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Sunday, February 16, 2014

A question of balance



People are always talking about balance in their lives and for people without chronic illness or kids or both, I think is a much simpler task – the task of finding balance. 

For parents with chronic illness, finding balances can be a real challenge. For example, daily chores and task become much more complicated as the schedules are rapidly filled with doctor appointments and children’s activities on top of basic daily functions that are a struggle at times regardless of anything else. Also, there are times when a choice has to be made between doctor’s appointments and your child’s activities. For example, I am on Remicade infusions as well as a host of other drugs – the infusions alone take 4 hours of my day for each for every dose. On days that Will has school programs or parties I have to make the long term choice to go get my treatment but feel like both Will and myself are missing out on the experience at school. This brings me back to a previous post about guilt. And raises more questions than I will answer in this post alone.

How are parents supposed to find a happy balance between being great parents and improving, managing, or even maintaining their own health? Logically, taking care of the health concerns are the obvious step because the long term benefits will also benefit your child. Emotionally, there are days where it feels there is no balance in site. Stepping aside and looking at the big picture helps but that does not mean that it is difficult not to be frustrated and feel defeated at times. I do think knowing that other parents feel the same frustrations and that it is okay to feel those frustrations helps.

We live in a society that feels very judgmental toward how people raise their kids to begin with and trying to raise a child under that social pressure while dealing with chronic illness makes things much more difficult. No, every mom’s dream is not to be a stay at home mom. Yes, it is possible to have a career and be a fantastic mom. Society has trained parents as a whole to continually compete with each other instead of offering support and kindness. I believe that the children are the ones who suffer the most but not just the children – do a quick search to see how many antidepressants are prescribed each year.  This is a huge market!  I wonder if we – as a society – took a minute to rethink how we continually judge parents as a whole and acted in a positive, supportive way what those prescription numbers would look like. 

Finding balance is difficult for parents in general and I think the words – just find a balance – are much easier to say than to actually do. By supporting each other and creating an environment where it is acceptable to say that you are having a difficult time or need some help just might be a step in the right direction.