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7 Tips for Parents Who Live With Migraine

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Being a parent is not always easy, especially if you live with a condition like migraine. At times, it almost feels like the two don’t mix, and I feel like I’m neglecting my kids with every migraine attack. However, I have developed several “hacks” to help make my life as a parent with migraine a little better, including these seven suggestions.

1. Explain Migraine to Your Children

Kids are naturally curious, and they also work best when they at least have a basic understanding of what’s going on. For this reason, I highly recommend explaining your condition to your child in whatever terms seem the most age appropriate.

Although it’s hard to be honest and vulnerable with our children about “adult” topics sometimes, I personally feel like explaining migraine to my children has helped our family immensely. Not only do they now understand what it’s like for me day in and day out, but they know what to do if I am dealing with an exceptionally difficult attack or nursing a migraine hangover.

2. Keep Your Migraine Toolkit Stocked

Trying to build furniture without the right tools is frustrating at best, and the same rules apply to life with migraine. Therefore, all of the must-have items that help you manage symptoms must be stocked and easily accessible so you’re ready to crack down on your migraine whenever it decides to make a guest appearance.

For me, this means having multiple ice packs in the freezer, placing all my medications in an easy-to-reach location, and keeping bottled water on hand. For you, this may look a little different, and that’s OK. What’s important is you have what you need ready to go so you can manage your symptoms and your children without missing a beat.

3. Keep Easy-Prep Meals on Hand

In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than trying to cook dinner for a bunch of starving children while your head is pounding. The sounds and smells of the kitchen alone can make any phase of migraine worse, especially an attack. Then add hungry, whiny children on top of that, and it’s a real recipe for disaster.

For this reason, I find it helpful to keep easy-prep meals on hand. Some of our favorites include frozen pizza, baked potatoes, canned soup and grilled cheese, and other frozen meals.

4. Take Advantage of Services That Work for You

Sometimes, living with migraine makes it difficult to do everyday things that most people take for granted. In fact, there are weeks when trying to keep the house clean and grocery shopping feels impossible. If you’re a parent, you can’t just skip these essential parts of everyday life… but you can take advantage of services that do this work for you. This could include maid services or grocery delivery.

5. Teach Older Kids How to Help

I don’t know if this is the case for all parents, but personally, I have a hard time letting go of responsibilities and letting the rest of my family pitch in to help. However, my children are definitely old enough and capable of helping, so I’ve started teaching them how to do some basic chores and other things so they can help out when I am having a bad migraine day.

As your child grows older, you can start teaching them basic chores and cooking skills so they can pitch in and help from time to time. In addition to making your life easier, it also helps your child develop essential life skills and gives them a confidence boost when they know they’re making a difference in your life.

6. Make Meaningful Moments Whenever You Can

Unfortunately, migraine has ruined more than a few days of my life and interfered with what were supposed to be special moments for myself and my children. However, I realize I have zero control over when my migraine attacks decide to make an appearance, and I’ve learned how to make meaningful moments with my kids any way that I can.

As my kids get older, I’ve realized that it’s not grand gestures or extravagant events that make an impression on them — it’s simple moments where I allow myself to be present with them as we make meaningful memories together. So, as much as you can, look for ways to make meaningful moments out of each day, even if it’s just you lying on the couch cuddled up with the kids while they enjoy a movie.

7. Remember, Migraine Doesn’t Make You a Bad Parent

While this isn’t necessarily a “tip” or “hack,” it’s a reminder I think we all need from time to time. Regardless of what type of migraine you live with or how your symptoms impact your day-to-day life, you are still an incredible parent. Your children love you exactly the way you are, and I know you do everything you can to give them the best possible life.

Getty image by Fizkes.

Originally published: May 22, 2022
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