I loved this picture when I saw it and I remember well the challenges of raising a child while also holding down a full-time job.  Not all that good at motherhood at the time, I am grateful to say I appear to have done no permanent harm and my daughter is now a highly accomplished Mom of three successful and incredibly busy teenagers!  I would even suggest that she wears even more hats because I do not see one here for Electronic Device Monitor or Child Safety Advisor! I don’t know how she does it.  Raising children today appears to me to be an enormous challenge yet somehow our moms are finding ways to get it all done!  Wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day just doesn’t seem to be enough.

As a caregiver, do any of these hats look familiar?  The chief-cook and bottlewasher, of course … I don’t see a laundress, but certainly the nurse, and educator, and entertainer, and driver, and even the clergy all resonate on some level.  I especially laugh at the Magician – or is that a Soothsayer trying to read into the future?  If you add in a Bookkeeper, a Maintenance Person, a Medicine Technician, and an Executive Assistant to schedule and manage all those tasks, I think you might have a picture that covers a normal day for caregivers!  The less normal days require even more hats!

According to AARP, the annual economic value of family caregiving in the United States alone approximates 36 billion hours of services worth nearly $600 billion.  Those numbers may vary based on who you are talking to but suffice it to say that as caregivers we are undervalued!   (read the article at https://www.aarp.org/info-2023)

My final thoughts on this wonderful weekend where we remember and celebrate all the women who have made such a difference in our lives, are how grateful I am that I did raise a child and had years of helping with my grandchildren when they were little.  Those experiences help me a lot today, especially when faced with new challenges that come along as a caregiver.  I pull constantly on the patience I was usually able to find back then – especially with my grandchildren – when things did not go as planned.  We always focused our attention as grandparents on what those youngsters could do and never dwelled on what they could not do.  Of course, we only remember the good stuff and I still feel joy in all those caregiving memories!  As a caregiver today, I pull on those experiences and look for those same moments of joy with my loved one.  Really, often times the scenarios are not that different!

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms among us, and Happy Caregiver’s Day to all the moms, and dads, and sisters, and brothers, and sons, and daughters, and spouses, and aunts, and uncles, and others who are wearing the many hats of caregiving!  Know your worth, celebrate your blessings, and thank you all for what you do to support your loved ones today!  No doubt, you are their everything!

Most things in caregiving are Up for Discussion.  What hats did we miss, and what do you like most about being a caregiver?  Are there moments that bring you great joy?  Feel free to share your comments below.


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