Yesterday was a day of achievement, but one which produced very high levels of frustration.

I got lots done throughout the day, unfortunately none of it was paid work.

(Me working on a laptop, not yesterday)

From shopping, a bit of cleaning, tackling the washing backlog, ranting against our unpredictable washing machine and then coaxing it back into life, sorting out the rubbish and recycling (it was bin day today), various other bits and pieces and helping Rachel, my day was full.

Rachel’s needs are not as great as they were 12 or even 6 months ago. She’s been enjoying a very slow but steady progress in her general health in recent months.

But she still needs my help and crucially we need to make sure Rachel doesn’t attempt to overdo things – the progress of recent months can disappear far more quickly if she pushes a little too hard. Its fantastic to see these improvements, as well as her determination for them to continue, and it certainly helps on days like yesterday when nothing feels like it is going right.

Oh and yesterday Flyman was proving even more clingy than usual as he doesn’t like the wind or the cold - plus, the cat is jealous of my laptop for taking up the space that is apparently rightfully his whenever he demands.

But I’m also working on two e-newsletters at the moment, attempting to do a bit of on-line and off-line networking, still chasing a very late payment, wanting to blog and to carry on with some of the fun writing I’ve managed to get stuck into in recent weeks.

I usually manage to juggle work, caring and domestic chores and all the other “stuff” that life throws at you fairly successfully (I think). Yet yesterday I went to bed feeling I’d achieved nothing.

I’d already made my frustrations known to Rachel and as usual she helped put everything in perspective and showed me how yesterday wasn’t actually the complete bust I was painting in my own head.

I did do a lot, I got stuff done that needed doing, I helped Rachel with some of the things that she needed doing and I got an unexpected and very welcome call from an old family friend with news of twins.

And still, waking up this morning, I have those feelings of frustration about yesterday.

These feelings will pass. Once I’ve written this, done some prep work for later today, taken Rachel for her doctor’s appointment to have some tests done, picked up her latest prescription and got us both back home and settled, I’ll have a bit of space to knuckle down into the paid work.

I did something else today which has helped.

I completed the on-line survey set up by Carers UK to discover the cost of caring and how the economic issues are currently impacting on carers.

Elsewhere on the organisation’s site is an official response to Gordon Brown’s speech last week to the Labour annual conference where he paid tribute to the “amazing work” done by the estimated 6 million UK carers.

The Government has published a Green Paper aimed at providing greater support and official recognition of the work of carers.

So this week I was hoping to get the Tory slant on the carers issue at it’s annual conference in Birmingham. I fear, however, that it has been overtaken by events.

The on-going economic problems and the pledge from David Cameron to work with political opponents to come up with solutions has understandably over-shadowed just about everything else.

Yesterday did see debates and speeches on family, welfare and benefits at the conference, but so far I’ve found little (if any) reference to carers and caring.

Of course we are all in the same boat as regards the economy, the wider picture is very important. And yet there is a real danger of those who are already marginalised in society becoming even more so as the level of uncertainty increases.

In the meantime I’ll get stuck into some newsletter writing today, I’m also hoping to call a couple of people to have a chat about a work-related idea. And who knows, I may even get a chance to indulge in a bit of fun writing later.

The demands of career and caring is a juggling act I’m still trying to perfect and I’m not sure I’ll ever truly get the hang of it.

But as long as I keep concentrating on the really important things in life (Rachel and our life together) then I know everything else will get easier.

We do care a lot, especially in our house.

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2 responses »

  1. Rosemary says:

    Hi Paul,

    Your blog came through on one of the google alerts regarding carers.
    If you get time could you look at the following petition .If in agreement with it ,will you add your name please.

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/caringiswork/

    http://carerwatchdotcom.myfineforum.org/index.php

    If by any chance you read the carer boards you will recognise some of the names on CW,we cross over most of them :P.

    The government are failing in their duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society, do you have any thoughts Paul on the direction this is all taking.

    Many Thanks
    Rosemary

    .

  2. Paul Groves says:

    Rosemary: Thanks for the links. I’ve had a look at both.

    I tend to think that whereas politicians in general are very good at saying all the right things about the role of carers, this is rarely (if ever) refelcted in legislation or policy initiatives.
    Far too often Government (not just this Labour administration) adopts a “one size fits all” approach to a wider issue and hope to catch as many as possible in the process.
    I tend to think that is one of the reasons our benefit system is in such a mess and the proposals for changing it are likely to create far more problems.

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