Most people who have fibromyalgia also have the fatigue that goes along with it. Some even have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which seems to be a common bedfellow to fibromyalgia. I unfortunately have both, which means I have a double wallop of fatigue most of the time.
However, fully submitting to the fatigue is not a viable option, as I have three young sons who demand my attention at all times. In fact, to write this post, I have hidden in the bathroom so I won’t be disturbed. There is nothing like pouring your feelings out sitting on a cold floor whilst slumped against the bathroom door while a two year old pounds on it. But I digress.
I have to get clever about mothering my children and balancing my fatigue. This is true of all mothers who have fibro, I’m sure of it. Not a lot is said about the topic, because who wants to be the mom that admits her kids watched an hour and a half of Baby Bum so she could get a semi-nap on the couch? Not me, but that’s my reality almost every day. By the time early afternoon hits I really start to lose my mojo, and it’s Netflix for the kids and a twilight nap for me.
Raising children while dealing with a chronic illness requires you let go of the unrelenting mom guilt that follows you damn near everywhere. I see a counselor for this very issue, and I find it helpful. On my own, my mind tells me I am not enough, that I am missing opportunities to enrich the lives of my children, that they are going to grow up and remember only that they had a very tired Mommy. My counselor reminds me of the truth; that I’m a very nurturing and loving mother, that all my waking moments are devoted to being with my family, that my kids are resilient and can certainly look past the fact that I need extra rest, because I make them feel safe and secure and loved. The things kids really need, I am able to give.
My fatigue was not always this bad. I think all moms are tired, and that is likely a contributing factor. I’ve noticed a significant increase in my fatigue in recent years. Will it abate as my children get older? It’s entirely possible, but not something I can count on. I think the trick is just to make the most of the moments when I do have a small burst of energy, even if it does mean I’m going to pay for it the next day. Maybe that means I’m able to spend a day gardening, or doing some DIY project. I most certainly am going to experience increased pain after a day of yard work, but it’s totally worth it to bask in the productivity. Part of what fibromyalgia and fatigue rob us of is that feeling of accomplishment that so many of us crave. I think it’s important to seize those moments while we can, despite the consequences that may come with it!
What do you think? Is it worth it to seize the rare day where you have energy, knowing you may set yourself back by a week? Do you have mom guilt over being tired all the time? I would love to hear what other people feel about these topics.