habit of staying up late. I needed some peace and quiet to myself. I would watch Carol Burnett or some other light-hearted show to help counter-balance the demands of the day. I was also fortunate enough to have a husband who is a counselor and would let me vent on our walks.
    I think as women we are natural nurturers and caregivers, designed that way by a loving God who knew we were better equipped for the task. The problem comes when we neglect our own care in the process. Recognizing that this is an “all hands on deck” journey can help lighten the load. If there are any family members (or hired persons) that can do some of the tasks that can give you some breathing room. (especially for certain tasks that may be more draining). For us, it was well worth hiring someone for bathing and lunchtime. It also gave the ladies something to look forward to.
    Recognize your thoughts, and find support. Grieving loss, or perceived loss, has many stages. Your feelings and heart matter too!!! Be certain Your Heavenly Father is aware. Hebrws 4:16 says, “THEREFORE, (because of all this stuff) let us come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, that WE may obtain mercy,.. and find GRACE to help in time of need.” Matthew 10:29-31 speaks of our Father being aware of everything from little sparrows to the hairs on our head,… and He cares about them all. (and all stuff roaming around in the head underneath those hairs!)
    Sanity is a like walking a tight-rope,… (funambulism) which requires balance, strength, fancy footwork, focus, and safety measures. Jesus is the balancing pole that helps you correct your balance and keep from falling : ) Good Luck!! I’ll be praying for you!

    1. Thank you, Anne, for the wonderful encouragement, sound advice, and prayers. I will need to come back to this once in awhile to remind myself when I feel overwhelmed. Thanks for taking time to share with us all. God bless you and your family.

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