The Challenges of Being a Mom with a Chronic Illness

This is all about being a mom with a chronic illness and the challenges we face on a daily basis with our children and trying to manage everything at home. I will have another post coming up that will include the challenges of trying to work with a chronic illness.

It is very hard dealing with Fibromyalgia while trying to take care of kids and manage the household. What I have learned along the way is we must first take care of ourselves before we can take care of others and this presents many challenges. There are times where I have to tell my kids that mommy has to rest or do something for herself before she can do something with you. “Give mommy some mommy-time and then I’m all yours.” They are usually pretty understanding. There are other times where we end up not doing the thing we were going to do because mommy just can’t right now. That is very hard to do. They (understandably) are disappointed and it breaks my heart. That doesn’t happen very often because a lot of times I push through and do it anyway. I typically don’t push myself to do things I know I shouldn’t but if I have my husband’s help, I know I can push a little and do things even if I don’t feel like it. There are nights where I stand on my son’s ladder to his loft bed so that I can scratch his back and that is very uncomfortable for me. I hurt afterwards but will still do it because I love him and these moments don’t last very long.

Sometimes I wish I could be that mom that can do every-single-thing my kids want to do and keep up with everything…. have the house clean all the time. But I have faced reality and know that it just cannot happen. I do what I can, when I can. And it’s amazing what I get done when I am having a good day! I do things like stack wood, garden, dig a trench (don’t worry, it’s a small one in the driveway), 😉 go on a bike ride with my kids, housework, cook, make new things for the blog, activities with my kids, grocery shopping, and all the other things that come up. Of course, I don’t do all this in one day, lol. We only have so many spoons for the day! (Check out the spoon theory below.) It is not selfish to listen to your body and take care of yourself before you take care of others. It’s smart, and the right thing to do. If we don’t do this then we are of no use to anyone.

Have you heard of the spoon theory? It works for any type of chronic illness. It is basically using spoons to describe what all you can do for the day. So each spoon represents a task that you can accomplish. We only have so many spoons for the day and something as simple as a shower can use up a spoon. It can be really tricky at the end of the day when you are only down to a few spoons left. You have to decide what you can do, and what you have to put off for the next day. 

spoon theory

There are many days where I just want to curl up on the couch or in bed, but I don’t. I force myself to get up and keep moving. I find it funny when people think those with chronic pain are lazy and especially now that I’m home people may assume I am lazier than I was just because I am home all the time. That is so not the case. And it actually hurts to sit down for too long so I don’t want to. I get all stiff and legs just ache. Some days I am just barely getting by and there are others where I feel great and have a lot of energy. On those good days I feel like there is so much I want to do! Cleaning, cooking and making new things, bike ride with my son and other fun things, the list goes on and on but there is only that short window of time where I feel so good and have to choose what I can and can’t do. A lot of times I will figure out what exactly needs to be done for that day. I make sure my son is taken care of first, and that I am taking care of myself. I tackle things around the house as I can, and work on the blog as I can. The blog is something I want to do and love doing it. Sometimes it is work, but in a good way. It really keeps me going and helps keep me busy, which is definitely what I need to stay motivated and help keep the depression away.

A lot of the time I am hard on myself and feel like I should be able to keep up with it all, especially with being home full-time now. But then I tell myself that it really is amazing how far I have come after being diagnosed, and with how much I am able to do on a daily basis. Sometimes I just stop what I am doing and do what I need to to take care of myself. Because if I don’t, I will really pay for it later. Like today, I stopped and made myself a juice in the juicer. It is a lot of work gathering all the items and prepping them for the juicer, then making the juice, and cleaning all the parts. I definitely don’t make it that often! Usually I make a smoothie because it’s so much easier. But the point is, because of that healthy juice that I added turmeric and ginger to, I am able to continue on with my day and get a lot done. If I didn’t stop and take the time to do what I needed for my body, I probably wouldn’t have gotten much done or just pushed myself and paid for it later.

Challenges of Working in the Kitchen with Fibromyalgia:
Wow are there many challenges while working in the kitchen. I am clumsy, my hands shake at times, I get anxiety and overwhelmed, I am very forgetful (Fibro Fog), and I get worn out. And once you start something you have to finish it. Dinner is the craziest time in the kitchen for me. And that’s usually when the kids start fighting too. Sometimes I make them get in there and help (or they actually want to help, like lately Kailey has been wanting to help in the kitchen more), but there are other times where I am working on something new (and might be tracking everything for the blog and taking pictures), and don’t want them in there. Plus we have a small kitchen! It gets crowded easily. Sure it would be easier just to buy everything instead of making from scratch but I know that eating that way would do us a lot more harm than good. So I will continue to make things from scratch, make new things, and have a ton of dishes pile up! 😉 It can be very discouraging to spend all your time and energy making something that doesn’t turn out. Then you are left with food nobody wants to eat, wasted money, wasted time & energy, and more dishes… But, I just keep moving forward and try try again. The more we practice, the more experienced we will get and I look forward to the day where I can just go into the kitchen and whip something up with whatever ingredients I have, and it turn out amazing. That will happen someday right?! Haha 🙂

So to help myself feel as good as I can on a daily basis, there are basic things I try to do every day like stretching, some type of exercise (usually riding my bike), drink a smoothie or juice in the juicer, drink water with a slice of lemon throughout the day, eat healthy foods, and keep a good sleep schedule (go to bed around the same time each night and get up around the same time each morning). Here are more tips of things you can incorporate into your daily routine to help: http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/01/daily-tips-surviving-fibromyalgia/.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I can completely agree with a lot of things you said. I think the hardest part of being a parent with fibromyalgia is feeling guilty when you have to say “no I can’t do that now.”

    • That’s exactly right. It is SO hard to say no. Breaks my heart.

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