Tips for Parenting with Multiple Sclerosis
If parenting were a career, it would be best described as a full-time, overtime, weekend, and night commitment with little to no training before starting. The responsibility of caring for and raising a child is often talked about as the most rewarding experience that two human beings can share. Sometimes, the joy of parenting hides behind tired eyes and a mountain of stress, but it is always there. Even after the kids have grown and left home, after the struggles and successes, the joy of parenthood remains.
It is almost impossible to talk to someone who is a parent without the phrase, “It’s a lot of work,” coming up. Parenthood is fraught with the unexpected; parents often find themselves fixing disasters, suddenly called to action, planning for the long-term and short-term, staying strong over time, providing support and encouragement, having hard conversations, and making immense personal sacrifices. All of the rigors of parenthood pale in comparison to the reward, but parents tend to be in universal agreement that raising children — with all its ups and downs — can be hard.
Parenting is a full-time career that requires an individual to work daily, irrespective of holidays, on weekends, and at night as well. It is a full commitment without any prior experience or training to fall back on. It would be even more difficult to live with a chronic medical condition such as multiple sclerosis, as it does not always come with the joy of watching your child recover. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is known to be an unpredictable disease that can lead to sudden flare-ups or remission periods. Living with this medical condition is not an easy task, and it is known that as the disease progresses, it becomes more and more challenging to live with each day. One of the mistakes a parent can make after the diagnosis is to hide it from their child. Children are known to have a certain intuition, and the moment they notice any kind of change or something wrong, they start to imagine what the problem is or what their parents are hiding from them, and they can be pretty imaginative. In such situations, it is better to inform the kids slowly and gradually. Making them understand what is wrong and also assuring them that there is nothing to be afraid of and that everyone will face the situation together should make them relax a bit. Showing a positive attitude in front of one’s children can actually be very powerful.
It is okay to seek help from another person since doing it all by yourself can be really exhausting after a certain point. Even carrying out simple routine tasks can become too great of a load, so there is nothing to feel embarrassed about in asking for help. Also, there will be days of unpredictable flare-ups of this disease, and it is around these times that communication is very useful. It would not do any good to hide details about flare-ups. If you have to cancel any plans because of the symptoms, let your kids know how sorry you are, and let them also feel disappointment; there is no need to bottle up emotions. Many times, parents struggle to communicate with their children, but they should remember that failing to communicate can also worsen conditions in the household. Being open in communication can actually benefit the relationship between you and your child in multiple ways, which other parents often struggle to accomplish.
Try to rest, as it can be hard on those who are employed, but it is also important for those who have to live with MS. Having energy is the only way to deal with this disease. It is very important for parents to learn to prioritize their sleep time, resting periods, and downtime. Only if you take care of yourself will you be able to take care of your family as a whole. Do not fall victim to fatigue or lethargy.