Thursday, August 6, 2015

Surviving Summer

This is a challenging summer for my family and me. My body is weak and tired, and I am struggling to take care of William and Adelaide while Will is at work. I stay in bed most of the weekend so that I can partially recover for the next week. My body is unable to completely recover in only two days, so each week is harder than the one before. I’m borrowing spoons from the fall to make it through the summer.

William and Adelaide haven’t complained about it at all, but the summer is wearing on them. They miss me being able to do things with them, and it is hard on them to see me so tired and weak. They also miss having our family of four together at one time. I have to go to bed almost as soon as Will gets home from work each day, and because I have to spend the majority of the weekend in bed, we have precious little time as a family. This is a hard summer for all of us, so we pray for strength, and we press on.

A couple of months ago I was planning on writing a blog post with tips for surviving summer as a mom with a chronic illness, but instead I find myself with very few tips. I can do so little that most days it feels like I’m barely holding on, so my tips are quite simple: Pray. Read your Bible. Rest. Be with your children when you can. Watch Movies. Teach your children to help out. Accept help from others. That is pretty much my formula for making it through this summer!

Talk to the Lord every day, and ask Him to help you through your day. I start praying as soon as I wake up. My body feels so weak and tired that it overwhelms me every morning. I pray for grace and strength to make it through the day.

Read the Bible.
No matter how tired you are, don’t neglect God’s Word! Even if you can only read one verse, read it. Think about it. Ask God to teach you and encourage you through His Word. If you are able, read the Bible with your children also. I read my Bible each day. On some days I am able to do a 15 minute Bible study while lying down in bed. On other days I can only read a few verses, but I do what my energy levels allow. When I am doing well enough, I also like to have a devotion time with the children. William and Adelaide have really enjoyed reading through Matthew and this devotion book with me.

Take time to rest each day. If your children don’t need naps, they can read or play quietly while you rest. I am not always able to get the rest I need every day, but I rest as much as I can. William and Adelaide play quietly in the house and watch movies when I have a particularly bad day and need to stay in bed all day long.

Be with your children.
Do what you can to be with your children in the summer. If you are a mom with a chronic illness, that may look a lot different for you than it does for your healthy friends, and that’s okay. You don’t have to take them to the park or the pool or on amazing summer trips. Just be with them. Read books, color, watch movies, or play board games. When you need a lot of rest, don’t feel guilty about watching movies with them. Which brings me to my next summer tip…

Watch movies.
This could go under the categories of rest or being with your children, but movies are so helpful that I am putting them in a category of their own. There have been many days this summer that the only thing I was physically capable of doing with my children was watching movies, so we gathered on the sofa and did just that. I wish we could have memories of going on walks and playing at the pool, but that is not an option. So we make fun memories with movie days!

Teach your children to help.
You can teach your children age appropriate chores so that they can help you in your home. William and Adelaide have been so helpful this summer. They help to clean up the living room and their bedrooms. They have learned to start the dishwasher. They pick vegetables from our garden. Adelaide likes to bring snacks to me. William fills up my water bottle when I can’t do it myself. William has also been vacuuming the house this summer.

Accept help from others.
If you have the option of accepting help, don’t be too proud to accept it. If a friend offers to help, and you need it, take it! We have had some full-time, in-home help this summer from family and a friend who have visited, and we are so grateful for that! I also have a local friend who has helped me out by taking care of William and Adelaide on some mornings so that I can get extra rest. 

That is how I am surviving summer. What about you? I know there are many other chronic illness moms who are struggling this summer too. Maybe you are one of them. What tips and advice do you have to share with us? Let’s learn from each other, and let’s encourage one another!

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