The Highs and Lows of Parenting with Chronic Illness
Parenting is full of highs and lows, but parenting with chronic illness is a whole different kettle of fish. If you have an autoimmune disease or some other chronic illness, you may be suffering extreme fatigue, pain, lack of mobility and many other agitating symptoms. In this post, I reflect on some of the highs and lows of my past 15 years of being a Mum.
My parenting with chronic illness lows:
Parenting with chronic illness highs:
Suggestions for parenting with chronic illness:
- Find community and ask for help: Having friends to talk to and rely on is vital. If you don’t feel like you have that, try to get yourself out to a place where you might make new friends. Women’s / Men’s circles can also be incredibly helpful for expressing emotions and asking for help. Look online to see if there is one near you. You could start one of your own! There are often local parenting groups also and of course there are huge resources and groups online and on social media. I feel the online support should be in addition to a local community though as online support can be great but there is nothing like connecting with people face-to-face. Also see my recent post Why is asking for help so difficult? for more ideas around this.
- Practice self -care: As I have said before, self-care is essential if you are experiencing chronic illness. How can you look after others if you have nothing left to give? Practising self-care allows you to put some energy in your piggy bank so that you are more able to care for others.
- Plan well and write things down: Planning for me is essential to keeping on tops of things. I use my Bullet journal to keep track of my monthly/weekly/daily schedules and also for any other notes and reminders.
- Know your limits: Another tip is to manage your limited energy wisely so that you can pace yourself and not overdo it when having a good day. This is easier said than done. Having healthy boundaries is also essential. Learn how to say no and stick to it.
- Let go of any guilt: This can be a mother’s ruin and doesn’t serve us in any way. It is inevitable that we won’t feel good about every action, inaction or decision, but we aren’t perfect and mistakes will be made. I try to give myself the compassion that I would give to someone else and try not to give myself a hard time. We may not be able to parent in the same way healthy parents do but we can give our love and attention as best we can.
- Trust your Intuition. Find stillness in your day to tap into your reserves of intuition. It is often a much better guide than outside advice, as you know your kids best.