There are days when I think my diabetes is a huge disadvantage for my entire family. I feel guilty over the extra healthcare expenses our finances have to cover, wimpy when I can’t help my husband get the groceries in the house and I don’t like my blood sugars stalling a game as I tell the kids, “sorry, mommy needs to fix her low blood sugar.”
A way to combat these feelings is to turn the table and ask “how does diabetes make me a better mom?” So here we go, in no particular order: (and please feel free to add your own in the comments!)
Parents with diabetes can teach their kids gratitude. It takes a lot to wake up with a 240 mg/dL reading, push through the sluggish sensation of a poor night’s sleep and still greet the day with a smile. People with diabetes often celebrate a reading that is in range because well, it is something worth celebrating! Life can always be a little easier when we look on the bright side and children learn this by watching us cope with our diabetes.
Parents with diabetes model perseverance. Children watch us work and struggle to manage our blood sugars within a ridiculously narrow window and probably can’t help but notice how we try over and over to hit the best numbers we can. They see us eat in a disciplined way, exercise, go to the doctor and take our medication. I hope my kids learn that hard work and getting up each time they fall is the only way to accomplish anything worthwhile, including good health.
Parents with diabetes show their kids that they don’t have to be perfect. Parents with diabetes know that perfection is an illusion. We know that we can’t be perfect diabetics or parents. There is a great lesson here for children. We can show them that they too, don’t have to be perfect. I don’t hold my children to unreasonable standards because I know what that feels like! It’s super frustrating and not at all helpful.
Parents with diabetes are great empathizers. Living with diabetes can be heartbreaking and frustrating. As a result, people with diabetes tend to have large reserves of empathy for others. Parents with diabetes may have an easier time empathizing with their children and listening to their concerns. We know what it is like when we don’t have an outlet for all our emotional diabetes baggage and like to be there for others who are in pain.
Parents with diabetes live in the now. People with diabetes worry a little more than the average person about their health and mortality. I’ve heard various parents living with diabetes say that they are extremely aware of the precious time with their children because they live with a sense of urgency fueled by their diabetes. We know that blood sugars can sometimes make us extremely vulnerable and we know that time increases our risk for complications and we want to embrace the time we have with our kids and make sure we don’t put anything off for later.
I feel better now, don’t you?
Photo Credit: Hasty Words, Pixabay