I can not be the “perfect housewife” with fibromyalgia, and that’s fine

By: Alicia Thompson

I must admit, I was a very unusual child. I grew up watching cooking shows, Martha Stewart and “I Love Lucy.” I dreamed of being the ideal housewife of the fifties with an impeccable house. (I know, call me old-fashioned, but I found it fun). One day I imagined doing the detailed work that Martha Stewart took the time to do. I imagined making gourmet dishes, homemade bread, fresh butter and time to sew, make crafts, clean and cultivate a garden. I dreamed that one day it would be, well, perfect.

When I finally had my big dream, I planned all the ways I wanted to spend my time as a housewife. I had to keep my house impeccable, cook every night and work on fun crafts during my free time. Finally, you should have time to do all the fun projects you had dreamed of. I had to make our home a home and I was thrilled!

But it did not work as planned. (And honestly, I’ve noticed that it’s fine!)

A year after I got married, I discovered that I had fibromyalgia. I had fought fatigue and pain, which prevented me from doing most of the things I had planned. I found myself spending most days reclining on my couch, watching television and dreaming of all the projects I wanted to do.

In my really good days, I went beyond my borders and tried to do everything that was on my list. Again and again I tried too hard and ended up in a lot of pain doing something in weeks. I was so frustrated that no matter how hard I tried, my body kept surrendering.

It is not easy to accept that my body does not have the strength or energy to follow my ideals. I spent months feeling guilty, lazy and useless. The frustration of disappointing me was probably the biggest obstacle I had to overcome.

The difficulties and frustrations of the responses of others to our disease are often discussed in the society of chronic diseases. But we are fighting more than the expectations of others. Some days we have to fight for ours.

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Finally I realized that I have to take a step back and find out what really matters. My husband assured me again and again that I was too hard on myself, but it took me a long time to realize that he was right. He does not care if our house is impeccable; he does not care if we have fast food some nights; He does not care that some days he gets out of bed. My friends do not enter my house and do not judge me because it is not as clean as I think it should be. Most of the time, my friends and family do not even notice the things that I find my most frustrating mistakes.

Honestly, I had to realize that I can get off the hook. I do not have to be Martha Stewart. I do not have to have everything in my life to be perfect. Sometimes we just have to slow down and enjoy the beauty of life, even in chaos.

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