Parenting on my back was fueled in the parent-child relationship. In my life, the roles were reversed: my children became caregivers to me.
This unwelcome crisis was unexpectedly thrust into my existence in the prime of my life, when I was 37 years young, and the girls were 7 and 11 years of age. Rheumatoid arthritis stole my mobility and attacked my joints, leaving me motionless. I found myself using a wheelchair and having to rely on those “little hands” for such things as food, grooming, bathing, dressing, cooking and cleaning.
My challenge was to establish that even though the roles may have changed, the rules did not. I was still their mother. As they grew older, their need for independence also grew, and this became more and more difficult.
This experience taught me the importance of being open with my children and giving them a voice. With them, I was an open book when it came to such things as our finances and our family situation. In turn, I was also willing to listen and walk with them through their life journeys. I provided them a safe space where they could air their grievances about school, their social lives, anything.
Giving them a voice helped tremendously. I wanted them to feel that they weren’t my servants, but that even while I was parenting on my back, they were my little human beings that I loved and respected.
Join me as I continue to reveal the lessons I learned from parenting on my back in the weeks ahead. I would love to hear your comments and insights as I expand on this subject.