Working Daughter, nowhere it is it written that your life, your dreams, your health, come last. But too many of us often feel this way. No more! So that we are all clear, and can carry on guilt-free (or at least with less guilt), I present to you the Family Caregiver Bill of Rights.
- You have the right to a life. Nowhere is it written that family caregivers must shelve their own lives to manage someone else’s. You have a right to maintain your relationships and personal interests. Carve out time for you. If others don’t approve, then don’t approve of their opinion.
- You have the right to set boundaries. You have the right to balance your own needs with the needs of the people you care for. Know your personal limits and say no to requests that push those limits.
- You have the right to be healthy. No one else’s health should supersede your own. You have the right to sleep, eat, exercise, and do whatever else is needed to protect your physical and mental health. You will be a better caregiver if you care for yourself.
- You have the right to earn a living. Even though society relies heavily and unfairly on women to do the unpaid work of care, women deserve the right to earn a living. You have the right to a job, and even a career. It is not only your right, it is smart to have an income source and a plan for your own retirement and future care needs. You never need to apologize for working.
- You have the right to ask for and receive help. You have the right to accept that you cannot do everything. You have the right to ask for support from siblings, extended family members, friends, social workers, doctors, etc. And you have the right to say, “Yes, thank you,” when you hear the words, “Can I do anything to help?”
- You have the right to be good enough. You have the right to let the laundry pile high, leave the dirty dishes in the sink and the bed unmade. You have the right to wear yoga pants seven days a week. You have the right to serve your children cereal for dinner, again. You can kick perfection to the curb and settle for good enough. Because, actually, you’re pretty amazing.
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