Such is the situation of family caregivers, many of them women, who suddenly find themselves trying to simultaneously hold down a job, look after family, and care for elderly parents. Struggling to put on a good face to hide their stress, they compartmentalize their roles and push through their days—treading most carefully when navigating the multi-generational workplace.
Written in a spirit of perseverance and knowing “this too shall pass,” Run, Walk, Crawl: Caught Between Generations, describes Sarabeth Persiani’s “marathon”—her deeply personal story about figuring out how to meet the daily demands of work and family while taking on increasing responsibility for her aging father. By turns funny, insightful, and poignant, this memoir chronicles her successes, her failures, and, ultimately, her goodbye to a hard-earned, respected professional persona on the way to miraculously finding her better self.
"A must read for any human resource professional – or any people manager for that matter – who seeks to understand the pressures on and perspective of the millions of working caregivers whose workdays stretch around the clock. Sarahbeth Persiani’s personal story eloquently illustrates the non-stop pressures on working caregivers that can lead to collisions between work and life."
"In “Run, Walk, Crawl,” Sarahbeth Persiani shares the 24/7 perspective on the days and nights of a daughter, mother, sister, wife and employee. The impact of Sarahbeth's personal caregiving experience on her career is as heart-breaking as her personal losses. Her memoir is a poignant reminder to everyone that our co-workers often show up to work weary from their other job — caring for a family member. You’ll feel as if Sarahbeth is a close friend bearing her soul to you as you read her gripping and honest account. Highly recommended."
"In this book childhood memories combine with family histories to create a moving tapestry of a loving family fiercely dedicated to the well-being of a member, even when things are seemingly at their worst... Readers navigating a similar “onslaught of family responsibility” may feel less alone after reading this book—and have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. A brave, soul-searching first-hand account of the risks and rewards of caregiving."
"I loved this book! Sarahbeth writes with a refreshing level of honesty as she shares her story of family caregiving and partnership with professional care teams. Anything less would be a sugar coating of the realities of being a mom, wife, an involved and caring daughter, a sibling and a working professional in a competitive environment. I found myself with equal moments of laughter and tears as I turned the pages of her book. This is an enjoyable, must-read for anyone who knows these challenges, whether you’ve been through it or if you’re in the throes of it now. Through her words and genuine sharing, Sarahbeth is a virtual companion readers can relate to as she captures the positive, life affirming aspects of the challenges involved with the caregiving years."
"As a professional in secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue, I’m grateful to offer Run, Walk, Crawl as a resource that could provide solace to clients who are or have been caregivers. Sarahbeth speaks honestly about the true weight of caregiving which will undoubtedly lighten the spirits of caregivers who read it, allowing them to feel seen, understood, and accepted. Besides being a great resource for caregivers, I suggest human resource professionals, managers, and executives to read this for keen insights as to what their employees are truly grappling with when it comes to caregiving."
They say it does not help anyone to stay stuck in your failure. That’s what my story is about — getting back up. My failure was not that I didn’t care enough, or do enough. It was that I went head-down, nose to the grindstone with every aspect of my life. I believed that I could, by sheer force of will, with my checklist in hand, make everything work out okay. As a self-proclaimed, card-carrying member of the Superwoman Club, it did not occur to me, even when I was physically run-down and anemic, that I could not do it all. If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked myself in the aftermath:
Why was I so ill-prepared?
I initially started writing for me. I needed the catharsis of venting in order to make sense of what I had gone through. Waking in the middle of the night, I would replay a cacophony of memories, mainly family caregiving and work-related missteps. I found solace jotting down random notes and questions that ended with me pondering how I could have managed it all differently… better.
Then it became about others who might be caught in the same situation. Women, whether working full-time, part-time, or in the home, (and some men) who take care of children and parents at the same time.
It’s also for those who don’t yet have caregiving responsibility, but will, before too long. Medical advances that allow us to live longer, combined with economic factors and couples waiting longer to have children, all increase the chance that at some point in your life, you could be caring for your children and your elderly parents simultaneously.
My time as a family caregiver put me on a path to change course and find purpose. My experience being part of the Sandwich Generation, (a.k.a- inter-generational caregiver) changed my life. By the grace of God — for the better!