In this blog, we share real-life examples of how the Family of Women has inspired the women we interviewed to be successful in their caregiving while continuing to make themselves and their families a priority. Their examples highlight several core values and principles of the Family of Women.
Caregiving is all about relationships – relationships with others and with ourselves.
Relationship (Core Value)
Everything we do is based on being responsible for the success of our relationships. Being responsible for our actions and communication, we bring our best to all our relationships and create a legacy for all women to follow.
Relationship With Family
Cheryl’s parents are in two different assisted living locations. She created family meetings by Zoom as a way for her family to be connected. She says, “Decisions can be made together. These calls united our family. Dad shared many stories I’ve never heard before. We laughed together and are appreciating each other.”
“My Mother has no filter about what she says. Being out with her is always funny. I can tap into her sense of humor. I’ve learned to enjoy the moment, don’t think about the “what ifs”.
Sally’s parents are in an assisted care facility many miles away from her home. While being far away from her parents and brothers, she is able to accept what her brothers do for their parents and feels grateful for all they do. Although her brothers approach her parents’ care differently than she might, she shares “I practice surrender to ‘what is so’ and trust my brothers are doing their best with our parents. What is the most important thing? My parents are getting what they need and are being cared for.”
Sally has found that trusting her brothers and their intention sets a strong foundation for a successful family relationship.
Trust (Core Value)
Trust is the foundation of our relationship; the culture of who we are, and how we are with each other and in the world. We have confidence in knowing that we are in this together and trust each other’s intention to live the Purpose of the Family of Women.
Relationship With Yourself
How do we take care of ourselves while we are involved in caregiving? Our actions may include asking for help, setting some healthy boundaries, and not doing things alone.
Cheryl’s dad wanted her to be with him every day and was becoming totally reliant on her. Cheryl has a full life – a full-time job, husband and children to take care of, a household to run, and a multitude of other things going on in her life. She has asked other family members and friends for help. Cheryl says, “Other people drive him to appointments, and other people are looking out for him. The whole burden is not on me. I have a life, and he knows I’m there for him when he needs me.”
“I have realized that I don’t have to be the ‘be all and end all’ for my parents’ care. While I can’t change their journey, I can walk the journey with them.”
Sally says that the first six months her parents needed assistance, she was traveling across the country frequently and didn’t take care of herself. “I quickly realized that I needed to take care of myself because otherwise I can’t take trips to see them. I’ve begun to allow myself some extra time to recover when I get home. I feel grateful to be a part of the Family of Women. The women help me to be compassionate and remind me to take time out for myself. When I put myself first to love, then I am available to love others.”
Power Within (definition)
Seeing the loving essence of all beings, embracing one’s intrinsic value; accepting and loving the self.
Relationship With Others
Sally has learned from the Family of Women how to treat people with respect and “be in their shoes.”
“I enrolled my parents’ caregivers to put me in their shoes and relate as if they are going through this experience. When the caregiver wants me to fix a problem, I listen, apologize for my Mother’s behavior, and ask them to be kind to my Mom. Mom is in a new place, with dementia and unsure of what’s happening. I ask them to be patient and kind. I listen to what they say and am respectful and not attached to any kind of result. I express the truth from my heart. I bring food to share and seek peace with the caregivers. They work hard, and my Mom can be combative and difficult. Even though my Mom is not speaking much these days, I believe she knows what is happening to her and she is not happy about it. When I’m with her I just hold her tight, let her know how much I love her and tell her ‘everything is OK.’ Feeling love, and being accepted as you are and without judgment is something else I learned in the Family of Women.”
Integrity (Core Value)
We lead with wisdom, knowledge and good judgment; making sound choices and decisions based on truth and honesty. We are true to our word, being examples of women at their best. Everything we do is in alignment with our purpose and vision.