Our earthly footprint really is so small.
Parenting brings out the cliches. They grow up so fast. You blink and they’re all grown up. Well, I am more than halfway through my parenting journey to the legal age of adulthood. I would like to put the brakes on it for just a bit, too.
Parenting with chronic illness or cancer in the home has its own unique twist of challenges.
There are way too many facets to deal with in one post. I think I will sit down and chart an outline of what my greatest parenting challenges have been and still are. I have a few people in mind to interview, too, who are dealing or have dealt with this in living technicolor.
Usually I ask for your input at the end of the post. But start thinking now as you read. How has chronic illness affected your parenting? What are your greatest challenges? Any great tips that have really helped your family?
I will share this challenge right off the bat. It is a constant battle to maintain joy on the journey. I’m not talking about slap-stick happiness, or just faking it. But I do believe laughter is the best medicine. Gratitude for the simple blessings truly does bring joy. All of us can find something to give thanks for if we are still breathing in God’s good air. Gratitude lends a helping hand to joy.
Sometimes depression hangs over our house like the dark clouds of Mordor. What’s a mom/caregiver/breadwinner to do?
This may sound like a broken record (google it), but only Jesus can give you joy and inner peace when your husband’s body is broken and you can’t fix it. You can’t pretend for all your kids’ growing up years that everything is okay. When children are very young, I do think you have to shelter them from too much sorrow. If you can… So what happens when the hard questions come?
Make up your mind to be thankful! Dad’s been sick in bed all day and your children are moody, understandably! Be a ray of light in that dark cloud. But why? What is the end goal?
You want your children to grow up knowing God is good. Giving thanks for the blessings reminds us of this daily. This takes practice! I want to do better at modeling tangible praise to God every day.
Read the Biblical stories of real people persevering through hard times. My daughter fell in love with Ruth for a period of time, then Esther.
Read/listen to courage-inspiring true stories. Note to self: compile a list of suggested reading for you!
Have a talk time with each child nearly every day. My time comes at bedtime most days. Sometimes it happens in the car. Key words: they talk, you listen! You want to hear what their joys, sorrows, and frustrations are. You will find kids actually end up asking for advice if you listen well.
Pray about problems together. There is no better time than when your child has unloaded their troubles on you. IF they need anything, they need to know the Heavenly Father is always available. Who doesn’t need this?
Block out time for happiness. Plan special outings and happy memories together. When money is tight and travel is tough with chronic illness, enlist friends to pop in and check on your husband while you leave the house and just do something fun together. If you can include dad, all the better..
Institute a real reward for not whining. I was given a roll of quarters. Ten dollars is a nice chunk of change to my daughter. For every complaint, I got to take back a quarter over a month’s time. Thankfully she kept more than half of the roll in the end.
These are a few humble suggestions. I would love to have your input. What are your major parenting challenges that chronic illness aggravates? How have you dealt with them?