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Parenting with Chronic Pain
Parenting, especially parenting sons, can be an overwhelming task. It is a 24/7/365 job, it is almost all hands-on, and it is emotionally and mentally all-consuming. A task that already seems overwhelming becomes almost inconceivable when it has to be done through the mask of chronic pain.
Chronic pain can take numerous forms. A mother may suffer from Fibromyalgia, chronic debilitating migraines, various autoimmune disorders, or numerous other chronic illnesses. These illnesses can be tremendous challenges in and of themselves, but when they are considered as having to coexist with the parenting of sons, the combination can be very discouraging. Is there anything that can make the parenting side easier?
The most important thing a parent suffering from chronic pain has to remember is that the most any parent can do is to try her best. No one can do any more. If the best you can manage one day is allowing your son to watch too much TV and play too many video games while you rest on the couch, then thatís what has to be done. If you find that you need more help from family members than you would really prefer, donít dwell on the fact that your family may spend more time with your son than you do. Be grateful that people love both of you enough to want to help.
Second, constantly remind yourself that things will not always be this way. Most chronic pain sufferers have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and even good years and bad years. If you find yourself in a particularly bad pain cycle, keep in mind that it will get better. Do as much for your son as you can, and then, when youíre feeling better, youíll be able to do more.
Third, realize that you are the only mother your son knows (in most cases). He is not constantly comparing you to some archetypical mother and finding you wanting. He loves you for who you are. Further, children are so resilient. In the vast majority of cases, the harm you fear you may be doing your son exists only in your head. He is merely living the only life he knows.
Finally, to the extent that you can, modify your schedule so that you can give your son your attention when you feel your best. If your pain is worst in the late afternoon, then be sure that you are available to your son in the morning. Be open to the idea of doing things at non-traditional times in order to maximize the time you can spend with your son. Listen to your body and take your cues from it.
Chronic pain is a terrible burden, but it does not have to prevent you from having a full and happy life with your son.
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Content copyright © 2015 by Laura Delgado, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
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