As caregivers, empowerment is especially important in finding a balance between providing the care needed for our loved ones and no longer always striving to meet the other’s expectations at the expense of our own well-being.
ASK for what you need: You have the right to the same quality of life you are offering your loved ones and those around you. It is appropriate to ask for what YOU need to keep going on as a woman and especially as a caregiver.
“I have the right to be heard. Please stop what you are doing and really listen to me.”
“I have the right to respect. Please do not disregard my request.”
“I have the right to experience kindness. Do you have a kind word for me right now?”
“I have a right to my feelings. Your behavior right now is hurtful to me.”
“I need your good behavior right now.”
Stick to short, clear statements that do not “rationalize” or reduce the true need here: that you deserve to be helped and encouraged.
Say: “I need a helper right now”: this could be the 5 year old to put the clean silverware away. Sometimes it actually takes saying what you need out loud to someone you know will support you and help you to “stay on track”. Setting a specific date and time for the task is helpful for both of you: set up two friends to share taking mom to the hair dresser every other Friday. Each friend does one trip, mom gets to visit with two people and you get a mini break.
And when your needs are not met, look at the situation and ask yourself “Next month, will this still be important?” If it is not that urgent, let it go.
If the request for help is something that WOULD make a difference for you, ASK FOR IT AGAIN!
Empowerment is being self-confident and assertive! It’s being firm and claiming what you need. To be aggressive is to be disrespectful to those around you. There is a difference! And we can’t read each other’s minds. Asking is OK!
We know that caregivers have limited free time and that every free moment is precious. The above summary is written so you can do a quick read and take away useful tips. We look forward to hearing from you! Share your response! We all learn when we share what’s working and what’s not. You first reaction to these words is your real truth. It’s OK to speak that truth in this safe space.
Take care~ Elizabeth