Raising children is challenging for people from all walks of life; when you suffer from a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), parenting can be doubly difficult. Here are some tips for maintaining the family home front while battling symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome cause debilitating symptoms such as extreme tiredness, excruciating pain, frequent illness and severe malnutrition problems such as vitamin B12 deficiency and iron deficiency. Many sufferers struggle to balance parenting and work while dealing with constant fibromyalgia flare-ups and crushing fatigue.
Below are expert parenting tips that are helpful for moms and dads suffering from any chronic illness, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Talk about it
Many parents with chronic illness try to hide their condition from their children. Either they’re embarrassed to admit weakness, or they mistakenly think their kids are too young to understand or be able to deal with it. Sometimes, it stems from fear of reversing the parent-child role, placing the burden of caretaking onto the child.
Parenting experts recommend being open with your children about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, and encouraging regular communication. In most cases, your children want to be “in the know,” and to be reminded that things are going to be okay, that you aren’t suffering from any life-threatening illness.
If you regularly take your children to school or pick them up at the end of the day, then it’s a good idea to have a backup plan for days when you are physically unable to leave your bed or get into a car. Ask a relative or friend if they could be on-call for fibromyalgia flare-ups, and make sure your children’s teachers are aware of your arrangement. Or, see if there are any after-school daycares that take last minute drop-ins.
Keep things steady
It’s hard to stay consistent when you’re struggling with an illness that doesn’t follow any predictable pattern. Still, an important part of parenting with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue is maintaining a certain level of regularity. Changes are stressful for children, so strive to keep things as normal as possible.
The best way to do that is to incorporate a certain amount of flexibility into your regular routine, whether it be impromptu visits with grandma or grandpa or the occasional extended TV time while mommy recuperates.
Never lose track of the things that are most important in life while trying to compensate for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. It’s okay if your children don’t have expensive birthday party blow-outs or a mom who roller skates with them after school. Don’t compare yourself to other parents who don’t suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue.
What matters most to your children, after all is said and done, is that you are there for them, and that you always will be.
Take care of yourself
One of the best (and most obvious) tips for parenting with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue is to be your own best healthcare advocate. Keep up with the latest research in natural pain management, immune system health, and increased energy through nutritional therapies.
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