For working parents raising an 8-year-old with autism, supporting their 11-year-old with a learning disability, or closely monitoring their 17-year-old with depression, the needs are monumental. The conflicting work and family needs are often insurmountable. Working caregiving parents need support and access to resources, yet most would say they’d like nothing more than 20-minutes to take a walk. It’s called respite.
Added to all the "typical" parenting responsibilities, which are often anything but typical, is another layer of daily life -- securing, scheduling and facilitating their child’s services and supports, managing school issues, working outside of the home (even part-time), maintaining a marriage, dealing with sibling and family needs ... it’s a life of complexities that few understand. And often without help.
The Gift of Time
Respite care is one of the most important ways parent caregivers can continue doing what they do -- providing care for their children. That saying about putting on your own oxygen mask before you can help another definitely holds true here. Yet there's often no one to help these working parents even reach for their mask no less give them a few minutes to breathe.
The Caregiver Action Network has provided information (including a forum) that focuses on respite care -- caregiver resources. It’s important to remember that working parents with exceptional caregiving needs are raising tomorrow’s generation, and their ability to do so rests on their ability to care for themselves.
If someone in your life is providing care for a child they love, the best way you can show them you're aware and care is with the gift of time. Don't wait for them to ask or for a crisis to arise. An hour can make all the difference...