Scrubs on and a Starbucks in-hand and I’m ready to go! Going back to work after an extended time of being hospitalized or home with an exacerbation from our chronic illness can feel really exciting and super scary. I was determined, as always, to get back into work mode after my last 2 week stint in the hospital, and almost 2 months of being out of work.
When you’re a disabled parent trying to work it’s even scarier. A million questions run through my head and I have to fight to not let self doubt overcome. Will I be too tired to make dinner when I get home? How can I balance my symptoms with my strengths? Can I still be successful and doing both? Being a chronically sick parent is already a big job. Actually going to work can seem daunting, and for many, is simply not something they can do…and that’s OK.
Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when trying to balance family, work, and illness
- Get LOTS of sleep the night before you work. I work part-time as, I’m able to, so my work days are spread out. I try to make sure I’m getting a solid 8-10 hours at night so I can survive being awake for an extended period of time on my workday
- On your workdays, DO NOT pressure yourself to come home and perk up the house and fix a four course meal. Throw food into a crockpot the morning-of or order pizza. The dishes can wait and an unmade bed does not make you domestically inept.
- Have a back-up plan. My kids have a crazy sports schedule. On the days that I work, I always have a “Plan B” ready in case I’m too fatigued to take them to their after-school activities when I get home. Call friends/family in advance and ask if you can call on them to take kids to and from activities if you are unable to. Jr. will probably thank you to not curl up on the field and sleep through his soccer practice.