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Hi there

I just wanted to ask those of you out there who have or have had small children - how do you explain the fact that mummy is ill to your children (mine are 3 and 4)? Today my three year old just broke my heart - I said to her that I loved having snuggles and they made me happy, and she said 'If I give you extra snuggles will not be poorly any more mummy?' I can't bear the idea that she should feel responsible for my health, and yet every day it has a bearing on their lives - whether we can go swimming or to the park, whether I can push them on a swing or pick them up, whether they have to be quiet, or slow, or gentle. I feel like I am constantly saying no to them, no I can't do that it hurts me. We do have great fun together of course but I seem to have been ill so much recently and it must be affecting them.

How do I make it clear that it's not their fault? That it doesn't really matter, that everything is fine? I worry that they copy me, as of course they learn so much by example, that I'll make them into hypochondriacs, that I'll make them fearful of their own bodies. My son will say things like 'I can't put my shoes on this morning, my hands don't work very well' which is of course exactly what I say. Or 'I'm just too tired to do that now'.

How do I get through this minefield? It matters so much to me that this mean old lupus doesn't prevent them from feeling the freedom children deserve, and that they should not suffer from my pain. My husband is wonderful about it and takes it all in his stride, but his attitude is basically 'they are fine, everything is fine, stop worrying and take your pills and wait for the flare to pass ;)' which is quite true of course, but I can't help worrying!

What are your experiences and does anyone have any help on this one?

x Hatty
 

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elisabethm
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Hi Hatty my children are adults but i do have grandchildren.And i also hate having to say to them watch what you are doing around me.But if i am so sore that i cant have them on knee then they sit on the stool next to my chair.I have one every day and he is the closes one to me then he gets the hump.So what i do is say to him you can help take the sorenes out of my feet or legs hands are the same when they are so cold he will sit and rub them till they are warm.But they have grown up knowing that i cant always do what they want me to do they are 7 they when they are here they always as how sore are you today i just give them an honest answer.Sorry they are not as young as yours are Hope this helps Elisabeth
 

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Hi Hatty :)

It's funny you should post this today. I just had a weird conversation with my step kids (who are younger than mine) which surprised me. They're not at all upset about me being ill but they were asking questions.

I have noticed that with children that young, they don't really "realise" what not having an "ill" mum means. Mine were just used to it. That has simply been a part of who I am. Some kids' mums are just "different" and I don't think they compare notes at that age.

Of course, it hurts us and touches us at the very heart when they say things like your daughter said but in such cases I just reply brightly that of course it helps and that it helps a lot - after all it does even if we can't be "repaired". I think it hurts us because we notice the difference and have been brought up to think that we should be like this or like that (guilt culture here we come again). The thing is we're all different, for whatever reason. I think a lot of kids may have very energetic mums but they'd love to see them more instead of them having to be at work until all hours.

My eldest (now almost 12) does occasionally "complain" if I say no to something I'm not up to doing but, on the whole, he is used to it and knows that there are positives and negatives to every situation. He's almost a teen and getting "bolshy" for certain things from time to time and to be honest, I think his complaints have more to do with that than with actually thinking about me being less "good" than any other Mum.

I myself grew up with a sick Mum and honestly only actually realised what that meant when I too became ill. We never noticed really. I mean, we knew that she was "ill". We knew she took tablets. We knew that she had been told that she would die (she didn't and is still most sprightly today!!)... but all that had little to no impact on us.

I am in no way dismissing your fears. We have all had them, myself included, but I think your husband is right. We all adapt to different situations. That is the very nature of human beings. I'm sure that in "different" ways you are the most wonderful mum your children could ever have because you are special and theirs.

I've rambled again :blush: sorry...

huge hugs :hug:

Katharine
 

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If it helps at all... I think most 3 & 4 year olds will almost randomly repeat things parents or others tell them if it makes an impression on them. My daughter (age 4) has said many of the same things and she wants to hug and cuddle with me to make me feel better too. I tell her that certainly helps me feel better and leave it at that & thank her for her cuddles.

I have found that I am starting to leave out the "explanation" part... I don't say why I'm wearing my comfy slippers all over the house for instance - I just do it because I like it and that's just the way it is. When I hand a jar for my husband to open because it hurts too much for me to do it I just ask him and leave off the pain part. I mean - a lot of hubbies open a lot of jars for their wives! If she wants to go to the park and it's 1pm and I know I can't handle it, then I just tell her that we're not going to the park now and tell her we're going to watch a movie instead (or whatever else...).

I have told her that she can't rough-house play with me like she does with Daddy because Daddy is bigger and stronger so he can handle that but Mommy can't anymore now that you are getting to be such a big girl. Then I tell her that she can still sit next to me and we can still play - but not that kind of play.

At this age, it's easier for that to just be the way it is. When they get older, then there may be more of an explanation. That's the way I'm handling it for now at least & it seems to be working for me. ;)
 

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Pollianna
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I think no matter what we do as mothers we feel a certain amount of guilt, be it having less money that we feel they deserve for a good life, being ill, working too hard to provide them luxuries and not being able to give them time or letting them take the consequences of their actions in order to grow. They will adapt as long as you tell them the truth. If you are in pain tell them if they ask as you do now because if they know you they will know. As long as you don't allow them to feel that what they believe is wrong when it's right I think they will be fine...

This thread reminds me of a time when my daughter very loudly aged 5 or so said to me "mummy why is that man in a wheelchair" I realised that he had heard as he looked straight at me and was clearly waiting to see what my reply was . I told her I didn't know and that maybe we should ask if he wouldn't mind. He didn't mind at all and explained to her he had had an automobile accident and was unable to use his legs. He thanked me for letting her ask him. She said "ohh ok" and I think asked him if it hurt. We said our goodbyes went along as we were and she was happy that her question was answered even if she felt sad for him. I explained to her that this can happen but that it doesn't mean it will always happen. Kids are extremely resilient and I believe the truth is always the right answer even if it may not be what we "feel" we should say.

Having said that she did a similar thing twice more asking me why another man had a baby in his tummy and why another man had no hair :lol: . Of course both also heard but needless to say we didn't go ask them
 
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