Happy Father’s Day to all the Chronic Illness Warriors out there, or anyone who supports them!
My daughter’s last day of school is this upcoming Wednesday. Naturally, she excited. Probably also naturally, I am not. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my daughter. I love taking her on adventures to places she’s never been, and back to all our favorite places. But after my husband leaves for work around 8:30, she is mostly mine and mine alone to care for until 6pm or later when my husband gets home. I have help. Both my parents and my in-laws live in the area and they do watch her, but it’s intermittent. So what’s a parent like me to do?
I compiled a list of five things I’m planning to do so I don’t throw myself into a flare overdoing things while my daughter is home. I hope they help you as much as I’m hoping they’ll help me:
- Enlist help: Yes, as I said above, both sets of her grandparents live in town and are able to help out, especially when I’m not feeling well. I haven’t talked to my mother-in-law, but I’m hoping she’ll take a day off my hands. Even if help exists in the form of having cousins get together or something similar, it still means it’s not just you and your kid(s) all summer long.
- Trade with other mothers: One of the other mothers from my daughter’s class asked if I wanted to trade days each week. I’ll take both my daughter and hers (they’re good friends) on Tuesdays for about five hours and she’ll do the same on Wednesdays. So right now, Wednesdays are covered for the most part. I don’t want to shuttle my daughter to different houses every day, but it’s nice to know I will have a day off each week to get my massages, see my doctors, or simply sit at home in the air conditioning. Maybe I’ll go out to our new concrete patio and veg.
- Look for summer camps or classes that would interest your child(ren): My daughter is starting competitive gymnastics at the end of this month, which means two classes for an hour and 15 minutes each. I predict she’ll love them. Unfortunately, competitive gymnastics classes are costly, so I really don’t have money to do more than an occasional class or two. At this point she isn’t scheduled for any, and that’s okay. But it’s certainly an option for a mom looking for a respite, even if only for a few hours.
- Buy unlimited passes for attractions near you that your child(ren) enjoys: My daughter and I bowl. Sometimes I have some trouble because of fibro pain, but even if that’s the case, I can bring her. The passes for unlimited summer bowling are $22 each, and that mom I’m trading days with gave me money to get a pass for her daughter too, so even better! I’d suggest somewhere that’s not the same every time, whether a small amusement park, a bowling alley, or something similar, over a place that doesn’t change much like the zoo. The boredom factor may set in with repeated visits to such a place.
- Be careful when making your schedule: We all know chronic illness warriors can throw ourselves into a flare if we try to push too hard for too long. If you know you’re going to spend a day out somewhere, stay home the next. Your child(ren) should understand your illness. Don’t think you’re fooling them into believing everything is fine. My daughter is only 7 and yet gets that there are days we’ll be laying in my bed and watching movies or coloring. If your kids aren’t okay with that, at least try to rest while they play elsewhere. Maybe your children will go next door to play with a child there, or down to the basement to shoot each other with Nerf guns. As long as it’s safe and keeps them happy and occupied, I say go for it.
What other tips do you have for making sure you don’t set yourself back this summer? Tell me in the comments!