Living with chronic pain means that flare ups join us without an invitation, whenever they like. It can be 10 minutes, a few hours, days or even weeks. And, they often have no warning! Which means that we can not always plan for them or have someone ‘parent’ for us during these times.
Over the past 7 plus years, the following, is a list of hacks that have worked at different times for me, with my girls.
- Trying to keep my bedside table set up for me with things I need so that I am prepared. This hasn’t always been achievable, especially when my girls were only 2 & 3 years old. At those ages I couldn’t leave my pain medications out for safety reasons. I also could’ve leave things like my reach grabby thing and even my walking stick as they would just play with them and leave them all over the place and then I couldn’t find them when needed! This has become easier as they have got older, so now I can be more ready for spontaneous flare ups.
- Have a list of support people, family or friends, ready that you can contact if desperate to try and take the kids for a bit or come around and help out. A lot of people unfortunately do not have this kind of support – so if you do, always ask. They can only, worst case scenario, say no. My Mum always said that if you don’t ask you will never know.
- Have a stash of ‘allowed’ foods in a basket in fridge and cupboard that the kids can access if you are unable to prepare food yourself for them during the really bad times. Having something similar for yourself is always a good idea, especially if you need to eat with any medications.
- Have movies ready for in bed movie days with the kids when it’s all you can manage. Make sure they are current favourites or even new ones to keep them engaged so you can rest/nap.
- Have a box set aside and close by full of of ‘special’ games, books, colouring and a few special toys. Keep these things kept aside for only these times so it’s exciting and helps keep them busy whilst you get the rest you need.
- Be sure to keep all electronic devices charged and have some extra long cords on hand so that they can be utilised when really needed the most for both the kids and yourself.
MOST IMPORTANTLY – Say NO to the Mum Guilt
I know, mum guilt hits hard at the best of times, and during a chronic pain flare up it can hit extra hard as we are left feeling like failures. Do yourself a favour now and start practicing self love and try to let yourself not feel too much guilt over the kids having ‘too much screen time’ or getting their own snacks all day and only getting a meal when someone can step in and help. These things happen to the best of us and our children will survive. You can even turn it into a ‘snacks, picnic with a movie’ kind of day. Make it fun and be gone the guilt!
What other hacks do you have? I’d love to hear of any others that help on the particularly hard days. Please leave a comment below or email me here.