How An Albert Einstein Quote Helped Me Understand My Caregiver Role

I love Quotes (if you haven’t noticed).

There is something very comforting in reading other people’s words and feeling that I am not the only one to think, feel or speak the way I do. I find it easier to connect with others by sharing quotes. And I find it quite interesting how a single line of words, with no context, can mean something different for every person reading it. Every once in a while, I find a quote that truly resonates with me.

This quote by Albert Einstein has done just that to me.

einstein, caregiver, quote

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. ” Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is probably one of the most famous Scientists of recent history. His research and findings have revolutionized and changed not only scientific thought, but also history itself. Having that said, I love reading random quotes of his. They seem to range from thoughtful and interesting, to intelligent and even funny.

But this one really spoke to me in so many ways.

This quote was in relation to the imminent threat of war and I do not want to downplay that by any means.

But this is where the words alone, without any context, can be interpreted in different ways. There are so many ways I have felt as though I am getting up every morning fighting to get through another day.

When I first read this quote, I had this rush of emotions overcome me. It sounds silly, but something inside me said:

“This is my daily fight as a caregiver!”

I am either trying to do anything and everything I can to prevent meltdowns and panic attacks, or figure out how to clean up the mess afterwards.

In no way, shape or form am I trying to compare war to my life as a caregiver. Like I said before, context is everything when I read quotes. And it is no different with this one.

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Every morning I get up intending to prevent meltdowns and panic attacks. Between Eli and my husband’s needs, it can get very exhausting, at the least, and extremely frustrating, at most.

Eli requires a lot of attention, particularly in the morning in order to get him off to a good start. My husband needs just about as much support as our son does. But it must be provided in a way that’s less obvious. Because the last thing I want to do is to make him feel like I am parenting him.

As a mother, wife AND caregiver, I have had to find ways to distinguish my roles.

Am I calling the doctor, because I am my son’s mother and he is a minor? Or am I calling, because I am his caregiver?

Am I checking my husband’s medication, because I am a thoughtful wife? Or am I doing this as part of my caregiver role?

My caregiver role is based on a careful balancing act.

Understanding when I am “Mommy” and “Babe,” and when I am the caregiver or advocate is one of the most difficult things I face every single day.

Every day caregiver tasks:

  • Prevent meltdowns
  • Prevent panic and anxiety attacks
  • Medication management
  • Identifying and managing triggers
  • Ensuring their general safety
  • Attending doctor’s appointments

This is not nearly the entire list of things I do. But sometimes it’s really difficult for me to separate when I’m attending a doctor’s appointment as a mother, or a caregiver. And likewise with my husband. Am I going because I am his wife and I made a promise that I would stick with him through “sickness and in health?” Or am I attending, because I am his caregiver at that point? The lines get really blurry at times.




Adding to this, I do the mommy and wife stuff. You know, the standard household chores, giving out lovings and kisses, cooking, and general day to day operations to keep our household going.

At what point will it all come crashing down?

Without the proper support, self-care and understanding of when to stop or slow down, it will all come crashing down at some point. (Read my posts about Caregiver Burnout and Tips on how to avoid it)

Trying to prevent AND prepare for triggers, meltdowns, anxieties, panic attacks, and anger outbursts is exhausting. There is no way, one single person can do this and keep it together.

I cannot prevent and prepare for triggers at the same time.

I cannot prevent and prepare for panic and anxiety attacks at the same time.

I cannot prevent and prepare for the residuals of anger outbursts at the same time.

It just doesn’t work!

This single quote, regardless of its original context, has helped me understand that I have to shift my thinking. Should I try to prevent triggers? Or should I prepare for them and have a plan on what to do when this situation happens?

This also made me think about how my actions affect my son and my husband.

Stagnation vs Advancement

I cannot prevent AND prepare for these types of situations. So, I must choose.

If I am constantly trying to prevent triggers, anxiety and panic attacks and anger outbursts; then how are they supposed to learn to cope on their own? Their (dis)abilities are not necessarily my fight. I am here to support them! If I continue to opt for prevention, then my husband and son will have little chance on moving forward and finding their own coping mechanisms. This is especially important for Elijah. I won’t be able to forever prevent triggers and attacks for him.

In order for my husband and son to create their own coping mechanisms, they must be able to do that on their own. I cannot tell them how to cope and find ways (and reasons) to get up every morning. That is not my job- not as a wife, not as a mother, and not as a caregiver.

My role as their caregiver is to support them:

  • I provide care by helping them remember their medication, until they’ve gotten into the habit to check the fridge for their medication schedule.
  • I support them by creating reminders for their doctor’s appointments.
  • I help them by giving them their space when they need it.
  • I encourage them to participate in activities; but not force them to do so.

These are examples of ways I can support them, without intentionally trying to prevent chaos at the same time.

Without me-nothing goes

Regardless of the role I am fulfilling at any given time- caregiver, mother or wife- if I am down for the count, everything comes to a standstill! Am I right?! I’m sure quite a few of y’all can identify with this. (Don’t ever let Mommy get sick, because everything comes to a screeching halt!)

Having said that, I have not been the best at keeping myself in check and practicing self-care.

I will say that this simple quote could not have come at a better time. Understanding that I, as a caregiver, cannot prevent and at the same time prepare for meltdowns, panic attacks, etc. has afforded me the ability to make sure I continue my dreams and desires. Because I deserve to achieve those, just as much as my son and husband deserve to achieve their goals!

I hereby encourage you (yes you!) to sit back and look at what you can change to make you life easier. Whether you are a caregiver, a mother, a spouse, a family member or a friend stepping up to the plate. Ask yourself this:

Can you really prevent AND prepare for the next crisis?

Please share this with someone you feel could use some encouragement. Someone who is constantly on the grind. Someone who just needs to know that it is OK to not do it all!

 


Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This page contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.


 

2 Comments

  1. Kate Love January 30, 2017
    • Alisha January 30, 2017

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