Being a parent is hard. Being a good parent is impossible; especially with the expectations put on us these days by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and all of the other mommy blogs and social media platforms. The problem is that the pressure put on parents — moms in particular — to be perfect is so high. It makes it a nearly unbearable feat to not continuously compare yourself and other parents to each other.
“What happens when your child isn’t in 500 extra curricular activities or your not room mom every year? Will your child suffer if your not PTA president or if they don’t have handmade Valentine’s for the whole class?
Society has set us up to fail, and when you’re a parent suffering a chronic illness it’s even worse. It is 100 percent understandable that a typical person doesn’t truly grasp what it’s like trying to raise a family with a chronic illness, considering they’ve probably never experienced anything like what you’re going through. However, it doesn’t take going through it yourself to be empathic and give grace.
My chronic illness has put me through the ringer more times than I can count. It has pushed me down and rung me out. It has had scary times and lonely times. But absolutely nothing my chronic illness puts me through hurts as bad as when someone tells me, “You should have never had kids if you were just going to get sick,” or says, “Why don’t you get out of bed and take care of your own damn kids?”
Making a parent feel bad that they can’t show up to every class party, or a friend’s birthday party, isn’t a way to encourage them. In my experience, I try to save up all the energy I can when I know my kids have an important event. I use everything I’ve got to get through it and I crash afterward. But when all people see is the day of the event, when I have my smile pasted on and I push through without a word, they don’t understand why I can’t get out of bed for the following three days.
When I cancel last minute, and instead of offering to come get the kids so they can still enjoy the day, you make me feel guilty for not making you a priority…it’s because I know one more push will land me in the hospital away from my kids for days.
It’s moments like these that make me depressed; not my illness or my lack of hope. It’s my lack of understanding. It’s feeling shamed for trying to keep it together, even when I’m falling apart.