How to be a Great Mom When You’re Living with a Chronic Illness

Being a Mom is a hard enough job at the best of times, and it can be stressful and exhausting even if you’re fit and healthy. For those of us trying to cope with a chronic health condition, stress and exhaustion are the normal state of affairs before you even get to the parenting, so everything is made more difficult right from the off. Millions of Americans are living with an ongoing health problem, including chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue problems like ME, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. When you struggle to get through each day, how can you be a good parent as well?
This is a vital part of being a good Mom, because the better you take care of yourself, the more able you will be to fulfill your parenting role to the best of your ability. That means doing everything you can to help yourself, which includes:
  • Getting enough rest. Learning to pace yourself and taking rest breaks when you need them will help you avoid the extremes of pain and fatigue. If you push yourself too hard one day, then the next you’ll be unable to do anything, so it’s much better to have a balance of shorter sessions of activity, interspersed with periods of relaxation.
  • Learning to relax properly. Muscle tension makes pain and fatigue much worse, so you need to learn how to relax and release tension. Meditation is a good way to start, and needn’t take too much time each day. Ten minutes morning and evening will help you learn how to relax properly, and there is a wide variety of different kinds of meditation and mindfulness you can try. Have a browse on the Internet for some free resources to help you.
  • Gentle exercise. However painful your condition, it will almost certainly benefit from some form of exercise. The method you choose will depend on what you enjoy doing and what you are able to achieve, so it could be a walk around the park, doing a session of yoga or Pilates, learning Thai Chi, or doing ten minutes on an exercise bike. Find the exercise that suits you, and keep yourself as fit and flexible as possible.
  • Eating and drinking well. Diet can play a big role in keeping you healthy and minimizing your symptoms. If you fuel your body with nutritious whole foods, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and high-quality protein, you’ll be giving it the best chance of functioning well. If you live on fries and soda, you won’t be doing your health any favors, and could well be making yourself feel a whole lot worse. Drinking enough water is also essential in helping with fatigue and avoiding putting extra strain on your organs. If you’re not sure how to eat well, follow the advice on authoritative websites.
Treatment options
The treatment you are receiving will, of course, depend on your condition, and also the medical team supervising your case. You can help yourself by staying up to date with new research and developments in care for your condition and discussing different options with your doctor. If you’re going to look for information online, be selective and critical of everything you read. Unfortunately, there are scammers and fraudsters out there who are only too happy to prey on the desperation of folks living with intractable health conditions. Check where any information comes from, and what evidence there is to support any claims made before considering a new treatment. You should always be skeptical about products that claim they can cure you – if it sounds too good to be true, it’s almost certainly a con. What may be worth considering is investing in complementary therapies that could help you. For example, specialist pain clinics across the country are employing every tool at their disposal to help treat not just the effects but the causes of pain, so it’s worth having a consultation to see if they can offer effective treatments for your condition. If you’re worried about the cost but the treatment could make a big difference to your quality of life, it might be worth considering a personal loan from a reputable broker like Bonsai Finance to cover the expense if you don’t have insurance that would cover it. As long as you can make the repayments, investing in an improvement in your health will be worth every penny.
Talking to your kids
You might be wondering why the section on self-care has taken up so much of this article! The truth you need to recognize is that this forms such a fundamental role in enabling you to be a good parent, that it must always be seen as the priority, rather than taking a back seat. The healthier and fitter you are, and the more effort you make to look after yourself, the better you will feel, and consequently, the better you will be able to cope. It’s a good idea to be honest but positive with your kids, so they know that sometimes Mommy can’t play or pick them up because she doesn’t feel too good. If they know why you need to rest, they will be far more understanding, and won’t worry that they’ve done something wrong or that you can’t be bothered. Putting a positive slant on it, being cheerful and explaining that Mommy needs a nap but she’ll feel much better when she wakes up is important; otherwise they will be worrying about you, which is not what you want. If you can’t do something, explain why and offer an alternative instead. For example, if the kids want to play ball in the yard but you aren’t up to it, tell them Mommy needs to rest today, but if they play ball for half an hour themselves, you’ll read them a story afterward.

Being a good Mom means spending time with your children, as well as looking after their physical needs. Being loving, listening to them, and taking part in the activities you can manage will all help your kids feel loved and cared for, even if you can’t do everything they would like. Look after yourself and let the kids know you love them, and you’ll be a great Mom.

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