Guest Blog written by author Emily Graves.

Emily Graves is the author of the book, "How to be a good Mommy when you are sick: A guide to motherhood with chronic illness" In this book Emily shares her remarkable story of living with a chronic illness while striving to be a good mother, wife and still fulfilling her career ambitions. Emily provides tips and strategies for mothers living with chronic illness.

Soon after receiving her Bachelors Degree, Emily was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and given a prognosis that she would be confined to a wheelchair within ten years. Shortly after pregnant with her first and only son, Emily's kidneys decided to shut down. This began a new chapter of her life balancing motherhood, illness, and dreams. Today she still battles on, but with a new approach and management. Within her book, she shares these valuable tips and coping mechanisms for other mothers with chronic illness.

You can find more about Emily at

Guest Blog written by Emily Graves.

Juggling Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a busy career, traveling and being a mom and family member. I think finding a perfect balance is not actually a thing. I think "balance" is something we like to throw around as if there is some perfect recipe for life that will work for everyone-no. For me, I see life as a messy juggling act and I love it (most of the time).

Sometimes everything is going smoothly. Other times I feel like balls are flying all over the place. I am a wreck! and it is okay because I am doing the best that I can. Yes, it sucks when I am sick and have to miss out on all the fun things or committee meetings because I can not get out of bed but that is life and I will try again tomorrow. And, snuggling in bed watching a movie with your five-year-old is not the end of the world.

What upsets me most is that I can not do all the things he wants to do.

My plan of attack: always have goals. They may be hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly but have attainable goals that you can conquer and feel good about. Also, it helps with deadlines and keeping all those balls in the air.

I am a calendar and a list person. I also negotiate with myself a lot. If I am unable to complete a goal this week, I will move it to the next week and do what I can this week. Sometimes this is a day to day negotiation. Also, I have a backup plan. For example, I have a list of sitters for William, my five-year-old so that if I have to work late or even have a nap, I have someone to call.

During this everyday busy life, I also like to carve out time for me, by myself and for me and William to travel. These two things really help me to stay positive and focused.

For time by myself, I call the sitter and I can take a nap or go to the store and think. Or at night, I will take a long bath. I also love massages!

I think regarding taking care of yourself there are more ways than going to the doctor and taking tons of pills (as I do) on top of an infusion is not where to stop. I really value pampering myself and giving my body and mind time to rest. Because I am  busy, I actually schedule rest time for myself throughout the week. It makes me better at all the other things I am involved with.

Traveling with William is a blast but also makes me tired and swollen so I have to save energy and plan carefully. Planning does pay off. Here are some of the basic things I do to make traveling more fun and less sick:

  • Prepare snacks ahead of time and really watch my sodium, this makes a tremendous difference to my swelling. 
  • Pack comfortable clothes and especially comfortable shoes. I have a rule against buying things that are not comfortable. I simply do not purchase them!
  • Plan breaks so that they naturally occur during the trip and I do not suddenly have to be rushed somewhere because I am passed my limit.
  • We travel with friends, this is a natural support system that does not require an explanation. My travel friends are close friends and if I say I need some time out, they say okay-not ask why. I really appreciate this. Also, they are great with Will. 
  • Stay as active as possible. I ride bikes, hike, take short walks and when I can't physically do those things, I enjoy sitting outside and watching William enjoy our journey. 

I think finding practical ways that work for me and my situation are key to figuring out this day to day business. I live with chronic illness every day and my body is not especially reliable but I can set up my life to be as meaningful and fulfilling as possible with positive intentions, planning, support and practitioners, and a solid backup plan.


Emily xx

Many thanks to Emily for her contribution you can read more about Emily Graves via her web page


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