I have been in treatment for chronic Lyme Disease for almost 9 months now. And during this time, I have learned that when Mommy doesn’t feel well, it greatly affects the rest of the household. While not all of us are struggling with a chronic illness, many of us have suffered bouts of morning sickness or short-term illnesses that have affected our ability to mother and run a household.
What steps can we take to make those times easier on ourselves, and on our family? Although I definitely don’t have everything figured out, God has taught me many lessons this past year, and I (very humbly) share some of these with you.
1. Simplify. This often includes simplifying meal plans. Crock pots are such a useful tool for everybody, but especially for moms struggling with feeling poorly. Also, when I am feeling better or have more energy, I try to make meals to freeze. That way when I’m not feeling well, I will hopefully have something in the freezer that’s easy to heat up and serve.
Simpifying may also mean cutting down on our commitments outside the home. Maybe this is a year to take off from children’s extra activities and spend more time together at home as a family.
I have also had to simplify our homeschooling this year. A couple of months into our school year, I made some curriculum changes that allowed my children to work more independently. For example, we switched from Rod And Staff English to Easy Grammar for my sixth grader. This was much easier for me to quickly explain a new concept with her, and allow her to do the rest independently. This was so helpful on days that I wasn’t feeling well (sometimes homeschooling from laying on the couch in our schoolroom!:) )
2. Delegate. I will admit I’m not the best at this. The prideful part of me thinks I need to be able to do it all, to be “supermom”. But the truth is that God has allowed this in my life not only for benefit, but for my children’s as well. God wants to teach not only me during this time, but my children also. That may include becoming more independent and taking on more responsibilities.
I remember hearing somewhere that if you want a child to be more responsible, . Children are capable of more than we probably give them credit for. And when Mommy isn’t feeling well, it provides an opportunity for children to serve each other and others.
3. Make the best choice. A wise friend of mine who has herself struggled with chronic illness for many years gave me some wise advice: ask yourself throughout the day “What is the best choice in this situation?” It might be choosing to have a simple breakfast that morning instead of trying to make something from scratch. It might be choosing to stay home that day instead of going out as you had planned or choosing to go to bed on time. Or, it might mean making the best choice in something very small (giving the kids their apples or sandwiches whole instead of taking the time and energy to cut them up). There have been days that I have had to ask myself “What is best?” all day long.
4. Ask for help. This is another one that I’m not very good at. It is humbling to ask for help, to admit that I can’t do it all. But I also have to remember that asking for help provides an opportunity for someone else to serve the body of Christ.
Asking for help can also include hiring help. Perhaps having someone come in to help clean every other week would be a huge help just for the next several months. Or maybe asking a friend’s daughter to come be a mother’s helper once a week.
5. Know that this is God’s will for you right now and it is for your good.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
6. Give thanks and praise him, even in your suffering.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
These last two are the hardest for me to live out. But God’s Word is Truth. And God has blessed me when I have chosen to obey Him, praise Him, and give Him thanks in the midst of this trial. May God bless you.
I would love to hear from you other Mommies. Do you have any additional suggestions or ideas about managing in times when you are not feeling well?
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