What can we do about the deficit?

Nah, not the federal or state budget follies.

I mean the emotion and energy deficits that care givers run.  What I call the fun deficit, where duties and demands outweigh life’s simple rewards.

Some care givers are at home all day, imprisoned just as much as those in their care, doing and doing and giving and giving and, uh, being-responsible-for-everything and being-responsible-for-everything.

Many of us, probably most of us,  spend chunks of time out in the workplace, which also calls on us to do and give and be-responsible-for-at-least-something.

The workplace can be a kind of respite for care givers, of course.  A place of order and boundaries that provides a break from chaos.  A place of not-so-demanding human contact that actually restores some of our energy and emotion.

It can be a drain, too.  A place where pressure is piled on and takes out what little emotion we have left.  In some cases, the work environment stinks as much as the care giving environment.  But the income and benefits, if available, are essential to the well being of those in our care.  Our options to quit and search for more satisfying work are limited, and in the present lousy job market “limited” is on steroids.

Leadership coach Dave Kraft raises some good questions about work:

Do you accept your lot, even though you may not always like your lot?  Are you thankful that you have work to do?  Do you rejoice in your toil, your work, or do you resent it and belong to the TGIF crowd?

Today I’m finding myself resentful of work.  I am thankful for income that meets our needs, especially in the spooky economy that’s out and about, but resentful of unpleasant,  unfulfilling workplace “stuff” that has me way over in “fun deficit.”  Life’s simple satisfactions are in short supply.  The world seems pushy, demanding and needy all the time.

And TGIF?  “F” is always in question for care givers.  You never know what you’re coming home to handle.  Sensing my “fun deficit,” Melissa’s made it a point to give me some peace and quiet and a bit of extra sleep the last few days, but today we have a sick kid on our hands and all the nagging chores that should have passed from our lives years ago.

The fun deficit can sneak up on any hard working person, care giver or not.  We all have demanding seasons.  But care giving seems to make it chronic.  And I’m resenting it big time today.  I would dump at least one of my two jobs right now if I could do it without depriving my family of necessities.

But like one of my long ago Army pals used to say, “I would if I could, but I can’t so I won’t.”


2 thoughts on “What can we do about the deficit?

  1. You remind me of man I know. One who works two jobs to provide for his family even though he doesn’t really care for them. I’ve often told him that a lesser man would have given up. But he is clearly a man of strong character and that I love him even more for it. And I can tell he loves me, too, every night when he leaves to go to one of his jobs. That man is my husband. I’m guessing Melissa could say the same for you. Hang in there.

    • Thanks, Darlene. My basic feeling is that nobody – employers or family – are satisfied. I think everybody feels like they’re not getting what they want from me. But I appreciate the encouragement. As mentioned, Melissa has been trying to take the edge off by helping me steal some peace and quiet at home… although today we have an ice storm with trees down and other assorted craziness!

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