Being a mom is hard enough. Running a business is hard enough. Dealing with chronic illness is hard enough.
I am managing to do all three – I’m convinced only by the grace of God – and I’m doing things to help myself stay mostly sane during these crazy toddler days.
When I was a new mom, it was so hard to work in any capacity. I was recovering, had a newborn (and then a newborn and toddler), and complications from chronic illnesses. Add to that the new addition of some pretty scary PPD and a newly diagnosed personality disorder (yes, sometimes those can go decades into adulthood without diagnosis if the person is really good at masking or hiding, especially in the case of OCPD, which our society often sees as an overachiever, but I digress…)
This new role of mom and business owner combo wasn’t quite as simple as getting to the other side of PPD and then it was all better. No, it’s not easy, indeed, as an OCPDer with anxiety, physical limitations, and two energy driven toddlers who both want and need constant attention. But, there are things I do to help us all keep in rhythm and stay sane.
These things may help encourage you to come up with your own sanity saving rhythm, routine, or practices whether your a mom, or a spoonie, or a business owner, or all three:
- Remind myself I’m not the only one. Both motherhood and chronic illness can be extremely lonely and isolating – especially when we tend to be home more often than not. This is especially true when you blend the two. Reminding myself that I’m not the only one who is a spoonie momma helps me feel less lonely. I also recognize that I do have a support system, even in this new place where I really only have my husband and kids. Finally, because I’m not alone and I have learned from those who have gone before, I remember I can do hard things.
- Lean on my faith. I’m a woman of great faith, even in my doubt. When I connect with other ministers, other people of faith, with leaders around me; and when I practice personal faith practices, my anxiety is lessened (not completely gone, it’s just a thing this side of heaven, I guess), and I feel more grounded, and centered. Engaging in spiritual practices and grounding ourselves often helps us press on in the hard days, and bolsters our refusal to fold or give up.
- Create systems. This is a big one. I’m not naturally the most organized, but in motherhood, business, and even chronic illness, organization can be key – and that starts with systems. Routines, systems for organization, how you set up your kitchen for cooking, how you set up your days or weeks. Systems can get all of these organized. And, that alone can make many of our days easier and more predictable, even on high pain days.
- Find your rhythm. I don’t believe in balance. I believe in rhythm that goes with the ebb and flow of life (so much more on this in the membership). Rhythm isn’t about balance or a specific schedule, it’s about how we structure our day to day and how we work within that in each season, and how that fits into our natural rhythm. Finding your rhythm has to do with how to be most productive, how to enjoy your family, and how to build in rest to your life.
- Switch to working from home – doing things I love. This one I know may not be available for everyone, or how everyone would stay sane. But, for me, it’s a life saver. I’m typing this as my kids crawl all over everything and my daughter tries to get me to read an empty notebook…and after a break because baby boy wanted mommy snuggles – then dinner and bedtime – I’m back. Working from home gives flexibility, and since I work for myself doing mostly solitary tasks, I get to work during nap time and after bed time. That is, if it’s not a catch up day like today in which the kids also decided not to nap, but I digress again. If you know you can work from home & do things you love, and it will help your sanity, I cannot recommend the change enough.
- On that note, I take full advantage of naps and bed time. They fit our rhythm so well, and when the kids outgrow naps, it will be our afternoon “quiet time” or “independent play time” in their room. I do cleaning tasks, or work tasks, or self-care tasks most often during the nap and bed times. I even put them down a little early, because they play out the rest of their energy together. It’s working out even better now that we’ve taken our son’s crib and turned it into a toddler bed. Now, their room is safe place for them to go bed to bed and not in danger of climbing/falls. The older they get, the easier it is to work from home. Those of you in the baby/toddler days (as we are), don’t give up. There’s a season to everything. When we find our rhythm & set intentional priorities, we can make those nap and bed times work for us.
- Rest well & often. This one is still a major work in progress. I’m an achiever who likes to have my to do list marked at the end of the day – so now, I put rest on my to do list. As a mom who has to keep up with two energetic littles, and as a spoonie, I have to try to refill those energy reserves as best I can. So, resting well, and resting often is imperative.
- I utilize accessibility and adaptability resources – from wrist braces to dictation when I can’t type. From a chair in the kitchen to a bar in the shower. I set up my home to work in my favor, and I use resources available to me. This helps reserve my energy on certain tasks while allowing me the pleasure of continuing with projects and work that I love, and allows me to have more opportunities to hang with the babies. Isn’t that what life’s all about anyway?
- Stay on top of treatments, and pursue answers for new symptoms – all of this includes medications, supplements, rest, diet, movement, hydration, sunlight, and hygiene. I’ve recently moved and have new doctors, and I plan to form the right team and get my treatments nailed down to have the best quality of life I possibly can.
- When all is said and done, I give myself a lot of grace – well, I try to… When dealing with chronic illness, it’s important to have flexibility, and know that sometimes things don’t go our way. This is where grace comes in. When we can’t do what we used to. When we struggle with roles, identity, and our mental health. Grace is there to remind us it’s okay, and we can try again another time (or that it’s okay not to).
And, in the vein of doing things I love to work from home, I’m going to be around here a lot more. Writing is a passion, and that part of soul cadence coaching is growing. And, the creative side of everything will be spilling out over on the YouTube channel.
Now that the kiddos are getting older, I’m finding my drive again. I’m figuring out exactly where to go with the writing and the membership, and I look forward to seeing how God uses them both.
If you are a mom trying to make it work at home with chronic illness, you aren’t alone. And, if you’re in the baby stages, hang in there. Remember, it’s just a season. It passes faster than we realize, then it’s gone. You don’t have to enjoy every moment, just embrace the moments you do enjoy. Let those become your encouragement and your memories.
Share below ways you stay sane as a work from home mom (with or without a chronic illness).