October 21, 2016

Caregiver, Care for Thyself!

Sunrise - 61st & Pulaski 01
So far, October has not been a good month.

As many of you know, I've been working towards building a small freelance practice. I had even gone to the point of getting small business consulting in order to refine my business skills. But then, several things happened.

One was that Mom had been in and out of the hospital for various issues. That meant setting the work search aside to take care of matters. My small business counselor seemed focused more on having me go through pointless exercises (which I had done anyway) rather than understand the nature of my professional work. Plus, some personal crises arose that required my attention, and now...

Well, I became one of those people. The kind who creates a crowdfunding page for emergency support.

And again, I face many of the paradoxes of being an adult caregiver....the ultimate being the need to care for myself.

One paradox is that, for every person who understands, there are several who shake their heads and offer unrealistic advice. Tidbits like Why don't you move closer/in with your mother? (She has care, and besides...I don't have the resources to move). Can't you get others to help? (Mom has other caregivers coming in, and several family members are pitching in when they can. But I'm an only child with no siblings to bully into helping).

But the kicker: Why not find work that's flexible? And that's the issue.

Part of taking care of Mom means that a certain amount of time is gone. I'm doing the best I can do, but working "the hustle" (as many "entrepreneurs" will state) takes time, and in a crisis...time is precious. (Which is why I chose freelance in the first place...) Luckily, I have one new-ish client - and a contract on the way - but there's always a need for work.

I know I'm rambling, so let's cut it quickly - caretaking is not easy. Sometimes, I need to remind myself (which is why I'm posting this) that not only is taking care of myself critical....but it's worth it. Knowing that several friends have donated to the site above - and others are donating leads, thoughts, prayers, and good wishes - makes me very hopeful.

And for those who believe there is no such thing as a "work/life balance", or that people who don't "hustle" aren't entrepreneurs, please remember....there's a thin line between hustling and hiding.

And I work hard to know the difference.

(Don't worry - more blogging shenanigans are forthcoming).

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