Parenting isn’t easy. No one ever said it was. No one promised that there wouldn’t be sleepless nights or panic attacks or poopy diapers. That’s parenting. That is the expectation. I didn’t expect this new parenting challenge though. It came out of the blue and I was unprepared, it was unplanned, and I was blindsided. What is this new parenting challenge? Parenting with a chronic illness.
Life is like that sometimes though. We spend countless hours worrying about everything that we have very little control over and then get whacked upside the head by things that didn’t even enter our limited line of foresight.
I wasn’t prepared for the guilt or the challenges that come with parenting with a chronic illness. I wasn’t ready to handle the feelings that I am burdening my children with this illness, and the guilty moments when “Mommy isn’t feeling well.” It is very hard to find guilt-free moments of encouragement to latch onto during the moments of doubt and uncertainty. Finding the strength to continue on, despite the challenges, is necessary to assure the best life possible for both myself and my family. Holding on to guilt can make finding moments of joy nearly impossible.
So what do we do? How do we find moments of joy?
Revel in the little things
It is way too easy to get caught up in making “big” moments for our children. It often feels like in order for something to be special, it has to be a big production. Don’t buy into that thought. Make the small moments special and memorable. Take the time to enjoy the morning snuggles or moments over a meal. These are the things your children will remember, long past the fleeting “big” events.
Find moments of peace
Be content with the blessings you have, even if it feels like very little sometimes. Use your blessings as your anchor when you need moments of peace. When you need calm in a storm or a moment to catch your breath, close your eyes, count backwards from 10, listing a different blessing for each number. This can help bring moments of peace, center your heart, and calm your soul.
Speak with your SO or BF
Some people are naturally verbal people. In order for their mind to be working, their mouth must be moving. If that is you, and you are feeling overwhelming by the stress of parenting with a chronic illness, talk to someone. Find a friend, counselor, or significant other and tell them how you are feeling.
Let go of “perfect”
There is no such thing. I know this is especially hard for me. As parents, we want everything for our children to be just right. We want them to have memories of the “perfect” childhood, “perfect” Christmas, or “perfect” party. When really, by doing this, all we are doing is setting our children up to expect perfect. We end up holding them, and ourselves, up to impossible standards. Should we always do our best and expect the best from our children, of course. However, having the expectation of perfection does nothing more than place undo stress on you and your family. Be content with imperfection.[tweetthis]Be content with imperfection.[/tweetthis]
Know your limits
This may be easier said than done and most often learned through trial and error. Parenting with chronic illness is like a never ending obstacle course of constantly changing rules and impossibly hard challenges. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself by not listening to your body and paying attention to what it is telling you. Depending on your chronic illness, it is super easy to overdo it and put yourself out of commission for days or even weeks.
It is with this post that I will be slowly moving the focus of my blog to helping parents find faith and encouragement while parenting with a chronic illness. Yes, I will still be updating you on our homeschooling adventures and they play a key role in how I parent with a chronic illness. I will still share simple projects and recipes that are designed to support and encourage parents like me, with chronic illnesses, to be the best parents we can be for ourselves and our family. I plan on having featured “warriors” who will share their parenting tips and tricks, memories, and experiences while parenting with chronic illness.
If you know someone that you think could benefit from my blog, please share it with them.
If you are interested in being a featured “warrior” please contact me below and I will happily be in touch.