Parenting With A Chronic Illness

Guilt: The Worst Symptom Of Chronic Illness

Being a parent is hard; being a parent with a chronic illness seems impossible some days.

Mom’s guilt has me all tangled up in her. This monster in my mind is swirling around with all the physical things I can’t do with my children, especially since summer has arrived.

We eat take-out and effortless meals more often than I would like to admit. My kids have cereal, microwaveable oatmeal, etc., for breakfast. I should be making them balanced healthy meals.

When my pain flares, I’m not as patient; I’m quicker to snap, and then later, that monster grips me tighter, telling me how I’m failing as a mother.

Cause and effect. If I even slightly overdo it one day, you can bet your butt I’m going to be in fatigue and flare for days after. It’s the price that must be paid to have memories with my family.

Then I have those late-night thoughts, wondering if I’ve given my kids my genetic conditions, wondering if they will have to suffer as I have silently.

I’m not faking being sick; I’m faking being well.

Chronic illness isn’t just a monster that causes pain, fatigue, and mom guilt. No, this monster steals from you little by little. It slowly steals away pieces of your body, independence, energy, health, family, friends, and then one day; you only recognize the monster that’s stolen so much.

I don’t write this post for pity; I write this for all the other moms out there feeling the same way I do. The one’s trying to hold back this monster while navigating life and parenthood. I see you.

I don’t have any magical answers or essential oils to make all these feelings go away, but know you’re not alone. When I’m having a particularly rough day, though, a bit of self-care can go a long way.

Here’s some of my favorite self-care activities that I enjoy:
  • You can find Epsom salts almost everywhere now, essential oils too, but we don’t use that fake stuff around here. My favorite blends are Geranium and Arborvitae, as well as Deep Blue or Aromatouch for those extra rough days.
  • I love flowers and gardening but, my body revolts at our southern humid, hot as hell weather. So, houseplants. I can get my fingers in the dirt, and it makes ME happy.
  • Even on days that I don’t do anything, I try to get a little bit of sunlight in. Some days get those rays through my open windows, other days, I enjoy front porch sitting, and if things are going good, I might take the kids and dogs for an evening walk.
  • I know it’s hard as a mom but, nothing refills my plate more than finding a cozy spot with my dog and draw, read a book, journal about all the things or sit quietly to re-gather my thoughts. I’ve also really been enjoying Balance, a guided meditation app.
  • Take a nap. Seriously. If your pain and fatigue levels are high, there is nothing wrong with taking a nap. The laundry, dirty dishes, or any other chore won’t go anywhere, promise.
  • Another simple pleasure I love is hot coffee and hot tea, I like iced/cold drinks too but, I prefer how the hot seems to wake up my cold soul.

If you’re a mom trying to parent with a chronic illness, I hope, if not before now, know that you’re not alone. There aren’t any guidebooks or some hidden secret in defeating our monsters, but as moms, we can come together and share our tips, tricks, offer advice and become battle buddies.

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