It's My Turn, Mom, to Mother You

Today is really a fairly typical day for me. I've just arrived back to my home office from a quick morning visit with my 94-year-old mother who lives in an assisted living facility. I arranged for an attorney to meet me there to get a signature from my mom who is wheelchair bound and has great difficulty getting around. I made the arrangements for today because my home is closer to my mom's facility than the office, where I go twice a week. My employer is flexible and allows me to work within this arrangement.

Sometimes there are entire days that I need to take off to take care of some of my mom's business. As a caregiver (and daughter), these are just the typical personal issues that many people like me have to deal with. For some, it may be an elderly parent or relative with special needs. For others, it may be their child. It's nice to have an employer who understands these nuances and provides programs to ease the burden of juggling the many facets of life. My employer provides PTO for these types of days. They're flexible that way.

There are days as a caregiver that I, myself, need to address my own well-being. I recognize there are things that I can't provide for my mom, but my employer offers me resources through our EAP. I don't always need them, but when I do, I like to be reminded that they are there to help with either giving information on resources that I'm looking for, or even just a chance to talk with someone through the EAP when being a caregiver becomes a bit much. My employer understands that I'll not look for these resources until I actually need them, so they make sure that the EAP is prominently communicated throughout the year -- as a reminder to me when I actually do need to partake of their services.

Sometimes I need a little extra care for myself and when the stress is getting to me, I like to avail myself of the onsite massages that my employer offers. It's these types of well-being type programs that help me deal with what's going on in my personal life so I can be at my best when carrying out my work. I've seen my employer's culture evolve to one of wellness and well-being. It's flexible not only in terms of workplace flexibility arrangements, but also in terms of being flexible as an organization. Recognizing the nuances among employees and acknowledging that we live outside of work brings engagement, productivity and satisfaction back to my employer.

This juggling act isn't always very easy; indeed, sometimes it's just plain hard. But when I enter my mom's room with a mocha coffee and sugar donut for her and her whole face lights up, I know that everything I have to do to help her through her final years is all worth it. And I can't tell you how grateful I am to have the flexibility, understanding and programs that my organization offers right there to help me through.

As we approach Mother's Day and my mom's years begin to wane, I realize there will come a day when she won't be with us. But, for now, I'm so grateful that she is here and that I have the flexibility I need to be with her as much as I can. For this year especially, I just want to say, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you."