One thing that eludes me is consistency. Some of that is A.D.D., some of that is just life. Chronic illness doesn’t really allow for consistency. It is super annoying. It bleeds over into parenting. When my illnesses are flaring or acting up, I tend to slack off on parenting. I know I do this.I hate it. I dislike how much TV she watches while I lay in bed. It takes energy I just do not have, to keep on top of her. I want to always be that mom who is fully involved and happily multi tasking making dinner while the kid is doing homework. It is just not realistic for this to be happening daily though.
This morning Actually it started the night before, we did homework for hours. Why hours? Because I was resting. She was supposed to be sitting at the table doing her homework. I could hear when she got off task. I made sure to point it out to her. When she was crying for like the fourth time I told her to pack it up. We would finish it in the morning. She is a horribly early morning child anyway so why not. This lead her getting up an hour earlier than normal,because she was worried about not having enough time. Between slurping coffee and getting really frustrated she is not focusing. The guilt starts. The guilt that I should have been more on top of this. I should have. I should have. I should have. This is what goes through my head. I know on one hand, that I could have done things differently. Then again, she is nine. She is old enough to be responsible for her homework.
It’s not like I don’t know it’s coming. It’s not like I don’t know its due. It is more like, It just gets set aside in the hurry of every day. We set it aside because this came up or that came up. We set it aside because I am not feeling well, we will do it tomorrow. I will feel better tomorrow because I rested today and I am going to take it easy tomorrow. That by the way never actually happens. Then suddenly it is due tomorrow.
We get her homework packet Thursday after school. We pour over it like it’s the newest gossip magazine. Look how many pages of math! Oh, look you get to do this! I have an idea for that! We really do plan on tackling it. Thursday we are good about filling in her reading log, including the summary of what she read. We mark down what flashcards she did in Math. Friday, we normally have a family treat. However on the way there I normally make her read her book. There is a fifty-fifty chance it will get written down when we get home. Saturday, sometime after I arise from the abyss of sleep, around eight am I look at her homework packet. We might even tackle some of it. Then the outside is calling because it is fall in Florida. It is splendid weather outside. Not cold, not hot, windy but not windy to make it miserable. In other-words, paradise. Sunday morning is out because church. The next thing I know its Monday. When I pick her up it’s all gusto. We are going to get it done. She reads. She does math. I am knee-deep in making dinner. “Yeah I don’t care what you do. OUT of the Kitchen!” We have tomorrow. We will knock it out tomorrow. You get the picture.
Sometimes at the end of the day, I think “yup, nailed it today.” I got work done. I got the kid fed,to school-fed and in bed. I took time for me. Go Me! Then there are other days that at the end of the day. I think : ” Well breathing was really hard today.”
I think sometimes us chronic illness sufferers give the wrong impression about flares. Sometimes, it really is a flare and we never even saw it coming. We went to bed. We woke up having a new sympathy with road-kill. Most of the time though, it is not like that. I have weeks where I really feel on top of it. I have medicated at all the right times. I haven’t pushed the limits too far. I have eaten healthy and slept decent and taken personal time. Then it slowly starts off. By slowly I mean like from one day to the next. It just slowly one thing after another stops working. The medications are not as effective. I have more muscle aches than joint aches but I am still treating for the joint aches. Maybe what I did one week didn’t push the limits, so I do it again the following week. Uh oh. Limits reached and exceeded. What? I just did that! I ran later than expected grocery shopping or cleaning so I had less me time in the car waiting to pick her up. It just slowly builds. Those kinds of flares are easier to recover from. It is like a light goes on and I am able to fix things. I start medicating right. I give a little extra self-care. The times that it just WHAM! BAM! No thank you Ma’am. Those times we dread because so much of the time, we have to wait it out. I can try to medicate. I can try to listen to my body and see if there is some craving it has. Most of the time, it is waiting though.
How do you parent when you feel like that? How do you parent when it’s not consistent?
You learn to go with the ebb and flow of your illness’. You learn to ebb and flow parenting. You learn to take advantage of when you do feel good.
I am still working on it.