We hear it all the time. "I feel so guilty dividing my time between my children and my parents." "I'm ashamed I can't seem to handle everything on my to-do list." "I hate that my sister has to deal with our mom's care and I can't get to town often enough to make a difference." "My dad's face when I leave his room at the nursing home breaks my heart."
A certain amount of guilt is normal. We all have certain expectations we place on ourselves, and certain expectations society places on us. If we don't meet those expectations, we feel as if we've failed somehow. Well, here's what we have to say about that - guilty, schmilty! In reality, no one should be expected to do everything. Asking for help is a realization that, if we spread ourselves too thin, something always suffers.
We often tell people there is a very fine line between perseverance and stubbornness. Women, especially Southern women, tend to find this line very blurry when it comes to caring for our families. We've been told we are strong and should have it all, so in order to have it all, we must do it all. Ah, the fatal trap!
So, what is the answer to rid ourselves of the guilt we heap upon ourselves? It's simple, really. Be strong enough to reach out and ask for quality help, the kind of help you deserve. Sure, not everyone will be able to do things exactly like you would do them, especially for your family. But making the decision to ask for help will allow you to decide what is most important for you to do yourself.
If your kids' summer schedule is hectic and scattered and where you need to be, get some caregiving help for your parents. If your mom's doctors' appointments are of vital importance to you, get some help with your errands. If you can't get your house cleaned for the birthday party, have someone come in to clean it. None of these things mean you are weak. Knowing at what point to ask only demonstrates your strength.
So shake off that guilt, understand the value of your own sanity, and know that you aren't doing anyone any favors by refusing to recognize that fine line before we slide over into stubbornness for the sake of stubbornness. And join us in the chorus - guilty, schmilty!