Hi. Dr. Connie here.
I get lots of comments about how hard it is to live day-to-day as a Lupus patient. How is one supposed to manage their day, especially if the day starts in exhaustion?
Add parenthood, marriage, friendships, work, and social obligations… it’s a lost cause.
I recently was asked to talk about parenting as a Lupus patient.
For those of you who don’t know, I have two amazing boys. They are now 15 and 11.
After my third Lupus flare up, I had an epiphany which forced me to be honest about myself and my life, what it meant and where it was going.
After years of struggling in my marriage, it got to a point where I knew that my marriage was over.
So fast forward 4 years, I am now a single mom and a business owner.
Struggle is real. That’s why I call myself the “rebel” who does what she’s got to do to make things work. I have absolutely no room to complain.
As an immigrant at 11 years old, I’ve had to learn a second language and adapt to a new culture when I was in 5th grade.
In retrospect, it was a profound experience that shaped who I am today. I knew I had to work twice as hard to catch up on learning English just to feel normal during my pubescent years.
I was a delinquent in high school because my parents were never around, as they worked 7 days a week.
It wasn’t until I attended college that I realized my future was my own to create.
Education was something that was pushed upon in my culture, so when my parents built up their business enough to where they could be home more, I began to apply myself in school.
I always knew that I had lots to catch up on, as I barely got any education in primary and secondary schools due to the language barrier.
So in college, I had this fierce determination that no matter what, I’ve got to work twice as hard. That meant staying up later, waking up earlier, and limiting my social life.
I’ve always wanted to be a good parent and my kids are everything to me. The divorce was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make and I knew that the decision would impact my kids in ways I’ve never imagined.
All this to show you where my perspective lies. I feel that parenting is the hardest thing in the world.
Be Honest With Your Kids
Kids don’t come with a manual and every child is different. Add our struggles and dysfunctions, the best advice is to do the best that we can.
So as a Lupus patient, I’m very vocal about my state of being with my kids. I share my struggles with schedules, what I want to do better, and constantly try to engage in a dialog with them.
I myself come with some flaws. I’m not the best listener, I tend to be distracted a lot, and I struggle to keep work-life balance.
I do get lots of help from my family, especially my parents. But as the kids get older I realize how much they need me and my attention.
They crave that and it’s a goal of mine to be more available to them.
When I feel less than optimal, I let them know that I’m tired. While I don’t use my Lupus as a scapegoat, I do let my sons know my fatigue scale.
When I’m tired, I’m easily irritated and I have to be careful not to blow up on them. But I’m only human, and I’ve been known to blow steam from time to time.
It’s the same with friends and family. I have a select circle of friends that I keep close and nurture those relationships, as I know how important people are in my life.
Doing Your Best
While I’m no model parent, I do believe sharing your true feelings with your kids allows for an authentic relationship and understanding that deepens any relationships.
I take plenty of time for “self care” as I need to stay healthy, energized, and happy to physically be available to my kids.
During those times that I had to be admitted into the hospital for different flares, my kids understood that their mom struggles with a medical condition.
It’s created empathy, compassion, and love from them toward me, which protects and takes care of my needs.
Because they are quickly changing from boys to men, I want to raise gentlemen and I am very clear about this goal.
I know it’s not rocket science, but I hope this helps to put your parenting in perspective.
Every parent is unique and we can only do the best that we can do.
I would strongly advise you to refrain from comparing yourself with others. You can only be YOU, so choose to be the best version of you.
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See you next week, thanks for watching.