To the Chronically Ill Mom Who Can't Travel During Summer Vacation

To the chronically ill mother.

I am you.

Chronic illnesses and three small children don’t mesh well. I spend days when I am sick expending energy berating myself and fighting internally because of what I can’t do. Well, I am here to tell you, it’s OK.

When you live with a chronic illness or disability it is all too easy to get caught in a vicious cycle of hating yourself for what you are unable to do, or comparing yourself to healthy people. Right now, my children are on summer break and I see the Facebook feeds of my healthy friends filled with day trips and holidays. Meanwhile, I’ve not left the house in close to a week.

High pain levels and dizziness have me trapped inside these four walls. The old me would have lamented my lost summer and my children’s lost day trips. What I have come to realize is, my children don’t need constant day trips when in reality I have so many things I can do, even whilst housebound.

So, this summer, I vow to my children, that as opposed to getting myself down about what I can’t do and forcing myself to do countless day trips from which I will face harsh payback, I will fill our days with fun activities I can still manage. To my children, I promise to sit and draw Pokémon with you, to bake cakes and cookies and make fudge, to play monopoly, chess, scrabble and Pokémon cards. I promise that I will help you finish Super Mario Bros U and race you down rainbow road and we will have days filled with movies and popcorn and pizza.

To the mother who is where I was last year, stop beating yourself up about it. Your health is beyond your control, but what you do with the energy you do have is completely in your hands.

Embrace pajama parties and multiplayer games. Doodle, laugh and play. When it comes down to it. They will remember the laughter, not how hard you pushed yourself out the door.

You got this mama.

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