Parenting isn’t all sunshine and ice cream – it’s hard. Write a post that delves into 3 challenges that you face as a parent.
Parenting is challenging even without caring for one or more children with special needs or a chronic disease. I’m not about to throw myself a pity party because truth be told I have it much easier than many – not that I wouldn’t like to show diabetes the door and watch it grab its hind quarters as the door hits it in its ass on its way out.
In addition to the “normal” challenges of parenting such as: teaching responsibility, honesty, kindness, compassion, and resourcefulness (btw – IMHO – all of the above are actually taught via example rather than with words); as well as providing healthy meals, encouraging exercise, taking the rugrats to doctors and dentists, driving them to athletics, meeting with teachers, encouraging proper bathing and helmet wear – a parent of a child with diabetes (or insert countless other chronic disease or special need) has the awesome responsibility to keep the child alive, safe and healthy while at the same time instilling in the child the belief that they are “just like everyone else”. (Longest run-on sentence this month.)
So this prompt asks what my top 3 challenges are.
- Encouraging and then allowing my kids varying levels of independence with diabetes care. I want my kids to feel confidant in their own ability to manage their diabetes. I want them to be able to take care of themselves when I’m not around. At the same time I worry constantly when they are not with me. (Less with my dear daughter since she is older and seems to be a bit more responsible).
- Remembering to ALWAYS treat the kid first then the diabetes. Example: First thing in the morning – “Good morning sunshine. Did you sleep good? Hey did you check your sugar yet?” NOT – “What was your blood sugar?” Same thing goes for when they get home from school or a friends and never let the last thing I ask them at bedtime be about their blood sugar.
- Not missing Middles. My middle kiddo (Middles) is my only child WITHOUT diabetes. A lot of time and energy each day SEEMS to be devoted to diabetes care. Questions about blood sugars, infusion set changes, supply gathering, testing and dosing – BLOGGING – appointments, advocating, connecting – these are all things that may take as little time as a minute or as long as a couple of hours – regardless of the actual amount of time consumed, to a ten-year old it may seem as though the entire day can be about diabetes and not about him at all. I do my best to take an active interest in different things Middles is engaged in each day. I do occasionally try to avoid taking him with to endo appointments but that isn’t always possible. He is, although “Not By Choice” (favorite song, written by George Simmons you can find it in iTunes and YouTube) a sibling of children with diabetes and his life is nearly as wrapped up in diabetes as their lives are. Still I do try to give him extra attention each day.
A BONUS Challenge – Taking care of myself. I don’t exercise hardly at all, I drink my weight in coffee (best way of getting caffeine into my system without an IV), I occasionally binge eat chocolate when truly overwhelmed, I don’t sleep nearly enough and I have allowed guilt to set up shop in my head. I know I need to take care of myself – I know I need to change habits to live healthier. I know I need to be easier on myself and to be honest I have improved dramatically over the last 8 months (basically since I became involved with the DOC – Diabetes Online Community). Having a support network – whether online or in person is key to building/keeping a healthy mind and body. I’m getting better everyday thanks to the DOC and WEGO Health.