Friday, February 9, 2018

Teatime Conversations: Coping as a Less-than-Energetic Mom

Teatime Conversations: Coping as a Less-than-Energetic Mom

Reader Question: What sorts of things help you to cope with your identity as a less-than-energetic mum?

It helps me to remember that this is the life God has called me to. He has made me a mother. He has chosen William, Adelaide, and Stafford to be my children. And He has chosen for me to live with dysautonomia. God is in control, and He is sovereign over all things, even illnesses and disabilities. I fully believe that God could heal me if He chose to do so, but He has chosen not to bring healing to my body. Instead He has called me to glorify Him as a disabled wife and mother. I trust that He has a plan and a purpose in this, even though it doesn’t seem best to me. It brings me comfort to know that God is using this for my good and for the good of my family (Romans 8:28).

I am certainly a less-than-energetic mom, but I am not only that. I am a less-than-energetic mom who is in Christ. I am a child of God (John 1:12), and I have an inheritance with Christ (Romans 8:16-18). There is reward coming! My faithfulness today as a less-than-energetic mom will be rewarded in Heaven in the future. Knowing this helps me to persevere.

Ultimately my life as a disabled mom is to be lived for the Lord. As I set my mind on things above, I remember that my “life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). My life is secure in Him, and my life has purpose and meaning no matter how sick I become.

I don’t do these things well every day. I don’t always live like my life is hidden with Christ. I don’t always seek the things that are above. I’m not always faithful to glorify God as a less-than-energetic mom. Sometimes I become overwhelmed by the difficulties in life, and I need to be reminded of the hope I have in Christ and the ultimate purpose of my life. I need to be reminded to embrace the life God has called me to live.

These are some verses that have helped me to persevere as a chronically ill mom. I hope they encourage you too.

In addition to keeping in mind the “big picture” purpose of my life, there are a few practical things I am intentional in doing as a mom in order to maximize my interaction with my children. These are some practical ways that I embrace my role as a disabled mother.
  • Leave little notes for my children on special days or just because. Occasionally before I go to sleep at night I put notes on the floor outside of my children's bedroom doors so that they will see them when they get up in the morning. Sometimes it is “just because” and contains only a silly joke. Other times it might be a note wishing them a good day on a field trip.
  • Decorate my children’s doors the night before their birthdays. I sleep in until about 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning on most days, which means that I don’t always get to see my kids on the morning of their birthdays. They are usually at school before I wake up, so on the night before their birthday, I decorate their bedroom doors with something fun like streamers or balloons. One year I forgot to buy anything fun, so William woke up to a doorway covered in toilet paper!
  • Whenever possible I allow my children to come in to talk to me when I am resting in bed. I can only be out of bed for about 4 or 5 hours on an average day. Much of my awake time has to be spent resting in a quiet bedroom. But even when I am resting, if I am awake, I like to be as available as possible for my children. They know that they can come in and see me anytime I am not sleeping. They might come in to tell me a funny story, ask me a question, show me a Lego project they are building, or just talk. Sometimes we talk for 15 minutes or more; sometimes I can only talk for 30 seconds. But by being willing to talk as long as possible, William and Adelaide have learned to trust that I like being with them and talking with them, and that makes it easier on them when I have to say that I need to be alone and rest.
  • Have my children come tell me good night. I usually have to go to bed by 6:00, so my kids stay up later than I do. Will does the night time routine and puts the kids to bed, but before they go to bed, they come in to see me and give me good night hugs and kisses. This gives me one more chance to see my children during the day and tell them that I love them.
  • Do chores with my kids. I like to work alongside my children when I am able. Instead of assigning them chores to go off and do alone, we work together. Now that William and Adelaide are 12 and 8, I am able to do some chores at home that I could not do previously, simply because now I have their help! They can do my “walking around stuff” as I call it, and they can move boxes or bring things to me as I give directions. Their effort enables me to get more things done, and we have fun working together.
  • Watch movies together on the “bad days.” When I don’t have energy for anything more than watching a movie, but I need to spend time with my kids, then we have a movie day. We might make some popcorn or grab some fun snacks too. But mostly we hang out on the sofa and just watch movies. 
  • Find creative ways to do tasks. This means that I do a lot of things while sitting or lying down. We play board games while I lie down on the floor. Sometimes I brush Adelaide’s hair while I am lying in bed. I often help with homework while lying down on the sofa. One time my children and I made Christmas treats while sitting on the floor.
  • Let my children help me. This takes humility. It’s not always easy to ask our children for help, but most of the time I find that William and Adelaide are glad to help me. They especially like it when I need help taking my compression socks off. It gives them quite a workout to tug those tight socks off when they are young, and they like the challenge!

One final thing I will mention that helps me is grieving occasionally. If you are a chronically ill mom, there are real losses you have faced, and it is good and appropriate to grieve them. Being sad at times about all that you cannot do as a mom is completely understandable. I like what John Piper says: “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he’s given you.”

Teatime Conversations: Coping as a Less-than-Energetic Mom

If you are a chronically ill mom, my encouragement to you today is to love your children well in the ways in which you are able. Focus on doing what you can. Be creative in finding ways to be with your children, or to communicate with your children, when illness limits your energy. Grieve the losses, but do not despair. Embrace the life God has given you and the motherhood He has called you to.

The God who sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you can be trusted with what you are going through. When He takes away your energy, you can be certain that He will bring good from it. God has a plan and a purpose in your illness, and if you know Him, then He can, and will, use it for your ultimate good. If your children know Jesus, then He will use it for their ultimate good too. You are an heir with Christ, and you will be rewarded in Heaven for your faithfulness as a less-than-energetic mom.

We would love to hear from you! If you have a chronic illness, what has helped you to cope with your identity as a less-than-energetic mother? How would you encourage a chronically ill mom?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...