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The Worries I Have as I Balance My Illness and My Son Starting School

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When I was a child I hated whoever invented school. Now as a parent, I love them. As a chronically ill parent, though, it worries and excites me as my child enters school next week.

Not only does his life change, but so does mine. In a way it gets easier while it also gets harder. I will have some hours during the day to focus on myself that I know will fill up quickly with doctor appointments, my healthcare routine, chores, writing and the ever so needed rest I don’t quite get during the day. I don’t blame him for less resting time, he’s only a little guy and ever so cute. But I am excited for a few moments of peace. He’s currently in the stage of showing me something really cool to him every few minutes. It’s adorable, but mommy needs to think and do stuff.

When he’s at school, I can go to the gym and not rush to get there during their child care hours. In addition, the gym will be cheaper since I won’t have to pay for child care anymore. My gym has” senior only time” three days a week during the five days I need child care, which makes it difficult to attend the gym as a single mother. This has made fatigue, routine and exercising a challenge. For three days I’d only have a window of an hour and a half to exercise, and two days a week for three hours. I went often, but it doesn’t match my fatigue routine sometimes. This made it difficult to continue to keep going, but now I no longer need to worry about that.

I don’t need to take my kid to my doctor’s appointments or find a babysitter. I can rest for a moment, which sounds marvelous. Its been a long time since I’ve had a routine that wasn’t based off my chronic illness, or limitations and struggles – which made it difficult to get everything done in the day.

This will be a challenge for me now. When I wasn’t quite at this point with my chronic illness and could function rather normally, this wasn’t as much of a worry to me. Before, it wasn’t the fatigue sucking all my energy, trying to prevent me from living a normal life – but now I have to figure out how to do all this with fatigue weighing me down.

It’s hard to explain to someone that doesn’t deal with the same health issues that I do that making my son’s lunch, getting him ready, feeding him breakfast and walking over to his school for the hours he’s there will be a daunting and tiring task for me on some days… that the thought of leaving the house some days is going to take tremendous effort out of me. People don’t always get what being a spoonie is. Even the simplest tasks tire you out. That includes getting up and making a healthy lunch for my child, or walking him to school. It includes me having a shower or preparing my own food, taking the trash out, grocery shopping and simple every day tasks that healthy people don’t need to worry about. Those who are healthy have all the spoons, while I’ve basically got none.

Will I be able to help him with homework? Brain fog can even basic math next to impossible or I am forgetful of words – I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten my own name at some points. I’m constantly late or forgetting things because I either can’t concentrate or I am moving at arthritis speed.

My disease doesn’t always take a day off, and he can’t play hooky because mommy doesn’t feel like taking her kid to school. Our schedule has basically been set on my painsomnia, paired with whenever he wants to get up, and how I’m feeling for the rest of the day. He is extremely excited to start school and make new friends. I am hoping to prepare a healthy lunch for him everyday, even though he’s a picky eater. I am hoping he will behave to his teachers, although he has the same sass as me.

The writer and her son, with the text reading, "School vs Chronic Illness."

I don’t have my own mother to turn to for advice when at times like this, but I wish I did. I didn’t have the strong female role model I’ve always needed until I found that in myself, as well as until I met a few other ladies I know with children. It took awhile, along with a baby and two forms of arthritis, but here I am, knowing I am a good mother because I put my everything into it and try my best. I might not be perfect, but that is life.

I am constantly trying to push myself because now its the time to really do so. My best will be tested when my son starts school. It’s up to me to push myself through the pain and fatigue of arthritis and to put my son as number one. I hope that my chronic illness won’t takes over like it has before, preventing me from mothering the way I need to.

I feel like both of our lives are about to get better and I can’t wait for that. It will be a challenge for me because of my arthritis, but a mother’s love triumphs that.

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Thinkstock Image By: KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Originally published: September 12, 2017
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