Recently we saw a conversation among several friends in our Facebook group about how under appreciated many of the wives feel as caregivers. At the bottom of it is that most of the women feel overwhelmed. Here's what they shared and things husbands should keep in mind.
Several of the wives juggle the demands of parenting, homemaking, and a job. On top of that they all--to some extent--take care of their spouse's disability-related needs. Typical tasks include dressing, exercise, bathroom care, feeding or preparing meals, medicine, doctor and therapy appointments, cleaning up accidents or wheelchair tracks, and a dozen or more others. By the time they get to bed they're exhausted. However, if their husband needs anything during the night they're still on call. It is never-ending.
Many of them understand that their husbands generally do what they can to help. These guys range in physical ability and time after injury. But many of them aren't necessarily angry with their husband.
This reminds me of a point Dana and I have made time and time again: the disability and all of the stuff that goes with it is a third person in our marriage. It helps us focus our frustration away from each other.
That said, beyond what husbands can do for our wives is what we say to our wives. Overwhelmingly, the wives said it means so much when husbands say "I love you" and "Thank you." Such a simple, but thoughtful step lightens their burden. I find Dana really appreciates when I ask her--not order her--to do something. Finally, the wives mentioned how important compliments and gratitude for the non-caregiver things are; that they like to be reminded she is your wife first.
It's so good to know this isn't rocket science. While compliments and affectionate words won't always trump the overwhelming waves of caregiving, they help fill the sails that keep our wives going.