Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How to Bless a Mom with Chronic Illness: Practical Matters

Cooking with Grammy.  If we lived closer Lenny would do this often!
 I shared how being a good listener can be a blessing to a mom with chronic illness (MWCI).  Now I'll give some ideas about practical ways you can help a friend.  This will vary significantly, so this is just the time when being a good listener is important.  Sometimes when people offer to help I feel hesitant to tell them that their first idea or instinct will not work in my specific situation.  So keeping the channels of communication open can be doubly important in helping MWCI.

Just about every MWCI can use practical help at some point.  Most of my ideas fall into categories that could be helpful to any tired mom, but with a few modifications.


 Just about every MWCI I've ever encountered had some kind of special diet requirement.  Most people, after feeling bad for a while and not getting lots of answers from doctors start to explore how the food might be affecting her.  Gluten free, dairy free, low carb, avoiding certain foods because of sensitivities... I'm sure there are other possibilities.  I personally have a pretty long list of common foods I can't/don't eat.  So people who have helped me with food have had to take a creative approach.  Here are a few options:
  • Bring food she can feed to the rest of the family.
  • Find out what foods she can eat and prepare/buy those foods to bring.  This could include getting some hard-to-find ingredients from your friend.
  • Prepare food at her house.  It's still a good idea to check about ingredients and recipes.  At my house you can find foods and ingredients that I don't actually eat but use to feed the rest of the family.
  • Get groceries for her.  Considering the special diet issue it's really important to get a list and stick to it exactly.  If the 16 oz package of the store brand is specified but the 32 oz pack of the national brand is on a great sale it's probably best to ignore it and get what's on the list.
  • Clean her kitchen for her so that she has an easier time cooking.  In spite of my vigorous defense of us moms who don't keep shiny houses a clean kitchen is such a relief and blessing to me.  Sometimes when I have one I just go out to eat rather than messing it up!  But it also gives me a chance to make that extra batch of muffins or comforting pot of soup I've been thinking of.

One of my biggest insecurities as a MWCI is my fear that my kids will miss out because of my illness.  So anything that a friend does to help them has the double blessing of giving me a break and setting my mind at ease because I know they are having a fuller life than I can give them on my own.  Basically, anything you do for my kids, you do for me.  Here are some of the ways others have been able to help me:
  • Play dates.  I love these.  Sometimes I go along or the other mom comes to my house.  Then we get to visit and I love that because I can only handle so many conversations about cars and using the potty before I need to have an adult conversation.  Other times my son has been able to go without me and then I can take a break or get something else done.  Occasionally I've been able to have one of his friends over and then he gets the fun of a playmate without us having to leave the house.  (Unfortunately, because of my messy house situation I really only feel comfortable hosting play dates in the summer when we can spend time on our shady back deck.)
  • Outings.  Like play dates, only not at home.  This includes going to a park, the mall, the library, a museum, the zoo.  I like to go to places I'm not really comfortable at with another mom (or friend) because sometimes I get overwhelmed and it helps to have another set of ears and eyes.  It's also fun for my kids and a big help to me when they are invited along on an outing without me.  (OK, only the oldest has done this so far.)  Some friends have even hung out with my little one for the sole purpose of giving me a break.  Such a blessing.
Odds and Ends
I feel like I'm missing something major here, but I can think of a few seemingly small ways that friends have really blessed me.  These include:
  • Helping with driving when I had doctor's appointments.
  • Picking up special orders at stores that weren't near my house.
  • Helping with laundry.
  • Doing errands like taking recycling to the center.
So again, each MWCI is going to have a different situation and need or want help in different ways.  Communication is key.  Hopefully these ideas can help get a conversation going that will allow blessings to flow.


  1. I like it when people who don't mind the mess come over and talk to me while I clean. For some reason, even as an introvert, if I have someone to talk to while I'm cleaning, I have more energy and it goes faster. When it's just me, I feel SO OVERWHELMED at all I have to do.

    One time I even took 4 baskets of unfolded laundry to a playdate and sat on my friends floor and folded laundry while we chatted and our kids played. I'm sure it was a little awkward for her, but it meant the world to me and I got it all in one sitting, instead of it taking days!

    If we are riding in a car together, I love it when other people get my son out of his carseat. It's such a little thing but I get SO TIRED of lifting him in and out (he's getting big enough he's starting to be able to do it himself thankfully).

    Bringing over a meal or even a cup of coffee means the world. Not that that actually happens often. :)

    I also had a friend who bought me a gift card for a massage. Let me tell you what, mmmhmmm that was awesome!

    1. Great thoughts Aprille! I also can get really overwhelmed - especially with organizing - and it can be a big help to have someone around to bounce ideas off of and just keep me moving. Dealing with car seats is also a challenge for me. Anyone who hangs out much with me definitely gets asked to take a turn at that.