Literary Mama has a column called, Special Needs Mamas that explores the issues for mothering children with “Special Needs”. It’s one of the most popular columns on the website. I’ve pitched a new column to Amy Hudock at LM about mothers with special needs, parenting when you have a chronic illness or are struggling with an illness. I want to write about my own experiences with mothering my boys and managing my diabetes. For example, Miles (my 3 year old) waking up this morning, needing milk and a graham cracker and wanting me to turn on cartoons and me, not being able to see very well. The bright white light in the center of my field of vision clued me in that my blood sugar was low. I stumbled from the bed to the kitchen where I stubbornly tested my blood, (a waste of time, I should have gone directly to the fridge for juice) and tested my blood, 40. I had to block out the demands of my boys and stand in the kitchen drinking juice until I could see again. No one even noticed. Which is good. I don’t want the boys to be scared of me, for me.
I started a group on tudiabetes.com called parents with diabetes and recently read a post from a woman who’d been taken to the hospital with a blood sugar of over 500. She was asking for suggestions about how to manage diabetes with her kids, she puts her kids first, like any mother, doesn’t have time for testing her blood sugar and sometimes forgets to do her shot. She wanted advice about how to find time to look after herself and her children. It made me think that having an illness, whatever it is-diabetes, chrones, asthma, lupus or arthritis…..makes you a different kind of parent, the kind of parent that has to put yourself first which is opposite to what our heart tells us to do as parents.
So I want to write a column about how it feels to struggle against this pressure, these divergent needs or instincts. Wanting to do one thing (put our kids first) and sometimes, needing to do another.