notes from the mommyhood - 5 ways to help parent when you aren't at your best

all of us struggle with sick days, tired days, i don't feel like being a mom days, and i need a shower and a lot more sleep days, but what about those who suffer from the i have an illness to deal with days? how do we survive and be a good parent on those days when we aren't at our best? sheer willpower, inner strength and a little thing called "a mother's love" - it's strong, powerful and always pulls you through.

any mom out there dealing with a chronic illness is sure to feel overpowered, exhausted, and just plain want to give up and stay in bed. that's a good idea if you are seriously ill, but if you are just going through your normal everyday side effects, staying in bed all day isn't always an option. where do we turn to in this case? how do we get by?

i find myself drawing on the fact that i have made it this far. i suffer from a bad case of endometriosis, (click on the word if you want to know more about endometriosis and it's symptoms), and i have survived a ruptured ovarian cyst, 3 surgeries and live minus 1 ovary & 1 fallopian tube. i hate the word endometriosis and i hate the disease, but i don't allow myself to spread the hate farther than that. i have dealt with my anger and sadness over this illness and luckily beat the "why am i the one who has to have this" blues.

{image: ashleyrose}

a few years ago, after suffering from endometriosis for quite some time, i was almost at the point of getting a hysterectomy and moving on with my life in a more healthier way when the need for a child of my own outweighed my desire to be healthy and pain free. i decided to try my last resort (which at the time seemed like going to see theweebeejeebee witch doctor), and went to see a naturopathic physician. i have never looked back. 3 years later i have a gorgeous 2 year old daughter (when nobody thought i would have one) , no more horomone pills and painkillers, a disease that is mostly under control (when my specialist had run out of options) and a fresh outlook on alternative medicine. what i don't have though, is the magic ability to make those hard days disappear - and yes, they still exist, but i do have a few steps that have sure made them a lot easier for me to deal with.

{image: hien_it}

1) surround yourself with a great support group of family and friends. they may not always be able to come by and watch your child for you, but a quick phone call to boost your spirits or take your mind of your illness can never hurt. make sure your spouse/partner & family understands the full realms of your illness. too often women are embarrassed by their sickness and don't fully explain what we are dealing with to our loved ones. they can't help us if they don't know we are even suffering.


2) make time to truly enjoy when you are feeling good no matter how small it is. savour those days or moments and take it in, memorize it. use that memory the next time you are feeling ill, weak, or in pain and make it your happy place. a strong, vivid, and cheerful memory can help relax your body and allow you to pull through it even when your little one is having a cranky, no nap day.

3) get rest. rest whenever you can. ya right you say? well, whether that means sitting and playing with the kids instead of running around or leaving the chores till another day, just do what you can to take it easy. nap when your child naps (if they nap that is). i have a hard time with this one, but eventually my body will give out and i will crash during naptime. that's the key though, listen to your body, if you need that nap, your body will go along with you. you may not be able to go to bed and sleep all day but you can allow your body to rest up in small ways throughout the day and rest is rest when it comes down to it.

{image: gifrancis}

4) make your life simpler. try to alleviate any unnecessary stress. stress plays havoc with our hormones and our emotional/mental wellness. simplify your home, your chores and your extracurricular activities. learn to say no to things/people when you just can't do it and don't feel guilty for your illness or your actions - you are just making yourself and your children a priority.

try to organize your home in a way that there isn't a lot of clutter to see/clean and chores are on a easy schedule during the week for you to handle (i need to do more of this). i truly do believe in the power of the beauty in simplicity. the less exterior stress in our lives we have the easier it is to deal with the more pertinent issues we have and leaves more time for happier activities with our kids and for getting well.

{image: jasmic}

5) banish the guilt. seriously, don't let that pester. it will make you feel worse - always. stick a note on your fridge or somewhere you will see often of something inspirational that will lift your spirits or give you strength to get through that moment. sometimes even a hug from your child can help. i find when i am feeling ill and run down a simple hug from my child makes a world of difference. they seem to know when we aren't feeling well and will either act up (little monsters they can be..haha) or in those wonderful little moments say exactly what you need to hear. a little tlc and an "i love you mama, it's ok" can magically make me feel that much better and give me the strength to get up and carry on that day. you aren't always going to have good days, there will be bad ones, but you can't control that, so there is no need for you to feel guilt for something you didn't do and cannot control.

overall, the most important thing i have come to realize is to truly love yourself. no matter what illness is affecting you, or even if it is a bad case of the flu, loving oneself is an important part of being a good parent and in allowing your body to heal. sometimes we are our bodies worst enemies. positive thinking and trying to live a happier existence can truly help give you the power to make it through the day with a smile on your face that isn't forced and who knows, you may even feel better too :)

{if anyone you know is suffering from endometriosis or you think you may be, please go to the the endometriosis association's website - you are not alone. there are wonderful support groups all over the world and a wealth of knowledge and research to be shared on this site. sometimes the best step is to educate yourself on you or your loved ones illnesses. with generous donations and time, hopefully, one day, this horrible disease that silently and painfully affects so many of us will have a cure.}