Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: WHO Are You?

What Taking Care of My Aging Mom Taught Me

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

Although I knew it wasn’t realistically possible, I thought my mom would live forever. My memories of her as a strong, capable woman of courage and fortitude defined who I strove to become as I grew up. At her knee, I learned about love, loss, and living. She was my role model, my loudest cheerleader, and my anchor in a storm.


Life changes in what seems like an instant

However, it seemed that in the blink of an eye, that mother was gone. In her place was a frail old lady who couldn’t do the things she had in the past. I was shocked by the change. Obviously, it had been coming for months, if not years.

Somehow, I had not seen it, either because I didn’t want to or because I had become so consumed by my own life. Whichever one it was, I felt I had let her down.

I immediately went into practical mode. My mother’s physical care was my priority. I decided to take care of her, little knowing that this next chapter of my life would teach me many astounding lessons.

It’s never too late to learn to be humble

I found it frustrating that the mom I had known and loved my whole life couldn’t do some of the most basic self-care tasks anymore. I would have to help her use the bathroom, change her clothes, and do her hair. At first, I felt terrible for her, but I mostly felt sorry for myself. Who could enjoy watching their mother being so helpless?

What I failed to see was how embarrassing the situation was for my mom. She, who had spent hours helping me when I went to the bathroom, found herself on the opposite end of the equation.

The wheel had turned, and the parent had become the child. My mom hated every moment of being dependent on me but had to humble herself and submit to my care.

There are many times things don’t go according to plan. It turns out that I’m not much of a hairstylist! What has got us through the circumstances is accepting them and learning to laugh at ourselves and some of the situations we find ourselves in.

It’s okay to acknowledge that you need help

I realized soon into this new chapter of our lives that I would not manage everything on my own. It was a significant commitment, among many others. There was no way that I could drop everything to look after my mom, as much as I would have liked the chance to do so.

If I hadn’t asked for help, both my mom and I would have become frustrated by the situation. Resentment toward each other would build, and we would no longer have the close relationship we both cherish.

Using the services of Tandem Careplanning, I can have the best of both worlds. I am involved in my mom’s care, but there is someone there to help me, especially when I become overwhelmed.

These times are more precious than diamonds

Having the chance to spend this much time with my mother has been a blessing. The long conversations we’ve been able to share mean so much to me. You’re never too old to learn from your mother and need her in all important aspects of life. Her wisdom continues to inspire me to be a better person.

The evolution of our relationship has made it better and stronger. This time has been challenging for both of us, but we can both agree that the good times have by far outweighed the bad. Neither of us would exchange them for anything else.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.