A New Twist to Parent Care


balance1Hopping on the "Daughter Track"

Years ago as an aspiring journalist, and a new mom, I remember waltzing into my newspaper editor's office with a plan: Job sharing. I could split my business column duties with another new mom and win-win all around.

Aside from the fact that the all-male managerial team looked at me like I had contracted MRSA that was about to spread like a lit match through the sea of newspapers stacked on desks in the newsroom, the guys decided to give what I thought was a scathingly brilliant plan a go.

Thus launched two decades of life on the "Mommy Track" treadmill, balancing the whole work thing with the birthing of three babies and struggling to leave my mark on the world - and bake the best birthday cupcakes in the classroom too!

For many of you like me, whose kids are now teens and young adults and you're planning on taking a celebratory moment to pat yourself on the backs for making it to the finish line, here's a splash of cold reality: The fun has just begun.

During the last three years, when my cell phone sets off an internal anxiety alarm in the wee hours of the morning, I find myself breathing in a big OM when the caller ID confirms it wasn't the local police and my teens are safely tucked into their beds. Instead, it often is the familiar number of the hospital ER. My parents needed senior help. Big time. And, I was facing a new iteration of the caring track - "The Daughter Track."

Now, the juggle has a new twist: caring for my parent, first my mom and dad, and now just my mom, in old age.

I'm not griping, just accepting the fact that just when I thought I was home-free on the toughest part of the caring front, it isn't so. Just when I thought that I could finally forge ahead with my own strategic career plans after, as one author calls The Ten-Year Nap, I have a parent to take care of. It's pretty much pre-ordained. I'm female, the lone sibling living within a hundred miles, and I've carved out a niche for myself in the larger family a natural caregiver. It's pretty clear to me where this story is going. I hope you'll hang on as we hop on the daughter/son/ track together.

Have you made the switch from "Mommy Track" to "Daughter Track" too? Or, maybe it's from "Daddy Track" to "Son Track." Would love for you to share your feelings too. Please post a comment and don't forget to sign up for our RSS Feed.

--Mary Beth Sammons