If, like me, you understand how unbelievably hard parenting can be when living with a chronic illness then this article is a must-read! For once I’m not going to be beating myself up about all the things I can’t do as a parent with MS. Instead, I’m going to celebrate how I’ve successfully adapted to my situation, admit the ways I’m actually a better parent now and just generally acknowledge how I’m rocking motherhood with a chronic illness!
It’s really important that I do this. You see as a chronically ill parent I desperately want to give my all but despite my best efforts I just can’t achieve everything that others manage with ease. I will always face hurdles and I will never fit the mould. Societal expectations can’t always be met and I struggle so much coming to terms with this and the neverending guilt it brings. It usually leaves me feeling lacking as a mother.
Yet I never stop trying.
I shower my little boy with love every day. Even though I can’t always be there for him physically I hope he knows he is my world. Living with a chronic illness is tough but I owe it to my son to keep on fighting and to be the best parent I can be no matter how difficult life can get.
So when I was tagged in the #RockingMotherhood tag by Rosie over at Little Fish, a blogger I really admire for her fantastic craft ideas and creativity, I thought why not share how I’m rocking motherhood with a chronic illness? I can raise awareness for the difficulties faced whilst trying to parent with MS but also show that difficult doesn’t equal impossible.
Here are a few reasons why I’m still rocking motherhood with a chronic illness;
I don’t sweat the small stuff
Having a chronic illness certainly puts everything into perspective! Life is too short and there are much bigger things to worry about than whether my son has an Instagram-ready lunch box of intricately cut food which has been beautifully and painstakingly presented and packaged or if he (shock horror) doesn’t have nap time at the-exact-same-time everyday. As long as he is eating a variety of healthy foods and is well-rested who actually cares.
My partner and I are parenting equals
I wouldn’t be able to rock at motherhood with a chronic illness if my partner wasn’t so awesome at rocking fatherhood! We have always been parenting equals so when I became ill everything didn’t fall apart. I feel like this should be a given but when I look around me I realise that it isn’t always the case, even in the 21st century! We work together as a team, so if I’m having a bad day and I need to rest more I know our son is still in very capable (and loving) hands.
I’m a good role model (in ways I never imagined I’d be)
I demonstrate to him every day what it takes to make the most of life when it gets tough. I show him what it means to be resilient and brave, how to adapt and survive and how to make hard choices. I hope that seeing me live with this illness also teaches him compassion, kindness and a desire to help others in worse circumstances than his own.
I appreciate everything I have. Every. Single. Day.
When I first became ill I believed I’d lost everything but once the dust settled I quickly realised how grateful I was for everything I still had. It made me realise that I shouldn’t take anything for granted, so now I don’t and I’m much happier for it. I appreciate my son completely and I think that shows in my parenting. I can just enjoy spending time with him and feel truly content having freed myself of the feeling of never having enough.
I refuse to play the comparison game
One thing that I realised quite quickly once I became ill was how little I needed negative people in my life, especially competitive or judgy-pants parents. Getting worked up about how my parenting compares or where my son ‘ranks’ in his achievements would mean putting extra and unnecessary pressure on both of us which would do more harm than good. That’s not to say I never have any parenting insecurities but why let people make me feel worse about them?
I understand now what’s truly important in life (and what isn’t)
Becoming chronically ill has definitely made me wiser. Things that I used to think mattered a lot in life I now realise have little overall significance. I now choose to channel my remaining energies more effectively to reflect my new outlook on life and I definitely live in the moment a lot more. I know my son benefits massively from this and I certainly feel that sharing what I’ve learned will help him so much in life.
I’m silly and fun and lighthearted (most days)
Unless it’s a really bad day I can’t help but enjoy being silly and having fun with my son. As I’m not wasting time worrying about the little things or focusing on things that aren’t actually important this frees me up to spend quality time just enjoying being with my son. It’s the best thing I could be doing. Always. I may be ill but there are still plenty of ways to have fun and I relish any opportunity to be silly!
I don’t try to take on everything myself
I’ve mentioned already how my partner and I work as a team but we also have help from our parents too. I know I’m being the best mother I can be to my son because I’m not trying to do everything myself (and failing spectacularly). My son is benefiting from an extended family who love him and who want to do everything they can for him too. Even before I became ill I felt this was important as I fondly remember the love and support my own grandparents showed me when I was little. In all honesty I’d like to not have to rely on others quite so much but I’m ill and I have to accept that. I’m just grateful that there are so many amazing people in my son’s life who love him to pieces and are offering to help!
I’m still me
I may have more daily limitations and my outlook on life might have changed but I have all the same quirks, interests and passions as I ever did and I can still share these with my son. I’m artistic and creative and I have so many craft ideas, some of which I publish on here, such as this fun and fancy rosette and this PVA glue trapping technique. I love being able to enjoy what makes me who I am with my son, I appreciate that I can do this now more than ever.
I do the very best I can for my son and I always will
No matter how awful I feel I always do as much as I can for my son and I never stop trying to be the best mum that I can be. Even on the worst days when I can barely get out of bed as my MS is giving me the worst ‘hangover’ of my life and I want to scratch my own brain out, there is still a book I can read to him or a cuddle to be had. When my fatigue is so bad that I can barely move, through strength of will alone I drag myself up and make him some dinner. I’m fighting the battle of my life with this illness but the love I have for my son gives me a strength I never realised I had.
So there you have it!
A quite serious and emotional take on the #RockingMotherhood tag but it’s been a great piece to write. I’ve been completely open about the challenges I face as a chronically ill parent whilst still being able to recognise and celebrate all of the amazing things I’m doing for my son despite my illness (or even because of it in some cases).
If you’re a parent who is also struggling under the weight of a chronic illness I really hope this article helps you to realise how truly fantastic and inspirational you are. You need to stop beating yourself up over what you can’t do and appreciate the many ways you are bringing love and joy into your child’s life.
I’ve met many wonderful mums with chronic illnesses online since I started blogging, who have really made me feel less alone. Their fight and determination never fails to motivate me to keep going when times are tough.
I’m going to tag a few who really stand out to me for the honesty they show in sharing the realities of parenting with a chronic illness. I’d definitely love to read all the ways they are rocking motherhood too;
Jen at Tripping Through Treacle
Emma at Not Just Tired
Brittany at A Southern Celiac
- Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.
- List 10 things you believe make you a good mother (this is just a guideline. It can be more or less than 10)
- Tag 3 – 5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.
- Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.
If you’re parenting with a chronic illness how are you rocking motherhood, I’d love to hear your thoughts too? If you’re not a parent yet (but would like to be) how would you rock motherhood whilst living with a chronic illness?
I really appreciate your support and I’m grateful for how many of you follow me across my various social media channels. I’m now on Bloglovin so please follow me there too if you get the chance!
20 thoughts on “10 ways I’m rocking motherhood (with a chronic illness)”
This is what I strive for everyday and know it backwards and forwards but I need more support and I’m out of soldiers. Lol.
My son is Special Needs, dad & I live together but are separated so we have good times and bad. I’m living on SSDI, $ is tight. Man, it’s hard… BUT In going with the theme, I know I DO rock it.. Let Me REMIND myself
1) I am an awesome advocate- I learned by advocating for myself and have transferred that to doing the same fore my children.
2) I am very aware of what they need. Sometimes it’s quite, sometimes silly, sometimes a hug, other times I need them to be more self sufficient, increasing their self esteem. Try 3 times bf asking for help.
3) I know when to ask for help and I’m over feeling guilty about it. I don’t have to like it but I’m not going to feel guilty.
4) Despite our relationship I know that Dad and I are need to do our best to make sure we support one another so we can support our kids. I may need a divorce but We all need Dad to be a big part of their life- as long as dad’ds mentally in a good place.
5) Number one rule at my house is WE DO NOT PUNISH OURSELVES !
I think those are all great things. Somewhere along the line society seems to have forgotten, it Takes a village.
6) I’m taking it one day at a time, finding my village bc can’t survive without our communities.
Hi Natalie! Just wanted to let you know that I am featuring your post on my site tomorrow! (www.calledtowatch.com) Thank you for your wisdom!
Thank you Emily. I love your site by the way, what a great place for anyone supporting a loved one with a chronic illness! 🙂
Lovely positive post.
It’s amazing when we become a parent we find a strength we never knew existed inside of us.
You are totally rocking mama x
This was really encouraging. I’m writing my own post though I don’t feel like I’m rocking anything this week (tired…)
Thanks Marya. All the best with your post. I know exactly what you mean, I’m having that sort of week too! x
This was such an inspiring post. I am not a parent yet, but I have Crohn’s disease and I have always wondered whether I will be able to handle motherhood, even though I know I was destined to be a mom!
Thank you for opening up about your experience.
Thank you Alexa. I think the key is having as much support as possible. Deciding on if we are well enough to be a good parent can be a real dilemma and a major consequence of a chronic illness which others don’t give a thought to. x
What a great post! Great reminders of some of the positive that come along with being sick. Loved this.
Thank you Christine! It’s good to remind ourselves as often as we can!
A lot of the things you’ve discussed here are what I’ve been working on in the last year since I had my daughter.
It’s so hard Katy isn’t it?! I really hope you realise what an amazing mum you are though! I love reading your blog posts where you share everything you’ve been doing with your daughter, you love for her really shines through. x
I forgot to add my comments here as well as Twitter! Love this article. Such a great idea to celebrate what we’re doing well as a Mum – especially when living with a chronic illness that can often knock our confidence a little. Thanks very much for the tag! I look forward to writing my article – albeit a little apprehensively! You sound like an amazing Mum and your family are very lucky .
Thank you so much Emma, although even with this crappy illness I feel like the lucky one! I was a bit apprehensive about writing my article too but I’m so glad I did as it’s made me believe in myself a bit more. I’m really looking forward to reading your article, especially as our sons are the same age and require so much energy! x
What a beautiful and poignant post! You’ve stripped back the essential things to focus on as a parent and I shall remind myself of this when I think I’m having a tough day. Jodie x
Thanks Jodie, I really hope it does help to make any tough days easier. x
Oh Natalie, I just love this! You made me tear up in parts of this. What a fantastic post to have written, both for yourself and for others with chronic illness. I love how you describe that your illness helps you to appreciate the little moments and put life into perspective. This is such an important lesson for any of us. Thank you for sharing your #rockingmotherhood post, I’m sure many will be as inspired by it as I’ve been! xxx
Thank you so much for your lovely comment Rosie!
Rock On! You’re awesome Nat, make sure to re-read this whenever you doubt yourself. x
Thank you Caz!