Every caregiver will tell you there are some tasks that feel like nails on a blackboard. And to add insult to injury, these despised jobs are the ones that need doing several times a day, every day. Just thinking about having to do these chores is disheartening and dreadful – literally.
For me, one of those hated jobs was washing tube feeding supplies. Each bag of formula and tubing, together with multiple plastic syringes (used for shooting liquid medicines into the tubing) had to be washed. My son Nicholas has three tube feeds every day and probably twenty medications. The job of cleaning all those supplies is relentless and absolutely necessary. It’s like having to do dishes for a houseful of folks who are constantly snacking. And there is NEVER a time that you can say, ‘hmmm, I just don’t feel like doing that washing up – I think I’ll just do it tomorrow”. Nope, that can’t happen.
Now, Nicholas’ paid shift helpers do this hated chore, but I remember like it was yesterday thinking “I would rather chip rocks on a chain gang than wash another ?*&^% syringe”.
On the other hand, there are those caregiving chores that are delicious – those jobs with a readily discernible beginning, middle and end. For me, planting spring bulbs in my garden felt fantastic. Ironing was soothing for its pure control over wrinkles and uneven edges. Trimming my hedge with the electric clippers felt particularly satisfying on so many levels.
There will always be caregiving chores that feel good and ones that feel just plain onerous. My advice: Download a hated chore to someone else in the family at least once in a while. The rest of the time, put on your favourite song and turn up the volume. Then give yourself a treat afterwards – reward yourself by doing a feel-good job. One you can finish, then stand back and say “wow, I’m good.”