Chronic fatigue syndrome is no joke. Every day is a struggle to overcome unreal exhaustion, irregular sleep patterns, achiness, and moodiness. But parenting with chronic fatigue is even worse—because your children feel the effects as much as you do.
When all you want to do is, let’s say, jump up and drive your kids to the beach, you have to consider the impacts of your chronic fatigue. Have no fear! Parenting with chronic fatigue without guilt is not only possible…it can also be a pretty great time.
7 Ways To Make Parenting With Chronic Fatigue Easier
- 1 7 Ways To Make Parenting With Chronic Fatigue Easier
- 1.1 Adjust Your Expectations
- 1.2 Plan Ahead As Much As Possible
- 1.3 Learn To Ask For Support When You’re Parenting With Chronic Fatigue
- 1.4 Rest (Seriously—It’s Essential)
- 1.5 Help Your Kiddos Balance Their Emotions
- 1.6 Know That Educating Your Children Matters When Parenting With Chronic Fatigue
- 1.7 Remind Yourself and Your Children That You All Matter
Parenting with chronic fatigue requires a shift in mindset. You cannot press forward as an effective parent if you are constantly feeling sad about your circumstances.
Take a look at these seven strategies to help make parenting with chronic fatigue a smoother, more fun experience.
Adjust Your Expectations
All that you want to do is to make your children happy, and there are heaps of ways to accomplish that without spreading yourself too thin. Adjusting your expectations is essential!
You can’t expect to take a trip to the zoo every day or redraw the hopscotch lines after every rainfall. It’s just too much!
Instead, parenting with chronic fatigue might look like freezing extra dishes each time you cook a meal to save your energy. It might mean putting off piles of laundry or playing roll-the-ball with your little ones instead of pushing them on the swing until you collapse.
Look at those smiles! They love you for your creativity and for putting them first.
Plan Ahead As Much As Possible
Planning definitely makes for lighter work when parenting with chronic fatigue. You know your kids, which means you can get out in front of their temper tantrums before they happen if you take the time to strategize.
For example, you may realize that your chronic fatigue symptoms are the worst in the early afternoon, so plan your most rigorous activities earlier in the day to tire your children out at the same time.
Prep meals and snacks ahead of time, setting aside portions for when you don’t feel like cooking. Have healthy options—like apples, cereal bars, or string cheese—within reach of your kids so that they can even help themselves when you just don’t have it in you to fetch for them.
Learn To Ask For Support When You’re Parenting With Chronic Fatigue
Understand that it’s not all on your shoulders. Parenting with chronic fatigue sometimes means stepping out of the picture so that you can take care of yourself knowing that your children are in good hands.
Support is a truly wonderful thing—and it usually comes along with a level of variety that’s really beneficial to your children.
For instance, a trip to the library with a grandparent sometimes means swinging past the ice cream place on the way home! Organizing playdates with friends can mean exposure to different books and a different yard, all while you sit and breathe for a minute.
Childcare or free community playgroups are other great options to get some relief. You don’t have to be a one-person show for your tiny humans all of the time!
Rest (Seriously—It’s Essential)
Building in quiet time is essential when parenting with chronic fatigue.
Creating a routine that includes napping or resting takes some hard work and diligence. But it’ll pay off for everyone in the end.
For children who are particularly energetic, you will need to be a role model during quiet times (yay!). This means moving you and your children into a smaller, calmer, quieter space—like a bedroom. Speak with quiet voices and choose peaceful tasks like reading or coloring. And for your youngest children, insist on naptime!
Help Your Kiddos Balance Their Emotions
This tip is challenging. While parenting with chronic fatigue, it is important to acknowledge your shortcomings with your children. Certainly, you shouldn’t have to feel bad about saying “no” to a game of catch or tag, but you do just the same. And your children experience that disappointment right along with you.
Help your children to put words to their feelings by expressing your own. Something like: “I’m sorry that Mommy can’t play that game right now, buddy. I’m not feeling well today. Would you like to snuggle with me?” can start a nice conversation with children of any age.
Do your best to offer alternate activities that meet your children’s energy needs. For example, if your toddler is bouncing off of the walls asking to wrestle with you, offering to color a picture probably won’t be exciting enough at that moment.
Try suggesting an obstacle course—spin around 3 times, hop across the living room, lay down and get up 5 times, then waddle over to the window like a penguin! When they are done, ask them if they can do it again even faster.
Know That Educating Your Children Matters When Parenting With Chronic Fatigue
At some point, your children will start to ask questions about your condition. Parenting with chronic fatigue means answering those questions in a clear, and sensitive way. Young children aren’t as interested in the science behind your chronic fatigue as they are in knowing that you will be alright.
It helps to discuss solutions with your children, rather than the problem alone. Relentless illness can be scary for kids at any age, so it’s always best to focus on the positive. Reassure your kiddos that you have excellent doctors and the best treatment plan in place.
It also helps to tell your children some things that they can do to help you. This makes them feel empowered! Try asking them to bring you a cup of water, kiss your forehead, or color you a nice picture. Those things really will help you feel better, after all.
Remind Yourself and Your Children That You All Matter
When parenting with chronic fatigue, you may lose sight of the horizon from time to time. You want to put your kids first, but you must remember to care for yourself as well. If you aren’t managing your symptoms and caring for your health, how can you do so for your kids?
Your children can only benefit from watching you take care of yourself. Don’t ever feel guilty about investing in your own health—fixing your own plate, tucking yourself in for a nap, or putting on your favorite song to boost your mood.
Your kids are learning how to care for themselves when they observe you making those careful decisions. And don’t worry, they know that you love them even if they have to wait a while for you to jump up and play with them.
Parenting with chronic fatigue requires some special moves, but you can do it! You can give your children the best, most special childhood experiences without changing a thing about yourself.
Even with your chronic fatigue, your children will choose you over anyone else to take care of them, and that says something!