Parenting with a Chronic Illness: 4 Tips to Get You Through the Day
Whenever we think about parenting, most of us envision playing an active role in our children’s lives. We picture chasing them around the house and at the park, hosting their play dates and birthday parties, cheering them on during their soccer games and ballet recitals, family camping, and bike rides. Never in our wildest imaginations do we picture ourselves as the parent who deals with chronic pain or fatigue. Unfortunately, chronic pain is a reality for some parents across the country. If you’re a mom or dad and you’ve been recently diagnosed with any form of chronic pain condition, here are some tips to get you going through this whole parenting thing.
1. Accept the New Reality
Although parenting is not a rosy journey, it’s much easier and more fun when you do not have any chronic pain illness. So, if you have just been diagnosed with a chronic disease, for instance, fibromyalgia, it can be hard to come to terms with your new reality. You may even try to fight help from your partner or try to do too much because you believe you are okay.
Unfortunately, doing this will only worsen your condition, and consequently, cause you more pain. With that said, don’t try to fight reality. Accept that life cannot go on as normal as it was for you
2. Educate Your Little People
Children look up to their parents a lot. They perceive their parents as superheroes who always get things done seamlessly. Therefore, if you were only recently diagnosed with a chronic illness that causes you chronic pain, they may not understand. It may take them some time to understand, and accept you can no longer chase them around the park anymore.
It’ll be a while before they understand why you no longer go for as many family camping trips as you did. In other words, it’ll be an adjustment period for the two of you. Therefore, take the time to educate your kid about your condition. Explain to them in a child-friendly language what a chronic illness is, and how it affects you.
3. Make the Most of Your Good Days but Know Your Limit
Once you accept your new reality, the next thing you ought to do as a parent with chronic pain is to find your balance and make the most of your good days. This is essential because there are days that you will be feeling just fine, and there are days you will be unable to even move out of bed.
During your good days, that is; the times you can comfortably get out of bed and play with your kids, then be sure to make the most of your good days. But while at it, don’t push yourself too much as you may end up triggering the pain.
4. Remember Your Thoughts Affect Everyone in Your Household
Yes, your chronic condition will change the dynamics of your family. If you were the sole breadwinner, your partner may have to start looking for a job and at the same time, become more involved in your children’s lives. But it’s the thoughts that matter most. If you constantly beat yourself up, you become frustrated, and unfortunately, you channel this frustration to your household. This will negatively impact your relationship with your partner, your kids, and even friends and family close to you.
Instead of beating yourself up over what you’re unable to do, accept that life is not what you knew before and try to think positive thoughts because negative thoughts tend to spread like wildfire.
Parenting by itself can be pretty challenging. Add in the effects of a chronic disease such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis and you’ve got a lot on your plate. While it’s true it’s a lot to handle, the tips above and help from our experts will help you keep going.