Marnie Schneider is a CEO, inspirational speaker, an author to an 8-book series called Gameday in the USA, (a Top 100 Kids Sports Travel book series by Amazon), and a philanthropist – advocating for the Ronald McDonald House, whom her grandfather, Leonard Tose, former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, founded.
She is also a mom to her three kids, and a caregiver to her mom, Susan Tose Spencer, who was the first female GM of an NFL team and also their legal counsel and VP.
Marnie is a Philadelphia native but is now living in the Carolinas. Marnie consistently devotes her time and resources to helping others achieve their own victory in every aspect of her life. Marnie thinks of this as “showing up” on life’s playing field, with positivity and energy, day in and day out. We had the opportunity to interview Marnie and learn how she is “showing up” every day for her mom as they “tackle” her mother’s dementia day-by-day.
Marnie Schneider’s Story
Marnie and her mother, Susan, were very close. 30 years ago, when Marnie was younger and flying to NFL football games with her family, she would draw on the plane rides to pass time. That is when Football Freddie, a character from her 8-series book, was created. Four years ago, her mom Susan told her they should take Football Freddie and do something with it. Using their own personal experiences, they wrote a series of books. Marnie and her mom use the books as a way to get communities together, get kids to read and encourage them to play sports and be active.
The book was doing great and things were going as planned, but then everything started to change. Susan began exhibiting strange behavior – which Marnie now knows was dementia. When Susan was diagnosed, Marnie knew without a doubt that she would be her caregiver. She said, “My Mom Susan is my best friend and my role model and mentor! When she was diagnosed with dementia I immediately knew being her caregiver would be the only way for me to give back to my Mom after everything she sacrificed for me and my family.”
What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?
Being a caregiver for your mom is a beautiful and sad and emotional journey filled with tears and love!
How different are you today compared to when you first became a caregiver?
Hearing that your Mom has dementia is a kick in your gut and it keeps on punching you! The only way to get through this is to roll up your sleeves and do everything you can do to make their life comfortable even though you might not get any feedback! You just trust that you’re doing everything you can do!!
As a caregiver, what resources would you like to have available?
People/Friends who listen! It’s a dark journey some days!
How do you manage being a sandwich generation caregiver? Do you have any advice for new sandwich generation caregivers?
Oh, that’s difficult! I’m definitely a sandwich generation caregiver! With three teenagers and my Mom living with us who suffers from dementia, I’m stretched pretty thin, but you know, it’s a compliment as you’re only given what you can handle…so I try to stay grateful and positive and celebrate the small moments and cherish the memories and family time. –With all of that being said, it’s often very upsetting!
What do you do for self-care?
I spend time with my supportive and kind friends and my loving boyfriend who adores my Mom (she loves him) and understands my commitment to my Mom as her caregiver! Getting that encouragement gives me strength!
What else would you like to share with fellow caregivers?
Try to find some fun and happiness in the dark! It’s not easy, but possible!
Where can people learn more about you and follow you?
- Instagram: @MarnieSchneider1
- Twitter: @MarnieSchneider
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marnie-schneider-8246a22a/
- Website: http://gamedayintheusa.com/
- 2020 Award of Excellence: https://youtu.be/75-I2pLPcZk
- Sports Illustrated: https://www.si.com/nfl/2021/12/23/football-freddie-marnie-schneider-susan-tose-spencer-eagles
Being a sandwich generation caregiver can be very taxing physically and mentally. Marnie’s story is a great reminder that it isn’t always easy but this is a great reminder that surrounding yourself with family and friends who are supportive and understanding of your caregiving commitments can help mentally.
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