Motherhood, Not for the Faint of Heart – Parenting with Multiple Sclerosis

Karen O’Shea
Written by
Karen O’Shea

For anyone who is fortunate enough to become a mother, it really is one of the hardest jobs you will ever encounter. A mother’s work is never done. From the first moment this pink innocent perfect new baby is put in your arms, it is so scary. It is not just the sleepless nights or vomit all over your clothes or the never ending laundry, or the fact that when they begin to walk you will literally never go to the bathroom by yourself again. It is everything else I have not mentioned. These little life forms are so smart. They will outwit you if you let them.

So is the fact that I have multiple sclerosis a disadvantage in the battle with children? To be honest I don’t think it makes any difference, although my daughter does use it to her advantage. She uses it to get away with not cleaning her room. Of course I will remind her to do it but it’s the next day before I think of it. She says it’s a mother’s job to remember what she is meant to do. How do you argue with that? She has a point.

I hate to use that old chestnut ‘When I was young’ but I find myself using it more and more to try and reign in little-miss-ten-year-old-going-on-22 who has an attitude that would put most pop stars to shame! My own mother has no sympathy for me because apparently I was a nightmare too. In my defence, I was 15. It’s to be expected. Anyway it was her job to remind me to clean my room.

A mother with an illness or disability is just like any other mother. Your kids look at you and see their mom. This is true at every stage of their life, from being an inquisitive baby to that rebellious teenage stage where we are seen as the disciplinarian (enemy). We are there to pick them up when they fall as a toddler and we are that shoulder to cry on when they have their heart broken for the first time. We love them for all their faults and they love us for ours.

It’s a personal decision for everyone, but in my opinion, it’s not MS that makes parenting harder, its children that do as they age and grow wiser. They learn how to manipulate. They tug at our heartstrings. We worry about them. They make us worry about them. We wonder what they will do with their lives. They worry about the present and if they are wearing the right clothes or does that boy or girl in the back row of class think they are cute.

I wonder if my partner is right when he says our daughter should not date until she is 35? I think it’s funny he thinks his opinion is going to count!

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Karen O’Shea
Written by
Karen O’Shea
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