Parenting, though a blessing to most, isn’t without its challenges. The struggles of everyday life while trying to care for the needs of your kids can take a dramatic toll on your physical and mental well-being. So, imagine if you were already dealing with health problems? Being a parent who suffers from diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus takes the cake. As your state of health plays a huge role in your ability to be there as your family needs you to.
Be that as it may, it is possible to raise your children while taking care of yourself. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness or have been struggling with it for years as you raise your family, here is some advice:
Take Care of You First
This may seem selfish or even impossible to do as a parent, but taking care of your own needs first is a must. If you are not at your best, it limits your abilities to be there for your children. Whatever you’re required to do to soothe symptoms of your condition, it is best that you follow through. Visit the doctor, take your medications, see specialists if necessary, eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, get active as best you can, and get plenty of sleep.
Manage the Symptoms
Pain, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms related to long-term illnesses can hinder your ability to be happy and perform your duties as a parent. If your symptoms have kept you from being the parent you want to be, there are other ways to manage them. After talking with your doctor first do some research on your condition and the various solutions out there. Perhaps you can purchase diabetic socks to improve circulation in your legs, get massages to help relieve inflammation, go to physical therapy, or start taking herbs and dietary supplements to soothe other problems.
Talk to Your Kids
Pretending that everything is “normal” when it’s not won’t work too long on your children. Nor does it help you to create a new normal with your family. It’s important to talk with your kids about your condition in a manner in which they can comprehend. You don’t have to go deep into details, but letting them know that there are certain things mommy or daddy must do in order to be healthy relieves a lot of stress for you and curiosities the kids may have had. Who knows, the kids may even start helping out more.
Ask for Help
Even parents with a good bill of health need help to raise their children. Remember it takes a village. So, don’t allow your pride or feelings of guilt keep you from reaching out to those you know for assistance. Your family, religious leaders, educators, friends, and members of the community may be willing to chip in. They can help with babysitting, transportation, meal preparations, and spending quality time with the kids when you’re unable to.
Don’t Stop Living
Yes, your medical condition may limit you from doing certain things. You may have days where you feel excellent and days where you want to stay in bed all day. Be that as it may, you do not want your condition to define you, your kids, or your quality of life. Don’t stop living. Take advantage of the good days and do things you enjoy. Learn alternative methods to cope with the symptoms and bad days and keep pressing through. Have a career, go places, buy things, make connections, and simply continue to live your life.
Finding out that you have a chronic illness is devastating – especially when you’re responsible for the lives of others. You wonder with each passing day how you’ll get through and use up all of your energy to be there for your family. Living this way isn’t healthy, however. Though your long-term illness does present some challenges and limitations, it doesn’t have to stop you from being the best parent ever and living a great life.
All you need to do is continue to take care of yourself, find alternative ways to cope with symptoms, openly communicate with your kids, get help from the village, and face each day with a positive attitude. The road won’t be easy, but, it’s not easy for any parent. So, take a few deep breaths and get started on creating a new normal that works for everyone.