Wednesday, April 21, 2010




Ok! Drum roll please, getting up on my soap box finally! I want to present my opinion on a subject that causes me irritation by those of differing opinions! However at the end of this post I will invite those of both views to express their opinions.

The subject is that there are individuals, specifically caregivers, who feel that to use the term “Parenting Your Parent” is offensive and demeaning to our position as caregiver to our parent. I on the other hand, have quite the opposite view on this. So, blow horn up to mouth and here I go!

I have done some research on this to help bolster my already very strong stand on this matter. So, I make this statement loud and clear, that using the term “Parenting My Parent”, is not demeaning or disrespectful in any way! It is a very genuine and even heartfelt statement of the position of being a caregiver to my mom. Period!

The most recent information I have read about this, is what has caused me to decide to get up on my Soap Box and take a definitive stand on the matter. This article was a link I saw on twitter; titled “Why the Phrase Parenting Your Parent Is Demeaning”. I will not mention the author of the article, but will include the link to it.

Once I read the article, I was slightly aggravated again over this statement and the thinking behind it, so I posted several ‘tweets’ in response to it.

1. I have addressed this topic more than once. I do not find it demeaning to use the term Parenting My Parent,

2. Nor do I have any shame or guilt at doing so. If I did not love and respect my mother, I would not be caring for her.

3. This carries enough burdens without having to defend a particular term that we might use to refer to caregiving of a parent.

4. I know the author has cared for several family members, I only one, and I have forged my way through the last 4 years,

5. With little to no help. So if I choose to say I am now the parent of the one who parented me so many years ago,

6. I do so with pride and with the utmost love and respect for my 96 year old mother.

Those who find this term offensive and disrespectful are certainly entitled to their opinions. I believe there are many more of us out there caring for our parent or parents who do not agree with their view.

I like to define specific terms, to gain a fuller understanding of their meaning, so I looked up the definition of parent.

Two definitions are:

1. A person who cares for another, and,

2. To be or act as the parent of…

Ok, does this not describe what a person who cares for their parent is and does? Certainly is a description of what I do. The following “Parent’s Job Description” I found online, and I chose the ones that in part describe my caregiving duties. Words in italics are my comments.

First of all, it is (often) long term, challenging, and (seems) permanent. The parent must have good communication abilities; (well we actually learn new and varied ways to communicate).

A parent needs to be organized; (to me the biggest organization needed here is to organize and manage one’s time throughout the day and night). A parent must be available 24/7, (and those 24 hours will often turn into 36).

There must be a willingness to be hated. (The one you love and who loves you….will at times show hatred and anger towards your care giving efforts). You must have strong stamina.

It is immensely helpful to be a good planner along with the organizer and manager of time, for those rare trips you may get to take.

You are indispensable, or at least you deceive yourself into thinking so. You take the full responsibility and accountability for the quality of life you provide for the one you care for.

Advancement or promotion, no, but you are always moving forward advancing through the many changes your parent makes as the stages of aging progresses.

Experience required, certainly helps but is not likely to be the case, this is more often then not a total learn as you go position, and many times you will fall on your face.

Wages,benefits, Compensation? Recompense? Well, the experience I have gained, the mistakes I have learned from, the materials I have read, and discussions I have had, have well equipped me for my plans of paying this forward, making it count for more. The knowing inside that even through the mistakes I have made while caring, parenting my mom, I have done my best for her. Compensation and recompense are coming!

As caregiver to my mom, I have taken on all tasks of her care. She is in the last stages of dementia; she is mainly confined to bed, although I do try to get her up for 2 to 3 hours a day. There is nothing that she does for her own care. The role reversal that is objected to by the writer of the first article, has in fact taken place between mom and I. She is dependent on me for everything, just as a young child would be. This is the plain facts. I care for her as she cared for me, role reversal. There is nothing demeaning or disrespectful in that statement. In my blog, “If I Don’t Do It Who Will?, Transitioning From Daughter To Caregiver”, I write about putting on my caregiver’s coat and how difficult it was to drop the position of daughter and do that.

As caregiver for our parent, we deal with a tumultuous barrage of emotional and mental stresses, as well as physical duress. To have individuals make statements concerning a simple term or phrase about how we describe our position as caregiver is not encouraging or supportive at all.

Yes, someone may have much experience in the area of caregiving, and yes, they may have gained insight into how they think they should feel about what they do, and how they should describe it, but that doesn’t mean it should have to be embraced by the rest of us.

Because many of us already have to fend off feelings of guilt and condemnation on a daily basis, even though it is not intended by the writer of that article to pass such feelings on to caregivers, it is easy to fall prey once again to them.

Here is a quote from another article, “Parenting is a process borne out of love and commitment. It entails nurturing, guiding and guarding (the child).”

Sounds like a perfect description of a parent caregiver as well!

Caregiving, in most instances, is a process borne out of love and commitment, just as parenting is.

I am my mother’s mother, her mom, her caregiver, her parent, I take care of her! I made a commitment to her years ago and I have done the best I can to keep that commitment these past years. I make no apologies for referring to myself at any time as being a parent to my parent!  There is no disrespect in those words, and I have not forgotten who she is and who she was.

Mom turns 96 this Friday…

If you disagree....have at it....aim good!


OK! Your turn to climb up on the Soap Box and have your say! I’ll even let you use my blow horn thing!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meet The Family...

Come on in and sit a spell and let me inroduce you to the rest of the family! 

Daniel - David - Dion


David, 41, retired from the army, holding newborn son, Darin
(lives in NC)

Darin, age 6 

Jackie, Darin and David

Dion, 34, served in the army aproximately 10 years
(lives in IN)

Christina, almost 17

Alyssa, age 12

Deryck, age 11

Dion and Tina

Daniel, age 30, presently serving in the army, and Char, married Dec. 5, 2009
(lives in TN)

Bradford, age 6

Daniel, Char and Bradford (sshhh, one on the way!)

Aaron, age 25, Corrections Officer, (lives in WI)

Tai Michael, age 6 (he picked the green background lol)

Aeryn Jeffery, age5

Trent William age 3

Whew, that was tiring!

Alyssa, Darin, Bradford, Deryck...Grandpa on the bottom lol

And here he is.....Grandpa Gary!

And of!

Oh!  Can't forget Ruby, and Mama Kitty! (bird shopping)

and the last kitty of the litter Mama Kitty had 2 months ago....

Samson...strong and mighty, roars like a lion!

Sam is 8 weeks old, and at least twice this size now, he was born with a curved spine and was smaller then his sisters and brother.  We have kept him for now, to help him to grow bigger and be stronger.  He can do anything the others did, and he even takes on his mom and biggest sister Ruby.  When I get my camera back, I will get an updated pic of him...he is quite the spoiled kitty!

Thanks for stopping by to meet the family!

Friday, April 9, 2010


WELCOME  Spring 






The Bear Hug Waltz  
a journal.....a diary.....a journey.....of caregiving for my mom


 Beautiful in dark green velvet...a corsage of pink roses....
A wedding day, filled with hopes and dreams......

Years have gone by, so many more then expected.....

Hi!  I'm Donna, and the Bear Hug Waltz is a journal of the past four years that I have been a fulltime caregiver for my mom.  She is soon to be 96 and is in the late stages of dementia.  My children are all grown now and I have become a mom once again, but with the responsiblity of parenting or caring for my mother.

The posts I write are often sad, sometimes amusing, always very real, very  honest.  I tell about what life as a caregiver is, for me, and for countless others both male and female.

I hope you will take a few moments to read some of the posts, to see a caregiver's life realities, and gain understanding about what it is like to be a caregiver for a parent.

 Patchwork Mom! 

I Recommend These Recent Posts:

The Hands of Time  3/13/2010

Silent Talking  3/4/2010

Invisible People  2/25/2010

The Person Left Behind in The Shadows  2/21/2010

The Long Goodbye  2/3/2010

Christmas 09

Hope you have enjoyed your visit, please come again!

Be sure to return to 5 Minutes For Mom

and keep on partying!

Tea anyone??

My top 3 prize choices are:

#20 - $50.00 in Cookie Lee jewelry, provided by Kelley Clayton,

#73/#74 -  A $30.00 Amazon gift card, provided by Escalate Network,

#68 - A Scentsy Warmer and 3 wax scents, provided by Mrs. Marine,

Additional prize choices are: 4, 32, 41, 44, 49, 66

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Woulda - Coulda - Shoulda, 'Duh' Moments...

Well, I did not write a blog on Easter like I wanted to, it was the 4 year 'anniversary' of becoming mom's fulltime caregiver.  I think because it stirred up too many emotions to write about it, at least not on that day.  I did however do some thought wandering back to those first days, weeks, and months a sort of retrospective, woulda - coulda - shoulda, type of thinking.  Looking at who I was, who mom was and how this new life was coming together for us.

What I discovered was that I had been seriously ignorant of what was taking place in mom, and had been taking place, long before we moved in here.  Not only that, I can see how I was in complete denial as well. 

I look back now and say 'Duh', what was I thinking!  Why didn't I see that, why didn't I do that and so on.  But I didn't know.  I didn't know that for several years, mom had been on the decline.  I chalked it up to senility, that is normal, comes with aging yadayada.  Normal changes occuring as she got older.  No...was much more then that.  But who told me?  No one.  So, accept what to me was just the normal affects of her getting older and deal with them as best I could.

I wrote a blog called Book Learning, because I did have to buy a few books on caregiving to find out what the heck was going on and what else to expect.  They did give me some basic info, but most everything else I have learned by doing, trial and error, me guinea pig/she guinea pig.. kind of thing!

I can see that it was easier even safer for me to see the changes mom was going through and say, "Oh, it is just senility, old age, you know!"  Instead of really take a look at these things and do some research.  If I had, I would have found she was in the early stages of dementia and advancing.  But, that was just something I wasn't willing to see or admit was happening.  Now, I know better, hindsight is always the same isn't it?

But you know, this is just another area that I have learned from, the what not to do/what to do, which I can share with someone else who may be starting out like I did.  I don't want anymore 'duh' moments at this point.  I am very observant of mom and what she does, or doesn't do, I know the stages of dementia and that she is in the final stage, or the last stage of her life.  I know what to do for her as long as I can do it, and when I can't do those things anymore for her, I know what to do at that time as well. 

Oh, and for all my caregiving friends out there, I am not beating myself up for what I didn't do or didn't know.  It was good to take a look back there and see those things. I can't change any of that, but I can write about it to help others.