Caring For Toddlers When You Have AxSpA: My Hacks!
I am a stay at home mom of 2 children, ages 2 and 3. When I received my diagnosis, my children were 1 and 2 at the time. We had a really difficult couple of years with my high-risk pregnancies and personal loss, so when I received my diagnosis, and could really put a name to what I had, I felt so much fear and had no idea how I was going to be able to care for 2 small children with so much on our plates.
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs there is regardless of an AxSpA diagnosis. But AxSpA has really added a whole other layer of challenges to navigate through.
Here are some of the ways that we get through our days
Please note these are applicable to anyone struggling with or without an official diagnosis, or even those who don’t suspect a diagnosis.
Caring for small toddlers can be very physically taxing on your body. This is amplified during tantrums tenfold. So what I began to implement (especially if I’m going through a lengthy flare) are pre-planned activities that I prepare the night before. This is usually something very simple, like painting a picture, or wooden figurine, or playing with a sticker book to decorate construction paper. I will gather supplies the night before and tell my children about the fun activity the next morning and they get super excited. This usually will take up a good portion of our morning or afternoon and this semi-structured time allows for less meltdown, and also is a time where I can just sit and relax also. Win win!
Besides cutting down on cooking elaborate meals midday, simple lunches usually require simple clean-ups! Our toddler lunches usually consist of a variety of cut-up fruits and veggies, some sort of sandwich or wrap, some apple sauce, or cheese and crackers. Generally, it's a simple clean-up, and takes less than 10 minutes to put together!
Sharing with kids about AxSpA
I talk pretty openly with my children about my disease, and I tell them in an age-appropriate way that sometimes I have a lot of pain and I can’t always carry/run/or even stand because I’m having a hard day. And to my surprise, they are actually extremely understanding and sometimes will even ask if I’m ok to do an activity. Children are so compassionate and are able to understand things we don’t always think they will!
What are your tips and tricks for making parenting a little easier with AxSpA?
Does reading AxSpA patient stories help you in your journey?