Gin & Zin

Interview- With Kim on caretaking and her “empty nest”

Meet Kim~
I am Kimbo;  Wife, mother of two grown sons, and entering the 4th year of caregiving of my Mom.  I have been married to my high school sweetheart & true love for what will be 36 years this year!  I am a Pollyanna at heart, and a Lucy in actions. I have a hard time sitting still and am learning how to breathe.  

I am a retired Martha Stewart wanna be, who lets the house go and eats take out a lot more than I used to give myself permission to. I love God, family, reading and the outdoors. I adore a lovely cup of tea or coffee! I feel like I never get enough of any of these and I do not always have them in the right priority.
Kim with a lovely cup of tea and Juju the pug
My biggest strength as a Mom is open communication with my children.
My favorite thing to do now, and even when they were children, is to make them dinner and linger at the table with them. Listen to their adventures, their struggles and accomplishments, their laughter. They can always make my day with their smile or their hugs.
 
Can you describe the time when your children moved out?
When my oldest moved out, I was excited for him to begin working towards his dreams and sad that I would not see him as much. I felt exactly the same with my second, except I was even a little panicky, because he was moving a few states away. They had never been away from us for more than 5 or 6 days!!  Since they were born it still feels like a quote I once read: Having children is like my heart is walking around outside my body.
What a transition- when your children were moving out, your elderly mother was moving in.
It was a weird transition, my hubby and I felt like we never really got to have that “empty nest”. We missed our boys.  My mother was ill and so things never really slowed down for us. My mother has short term memory loss and high anxiety. Her personality had changed and I although I was glad to have Mom with us, I grieved the positive outlook and sage advise she so easily gave me over the years. I missed our talks, her mentoring and her cheery company. I am grateful my husband was so great about her moving in with us, but it became quite stressful quite quickly.
Anita with her daughters, Marcia and Kim
How would you describe your relationship with your sons?
Open, natural and loving.  My husband and I are A type personalities and that can be overwhelming for the boys at times. But they both know we are speaking with love and they tell us when we need to take a step back. We try to advise and guide, but also try and support their decisions (most of the time, ha!)  
How does having your mom living with you impact your marriage? What have you done to continue to put your marriage as a top priority?
It impacts our marriage A LOT! My husband was/is my biggest supporter of moving my Mom in with us. He was ready to before me, because he said I was at her house more than I was at our house. For most of the first 3 years I did not have overnight help, and it starting taking a toll on my hubby’s and my couple time and our health almost from day one, unfortunately.
Well we changed things up, we were blessed that Dad set Mom up to be able to have almost full night-time caregiving.  So we got HELP!
We reinvented what we would have normally called “our” time.  We basically have to leave home, to be alone. We hide upstairs and watch movies on our laptops while snuggling in bed. We try and get exercise and my husband has discovered WINE!! I joke that it saved our marriage. Not to be sappy, but it really is the little things that we do:  we stop and hug, when we lose it and yell, we apologize. We get up early so we can talk and share breakfast and our tea and coffee, alone.  We are constantly brainstorming to make things better for Mom and for us; how to preserve our health and well being while caring for Mom…….
Brian and Kim, wining a little!
As it turns out, your nest isn’t empty after all. What are your favorite things about having her there with you?
Her SWEET smile, her wit, her head on my chest as we hug. When she tells me she loves me. When she enjoys what she is eating.

 

Look at that sweet smile!

What has been challenging?

Her many anxieties over eating, drinking, clothes, company, going out of house. My husband I never alone in our home, as we have caretakers to help.

 How is it leaving home for an overnighter with your husband?
Time away is intense, we crave alone time. The planning and preparation is exhausting though. Figuring out caregivers, Mom’s food, menus etc. Once we are in the car starting out we grab each other’s hand and say we made it! We are on our way!
Kim with niece Lily and husband Brian

Kim! Your words are honest and light and full of love. Your mom is truly blessed to have such a warm place to call home. And sounds like she has blessed you right on back!

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