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Category Archives: Living with Chronic Illness

#Chronic Illness, #Toddlers, and the #WAHM – Five Ways to Make it Work

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Every chronic illness has its flare ups, those moments when it gets worse and stays worse for days, weeks, or months on end. Some are brought on by potent triggers. Some are seasonable. Mine is a combination of both, and the last two weeks have been particularly bad. Toddlers, however, don’t care about the triggers, the season, or our illness. They just want mommy to play.

This makes things difficult.

Coping with a bad flare up by yourself is hard. Coping with it while working is even harder. Coping while working and raising a toddler may be one of the hardest tasks of all. Thankfully, there are a few ways to make it easier:

  1. Call on your family and/or friends for help. Do you have an older child in the house? Assign babysitting duty, even if you’re in the same room. (In fact, sometimes this works best if you ARE in the same room.) Ask your spouse or significant other to make dinner and/or take care of the nightly toddler tasks (bath, story, bed). Have you watched your neighbor or friend’s kid once or twice when they needed it? Now is the time to call in that favor.
  2. Simplify. Take a look at last month’s post on this for pointers.
  3. Take advantage of games and activities that require little movement on your part. My 19-month-old son, for example, loves to bounce – on pillows, on stuffed animals, on the couch, and on me. As long as I’m coherent enough to squeeze my ab muscles, I love this game. It requires little of me other than laying there and giggling at the right moments. Duplos, puzzles, cars/trucks, and story books are other good activities for days I don’t feel well.
  4. Nap when your child naps. It’s age-old advice for parents of newborns, and it applies equally well when you’re ill. You need the rest. Take it. Resist the urge to use this time to catch up on work. By resting now, you’ll up your productivity later. Guaranteed.
  5. Take serious advantage of your internal clock and natural rhythms. If you’re like me, this may mean waking up at the crack of dawn to make the most of your peak energy levels. If you’re like my husband, this may mean staying up into the wee hours of the night. Regardless, find the time of day when your illness is at its most manageable and you are at your most productive, and commit to showing up and working during that time. Even if it’s only for 45 minutes at 3 a.m.
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Why I Started A Blog on Living Practically with Chronic Illness #chronicillness #wahm

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Living with chronic illness isn’t easy. Some days, there just don’t seem to be enough resources (or spoons, as Christine Miserandino describes them) to get through the day’s obligations, no matter how hard we try. Thankfully, there are many places we can go online for support with this issue, places where we can empathize with each other and find people who understand what we’re going through (see below for examples). This is essential to our mental well being, and I am grateful every day that online communities like these exist.What there doesn’t seem to be enough of, however, are places where we can get and share practical advice for living with our illnesses.

That’s why I started this blog. (It’s also why I wrote my recent book on migraine.)

I wanted to share with others the tips and strategies I’ve created (and/or stumbled upon out of dumb luck) to help me cope.  My hope is that they will make your lives a tad bit easier, as they have mine. If you’re not someone who deals with illness on a regular basis, but you are a work-at-home parent, a homeschooling parent, or a parent to a specials needs child, these tips and strategies also can be of use to you. I hope they are. And, if you have any tips of your own, please, please share. 🙂

Community Websites:

*Disclaimer: I have not personally visited/used all of these websites. Do not take the following list as a recommendation for any particular website. It is merely for informational purposes.