I am so excited to bring you this post from my new friend Vanessa, aka @ostomyfunfitlife on Instagram. Vanessa is a chronic illness warrior with Crohn’s disease. She is also a mother of two girls 9 and 11.
Today Vanessa will be sharing with you all her parenting tips and tricks for those of you incredible chronic illness warrior mom and dads. So let’s jump right into it shall we!
Everyone’s parenting and experiences with a chronic illness are different, but I wanted to share some of my tips to make life easier for us chronically ill. Being a parent is difficult hands down. Being a chronically ill parent seems impossible, but with a bit of planning and help it can be manageable. This list is going to sound common sense and for most ordinary people, but for us chronically ill we need to be a little more. . . no. . . a lot more on top of ourselves.
Tip 1: Ask For Help
You’ve undoubtedly heard the quote “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well it does. Asking for help has always been hard for me, but its necessary to be able to have some down time for yourself as well as for you and your partner.
Tip 2: Time for Self Care
Taking time for yourself whether it is taking a bath, reading a book, watching TV, or taking a nap. Whatever self care looks like to you.
Tip 3: Speak to Others
Reach out to other chronically ill parents. As a young mom I wished I had someone to understand what I was going through. Social media is amazing.
Tip 4: Speak to a Professional
Take the time to talk to a counselor. There are a lot of things that can get you down being chronically ill, as well as being a new mom. Some of which can include:
- the cycle of the good and the bad
- anxiety and depression due to your chronic illness
- post-partum depression
- expectations vs reality – your family may not look the way you imagined it would.
Whatever the case may be, if you feel as though it may be helpful, reach out and speak to a therapist.
Tip 5: Be Open With Your Kids
Don’t hide your condition from your kids. Sharing this information is actually a good teaching moment. It will teach them to be caring, to be compassionate and thoughtful. I have explained to my girls that my health is like a battery. Sometimes I wake up and my battery is half full and I have to figure out the things I do and don’t have energy for. The spoon theory is another good one.
Tip 6: Dealing with Bad Days
Unfortunately we have more than our fair share and our children can “miss out”. We may feel guilty, but these are opportunities for down time. Its what your kids want anyways, time with you. Those dishes can wait 😉
- read a story
- take a power nap
- play a game
- watch TV or a movie
Tip 7: Meal Prep
Filling your freezer before baby arrives, and getting into a habit of making food that can feed you for a few days, is something I wish I thought of back when my kids were young. As we all know, sometimes… actually a lot of the time… we may not have the ability to cook on those bad days, let alone sleep deprived with an infant. Heating up leftovers has always been a fave for me, but now I do it on a larger scale.
Tip 8: Let It Out
It’s okay not to know what you are doing and be frustrated. I’m not a crier, but man is it therapeutic to just let it all out. It’s okay to feel the things that you feel as a parent. Frustration, guilt, sadness, defeat, anger. . . The important thing is to get up after you’ve released your emotions and keep on keeping on your chronically amazing life as you know it.
I hope this helps a little on the craziest train you will ever ride in your life – parenthood. Just breathe. We all feel like we are failing, but you are stronger than you think.
I am so glad that Vanessa was able to share her tips with all of you today. This is a perspective that I can’t speak to since I am not a mother, but I knew it would be helpful for a lot of you. If you haven’t already be sure to follow Vanessa over on Instagram and follow her journey.
QUESTION: HOW WILL YOU USE THESE TIPS AS A PARENT?
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Your trusty, gutsy gal,
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