When I wrote “Being Creative & Embracing New Hobbies as a Mom/With Chronic Illness”, I hadn’t thought about a part two. But, a lot has been happening around here since then, and I really want to show other moms that it’s possible. Somehow, someway, even when navigating chronic illness, fulfilling work can be a part of the equation of living creatively fulfilled.
If you’re new here, around here, we talk about living creatively fulfilled in motherhood and chronic illness. I talk mostly to moms with chronic illness, but really, anyone who can relate – mother or not, spoonie or not – is welcome here.
In my recent post of reintroduction, I shared about some of my health issues. I’ve been dealing with different health issues all my life, and you can learn more about it and how it affects my writing on the YouTube channel in my Authortube Chronic Illness video.
When it was just chronic migraines & what I thought was IBS, I figured it was just something I needed to get through. Doctors had no answers for me, no one offered me tests, and basically, they all said I was just stuck.
Since having my daughter, though, it’s been much easier to get doctors to listen to me. By choosing doctors who care, and who understand chronic illness, I’ve found it possible to speak up for myself and get the answers I need.
In the past three and a half years, I’ve gotten married, had two babies, got diagnosed with a previously undiagnosed personality disorder, and developed new chronic health issues. These were not things my husband and I were prepared for in these early days of our marriage.
Yet, here we are. Rings still on our fingers, and fighting for our marriage when the going gets tough, and sometimes, it gets really tough. For example, when it gets hot, and I turn into a monster (for more on that, read my post about having SAD in the Summer).
Being a wife and a mom already requires so much of me, and so often I feel I’m failing my wonderful family. I feel like my husband just has it all together, so much more to offer the world, and to our children. It takes energy to discipline, to engage, to play. And, it takes energy to communicate, work-through, and experience intimacy. So often, my body feels like it will fall short somewhere.
That said, over the last year and a half, since having baby number 2, I am learning each day. My husband is learning each day. And, I’ve refused to give up on the BIG dreams I know God has placed in my heart. I’ve also come to learn those dreams may just look different than I always thought they would.
That’s never been more apparent than this weekend, when we’ve had a heat dome settle over the PNW, and our new home in Washington felt more like Oklahoma and not the promised land I clung to in my head…
And, the monster came out. We have no A/C, and I have a huge heat intolerance. My brain literally becomes something else when overheated, and this weekend, I became what I didn’t want to be.
We tried to stay cool, and I tried to practice all the coping skills & cool down skills, and still I fell short.
I fell short in my marriage.
I fell short in business.
I fell short in my health.
And, in some moments, I was impatient with my toddlers (who seem to also not handle heat well).
When these times come: whether it be a heat wave, a cold snap, a run of the mill flare, or the result of life’s onslaughts, it can feel like we should just give up. Like we aren’t worth it, or we’re a burden, or that those around us hate us/don’t want to live with us. If we don’t have a support system (which, thank God, hubby is an amazing support), it can feel even more like we have nothing to give, or nothing going for us.
This is where changing expectations and shifting our dreams comes in. Sure, we are busy moms with limited energy supplies and are sometimes unsure of our limitations, however, I think learning our limitations is just an invitation to dream differently. Not to stop dreaming all together.
Our babies already love us. Even if playtime looks different, even if it’s more often than not snuggles in bed with the TV going. Even if we have to rest for a day or two after taking them on an adventure. Our kids are our kids for a reason.
And, we get to teach them about diversity and inclusion of people of all abilities and situations. We get to be their first teachers in loving others who are different.
Including what it looks like to love ourselves when we’re different.
This means, showing them what it looks like to dream, to work, or to care for ourselves when we’re ill.
Running a business and staying creative are not easy things, especially as a mom. Or especially as someone with chronic illness. And, especially as a mom with chronic illness.
Yet, we can do it.
We can: acknowledge and work within our limitations.
We can shift our expectations.
We can adapt our way of doing things – not only to fit our conditions, but to fit our rhythm of motherhood and family.
Running my business as a mom with chronic illness, I’ve leaned that the rhythm we establish for ourselves and our families is so important – it’s this rhythm that helps us find harmony – and creates the Cadence of our lives. And, it’s different for each of us.
What works in my family to ensure that I am able to help us survive is different than what may work for you. And, I have a resource in the membership vault that helps you find the rhythm that best works for your family.
These rules apply to how we do our work too. That is, not only the rhythm of our household and our families, but the rhythm of our businesses/ministries. The what we do, and when. The how we do it. The marketing of it all. This will be totally unique to you, your needs, and your situation. (Then again, the resource vault has ideas for each of those, as well.)
Establishing your rhythm, setting your pace, knowing your limitations, and shifting your expectations mean you get to stay creative and maybe even run a business or ministry. For many of us, these are things that help us feel alive, despite the low amount of spoons. These are things that help stay connected to the outside world and feel like we’re making a contribution.
If you’ve put yourself in a box because you’re a mom with chronic illness just trying to make it day to day, you aren’t alone. I’ve been there – heck, I’m still there some days. I work around flares, and sometimes, I work through flares. I keep doing what I love, just find new ways to do them when the old ways don’t work with my new reality.
My family works hard to establish a rhythm that works for us, and in some seasons, even that seems impossible. Yet, somehow, we just do it.
I establish a rhythm for myself and business tasks get finished, and my business grows, even when days are hard. Even when I have weekends like this last one where all I can do is focus on surviving and everything else takes a back burner. I know that when those days pass, I’ll get right back to it, and right back to my membership of women doing the same.
I get right back to the writing and the content creation. Even after a break, because it’s worth it to me. To connect, to inspire, and to empower.
And, its with these modifications, I’ll be participating in Camp NaNo in July – with a goal of 35,000 words of a zero draft of my new novel. While taking some time off teaching throughout the month (to give myself some extra writing time and my husband some extra working time). And, I’ll be preparing for the end of July 3-day challenge (more on that to come). I won’t do it all at once…I’ll do a little bit each day that I can. And, I have built in break days, because we all need them.
And, that’s what it’s like to run a business or be creative as a mom with chronic illness. It means knowing your limitations, shifting your expectations, modifying the processes, and establishing your rhythm.
If you don’t want to do it alone, sign up for the resource vault or join the Soul Cadence Village – a place for moms with chronic physical/mental illness to not have to walk alone and to learn to live creatively fulfilled lives, now, not in a theoretical “better time.”
And, if you’re running your business/ministry as a mom or as a spoonie, or as a spoonie mom, share your own tips below of how you manage things.