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6 Mom Hacks I've Discovered for Parenting With Chronic Illness

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I have read many articles about the different kinds of moms out there – the “hot mess” mom, the “Pinterest” mom, the “swear-y” mom, etc… I never quite know where I fit in those descriptions because of my health. Some days my Pinterest-ing is on point, other days I pass out granola bars all day and we make balloons from latex hospital gloves. This polarized image often throws people off. I am not one to be worried about having a messy house, or a put-together outfit, or styled hair… but these are things that all of us can appreciate from time to time, at the very least. So here are my secret mom hacks that I figured out while managing chronic fatigue symptoms.

1. Leaving a pouch and granola bar for each kid in the morning (adjust for age or sensitivities). This allows me to hear them wake up, and gives me time to get out of bed before they begin rioting and shaking the baby gate like an episode of “Prison Break.”

2. When I get out of the shower, I flip my hair upside down and apply a style product before parting and (air) drying my hair. With fatigue and circulation issues, my arms cannot be elevated for too long before they begin to ache. This saves me from having to hot iron or blow dry my hair daily.

3. I minimized possessions. We aren’t your traditional minimalists, we don’t fit the mold perfectly… but we do practice intentional shopping, boundaries when receiving gifts for our children* and regular household evaluation days where we purge and make sure our home is truly manageable with the energies we have.

(*If you have questions, feel free to ask me for tips on broaching the subject of gift boundaries with loved ones. There isn’t an exact science, but there are a few solid tips I have learned over the last few years.) 

4. Similar to #3, I minimized my wardrobe, but I also simplified it. I was tired of having clothes that just didn’t mix and match well, so I did away with a lot of impulse purchases and buy clothes very strategically now. Now I can reach into a clean laundry basket and find an outfit with little effort, because I have kids to chase! (#priorities)

5. I have a commitment rule: unless it’s completely unavoidable, I limited daily outings with my children to one mandatory/punctual event a day. That means if it starts at a fixed time, I do not make additional fixed appointments for that day. It wore me out!

6. I don’t plan large parties or get-togethers. I remember back to my oldest child’s first birthday, the hats I made, the special cake I made, the scheduling I did… and it was no more special than the birthdays where we all sit around laughing while eating a box cake out of the pan with our forks. YOLO.

All in all, I usually feel like a incognito “hot mess” mom, and I really don’t mind it. I would have to say a little intentionality goes a long way when you embrace life with chronic illness. Choosing to accept my energy level has truly freed me up to make the most of my life and limits. I have more time for writing and creating now than when I had one child. It just took a little creativity and team work with my spouse.

What mom hacks have you uncovered due to your chronic illness? Please feel free to share below!

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Getty Image by Liderina

Originally published: February 11, 2018
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