Being a woman who’s a caregiver requires a lot of time, hard work, and sacrifice. Sadly, it isn’t a task that is always seen, heard, respected, or celebrated. We could be wives, mothers, pet owners, or anything in between—caregiving looks different for everyone and is often disregarded.
Women all over the world, from all walks of life, tend to their families and homes, all the while juggling the demands of personal and professional work. They are modern-day superheroes who need to be seen and cared for too. They deserve unconditional rest, love, and understanding.
Unfortunately, women’s need for a breather is frequently dismissed—even when they need time off work to take care of their child, fur baby, significant other, or an aging parent.
And this is not okay.
Last summer, I decided to adopt a Shepsky puppy. I honestly had no idea what I was in for. She looked into my eyes when I saw her, jumped up, and placed her paws on my shoulders. Somehow, we both knew we’d make a good match. I’d always wanted to adopt and give a puppy a forever home. But in the beginning, I didn’t realize how much time, money, energy, and care went into the adoption and puppy training process. I also didn’t realize how much my return to work would impact the care I wanted in place for her. It was a significant adjustment.
As pandemic restrictions and adjustments eased, many at-home workers returned to their offices, and so, the work demands increased. And when I recognized that last-minute meetings, emails, phone calls, and other bearings on my time began to creep in, I grew annoyed and irritated. Especially when I communicated, “I have a puppy at home.”
I’ve been surprised at snarky statements from others who’ve expressed that my fur baby is “just a dog,” or in other words, that my time doesn’t matter.
I’ve also noticed that the expectation is that I should willingly give up my time, work after hours, take on more tasks and responsibilities, and not say a word. So, what I want and need outside of work shouldn’t matter just as much, if not more?
I don’t think so.
It’s wonderful to be a woman who’s a caregiver with firm boundaries in place for herself.
And it’s okay to be unavailable sometimes. Don’t feel guilty about taking a day or two or three off from work if, when, and as needed. Set aside time for yourself to rest your mind, body, and spirit. Being a caregiver can be a heavy task and one that certainly requires moments of rest. You can’t allow who and what others want you to be or what they think is best to dictate your choices.
A caregiving superhero like you deserves to feel that it’s okay to tell others no.