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7 tips for Parenting when Living with a Chronic Illness

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Parenting can be a challenge on it's own and when you couple it with a Chronic illness or disability, it can make it even more of a challenge.

It doesn't matter if it is the child or the parent that suffers from the Disability, you will have your own set of unique needs and challenges.

Some of the challenges may include exhaustion , over exertion; both physically and mentally, discipline, communication, keeping up with simple daily activities and chores, social messages, income challenges and more. I know as a parent living with Fibromyalgia ( http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/tc/fibromyalgia-topic-overview) I face many challenges that the average parent may not have to contend with or at least not on the same level.

You are often left to wonder if your child is going to suffer from anxiety and/or depression because of the way your Disability also affects their life. I recommend reading some insightful articles on the subject , I have provided the links to a few suggestions.

And while children of parents with a disability may be more likely to be an introvert, they are also highly likely to be more compassionate, open minded and resourceful.

I have a few pieces of advice of my own when it comes to parenting, especially when you live with a Chronic Illness/Disability.

CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES - While this is just good advice in general, it really comes into play when you live with chronic pain and fatigue. What I mean is, Don't sweat the small stuff. Save your energy for the things that really matter. and don't cause yourself unnecessary stress or anxiety.
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! - I know that my Fibro Fog has caused me to forget more things than I care to admit. So find the method that works best for you. It could be as simple as a notebook that you keep handy to jot things down. An appointment book or calendar. An App on your phone or simply the calendar that came with your email program. Keep a written record . I could not function without my paper trail!
DO YOUR BEST TO AVOID NEGATIVITY - It is draining for everyone involved. This article sums it up rather nicely http://www.psy-ed.com/wpblog/damaging-phrases-and-habits/. You can also find tons of other helpful tips and advice on this site. As a person who suffers from Anxiety, I found this article very insightful and informative. http://www.psy-ed.com/wpblog/mental-disorders/panic-disorder-and-panic-attacks/
DON'T KEEP YOUR KIDS IN THE DARK ABOUT YOUR HEALTH - they worry about you more than they let on and want to be informed. Which leads me to my next tip.
KEEP LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN - Especially when you are the mother to a teenager. Let your child know that even though you may not be able to make it to every event , you are still there cheering them on! That even though your body may need to rest, you are always there to listen. There is also a stigma surrounding parents with disabilities that because of their health it somehow affects the quality of their parenting. I beg to differ!
ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED - I have learned that I am no longer Superwoman that I once was and am not capable of many things I used to be capable of , I have also learned that it is ok to let go of the controls and ask for help if you need it!
DON'T LET YOUR LIMITATIONS STOP YOUR CHILD FROM LIVING - If you are unable to take your child somewhere or do something with them, try and find a solution. And under no circumstances do you let your own Anxiety keep them from their own experiences and opportunities.
If you find yourself struggling with parenting issues , or just need a little extra support; there are several resources available for you and many can be found by doing a quick Google search.

Join a support group , you can find a support group for almost everything online. Just check any social network and you will be sure to find what you are looking for.

Follow a Blog or two. Sometimes just connecting with someone else or reading someone else's trials can give that little bit of extra support and encouragement that you may need.

If you are the parent of a small child, your local area may have programs for your child to attend so that you can get some rest and your child can burn of some of that extra energy and interact with other children. Additionally, they may also have some Counselling programs/services available. Remember, my earlier tip. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

You will likely have access to Government Programs and Benefits just for parents living with a disability or raising a child with a disability. Visit your government website to find out what you may be entitled to.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that your disability is going to affect your child's life and you need to find ways to best manage your life and your child's to the best of your ability. At the same time, remember that there are going to be bumps along the way, and that some things will be a lot of trial and error .

The support , advice and encouragement you need are only a mouse click away!