Is that all there is? Because carers deserve better

When you become a carer, everything changes.  Not just your own life, but society's expectations too.  No matter what you were like before, you are immediately obliged to take on saintly qualities and become endlessly patient, loving, energetic, unselfish, undemanding and uncomplaining, with a beatific smile permanently plastered on your face.  Don't believe me?  Look at the Carers of the Year Awards.  Now obviously I have huge admiration for the winners, they really are saints, they manage the most challenging situations and care for the longest number of years.  But what do these awards say to the rest of us?

Keep your head down, keep caring and if things get really tough you might get a day out at an awards ceremony in 30 years time.

Don't complain, don't look for help, there's many people who are much more deserving than you.

You made it through the day?  Congratulations on "surviving".

Having special children makes a family special (well actually it's made me cross, fat, sick and tired).

You think your life is difficult?  Well guess what, it's going to get harder and you will still be expected to keep going.


Yep, these are the messages that we hear all the time.  They may help carers to keep going, they may find them inspiring.  I understand that, I really do.  But sometimes they just make me feel like screaming...

In the words of the song, Is That All There Is?

Is getting through another day all that we have to look forward to?  Well I think that carers deserve better than that.  I want more, both for me and for the other carers that I know.  Somewhere out there are carers whose lives do not resemble those of the award winners.  I want to hear about them.

Where are the stories of carers who have made a conventional success of their lives?
Who have careers, who set up businesses?
Who live in nice homes, enjoy hobbies and nights out, have great respite?
Whose children are settled in quality residential care, and who don't feel guilty about it and are not ashamed to say so as they know that they've made the best decision for their family.
Who go on holidays, for goodness sake?

Yep, maybe they needed a lot of help to achieve these things.  So let's celebrate the people who helped them.  The services that make a difference.  Let's tell the world that many carers need that help, very very badly.  They are not bad people.  Everyone has a breaking point.  Congratulations if you haven't reached yours yet.  But do not judge those who have.  It could be you tomorrow.




28 comments:

  1. Carers With Lives - I can see you starting the movement. Go for it!

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  2. Perfectly put. This should reach a much bigger audience. I was reading an article on the "Carer of the Year" last week and the comments underneath were all "Ah, isn't she great, I wouldn't be able to do it", and then moved on to the next article. I wonder if you could send this to something like the journal.ie?

    Truf

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    1. You're absolutely right about people admiring carers an then moving on thanking god its them and not you in the words of a topical song! No interest from journal.ie, I wonder why :)

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  3. Oh my gosh, I completely get this! I know for sure I am not up for sainthood. Heck some days I am not even up for more than a high-five. We do, all of us, deserve congrats on surviving this unexpected life and less judgement for when we lose our strength

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    1. And we need more inspiring role models, which is what I was trying to write about, but got a bit muddled mid post :)

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  4. Yes, definitely send this on. The 'other side' of the Carers stories needs to be heard..... xx

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  5. Yep, some days I am just so over caring. No matter how much I love my boy, the thought of caring until I die doesn't thrill me with joy. Good post.

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  6. I find the hardest part is that people don't get it yet. Because our boy is so young and like a toddler they think we just do the normal stuff and then moan when we say we can't go down the pub for a drink and just let him play in the beer garden! I would love to be able to do that. And don't even mention the guilt I feel! x

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  7. I appreciate what you are saying because as a carer myself , as a single mom, I understand that having a special needs child(ren) is so incapacitating sometimes. I have been so deep in depression twice that I have had to be hospitalized. So I know what you mean about reaching the breaking point. I have said and done things that I am not proud of but by God's grace I came through it a better person. Hang in there girl! You are loved.

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    1. You have certainly come through everything and you have my admiration for everything you do for your son x

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  8. Big hugs, being a single mum is hard enough without having kids with special needs

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  9. Totally with you, it's exhausting and that's even before the worry kicks in.

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  10. Totally agree. Its hard and relentless being a carer. I'm no saint, I just do my best but years of caring without a proper break is leaving me exhausted and depressed. Awards ceremonies often make me inadequate. I don't think they're realistic or representative. Welldone to those who can simultaneously care, work, write a book or run a support group but I can't. I just don't have the energy or time.

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    1. Yes you totally got this rather muddled post, and good to hear from you too xxx

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  11. Oh you have said what I am sure most parents have thought and felt at onetime or another...whether they are brave enough to put it into words or not. It is frequently a difficult and overwhelming job....

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    1. Brave or reckless? Sometimes I get a bit carried away, but you know, these things need to be said too...

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  12. such a difficult subject thats not covered enough in the media, esp as there are sooooo many carers out there.
    i cared for my mum from age 12 and even now ive moved out i always worry about her and am only reassured by fact my sister now lives with her!>
    love your honesty!
    #singleparentlinky

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    1. Caring for your Mum at 12 sounds very tough indeed, and the difficulties that child carers face do not get nearly enough attention x

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