Are you a Super Mom or a Super Pooped Mom?
Chronic illnesses make life difficult. Those of us who suffer from one are always feeling like we are swimming against the stream. My illnesses are always getting in the way of what I want and need to do. Instead of doing the dishes my body may demand a nap. While an occasional nap may not sound bad to the average person, imagine if your body demanded multiple naps most days of the week. Think about all the time you wouldn’t be spending on work, household chores, playing with your children, prepping meals, etc… With each nap we fall further behind. Unfortunately, if we don’t heed our bodies warnings we could find ourselves in the hospital and then nothing would ever get accomplished. Sometimes we allow our desire to be a super mom turn us into super pooped mom. Which are you?
Five signs of a super pooped mom:
1. She ignores her body’s demand to take a nap or rest
Pushing past my body’s request for rest doesn’t give me more time to accomplish any tasks or goals. Instead it will punish me with even more down time as it will require more time to recover.
2. She doesn’t ask for help
Not everybody is comfortable asking for assistance. But what’s more uncomfortable, asking for help or the intense spike in pain and possibly not being able to finish the task by yourself anyways?
3. She doesn’t plan ahead
Our chronic illnesses can thwart even the best of plans. The fact that we cannot predict how we will be feeling one day or hour to the next is downright maddening. However, that is not a reason to not plan as much as we possibly can. If I don’t have prepped meals in the freezer when a flare hits, my family has to spend extra money ordering take-out , stand at the pantry and fridge and stare at ingredients until they figure out what to cook, or not eat.
4. She thinks that her chronic illness is only her problem
I don’t expect my husband or children to hide their struggles from me, so it doesn’t make sense for me to hide mine. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on in my chronic life was to think and live like my illnesses were my problem and my problem only.
5. She wears herself down by trying to not only keep her family’s life running the way it did before she became ill, but also tries to compensate for it.
During my early chronic years I felt I had to prove my worth as a mother and wife by running my household and caring for my family in the same manner as I did before becoming ill. Not only that, because of the guilt I felt for all that I missed during a flare, I would attempt to do more for my family in order to somehow make up for it. This way of thinking and living was and still is dangerous. The result of trying to live a “normal” life is spending more time in bed with more physical pain than necessary.
Five signs of a Super Mom
1. She listens to her body
While it can be frustrating when my body demands that I take multiple naps throughout a day, my chances of a better tomorrow is much greater when I follow my body’s lead. I was fortunate that my youngest loved to nap and even luckier that my body would adhere to her napping schedule on my tougher days. If your little one isn’t much of a napper or your body refuses to sync to their nap time, have a few friends on standby. When experiencing a day in which your body is refusing to do anything but sleep, call on them to come hang out with your wee one while you take care of yourself.
2. She asks for help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength. It shows that you know your limitations. I don’t get annoyed when my husband or children ask me to help them with a project or task, so why would I assume they would have a problem when I need assistance? Instead of feeling guilty when requesting that my children do something their selves or in addition to what I normally expect, I remind myself that it will only help them become better adults. The universe isn’t going to wash their laundry and put it away, nor is it going to cook their dinner. Of course asking for help goes beyond family. Asking friends for help is still something I struggle with. Just like with my family, I have no problem helping them when I can so asking them shouldn’t feel like such a big deal. In my case I am learning to view myself as less of a burden and more as a person who just needs a hand now and then.
3. She plans ahead
Not only do I plan ahead to make sure my family will have something easy to prepare for dinner while I am flaring; I also plan backups for events or outings. Because I can’t predict how I am going to feel from one day to the next, when making plans for my children or myself I try to always have a back-up plan. Those back-up plans include, but are not limited to: planning an alternative activity, asking someone if they would be able to drive my kids if I find myself unable to, and having someone informed or trained and ready to take over if I am unable to fulfill a commitment outside of the house. Instead of agreeing to attend to a table at my church’s craft fair, then waking to discover I won’t be able to and leaving it unattended, I have someone one on standby so show can still go on. Chronic living requires a lot of planning while flying by the seat of your pants.
4. She acknowledges that her condition isn’t just her problem
Can you imagine your life not changing if your spouse or children were diagnosed with cancer? If our spouse loses their job, is it only their problem? NO! Families are a unit; we are not a group of individuals living separate lives under the same roof. When families work together, chronic moms are happier and have more quality time to love on those she cherishes.
5. She accepts that life is different with a chronic illness
Attempting to live the life I used to have only made my life more difficult. Once I embraced my new life, I was able to begin finding alternative ways to accomplish tasks or to do things I thought I would have to give up. Who cares if not everyone understands why I need a wheelchair for most outings? Who cares if people doubt the severity of my illness because I am happy and smiling when they see me? Not me! Accepting your life for what it is at this moment isn’t a form of giving up. You can still hope and pray for a cure. But the key is to not stop living while you wait.
We won’t always succeed at being a super mom and that’s okay. I trip and fall over my cape every day. Just don’t forget to reach out for help before your super pooped mom status turns you into a villain.
Wishing you a day filled with many reasons to smile and gentle hugs,