Yesterday I blogged about taking care of yourself physically in order to ensure you are able to take on your grandchildren. Many people just don't realize how much it takes from and out of you when you go from being the grandparents a child visits to the grandparents that the children live with.
You are now thrust into a quasi-parenting role and while things were hunky dorey years ago when you were raising your own children, you now have new priorities, i.e.:
-If you are raising toddlers or infants, be prepared to have your sleep pattern disturbed by a crying child at night.
-Be prepared to get up and make emergency room visits in the middle of the night for high fevers and ear infections. **If you live in the Phoenix area, I high recommend you take your child to the wonderful doctors at Good Night Pediatrics, they have five locations from the east to the west valley and you aren't exposing your children to whatever in a larger emergency room.
-If you are used to getting up and having the morning to yourself before you go to work... believe me, you will need to get up earlier so you can pack the children off to daycare, babysitters, etc.
-You will need to child proof your home: we put in socket plugs, socket covers, moved all medicines , poisons and chemicals up high as well as paints, markers, pens, etc. **(for an easy way to do this, if you can, I crawled around the floor so I would be at child level and looked for things I may not see standing up).
-Join or start a grandparents support group.
-Much more to list, but this is just a start!
What happens if you are the one to become incapacitated? You need to plan and you need more than anything else to NOT be afraid to ask for help. Don't give me the excuses, I have heard them all, because I have been the one to make 10 excuses for why I shouldn't ask for help. Most people who are control freaks are that way. Get rid of the control and tell someone you need help!
My surgery is a great example of reaching out for help. First, let me explain to all of you if you have major surgery like I did with a Lumbar Fusion, you will need help for at least the very minimum 6 weeks.
My hubby took 3 weeks off so he could be with me during surgery, bring me home after surgery and take care of me. This also gave the grandchildren time to run and play and be children. My church brought home cooked meals every evening for 2 weeks (we could have used them for 4-6 weeks or after hubby returned to work), friends from church took the children over night during both my surgeries, others took the children to their home so they could visit and play with others children!
When someone asks you, how can they help? Let them know! Plan ahead to have a pedicure, your hair done, etc. I am not allowed as of yet, to bend, stoop, reach, twist, turn or lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. I am allowed to talk walks up to 2 blocks at a time, however, I cannot put my own walking shoes on, clip my own toenails, wash my own hair, take my own bath. I cannot take care of my personal hygiene below my knees!
We were prepared for the long haul...I have a grabber, a raised toilet seat & a walker. I could use a tool to put my own socks and shoes on, but what we aren't prepared for is when my paycheck stops coming in this month. As a substitute teacher, I have no income during the summer, no benefits, etc.
My husband and I have been blessed to have a wonderful friend in our lives for over 29 years now and while he lives 2 hours away, our friend John has been the most wonderful care giver and friend ever. John has taken 4 days off for the past three weeks to not only be my caregiver when hubby is working, but he also has vacuumed floors, mopped, did the laundry, dishes, assisted with the grandchildren while I must follow doctors orders to not sit up for to long at one time and since hubby only has one day off per week, John allows my hubby to do things he must do without having to stop and check on me all the time.
Not everyone has family they can rely on, if you have good friends and they ask 'what can I do to help?' let them know what you need. I can't travel any further than my front porch because I have no stair railings, I can't drive, so perhaps asking friends to grocery shop for you, prepare meals, make your bed, etc.?
I still feel awkward at times asking people to help me, but right now, if I am going to be able to resume working, resume caring for my family and my home, I must not be afraid to ask for help.
As a custodial grandparent, you owe it to your grandchildren and to yourself to just say: 'yes, I could really used some help, thank you for offering!' Take it from me, it will be the best thing you can do when you need help! No one, expects you to do this on your own!
You may qualify for respite care, your grandparenting group may have some helpers, your church, your local social services office, the local agency on aging! Check it out BEFORE you need help and you should be good to go!
Check out these blogs for further information & if you need to talk, if you need prayer, please contact me.
Raising Your Grandchildren
If you are blessed to be raising your grandchildren and your health is excellent, then do your best to reach out to others. One of my blogging friends Karen Best Wright states in her area, someone opened a thrift store and the monies go to grandparents raising grandchildren, what a blessing!
Have a great day and don't be afraid to'Ask For Help,' when you need it!