Post originally written in 2017 on an older blog of mine. All of the below information is still valid, however, so I transferred this article when I moved blogs.
Yesterday, I told my daughters that we would go geocaching today. I told them that we would try to go to the library as well, because we are in dire need of some fresh reads around here. I told them that I would go grocery shopping, and we would get the cereal that they’ve been begging for, because they’ve been good all week and deserve that treat.
But last night, around 3am, I woke up feeling ill.
It was less than pleasant, and it was a direct result of the fact that I ate oatmeal yesterday morning for breakfast.
So, I had to tell them we can’t go anywhere today, I’m too sick.
“It’s okay, Mommy,” my oldest told me, with more maturity than should be expected. “Sometimes you get sick, and that’s okay. We’ll just play Minecraft and eat oatmeal for breakfast.”
I’ve always believed in teaching my kids to be self-sufficient, but never am I more grateful for that parenting philosophy than when I am too ill to get up and make them a full hot breakfast. They are exceptionally understanding on my sick days, which are growing fewer thankfully, and I couldn’t be more grateful than I am for that.
Parenting on it’s own is hard enough. It’s one of those things that you think you know what you’ve signed up for, but by the time your first born is two years old, you realize you were wrong about pretty much everything. Add in some chronic illness? It’s an uphill battle with boulders rolling over you and lighting striking the ground around you.
It can be hell.
The things I do to make it easier are simple:
- I’ve taught my kids how to make basic, safe meals for breakfast and lunch. By dinner time, I’ve usually found my way through the illness enough to make them something to eat.
- I talk to them about my illnesses openly and frankly. I am not the only one affected by my illness, so discussing it with them helps them to understand better what I am going through and how it affects them.
- I have taught them how to check my blood sugar and call 911, should they ever find me unconscious. That, thankfully, has never happened, but they know what to do in the event that it does.
- I’ve taught them a bit about what blood sugars mean, and what to bring me if I am too low to make it to the kitchen by myself.
- I remind them every day that while I am sick a lot, and that sometimes we can’t do the things we’ve planned, but I love them and we can always reschedule.
Today, because I am too ill to move from my chair properly without feeling dizzy and nauseous, the girls are watching Youtube videos and playing games on the Xbox. I am always so impressed with their resilience and adaptability. They encourage me to keep going, even when it’s exceptionally difficult, just by being the mature and understanding little hobbits that they are.
Do you have any chronic illnesses? How do you and your children deal with the day-to-day?