There are days you feel crappy, but not enough to absolutely be bedridden. If you’ve got children, this is where the guilt kicks in. You’re not well enough to go on a grand adventure (if you ever are), but you don’t need to sequester yourself away from your family to ride out the flare.
So what do you do, particularly if this comes at a time when you are the only adult supervision available? I’ve only got a year of experience with fibromyalgia, but there have already been plenty of days when I feel low-energy but not awful. Here are five things to try when you’re in this situation:
- Color. Many kids love the adult coloring books – my seven year old daughter and I have gone through some already and we keep quite a collection of them. We’ve got colored pencils, gel pens, and regular semi-fine tipped markers. Perhaps my daughter has more patience than most, but this can eat up a couple of hours easily. Plus, if I need a nap, I just tell her. She keeps coloring, I sleep next to her. I don’t feel like I’m leaving her alone on some island for children of chronically ill people.
- Read. If you can read to your children, great. If they can read to you, even better, since they’ll get practice and all you have to do is listen, or at least pretend to be listening. Many kids love to read to their parents, and hopefully your child is one of them. If not, give them an incentive. Tell them if they read for 20 minutes, they can have a dollar, or a Shopkin *shudder* (I have a bag of them that my daughter “earns” by doing chores around the house). You can find lots – many Shopkins or whatever your child is into, on Ebay.
- Watch a TV show or a movie. We have a Roku, so we don’t get the kazillion channels available with cable, but there are many shows and movies we love. Some, my daughter loves a lot more than I do, but that’s okay. She’s occupied. I can rest in the bed while my daughter watches one of her favorite movies for the hundredth time. Win-win. Also, your children may like cooking shows, home improvement shows, family-friendly reality shows like The Voice. Watching things like those listed above may save your sanity over seeing SpongeBob every day.
- Take your kids to a playground. If you feel well enough to drive a short distance, pile your children into the car and go to a local park or elementary school. While they play, you can lie on a comfy picnic blanket, snacking or resting. I don’t recommend falling asleep at these places unless you have a responsible older child or another adult with you.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – photographer attribute in the link for the picture itself.
- Go to the movies. Yes, it can be expensive, and yes, they should get to pick the movie, which might leave you watching something that doesn’t particularly thrill or entertain you, but the point is to have them concentrating on something other than bugging you about wanting to do stuff you know you aren’t able to. And if you do fall asleep in one of those comfy recliners, who cares? Just again be sure your child/children will be okay if this happens.
BONUS: If you have a mom friend whose offspring your offspring get along with, you may be able to give them a shout and ask if they’d be willing to host a playdate for a few hours so you can rest. Most of these mom friends will know about your situation and often agree to this plan.
Just be sure to reciprocate on a day you feel good. I know none of us can see the future, but especially during the summer, an impromptu call from you offering to take her kids off her hands for an afternoon might delight her. Another positive benefit is that both sets of kids get some exercise and entertainment and it might not even take a lot of your energy if your kids are busy playing with others.
BONUS #2: Again, if you have someone you can do this with, suggest the two of you taking the children to someplace like Chuck E. Cheese (just be sure you don’t have a migraine – that place can get loud), or another destination where you won’t have to expend much energy. Our local bowling has a summer pass for about $20, and it includes unlimited bowling.
The times may be somewhat restricted by their league schedule, but not many alleys have leagues during the day. If your children are old enough to bowl without assistance, you can sit and cheer. If your town has an arcade/bounce house type establishment, that’s another good opportunity. My daughter suggested one of those places that has trampolines.
I realize many of these ideas cost money, but if you have the funds available to do something like this once every few weeks, you might be able to avoid throwing yourself into a full-fledged flare by overdoing it, or having to listen to your children whine about being bored. Obviously you can always tell them to read or play or watch TV on their own, but especially during the summer, they might get bored of that.
Are there any activities you do at home or away that help with those “meh” days? Tell me in the comments!