• Moms still tend to handle the bulk of childcare and household tasks. 
  • That can create anxiety: “What will my family do if something happens to me?”
  • Aging & End of Life Planning can help ease these worries while setting your spouse and kids up for success in the future.

I’m a mom. I get it. It is all-consuming. You can have a remarkable career and be a mom. You can work part time and be a mom. You can be a stay-at-home mom. In any of these situations, you are overstimulated, under-appreciated, and constantly wracked with worry.

I think that when that baby is first put in your arms, some sort of light switch goes off in you and suddenly you are no longer just yourself. You and that human that you just gave birth to, or just adopted, is now officially attached to you as if they’ve been sewn onto your body and you can never think of doing anything again without thinking of them.

Regardless of whether you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, we all still manage to have a plethora of other things that we need to be thinking about, besides actively mom-ing. We need to ensure that our work is done, all volunteer positions are up to snuff, we need to make sure the house is in order and organized, play dates are arranged, extracurriculars are booked at Wednesday morning at 8 AM when registration opens (most stressful thing ever!), summer camps and vacations are planned out, and God forbid you buy the wrong type of apples at the grocery store!!

What if something happens to me? 

The thing that keeps me up at night (and I’m sure for those of you fellow mothers reading, it probably does for you as well) is this: what would happen if we couldn’t do all of those things? What would happen if we were incapacitated in some way, or even worse, if we died? How would our children survive without us? I mean, it’s been done before. There are many, many people in the world who have survived and thrived without their parents being beside them to support them along the way. But while we’re lying in bed at night, thinking through our to-do list (as we all inevitably do), it’s hard not to imagine how overwhelming it would be for someone to try to step into your shoes if you weren’t there to fill them yourself.

In no way do I want to discount our partners in life and parenting. Obviously, they have a very important role to fill, and, in some relationships, they do take on a lot of the work that have historically been handled by moms. But in most straight relationships, moms just flat out do so much more of the mental load and COO-style managing of the family than dads do.

My husband always says that if I wasn’t there, they “would survive.” And he’s right—they totally would. He would adapt, and he would figure out how to be both mom and dad, and they would do just fine. But knowing that things will be fine in theory isn’t always enough to help us get that much-needed extra hour of sleep at night.

The good news: these things don’t have to be purely theoretical. Through the magic of Aging & End of Life Planning, you can set things up to make that hypothetical transition as easy as possible. That way, even if (God forbid) your family ever does need to figure things out for themselves, at least they’ll have a head start. 

Here are some things that us moms can do now to ensure that if we are unable to be a mom to our kids, that they will not only survive our loss, but also, eventually, thrive in their life without us.

1. Write (or update) your Last Will & Testament

This one might seem obvious, but it bears repeating anyway. About half of all Canadians are without a Last Will & Testament—and even among those who do have one, there’s no guarantee that the information within it is still current. 

If you only do one thing from this whole list, write up (or update) your Last Will & Testament. That is the biggest thing you can do to minimize hassle and stress for your family down the road. 

2. Set up your Powers of Attorney

There are two kinds of Powers of Attorney: one for property, and one for personal care. These documents exist to be used in cases where the grantor is still alive, but is no longer capable of making decisions on their own. 

There’s a misconception that Powers of Attorney are only important for older adults. That is not true! I am of the strong belief that everybody over the age of 18 should have Powers of Attorney in place. If you don’t have them yet, get in touch with a lawyer and change that. 

3. Record your passwords 

So much of our lives are online now—which means that if your family can’t get into your accounts after you’re gone, it’s going to cause them a huge amount of unnecessary stress. Do them a favour and make sure your passwords are all written down somewhere they can find them. One easy way to do this is to set up a password manager (software that keeps track of all your login information for various sites) and give your family members the master password. (Also consider creating a Social Media Will, so that they know what to do with all your profiles!) 

4. Create a childcare “cheat sheet” 

If you’re worried about how your spouse will fare as a single parent, this step is for you. Spend an afternoon writing down everything somebody would need to know about your kids’ daily lives in order to take care of them. That includes information like: 

  • Your kids’ current friends, their parents, and their contact information 
  • All your kids’ extra-curricular activities, relevant schedules, registration information, sign-up dates, and contact info for the adult in charge
  • List of other moms and friends in the community that might be able to help out (e.g. carpool, after-work care, etc.) 
  • Recipe book of your kids’ favourite meals 

5. Write letters for to your kids

This isn’t something that you might think of when you think “Aging & End of Life Planning”—but it’s probably the thing your family will thank you for the most. Write some letters for your kids to read on important days in the future: their graduation day, wedding night, the birth of their first child. Let them know how proud you are of them, and share the advice you want them to know as they move into the next phases of their lives. 

Final thoughts: Trust your family 

Personally, I think every parent should make sure they’ve checked off these five boxes. Whether you’re married or single, whether you’re the primary caregiver or the sole breadwinner, every member of the family plays a key role in keeping things together, and every adult has the responsibility to plan ahead for the benefit of their loved ones. 

But as a final reminder to close on: trust that your family members will be able to figure things out. Moms are superheroes, and we shoulder incredible burdens—but that doesn’t mean that our spouses and children aren’t capable, smart, resilient people as well. You can’t take responsibility for everybody 100% of the time, and that’s okay. Your loved ones will find a way. 

Let us take the lead

Don’t let Aging & End of Life Planning just become another item on your to-do list. Book a call with Viive and let us figure out the rest.

Book a free call

About the Author

Mallory McGrath is the Founder & CEO of Viive Planning. Mallory is a wife, daughter, mother, sister, and friend. She advocates for Aging & End of Life Planning to help families to create open lines of communication and avoid tensions as they all continue on their journeys through life.

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