Doing all that you can to beat cancer is at the forefront of your thoughts right now, as it should be. However, you are still a parent and your children are still a top priority to you. Sometimes, though, you struggle to find the strength, energy and focus you need to handle everything life throws your way.
Being a parent can be draining for anyone, even on the best days. When you are raising kids while going through cancer treatment, it can be downright exhausting. Yet you will do whatever it takes, because that is who you are. The good news is that doing your best doesn’t have to be grueling. In fact, it can be a special time of closeness and bonding that you and your family will come to treasure.
Learn some simple and applicable tips, which can help you find the balance you need to continue to be the amazing mom or dad you always have been.
You may be used to being Wonder Woman or Superman, but now is not the time to try to do everything yourself. If your energy is limited and you must choose between dusting the furniture and helping your child with homework, choose the time with your kiddo. The dust bunnies can wait. (Better yet, hire someone to come in and clean for you!)
Choose Quality over Quantity
When you are tired or not feeling great, don’t push yourself to try to spend several hours doing something physically or mentally exhausting because you feel as though you should. Find a way to spend meaningful time focusing on your children. Whether you are sitting around the living room playing a game, in the kitchen together making cookies or simply lying in bed watching a movie (kids’ choice), your bunch will thrive from your undivided attention.
Let Them Be Involved
Explain to your kiddos that you need some extra help right now. Assign age-appropriate chores and pitch in as a team to get bigger tasks done. Not only will your children feel good about helping you and the family during this challenging period, but they will also learn valuable lessons about family unity, responsibility and putting others before themselves.
Many people in your life and community are likely able and willing to provide support to you and your kids. Extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles would probably love to spend more time with your children. Your kids’ schools can also be a source of support. Talk to the school counselor about in-school and extracurricular options that might benefit your kids. Your place of worship can be another helpful resource.
Your well-intentioned attempts to shield your kids from stress, worry and concern can actually increase their anxiety. Children are exceedingly perceptive and can pick up on overhead conversations as well as subtle nuances. Being open, sharing age-appropriate information about what you are going through and offering reassurance can help kids feel safe and closer to you. Speaking openly with them can also encourage your kids to feel comfortable sharing their struggles and little details of their lives with you, as well.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is essential for all parents. It is especially vital when you are dealing with health issues. Take steps daily to make sure your own needs are met. Along with your physical wellbeing, pay attention to your emotional, psychological, spiritual and social needs. Looking after yourself in this manner will help you have the energy, positive outlook and motivation to be an engaged and involved parent.
Make time to do things that help your kids (and you) smile, laugh and enjoy your time together. You don’t have to make major plans or even leave home to have a good time. Have a joke-off, where you tell one another jokes and puns while trying to keep a straight face (whoever laughs first loses). Play a funny game such as Pictionary, Pie Face or Simon Says. Have a silly string, pillow or tickle fight. Just get goofy.
Above all, just be yourself and be present as much as you can. Your children understand that you are doing your best and know how very much you love them.