Parenting is HARD but parenting with chronic pain is HARDER. It doesn’t matter how much you wanted to be a parent it is still definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done and I’m sure most of you will agree!
Sometimes stuff comes along to make it harder (how is that even possible?) for me it was being hit with a mystery illness. 2 years later I was diagnosed with chronic migraines and ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome). If you don’t know anything about ME/CFS check out my blog post for ME/CFS awareness month.
Some days I cant function my body feels like everything hurts and I just want to sleep, some days my head feels like it might explode. Despite all of that I still have to be a mum because I have to I am needed!
When it started every day became 100x harder and I would lay there on the sofa thinking that I was failing at being a mother. I couldn’t even sit up and play with my son. But I have had to adjust, like many parents out there life had to change. I have learnt to do anything that makes life that little bit easier!
Here Are 5 Tips For Parenting With Chronic Pain
1. Have A Lazy Day
Yep, you heard me there is absolutely nothing wrong with lazy days. I know that it feels like everyone else is doing exciting stuff with their kids all the time but that’s ok.
I am always comparing my parenting to others and feeling bad for not taking my son to all these huge things but actually, most of his favourite things are really simple!
Lazy days will not hurt anyone including the kids and for you, it can be a much-needed reprieve. Plan some nice films to watch, puzzles, board games and the biggest rule of all….don’t get dressed keep those cosy pyjamas on!!!
2. Make a plan- break a plan
I don’t know about you but I plan EVERYTHING, I have lists everywhere for everything BUT plans don’t always work out, and do you know what….that’s ok!
We can’t always foresee a bad day and there is nothing that can be done about that but we need to understand what our bodies are telling us.
Remember that it is ok to cancel plans, to re-evaluate and re-plan. And yes I know sadly kids will not always understand and that can be hard but our health is too important to ignore. Have some backup plans that are simple and easy to do and the kids will soon forget.
This is something that I am only just learning about but it is very important especially for those of us that suffer from chronic fatigue where energy is limited. Or if the pain is exacerbated by overdoing it which let’s face it happens a lot!
When the better days come (oh how amazing these days are) you will feel that extra energy and you will feel like you can (more like have to…damn that guilt) tick off that massive to-do list of yours. BUT feeling better doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to push yourself to use up the little energy you have.
Pacing means picking 1 or 2 things to get done in a day and resting in between and to not push yourself to far and cause a crash!! We need to learn our limits and use them to the best of our abilities, we all have limits but our bodies have limits for a reason.
4. Make the next day or even the next hour easier
I try to make everything as easy as possible. If I’m feeling ok I’ll try and do a few things to make the next job easier (helps with the pacing above as well!).
Little things like if I’m upstairs bringing something down I will think ahead and make sure I bring everything that I know I will need later on down so I make fewer trips.
Putting clothes out for me and my son so it’s ready for the next day. Everywhere I go in the house I try and do little bits.
Plan meals, cook and freeze meals for the bad days (or if you are like me make sure there fish fingers and chips in the freezer), I rarely have the energy to batch cook but if I did I totally would! Meals don’t need to be complicated just balanced!
I make plans for days out and get everything ready in advance sometimes even days in advance so that I can do it bit by bit.
Anything just anything to help because some days even walking up the stairs is too much!!
5. Teach the kids to help
A lot of us know that it’s more than likely what we have can get worse and that is a scary thought when you know that your children may not understand. My son is 5 and he mostly gets sad that mummy can’t run around with him all the time. BUT he is trying to understand and getting him to help me makes him feel proud. It also means that if needs must and I can’t do something he can help me.
He loves to help with the washing and getting things for me when I can’t face another trip up the stairs. The added bonus is that he’s learning about household chores and other everyday challenges.
Chronic Pain Sucks!
Having chronic pain sucks plain and simple, its tiring and I am with you some days I wallow and dream of the days where I didn’t need any of the above. But please remember you are not alone there are so many of us out there. So many of us sat thinking that we are failing but now take this in ok….
YOU ARE NOT FAILING! Now you say it!!
I AM NOT FAILING! I AM NOT FAILING!! I AM NOT FAILING!!!!!
None of us are failing our bodies might be making life hard but it can not take away the fact that we are parents!!
All we can do is our best, nothing more!
I hope that these 5 tips to parenting with chronic pain will help someone out and if you need more information or just somewhere to come to chat check out my website Invisible pain and me.
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