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The 'Mom Guilt' I Feel as a Parent With Chronic Illness

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When you are a mom with a chronic illness, you question how exceptional of a parent you are from time to time. I have given myself too many guilt trips to count. I have wondered if I am actually good for my children. I have thrown myself so many pity parties and hoped I would be able to parent better the next day.

I am here to tell you that all moms feel guilty at one point or another. I do not think that is a surprise to anyone. It’s kind of what we do. We raise these little beings hoping they can become reputable adults in the future. Our common thread as mothers is guilt. We all experience “mom guilt,” chronic illness or not.

With my chronic illness I do need to take medication during the day. My body aches down to the bone, and it’s exhausting. Once I forgot to throw my meds in my purse when I walked out of the door to spend the day with our extended family. As I was 30 minutes into my hour-long drive to meet up with my family, I realized I had forgotten my medication. I was super annoyed with myself. I left the get-together early because I was hurting. I took my toddler with me, and my older son stayed with my mom. My husband greeted me to take our younger son when I made it home. I grabbed my medication and headed off to bed to take a few minutes to let the meds start working. It turned into a two-hour nap. I felt awful when I woke to our toddler giggling with his father. I should have stayed awake. I should be the one playing trucks and joining in on the laughter. 

Guilt is the root of all evil in a mother’s life. 

Fast forward to this evening when our older son woke up with an earache. He wanted me to be the one to take him to the emergency room to get some antibiotics for his ear infection. I did. I sat with him and waited; I brought him home and tucked him in bed. I felt like super-mom!

Chronic illness does seem to take over our life, but when it comes to being a mom, chronic illness is no match for our precious snowflakes. Our mom instincts and skills will always prevail over our chronic illness. We may not do everything like the mom down the street, because we all parent differently. We are imperfectly perfect mothers. I am currently writing this while sitting next to a 5-year-old who told me it helps his ear to feel better if I lay with him while he sleeps. It is abundantly clear to me that my chronic illness does not define my parenting. I can be supermom and tired mom all in the same day.

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Originally published: November 10, 2016
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