Working Daughter Interview: Elizabeth Miller

savvysandwichElizabeth Miller is the blogger behind Savvy Sandwicher. We admire her because she makes self-care a priority.

Where and when do you feel most competent? I feel most competent on a Monday morning when I’m at the gym before work after having spent time with my immediate family and my mom over the weekend and I’m ready to face the busy work week with prepped meals and plans for cooking dinner. In other words, everyone’s needs have been met, including mine.

With what do you struggle?  I struggle with trying to make everyone happy and with trying to accept that not everyone is on a journey to improve themselves.

What one thing do you wish you had more time for? It’s so hard to pick ONE thing.  I’d love to have more time with my family.  I’d love to have more time to work on my blog, read, scrapbook, visit with friends, travel, spruce up my home, etc.  “I’ll never be bored” is one of my expressions I use.

With what do you wish you had more help?  I’m constantly looking for ways to find less to take care of.  I’d love to hire out the mundane but important things like grocery shopping, yard work, paying the bills, cooking, and deep cleaning.  I’d also like for my mom to have more 1-on-1 help which would allow me to just hang out with her on my visits. finalsavvysandwicherlogoIMAGE

Where do you find support?  Writing and working on my blog is so therapeutic for me.  It helps me really hone in on my feelings.  The Savvy Sandwicher community is filled with woman who are sandwiched between raising their children and caring for an aging parent so I know I’m not alone.  We are all trying to figure out our ‘new normal’.

What is your best habit?  I make my health a priority.  Next to writing, working out is what helps me face and deal with all that is on my plate.  I practice the self-care that I preach.  I know I need to pay my health first in order to take better care of those around me.

If you knew then, what you know now… My parents were determined to ‘age in place’.  I wish my siblings and I would have pushed harder for my parents to move into an independent or assisted living community together.  It would have been so much easier for the one left behind to get acclimated if they had made it a home together first.

What is your dream retirement? Having 100% flexibility over how and where I spend my time.  My husband and I would love to travel and spend a month a year in a new destination.

What would you like to see employers do more of to help caregivers?  I’m grateful that where I work they allow me flexibility in exchange for the commitment that I will certainly get my job done.  If I didn’t have this, I couldn’t work there.  I need to know that I can take 1/2 a day to take my mom to an appointment or be at school for a child’s special event.  Working remotely as the norm instead of the exception would also be advantageous for the family caregiver when possible.

What do you admire in/about other caregivers? I greatly admire family caregivers who are caring for aging parents or special needs family members in their home day after day…for years.  These caregivers sacrifice so much.  Family caregivers are my heroines.

What is your motto?  “Self-care is not selfish”.  As women, our nature is to take care of everyone else first and give ourselves what is leftover.  I’ve seen firsthand what happens when we live our lives this way.  My parents took great care of their family and gave us tons of opportunities but their own health paid a price.  I’m choosing a different path for my family and want to teach and encourage other family caregivers to do the same.

What is your superpower?  My superpower would definitely have to do with organization and productivity.  I’m constantly looking for ways to do things smarter and get more done.  Once I figure out a good system or what works for me, I have to share it.  I don’t want someone I care about or other family caregivers to have to waste time and effort figuring it out.

Caregiving: a blessing or a burden?  Yes. It’s both.  I’ve learned so much about myself and my family by having these added responsibilities with helping to care for my mom.  With added responsibilities comes the feelings of being overwhelmed and never feeling like you are doing enough for those around you.  Everyone tends to just get pieces of you.  At the end of each day, I know in my heart that I’m doing the best that I can. That’s all really I can expect from myself.

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