Are you still married, but because of your husband’s cancer, its like you are a single parent?
Single Working Parent… How Did This Happen?
You’ve become a single parent, or at least that’s what it feels like. You are still married, but because of your husband’s cancer, for periods of time it’s like you are a single parent going it alone. This can happen when he’s in the hospital for several days or perhaps suffering all the side effects of cancer treatment and not able to contribute much. In these situations you have little time to adjust to your new status and all it’s implications. It can feel overwhelming thinking of all the additional things you now have to take care of.
How Am I Going To Get It All Done?
When we decided my husband needed to go overseas to get treatment, I became a single parent virtually overnight. All our preparation was about getting him there and set up to be overseas for several weeks while I stayed behind to continue working and taking care of our daughter. I started to take stock of all the things I now needed to do on my own and felt tremendous anxiety. Top of my list was getting my daughter to and from her charter school which because of my work schedule was going to be challenging for me. There was also the grocery shopping, cleaning, bills, meals, handling sick days… I was not prepared to handle this all on my own!
Who Better Than Me!
After spending some time in overwhelm and anxiety, I coached myself on this topic. My thoughts were all focused around how hard this was going to be instead of how strong and capable I knew I was. I decided to think who better than me to handle all this! I got this!
I also decided to give myself a break and not worry about trying to get it all done perfectly or timely. The house might be a mess for a while, or my daughter might be late to school – and that is OK, not worth stressing about. I remember the exhaustion I felt late one night and deciding to just let the mess in the kitchen be there. There is no rule that I have to have a clean kitchen before going to bed.
I also asked for help. This was huge and made a huge difference. I decided not to feel awkward about asking and just ask for the help I needed. When you do this, you will be amazed at the human spirit and how giving people are.
Focus On Your Thoughts: You Got This!
Remember how important your thoughts are. They can make the difference between feeling utterly overwhelmed and feeling empowered. Find a thought that reminds you of the strong, smart, capable woman you are. Instead of thinking, this is too much! I can’t handle this all! Choose to think:
Who better than me!
I got this!
I’ll figure it out.
Decide to be kind to yourself. The world won’t end if the dishwasher doesn’t get loaded for several days. No one will die if your child is late to school or you are late to work. This is a time to loosen your standards and allow imperfection, better yet, expect it. This will be such a stress relief. Remind yourself you are figuring this out as you go and it may be a little messy, but that is OK.
Ask for the help you need. This is a big one and people can get hung up here. People want to help and there is no shame in asking. Read my blog Asking For and Accepting Help.
Remember these steps: (1) Find a motivational thought; (2) Be kind to yourself; (3) Ask for help. If you want to learn more and get help through this process, sign up here for a free mini session.