If you suddenly find yourself in a new caregiving situation, previously made household deals may need to be renegotiated, especially related to gender roles within your family. Oftentimes, the agreements made about what parts you and your partner were willing to play within your family, were made prior to the understanding of the hardships of family caregiving. If this is the case for your family, role adjustments may need to be made.
For example, an increased need for medical insurance may mean that the partner who had previously agreed to work at home when the children were born may now be forced to work outside of the home in order to obtain better family medical benefits. Conversely, the partner who was working mostly outside of the home may now be required to contribute more to the domestic, or family, chores. Both partners may simultaneously need to take on more of the work that was traditionally the responsibility of the other spouse, just to keep the family functioning.
Whether you are a man or a woman, agreeing to take on additional or unwanted duties when your plate is already full, can feel really unfair in the best of situations. If you add the fatigue and the anxiety that can often accompany an illness, then coming up with new expectations that you both can live with may seem almost impossible. If this is the case, it may be helpful to involve a professional who can assist you in formulating a new plan for your family. Function and survival may be your immediate goals, and this gender role exchange may be one of the tools to help you get through until things improve for your family.
Published On: April 18, 2007