If my heart had a hashtag it would be #momguilt.
As a disabled 33-year-old mom with chronic Lyme disease, my life and role as a mother look different than most moms I know.
My illness has taken different shapes over the past 20 years. At times, I’ve been unable to lift my head or bathe myself, while other seasons have brought much more strength.
Since becoming a mom in 2014, I’ve been strong enough to take care of myself, but often need help with daily tasks, such lifting my daughter, driving, cooking and cleaning. I have a rotation of people who help me around the house and with my daughter. However, when my helpers are out of town or sick, I’m quite limited in what I can do with her.
Some days, we have to stay inside all day.
Sometimes, we have to skip trips to the park.
Other times, we have to cancel play dates.
While I know that my daughter’s basic needs are met, these missed opportunities often leave me feeling “less than” other moms.
When I feel this way, I have to retrain my mind. I have to remind myself that, although my daughter may miss out on a few activities along the way, she will also glean a unique perspective because of my disability.
1. The gift of authenticity
Sometimes as a mom, I have the tendency to sugarcoat things. Because of my physical struggles, I have an opportunity to share with my daughter that life isn’t always easy, but it can still be beautiful.
2. The gift of service
As a mom, I am often tempted to do everything for my family. But, when my Lyme symptoms are flaring, I quite literally can’t. Ultimately, I believe this is a good thing.
As my daughter grows, she will be very involved with running the household alongside me–which will be a great lesson. (In fact, my mom was disabled when I was growing up and as a direct result, I learned how to work hard and help others!)
3. The gift of perseverance
If I had to pick just one thing to teach my daughter from this whole mess I’ve been through, it would be the importance of perseverance. Modeling how to withstand the storms of life, regardless of how many times I get knocked down is an invaluable lesson that I get to share in a unique and daily way.
4. The gift of spunk
As a disabled mom, I can be one of two things: bitter or spunky! There’s not a lot of room in the middle. I do my best to choose spunk, laughter and joy in all of life’s difficulty! I hope my daughter picks up a spunky spirit along the way too. It’s so much better than the alternative!
5. The gift of community
I am not naturally wired to ask for help, but because of my circumstance, I’m forced to ask for help doing almost everything. And guess what? It’s actually a beautiful thing.
My husband, my friends and my church rally around me when I’m weak. They serve me in the practical needs of my day. It’s a humbling and wonderful thing for my daughter to witness.
If you are a disabled mom, keep these things in mind next time you feel yourself starting to live a #momguilt life. You have an opportunity to instill character in your child in a unique way; don’t miss it!