Tag Archives: work-life balance

The Guilts

Tommy handprint and booties

Two weeks ago, a younger friend of mine called to ask my advice about achieving work-life balance. She has a three-year-old, is in the middle of a challenging pregnancy and is less than a year into a new leadership position. How did I do it, she asked.

I didn’t, I told her. I oscillated between roles rather than achieving balance. Like her, I was pregnant when I took a challenging new job — and I, too, had medical complications. My boss approved the normal six week maternity leave. When I came back to work, my infant daughter still cried much of the day and night. (The only thing that seemed to sooth her, during these colicky periods, was a bouncy swaying back and forth reminiscent of low impact aerobics, which I had continued during pregnancy.) I pumped breast milk sitting on the john in the bathroom. But my daughter soon caught on to the fact that drinking out of a bottle was a lot faster and easier than breast feeding. My milk dried up.

After I had been at that company for more than nine years, I cut back to part time. Then I left and ended up taking a new full-time executive role in a consulting firm. After four years, I cut back to part time. Then I left and took an even bigger full-time job in large company. Guess what I did after four years?

When my little girl was still a babe in arms, I fretted so much about the time I spent away from her that I logged when she slept and when she was awake. Then I calculated how many of her waking hours were spent with me rather than with her in-home caregiver. It made me feel better to know that more than half her waking hours were spent with me.

I tortured myself with questions. Would she be secure in herself and in my love for her? Would her personality develop as it should? What would she think of my choices in the future?

And I got plenty of sidelong glances and snarky comments from others. One of my favorites, from the mother of another little girl: “Your daughter is remarkably well adjusted considering you work full time!” That was meant to be a compliment.

I did maternal guilt really, really well.

The years rolled by. I completed an M.B.A. while working full-time, after which my husband and I had our second child, a baby boy. (Perhaps this is on my mind this morning because I jut had a dream about him as a two-year old, so sleepy that he fell asleep against my chest, and I laid him gently on the couch for a nap.)

Then came the death of my mother in 1999. Before she was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, I felt that loss coming. I had begun to notice changes seven years earlier, when my son was born. Always helpful, Mom had come down to help, as she had done after the birth of my daughter. When I came home from the hospital less than thirty hours after giving birth, exhausted, I laid down on the couch. My mother hovered over me and asked, “What did you have planned for dinner?”

Her question startled me. I had nothing planned for dinner. I had been busy having a baby!

Her dementia increased noticeably in the following years. She could still dress herself, but more often appeared with stains on her clothing, something she would never have allowed, had she been normal. When Dad encouraged her to do her Albuterol treatment using a nebulizer, she fought him. One night as I laid in my old bed, I heard her yelling in their room above mine. She was shrieking that she didn’t need a breathing treatment, even though she was stopping periodically to catch her breath.

After Mom died, I fully expected Dad would be one of those men who followed their wife to the grave within six months. Though neither used the phrase, they were soul mates: a couple who fit together magnetically with complementary intellect, humor, affection and — yes — sexual enjoyment.

Dad didn’t die. But after a few years, he decided to take himself off the road, and he moved to an assisted living community near my brother. In his apartment, where a little pale Seattle light came in through one window, he seemed to shrink.

The question of work versus family asserted itself. Again. By this time, my daughter was a junior in high school and my son, in seventh grade. I hadn’t missed their childhoods, but I certainly hadn’t been present for large parts of it.

This doesn’t come around again, I thought to myself. By “this,” I meant time. Time with my father, time to do what I could to ease his final years. We had every reason to believe — based on what his cardiovascular surgeon had told us in 1999, after Dad’s third open heart surgery — that his final years, maybe even his last year, was upon us.

I would have time with my children in their teenage years and young adulthood (presuming they wanted to be around me at all). I would not have time with my father. That window would close.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know what happened next: I retired and moved Dad to California. He lived an expectation-blowing seven years under my care.

So why guilt? Because I wonder, why was I able to give up my career for my father and not my children?

I have lots of things I say to make myself feel better about it, but it doesn’t make the feeling completely go away.

The Guilts. I think of them as forming a place, a dark, swampy bog that smells acrid, of things decomposing, where quicksand sucks you in and pulls at your ankles. I know it well.

I hear the voice of my own mother, the woman who knew how to soldier on, seemingly without regrets.

“The world needs you,” Mom told me on her death bed. Sometimes I have to remind myself.

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My Parents’ Gifts of Love

With the latest salvos in the Mommy Wars, I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents’ push-me pull-you influence on my professional development.

When my father told me in high school that I had to take typing in case I ever had to support myself, I rolled my eyes. I thought it was stupid. I had no intention of making my living from typing.

By the time I graduated from college, I was ready to pursue the career that was my right. Women could succeed at anything they chose, if they were willing to work hard enough. Marriage or family could wait until my mid 30s — if they came at all. I had too much to do.

My mother was by no means pleased about the prospect of me pursuing a career. Work, yes. Career, no.

Tension between my mother and me surfaced as soon as I launched out on my own, following our usual pattern of escalation: explosion, “disagreeable disagreement” (as my mother put it), letters and rapprochement or at least truce.

On a telephone call home to Tacoma from Davis, California, I told Mom that I wasn’t ready to get married anytime soon although I was dating a great guy (now my husband of 31 years). Mom asserted that I was “throwing away a personal life.” The call did not end well.

I think I wrote first. She wrote a five page letter back. She explained, “There is a big difference in being work-oriented and career-oriented…. Career women were admired by my peers and sometimes even envied – but it was also expected that women would be women first and career women secondly…. But I don’t want you to think for a moment that I believe I did not have a career – I know I did have, and I am grateful to have lived at a time when being a full-time wife and mother, with all that entails, was possible….. Most parents want for their children what they feel they missed or wanted and didn’t get – I am just the opposite – I want my children to have what I have had. I really do believe, Betz, that a better state of affairs would exist in the world if mothers were home with their children…. I really have not meant to sound in any of our conversations as though I did not understand what you wanted – I really do – and I do understand what is happening with your generation. I know it is not possible – or perhaps even desirable – to live the kind of life I have lived. Though I do admit to wishing it were, but only because my own life has been one of satisfaction and fulfillment, and because I am wise enough to know that I have been singularly fortunate in having been on the receiving end of so much love…. I respect your desire for independence – that is certainly one sign of maturity – and in spite of how I may have come across to you, I surely want you to to find a job-career that will be challenging to you and which will utilize the many talents you possess…. What I hope you will find ultimately is a combination of personal and professional life. I really don’t believe you yourself will feel complete or whole unless you can function in life as a professional, but also as a woman…. It won’t be easy, when the time comes, to balance professional obligations with personal relationships – and since I can read, it obviously isn’t easy for any one, but if anyone can do it, I think you can.”

I did marry (at which Mom probably breathed a sigh of relief) and my career in marketing continued to advance.

Several years later, I phoned home on President’s Day weekend to share the good news that I’d been promoted. I stood on one side of the counter that divided our kitchen from the family room while my husband puttered away next to the sink. I could picture my parents hovering over the white speaker phone on the long formica counter in their kitchen, with the Springers, Katie and Beall, curled up underneath. Outside the window, the rhodies would be huddled close to the house as protection from the cool, wet weather. Mom would be wearing one of her thick woolen cardigans – maybe the fisherman’s knit with the Nordic buttons – and Dad would be clad in his usual winter uniform: heavy Pendleton shirt, Filson tin cloth trousers and suspenders (which Mom said made him look like a hick).

Even after four years of marriage and seven years away from Tacoma, I still missed home.

“I have some good news,” I began. Then I explained how my title had been changed from “manager” to “director” reflecting my broadened responsibilities.

My husband watched my face, smiling. Neither of my parents spoke right away. The expectant look slipped off my face as I waited. Finally, Mom blurted out, “That’s all fine, but what I want to know is when are you going to become a real woman?” By which she meant, a mother. My husband left the room when he saw my face tighten just before I started hollering. In Tacoma, I’m fairly certain that Dad did the same.

She wrote the next day: “Now to the nitty-gritty of children. Yours that is. Because I like babies – I hope you will have some, Betz. But that isn’t really any reason you should have one – or some. The only real over-riding reason for having a baby is because a particular moment is so special that there has to be an ultimate result. A moment of love so caring — so intense — that the only possible response of trying to produce a lasting memory of that time is to throw caution to the wind and trust in God and His purpose – and hope that a child of that moment of union and unity of spirit will produce a child of real love.”

Not long after, Mom must have conscripted Dad into a sit-down with me. She told me in no uncertain terms that she feared I would lose Todd if I kept on as I was — which was to say, pursuing a career. I don’t remember Dad saying anything during that conversation. There was simply no way to reconcile the world my mother grew up in with mine. She consequently watched the early years of my marriage with an impending sense of doom.

Eventually, Mom got her wish. Less than six months after the “when-are-you-going-to-become-a-real-woman” confrontation, I was pregnant. It turns out that fertility was an inherited trait.

I can’t say that I knew what I was getting myself into. Not the motherhood part, but the work-home balance part.

While I was pregnant, I was interviewed for local newspaper feature called “Women Trailblazers.” Noting my rather impressive belly (I had pregnancy-induced hypertension and had swelled to the size of an exercise ball), the reporter asked how I thought my career would change after I had the baby. I remember saying I didn’t expect anything to change. I would continue working and be a mother. Easy.

What I didn’t understand then was that attempting to have a career while being a good mother would push and pull me for the next 20 years. And that my career strategy would be to oscillate (or maybe vacillate): drive hard, succeed, cut back (with its commensurate loss of authority and/or influence), accept new challenge. Repeat three times.

Not until the end of my father’s life did I understand how he hoped to protect me from one of the worst things that he felt could befall a woman: being trapped in a marriage without an escape route. As his mother was. My father’s hopes for for me were shaped by his position as the middle child, a vantage point from which he witnessed his father’s verbal harangues and his mother’s suffering as his father departed each night for his mistress Erma’s home.

My grandfather apparently thought that he was marrying into money, knowing that my grandmother’s father was “the grand old man” of Yakima. When he learned that the family fortune had been decimated by investments in my great uncle’s failed ventures, he no longer had a reason to be pleasant. The relationship that my grandmother had been warned about continued after the marriage. At best, it was a loveless marriage. At worst, abusive.

My mother wanted to ensure that I did not lose out on love – either the love of a husband or the love of children, while my father quietly strived to make certain that I could never be trapped in a loveless marriage. What gifts.

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Naked Shredding and Other Awkward Retired Moments (Part Three)

photo[5]

The project plan and portfolio of materials for Friends of Hospice (design by Pat Davis of Pat Davis Design)

(To start at the beginning of this little series, click here.)

What came next was… a whole lot of nothing. I had cleared the decks in anticipation of Dad moving to California, but he was hesitating. Even though he had already made THE BIG MOVE out of the family house three years prior, he was now nearly 89. Moving sounded so daunting: packing, change-of-address, changing doctors, etc.

I no longer had to check my Blackberry constantly for new texts or messages. My phone wasn’t ringing, and I didn’t have to coordinate my calendar through my assistant.

No one was looking for me, needing my input or approval.

I found out, as many retired caregivers do, that you are not quite as essential to the world as you thought you were. The void of your departure quickly fills. You find out who your real friends are.

I enjoyed walking in the cool of the mornings in Davis. I started going to yoga. And I began cleaning out my house with a vengeance.  I started tackling old papers, many of which needed to be shredded.

During those early days, with Maddie and Tommy off somewhere, and Todd at the office, I began to question my old routine of showering, blow-drying hair, dressing and putting on a little makeup. I dropped hair and makeup.  Who was going to see me? Then I started skipping showers on some days. Who would notice? And one day it just seemed stupid to dress. Why dress if no one could see you? It just adds to the laundry.

Which led to the naked shredding incident. There is something that just seems wrong about shredding with nothing on. House cleaning or cooking without clothes seems okay, but to shred just seems unhygienic.

“What are you doing,” I asked myself. I wrote my friend Jim – my mentor even then – about my crisis of productivity. How would I measure the value of my days without project assignments and milestones, without output? He counseled me to just breathe and I would figure out what I was meant to do.

I breathed all summer.

Then in the fall, with Maddie installed at college, a thought bubble appeared above my head. I had the rare opportunity to use my skills to further a cause I cared about, without having to charge for it. And I cared a lot about hospice.

My mother had the bad fortune to be admitted to a hospital on the weekend. Three physicians were involved in her care, no one seemed to have any idea what was planned, and the nursing staff was reluctant to “bother” a doctor when Mom “sundowned” and became deeply paranoid. I asked the nurse manager to arrange a meeting with whatever physician agreed to be in charge.

Mom’s doctor came in, sat at the conference table, and said, “Your mother is terminal. It would be kinder for all parties concerned if she winked out right here in the hospital.” Then he rose.

“We’re not done,” I said. I explained that we were under no illusions about her prognosis. But she was scared. And we wanted her to be able to die at home, with hospice.

Another doctor took over her care, one who was on the same page with us.

I knew then that hospice – still, after two decades – was poorly understood by lay people, and worse, by doctors. Having been responsible for communicating about a hospice program early in my career, I knew that hospice was not “giving up.” It was better care, more caring care. I knew my mother would want to be at home, looking out on her garden as it bloomed in the spring, surrounded by familiar things. Hospice was our best shot at being able to let her die at home, in comfort.

I offered to develop a pilot program under the auspices of the California Hospice Foundation to raise awareness of hospice among consumers. The “Friends of Hospice” public relations campaign was implemented successfully with the cooperation of three hospice programs and CSU Chico’s Tehama Group Communications in Chico, CA.

Sometime that fall, I talked to Fr. Greg Bonfiglio, president of Jesuit High School, about my transition. He asked,”Have you ever thought that perhaps you are being called to this work?”

Even after Dad moved to California in March 2006, I found that I still needed something beyond caregiving to provide meaning in my life. Maybe it’s that his needs weren’t that demanding. But I suspect more of it is what Mom recognized when she made her hospital bed speech and said that I was “competent, with a high level of activity.” It’s who I am.

As when Maddie and Tommy were young, I couldn’t completely let go of my own needs and focus only on theirs. Maybe it’s selfishness.  Some would certainly say that it is. I have a Puritan work ethic without the Calvinist self-loathing (as Dan Pallotta recently described it in his Ted Talk).

I wanted to make a difference in Dad’s world, and keep contributing to the broader world. That stake in the community was a source of strength that sustained me through the very hard times.

Next: What happens now, when the merry go-round of caregiving has stopped?

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The Journey of a Caregiver Begins (Part Two)

My awesome retirement party (planned by Samantha Smith) included Polaroid party pics signed by colleagues and boss

My awesome retirement party (planned by Samantha Smith) included Polaroid party pics signed by colleagues and my boss

(To start at the beginning of this little series, click here.)

Today, I stumbled across something I wrote for myself in 2005, shortly after my “retirement” (I have no recollection of writing this). It feels a little weird to find a time capsule like this one, written as I took my first steps into my new “retired” life:

Whenever I reach momentous personal decisions, it always seems to follow this pattern.  People tell me they are taken by surprise, that they had no inkling I might be considering such an action.  I surprise myself.  Thoughts may be gestating but I often have no conscious awareness of them.  Occasionally, I’ll experience a fleeting thought in the shower, or driving.  They usually come when I am at ease, when I have not even named a problem, much less become engaged in solving it.  Then, up through the depths, it dawns on me:  maybe it’s time to make a change.  In the first few moments, I roll the idea around, feeling its texture.  I’ll speak of it casually, almost as if stating a whim.  Once spoken out loud, I add to it, refine it.  It takes shape in the moment.

Just this kind of process led to my decision to leave the world of work.  With a problem that wasn’t named, but a solution found, I am doing what I often do:  getting comfortable after I’ve decided to act.

Over the weekend, Todd said to me he had purchased a printer/fax machine to go with our new computer.  I snapped, “That’s my computer, not our computer.”  For the past 15 years, maybe longer, I’ve had a laptop computer that has followed me everywhere.  I’ve anthropomorphized these sidekicks, even naming one, “Lappy.”  There is no piece of equipment upon which I have been more dependent, with which I feel more natural, than my personal computer.  It captures my addresses, remembers my appointments, serves as the slate for both memos and my internal process of reflection.  I’ve stored information about our stocks, written holiday letters, inventoried my father’s house, created itineraries for far-flung trips.  I’ve transcribed prayers, written customer service complaints, captured quirky horoscopes. I used a laptop to capture the words my mother found the strength and heart to say from her hospital bed, while fighting the twin demons of cancer and dementia.  My traveling PC has been a loyal and hard-working appendage.

I am just beginning to understand what I have exited.  First, there are the messages of the farewells.  I was surprised at the heartfelt message from my boss.   Rather than the obligatory “with regret, so and so is leaving the company after X years of service to concentrate on her personal life,” he chose to recognize some of my style proclivities we had occasionally argued about:  “…she will be equally missed for her leadership of people – caring about their development, demanding and rewarding top performance, and demonstrating (our) values in the context of creating a great work environment.”

As the news spread, e-mail greetings poured in like pebbles — some smooth and efficient:  “Your leadership has made many lasting contributions.  You will be missed.” Other messages were strikingly personal: “I am occasionally surprised at how much time it has taken me to work out from under the loss of my Mom last Christmas, even after her long illness.  The only thing that I’m certain of is that no matter how much time you spend, or how many things you do, or how close you come to ‘getting it right’ in dealing with family stuff, I haven’t met anybody who doesn’t wish they had done one more thing, said one more thing or made one more special time happen.”  Another wrote:  “I also find myself prioritizing my life and the things that are important to me.  As you may or may not know, I have just undergone radiation treatment for throat cancer and it has really made me stop and think – and who knows – I may decide to hang it up sooner than later.”  Still another:  “I think of jumping out of the work-for-pay race often.  I’m now painting a lot and I have paintings in a few galleries.  I often wonder what would happen if I could devote more time to painting.  I get great responses… that they are joy-filled.  Lots of color helps.”

In some of the messages, people explained that they had reached a conclusion similar to my own, that – if you have to choose – it is one’s teenagers that require your presence most:  “I started this job when my son was three months old and I am having the time of my life.  I was torn when I received the offer and so talked with all my professional women friends to see how they managed this work/life shift.  So many said, ‘Oh stay home if you can… you’ll miss it otherwise.’  I was surprised.  But I kept digging and another story began to emerge.  One of my colleagues very wisely told me that she found her kids adapted incredibly well to her work schedule when they were little, but she has cut back to part-time now that her daughter is 13 years old.  She believes her kids need her much more now than they ever did before.”

So far I have been credited with wisdom, character, selflessness and inspiration.  Why, then, don’t I feel that way about it?  What I know, that others do not, is that many of my decisions have been based on ambition and fear, supported by a healthy dose of self-justification.  I am not wearing a hair shirt here, nor engaging in self-flagellation.  In a message to my team, I wrote:  “I’m not doing anything heroic.  For nearly 25 years, I have vigorously pursued achievement and learning.  I was promoted during the sixth month of my first pregnancy and met with my boss while in the labor room; six weeks later, I was back on the job.  The desire to keep going was paramount.  Now I am selfishly following another desire.” 

Both subtly and more obviously, I have also been motivated by fear.  After leaving one company and promising to take time out for a while, I found myself accepting my current position after just one month off.  It was a great opportunity that seemed too good to pass up, but I also feared the quiet time in between.  Where would I be without the structure of my work life?  More deeply, there are things I have been afraid to commit to – even to speak of – such as my interest in writing.  What would happen if I just tried to write?  Had to write?

Though the analysis may be right in the long run, I understand my colleague’s desire to justify her decision to work now, when her children are young.  Hearing that children need you most during the rocky teenage years is an answer I was hoping to hear, even as I wondered about the long-term consequences.  We are all engaged in a giant social experiment to try to find the best way to raise healthy children.  Children can be healthy and happy with working parents, or stay-at-home parents.  That’s not the point.  The challenge is in knowing what will turn out to have the very best result for one’s own children.  No one, not even me, knows whether I have made the right decisions.

From four sources came wagers.  Even my brother wrote, “Sure, but the real money is on how long it will last before you get the itch again  J”

And a few carrots were dangled:  interest in consulting, sitting on corporate boards, “let me know when you decide to re-enter.”

Talking with an old friend over the weekend, he noted that he and his wife were considering a similar decision.  She has risen to the top financial position in a large corporation.  If she leaves, they both acknowledge, there will be no going back at the same level, or for the same pay.  In today’s environment, skills rust quickly, resumes mold, and reputations fade.

If one thing doesn’t work, I usually have another option half-lined up in the wings.  This time I have no such fallback plan, and I think it’s important that I keep it that way. 

I have exited, and now I stand at the border of whatever is next.  For now, I am firmly fixed on just noticing.  I am an observer of my own experience.  As Jose Saramango wrote in Journey to Portugal:  “(M)ay I learn in passing from one land to the next to pay the closest attention to the similarities and differences, whilst not forgetting… that a traveler has preferences and sympathies….”

That was me in June 2005.

If I had to do all over again – leave my job and care for Dad – I would do it in a heartbeat.

Next: naked shredding and other awkward moments adjusting to retired life.

At the management team farewell, gifts included this valise packed with well wishes

At the management team farewell, gifts included this valise packed with well wishes. They couldn’t have been more right about the beginning of a journey.

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Identity Crisis! (Again!) Part One

My Dad and our friend, Peggy Woods, at our Tacoma "house cooling" party, 2002

My Dad and our friend, Peggy Woods, at our Tacoma “house cooling” party, 2002

My Dad always said that he felt like he had several lives: his formative years up to joining the 5th Reserve Officer’s Commissioning Corps in the lead up to WWII, his career in the Marine Corps, his civilian life, living and working in the Pacific Northwest, and the 14 years of his life after Mom’s death.

Yesterday, my dental hygienist, Mary, observed that women have an easier time adjusting to old age because we go through so many physical changes in our lives: first raging hormone fluctuations and cramps as we enter adolescence; then the inflation of our bellies to near-alien proportions during pregnancy followed quickly by the transformation of our breasts into feeding machines; and finally a return to raging hormonal fluctuations accompanied by night sweats, belly fat that seems to reproduce overnight and the growth of random wiry hairs on our chin or necks. Even they never have children, women usually get two out of three of those changes.

Men, Mary holds, never face the ego challenges of appearance and body changes that women do. Their egos can’t take it when they go from captains of industry to invisible old men.

Mary may have it right as far as some men are concerned (although it certainly didn’t apply to my Dad). But I certainly took a blow to my identity and my ego when I retired to care for my Dad, and I know many caregivers who have gone through a similar transition. And now, with Dad newly gone, I am finding I am having to redefine myself – again.

Let me back up and talk about my initial transformation into retiree and caregiver.

I had lost my Mom to late stage lung cancer in 1999, and the words of her last lucid speech to me – from her hospital bed – echoed in my mind. After more than two weeks of being out of it, she began talking quietly to me about 9:45 p.m. I wrote her words as she slowly said them on a scrap of paper. For almost an hour she told me what I had meant to her, shared her reflections of me as a person, talked about the special importance of daughters, and asked how my Dad was “handling all of this,” taking in her surroundings with a glance. She said, “It is hard to say goodbye to people you love, but it is very important.” When I asked her what I could do for her, she said, “You can continue to be the marvelous woman that you are – competent, with a high level of activity. The world needs you.”

In 2004, I knew that time was marching on for my Dad. Just one year before, he suffered a major stroke, and I was all too aware of his cardiovascular surgeon’s prediction that Dad’s arteries would begin to clog after five years. Which was right about then.

Maddie was beginning her senior year and would soon be off to college. Tommy was in 7th grade, in the midst of a difficult adolescence.

Having already lost one parent, I was all too aware that this time with my Dad would never come again. I would be Maddie and Tommy’s Mom for many years to come, but the window of time to be a daughter, to enjoy my father, would close forever.

Much has been written of late about Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to women to “lean in.” For the first 10+ years of my career I leaned in. I didn’t lean in so hard that I was willing to permanently relocate to other cities (not feasible for my husband’s second-generation company), but I took every promotion I could. I started my MBA when Maddie was one year old, and I worked full time while I completed it. I made vice president in a major company by the time I was 33. I became president of my national professional society. I was recruited by a national company and got to write my job description for a senior level position at another.

After Tommy was born, I would have to say that my career advancement strategy resembled bobbing in and out more than leaning in. For three different companies, I built up enough credibility to cut back to part-time, all in search of the elusive work-life balance. Cutting back to part-time always came with a cost – and I am not referring to compensation. But I had the reputation, the access to leadership and professional skills to get done whatever I needed to get done. I respected the people who worked on my team, and loved supporting their development and careers.

When I resigned, I fully expected Dad would be gone within a few years and that I would return to the workforce after that.

Although I cleared my plate in readiness for Dad to move down, he was dragging his heels a bit. Maybe when it cooled off in Sacramento. Maybe in the spring. He eventually relocated in March of 2006.

Tomorrow: words to myself in June 2005, “The Journey Begins”

Ahead: what it was really like to transition from career to retired caregiver

Farther ahead: what it’s like to suddenly STOP being a caregiver after Dad’s death

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