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Mothering In Spite Of

Ten years prior, I was Mommy to Justin – a relatively quiet, mild mannered little boy. Ten years later, I became Mommy to Jessica – an incredibly feisty, sassy, take-over-the-world little girl. And just about four years after, I was diagnosed with a debilitating, chronic disease – Multiple Sclerosis. God certainly has a sense of humor.

The exasperated directives (That’s enough!, Time out!, I will not say it again! …)  from my lift chair that typically begins with one exclamation point, normally heightens from one or two of them within 4.2 seconds. I say to myself, here we go again…! My daughter, the handful, showed me the difference between her and her brother daily, but because I’ve heard that comparison is the thief of joy, I simply loved my babies for who they were. Period.

My daughter may feel like she missed out

My daughter doesn’t remember the ‘pre-MS‘ days. However, I believe through photos and the stories her brother recants of doing this and that and going here and there, she feels that she’s ‘missed out’. I believe sometimes, this plays a part in some of her behaviors and even she doesn’t totally understand it. ‘It’ being why, sometimes, she actually seems angry – at me. Bearing witness to the disease’s progression is difficult for her as she internalizes this as something in which she has no control over as well as something that could take her mother away from her. Certainly this can elicit a plethora of emotions for a child.

Giving in and feeling guilty

I confess. Sometimes, from the guilt of not being able to do the things she’d like to do or take her to the places she’d like to go, I’ve given in, not been as consistent or given too many chances at times. None of that is conducive to eliciting proper behavior, I know. What can I say?

Being the best mother I can be

The good thing is, MS has not quelled my determination to be the best mother I can be, raise my children to be the best that they can be and live my best life for myself and for them. I realize that I don’t and shouldn’t feel guilty over that which I cannot control, but that I can ‘mother’ effectively in spite of my limitations. By implementing some helpful tools and resources such as counseling, programs featuring positive role models and messages, the school’s mentoring program, positive reinforcement, practicing consistency – and most importantly, LISTENING to my daughter and allowing her to experience every emotion that she has in a healthy way, our trajectory is bright.

I will never stop loving and trying to effectively parent my children because I am a Mommy, and I have been blessed to ‘mother’ – in spite of.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie
    2 years ago

    Your story touched me. I was diagnosed when my daughter was already grown and gone and my son was still in High School. There were a lot of things my daughter didn’t see so she didn’t understand my struggles. Now, 18 years later her family and I bought a house together. It’s a win/win because I’m here when my grandkids get home and they are here for me when I need help. She now “gets it”. But she also worries about me too much. Or more than I want anyway.

    My son, on the other hand, was there from the beginning. I was laying there one morning before he left for school. I was hooked up to an IV because I was doing a 5 day run of steroids. It occurred to me that this wasn’t the first time he had seen me doing this and I wondered how this would affect a child seeing their mother in this position. So I asked him. He said he just wanted me to be able to walk normally again. If this is what it takes then he’s on board for it.

    I think kids that grow up watching a parent struggle with a chronic illness grow up to be more sympathetic and patient people. I could be wrong about this but this is my experience with my kids. It’s a lousy way to teach your kids love and empathy but I have to look at the upside of this.

    Wishing you health and peace.

  • Dianne Scott moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Monk,
    So happy that you enjoyed my story! Thank you so much for reading..
    Best wishes,
    Dianne Scott

  • Monk
    2 years ago

    I’m not a mom but I enjoyed your story. MS can do a lot of damage but mother/child love runs deep where MS can reach it. Thanks for sharing.

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