This post is by TheNotMom team writer Laura LaVoie:
I am not cut out for caregiving. I’ve always known it, but I was recently put to the test when my husband sprained his ankle while camping. He was unable to walk very far without assistance. I helped, of course, and I don’t feel the least bit resentful, but I was keenly aware of my lack of caregiving skills.
Here’s the thing: Some people simply aren’t good at it. People have told me throughout my life that you will figure it out as you go along, but in this case, I doubt that’s really fair for me or the other human being.
Not long after Matt and I started dating almost two decades ago, his family learned that his mother needed to have some pretty major heart surgery. He and his brother, who both worked full time, had to figure out how to care for her after she was home from the hospital. The surgery was scheduled during a two-week break between my spring and summer semesters at college. so I volunteered to help them. I had no idea what I was doing, and I started to jokingly refer to my role as “momsitter.” All I had to do was make sure she was comfortable, right?
As it turned out, the job was more in-depth than I’d expected. I don’t regret doing it, but I do feel like I was woefully unprepared. Most people don’t choose to become care givers; they have the situation thrust upon them when someone is ill.
There is one exception. Parents.
Parents are their children’s caregivers for at least 18 years, and each stage of their child’s development requires a different set of skills that I understand you learn as you go. I have mad respect for parents.
While Matt dealt with his ankle injury over several weeks, I sat in the emergency room, helped him with ice baths, ran errands to get more ibuprofen, walked slowly so he could keep up, and even found him a cane to help with the limping. I was exhausted and he was frustrated.
This whole time, I knew that he would get better, and things would go back to our Normal. This brief experience proves to me that I am not cut out to be a parent OR a caregiver, and that is OK with me. I would like to think that my decision is OK for everyone, but if that were the case we wouldn’t need a site like The NotMom.
Is there a connection between maternal instinct and caregiving? What do you think?