Most migraine sufferers are women, so it stands to reason that an overwhelming majority are also “mommy migraineurs,” women who have learned how to juggle play dates, school meetings, and nap schedules while managing chronic migraine headache symptoms. Here are some helpful tips for parenting with migraines.
Whether you’re the parent of a newborn infant, toddler, or grade-school tween, child-raising is one of the most difficult… and rewarding challenges facing chronic pain patients today. With migraines, intense headaches, severe nausea, and crippling fatigue make it difficult to commit to after-school programs or birthday parties.
As mommy migraineurs, we sometimes struggle with feelings of guilt, anger, and sorrow because of the restrictions placed upon us by migraine headaches.
In order to be the best parent you can be, it’s important to develop certain routines that help us stay on track, regardless of migraine attacks. By making these lifestyle changes, we can improve our relationship with our children, learn how to manage migraine symptoms more efficiently, and avoid negative emotions resulting from depression and anxiety.
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Here are some helpful sanity-saving parenting tips for moms with migraines:
Strive for consistency
Women who suffer from frequent migraines are more likely than others to also experience frequent mood swings. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, extreme irritability, and chronic fatigue are all conditions that correlate strongly with migraine disorder. For children, watching a parent’s ever-changing moods can be traumatic.
If you feel particularly stressed, gloomy, or agitated- significantly more than usual- then do whatever you can to remove yourself from your child’s attention. Try to arrange an impromptu play date, put out a thick stack of paper with crayons, or just let your child sit in front of the TV for a while.
As long as your child is constantly being supervised, you have no reason to feel guilty for needing a few moments of “Me Time.”
Are you the only person responsible for picking up your children from school or daycare? If so, then it’s important to make a back-up plan for days when severe migraines keep you indoors.
Ask a friend or relative if she is willing to be on-call in the event of a really excruciating migraine attack that leaves you unable to stand up or drive. Or, see if there are any after-school babysitting centers that are available for last-minute drop-ins. Make sure your children are familiar with alternate pick-up plans, as well, and that they recognize any new caretakers. Alert your school principal when somebody other than yourself will be getting your children from school, as well.
Teach your children independence
It’s a hard fact of parenting with migraines that sometimes, children have to learn how to do certain things for themselves. This doesn’t apply to babies and toddlers, of course. However, even small children can be taught how to make a sandwich, clean their room, fold their own laundry, or even wash a few (plastic) plates and cups.
By teaching them these basic skills, you are helping them learn how to be more independent and productive, while also reducing your chances for suffering stress-related migraines.
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