As Mom’s, we JUGGLE. IT. ALL. But add some kind of chronic illness to the mix, whether it’s cancer, autoimmune disease, or chronic fatigue, and every day is a struggle. I’ve been through the fire and put together my top 10 survival tips for the Mom with chronic illness. These Mom Hacks will help you keep your perspective even on the toughest of days. Which one is your favorite?
I was recently asked to be on a summit and share my experiences as a Mom with chronic illness. And it hit me like a ton of bricks… these are the top survival drivers that I live by every day… why have I never written about them before? Why am I keeping these secrets to myself and not sharing them with you, my fellow Mom with a chronic illness? Oy vey.
1. Balance is a Myth
I might get some haters right off the bat when I say this… balance is a myth. Whether you work full-time or are a SAHM, adding some type of chronic illness into the picture is going to give you anything but balance. So just throw that myth out the door and stop trying to be everything to everybody. Instead, focus on your priorities and being present. If you’re at work, make work your focus and priority. If you’re at home, make your family your focus and priority. And if you are having a rough day/week or are experiencing a flare-up, make yourself the focus and priority. See #2…
2. Take Care of Yourself First
Which brings us to #2 – if you are a Mom with chronic illness, take care of yourself first. I know I sound like a broken record, but the airplane analogy is real, folks. You MUST give yourself the oxygen first. You MUST take care of yourself and fill up your own cup first. An empty vessel is unable to give to anyone else. It’s not about being selfish, it’s about taking care of your needs first so that you have the energy to take care of your family.
3. It Takes a Village
It’s ok to NOT be Supermom. Let me repeat. It’s ok to NOT be Supermom. And on that note, it IS OK to ask for help. First, ask for help at home. What are the top 3-5 tasks that absolutely wear you out? Delegate them to your spouse and/or kids (or even hire a cleaning lady!). Get your kids involved and give them age-appropriate tasks to do around the house every day.
Ask for help in your Mommy Tribe. Delegate transportation and other assistance. Be creative. Ask another Mommy to drive little Susie to her soccer game (which is always 30 minutes before it actually starts, isn’t it?!?! And then you’re supposed to sit there and twiddle your thumbs. Sigh… I digress…). This will give you extra time to rest and then show up for the second half of the game. You’re there for your child, even if it’s not for the entire game, and that’s what is important.
4. Always Have a Backup Plan
We’re a military family and PACE planning is how we roll. Primary. Alternate. Contingency. Emergency. You know that you’re going to be tired, or in pain or have a flare-up, right? Create a backup plan ahead of time for whatever is going on that day or week. That way, you aren’t scrambling and adding extra stress if you don’t have the energy to do something.
I cover meal planning below, but one thing we ALWAYS do in our house is to have an emergency meal in the freezer.
The other Mom Hack that I’ve relied on is instead of making dinner at dinner time when I’m tired, I’ll make it earlier in the day when I have energy and then heat it up for dinner. Yes, you can do this.
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5. Get Your Finances in Order
If you work full-time, always have your resume up to date and your feelers out. You never know when something is going to happen. Also, and regardless of whether you work outside of the house or not, make sure your finances are in order. Get a personal disability policy if it makes sense. Save as much as you can. It doesn’t matter the type of chronic illness, they are all expensive between the treatments and appointments. Some more than others, but being fiscally prudent is the adult thing to do.
6. Mom Guilt is Real – But it Doesn’t Have to Be
I spent the years from when Stepson was 6-16 struggling with zero energy and attempting to be there as a Mom. I balanced my day so that I could rest in the afternoon before school was over, so I had more energy for after school and evening time with my family. But there were still plenty of days that I crashed and burned and had zilch.
The Mom Guilt is Real.
But it doesn’t have to be.
My mother was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease when she was pregnant with me. She spent 48 years of my life in and out of hospitals and would go from being “healthy” to an adrenal crisis without any warning. You know what I remember most? You know what the legacy was that she left me?
The tough times build FORTITUDE.
She taught me how to never let the rough days get you down, how to love unconditionally, how to give with a generous heart, how to live life to the fullest every single day, and most importantly, the power of FORTITUDE.
The days that I feel the Mom Guilt the most, I remember what my own Mom taught me and pray that I’m giving Stepson those same gifts and teaching him those same life lessons. Because at the end of the day, your children will remember what is most important.
7. Productivity Hacks will be a Game-Changer
I went from Type-A overachiever to flat on my back with chronic fatigue overnight. I was used to kicking down doors and taking names. When I didn’t have any energy to cross things off my list, I felt worthless.
Until I created my own little productivity hacking system.
It worked so well that I decided to teach others about it and designed a productivity tracker. This system will literally change your life. And it’s soooo simple.
DOWNLOAD: Free Productivity Tracker
SHOP: Productivity Tracker
Psst… want to 10x your productivity even if you have health issues? It’s eezy peezy! Click below…
8. Meal Planning is a Must
If you’re a Mom with chronic illness, you gotta gotta gotta meal plan.
Don’t roll your eyes at me.
Take 10 minutes once a week (I do mine on Sunday) and plan your meals, menus, and shopping list. I use my Amazon Echo to help. Again… we’re taking Mom hacks here.
Plan for at least one night to be a dump and go Crock Pot meal.
Plan extra food to put in the freezer for your backup meal.
Plan extra food for your meals so that one night is a “fridge blast” – basically bring all of the leftovers to the table and eat it all up.
Take advantage of meal prep delivery services for one night a week. There are lots of healthy options to choose from!
With a little bit of planning, you’ll preserve some energy in one of the biggest time-sucks for every Mom.
COOK: Clean Eating Recipes
SHOP: Green Chef Meal Prep
SHOP: Hello Fresh Meal Prep
9. Embrace Delivery
Shop smarter and more efficient. I’m all about supporting our local stores. But sometimes, a girl’s gotta save her energy.
Everything can be delivered these days. Everything. And the majority of the time, the prices are the same (or sometimes even better) than in brick and mortar stores with zero shipping if you purchase over a certain amount.
Amazon Prime is totally worth the investment.
Costco delivery is a game-changer.
And if you’re not taking advantage of Rakuten and getting cashback on your online purchases, you’re missing out!
SHOP: Amazon Fresh
SHOP: Thrive Market
10. Practice Gratitude
And last but certainly not least, practice gratitude. It’s easy to get sucked into the chaos. Take a few minutes every day and practice your gratitudes. You can’t always change your circumstances, but you can always change your mindset. Be thankful for all of the lessons that you are learning and ask how you can grow as a person, give back, and live in grace.
Gratitude is a GAME-CHANGER.
Imagine…learning gratitude to build your fortitude… in a super simple way! Click below…
Are you Inspired?
Be sure to download your FREE Chronic Illness Blueprint to change your trajectory, increase energy, and maintain balance!
Love, hugs, and crushing it (almost) every day.
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