Being a single parent with chronic illness can be lonely, scary, and confusing. If you’re also in this situation, patient advocate Lana Barhum shares a letter just for you, filled with what she’s learned from eight years of single parenting with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
“Some days, you will doubt yourself and your ability to do it all without a partner and with chronic illness. Just remember, you’ve got this.”
Dear Single Parent with Chronic Illness,
I know you are often sick, tired, and in pain. Some days, you find yourself at a breaking point. There are probably many occasions when you question your ability to parent with chronic illness.
You have been depressed, anxious, scared, angry, and resentful – at your former partner, family and friends, the universe, and sometimes, even the kids you love more than your own life. When you are sick and alone, it’s tough to make ends meet while dealing with school drop-offs and pick-ups, housework, dinner, and so much more.
I know you put on a happy face even it feels like you have nothing left to give. I know because I have been there. Please know that you are allowed to:
Stop trying so hard. Housework isn’t everything, and neither are home-cooked meals. If toys stay on the living room floor until morning, or dinner came out of the freezer because you are not feeling well, no one cares – especially not your kids. I am no longer obsessed with what I think good parenting looks like. The not-so-clean place, the store-bought cake, and the delivery pizza all save me recovery time. It is also time better spent with my children.