A day in the life of a young carer
Morgan is not your average 17 year old. As a young carer, Morgan supports her mum, Jeanette and her two younger siblings; from helping with the school run to cooking the evening meal.
"I’ve been a carer since I was about eight years old since Mum has ME. My mum couldn’t do things that other parents could and I started doing a lot more to help, like looking after my younger brother and sister. We all learnt to put up a guard early on – when we saw Mum in pain, we would pretend it wasn’t happening and get on with things.
"When I was 14, Mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour after I noticed her having small seizures. It changed our lives quite a bit and meant I needed to help even more."
"During a normal week, I get up and help Mum with the school run. Sometimes we go for breakfast if she’s not at work that day. I stay at home and clean, before heading out again to pick my little sister up from school. Mum drives, but I like to be there with her as it gives me peace of mind. I’m currently learning to drive as well and have my test soon, so I’ll be able to help out with the school runs even more.
"On Wednesdays I work, helping out at a local crèche, and afterwards I make sure the house is tidy before everyone comes home. On Thursdays I drop my sister at school, then attend college in Cardiff before heading back in the afternoon for a dance class, where I teach dance to disabled children. On Fridays it’s a bit quieter, and I sometimes like to visit my mum at work to see how she’s doing."
Being a teenage carer
"I don’t really know how my life compares to an average 17 year old. It can be funny to hear people my age saying how hard their life is with school, college or their mum being difficult. Because of Mum’s condition, there’s been a role reversal where she’s now more childlike and sometimes has tantrums. Every so often she’ll kick back into being my mum again for half an hour, which is quite weird!
"I set a lot of rules for my sister and brother in my mum’s place, and I think I’m sometimes like a parent figure for my sister, although she’s growing up fast. With my brother, there’s only two years between us, so I sit him down and talk to him like a friend – not like a role model. Sometimes the lines do get blurred though."
Getting some support
"Marie Curie started helping us out after my GP put us in touch. They’ve since arranged child-care for my sister in the summer holidays, started supporting my mum with complementary treatments at the hospice, and set me up with a social worker who I can rely on for support.
"I’ve had to deal with the different stages that have come into my life, every time accepting that there was a bit more to do. That’s all I see it as."