How I Balance Motherhood and Multiple Sclerosis

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) during my teenager years. After over a decade living relapse and symptom free, the disease reemerged after my first pregnancy and was at its worst during my second. Now, as a mom of two young kids, I am relearning how to manage my disease and have picked up some tips and tricks in an attempt to stay healthy.

1. Don’t try to do it all.

New moms often struggle with how we will get everything done. How can I feed the baby, put her to sleep, shower, make dinner and do the laundry?…and the list goes on and on. I learned quickly that everything will not get done. Nor does it need to. Some days I may be more productive than others, and that’s great. Other days I may be more tired, have funny symptoms and what was possible yesterday is no longer possible.

But the laundry and dishes will remain. Today I may need to take it easy, and the rest will get done when I am feeling better.

2. Let go of the guilt.

Recognizing that certain things will need to slide some days also means I have to give up the mom guilt. Missing a family outing so I can stay back and relax does not mean I don’t want to go, nor does it make me a bad mom. Instead I need to acknowledge that everyone will be better off if I am able to recharge. Guilt free.

3. Take the help.

Going back to number one and two, I take the extra help when it is offered. Accept the offers of aunts and uncles who want to come play, neighbors dropping off dinner or grandparents who would love a sleepover. The extra time gives me a chance to catch-up on housework, visit with a friend or sleep.

4. Sleep when they sleep.

Chronic illness or not, running after kids is exhausting. This is often a recommendation that comes with babies, but parents know that it’s not just babies who may not sleep through the night. Bad dreams, a trip to the bathroom or a funny noise are all thing that keep my little ones up – which means I still need to take the extra sleep when I can. This may mean napping with my toddler or an early bedtime for us all. I take the rest whenever I can.

5. Self-care.

Although it seems daunting at first, making time for myself makes me feel regular again. Make it a priority to hit the gym, get your haircut…anything that makes you feel good.

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Thinkstock photo via monkeybusinessimages.

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