Looking after children, be they grandchildren or your own children, can be tough at the best of times. Throw in a painful condition such as arthritis and things can get that much more challenging.
Natalie Gardner, the creator of the inspiring and insightful The Spoonie Mummy blog, was diagnosed with arthritis when she was just 15 months old.
She has two sons and one step-daughter and knows a fair bit about how to take care of kids while living with day-to-day pain and discomfort.
These are her top five tips...
Give yourself a break
I worked on a one in, one out schedule when my boys were younger and both at home. If one day we went out (even just to the local park for half an hour), the next day would be an indoor day.
Have a well-stocked craft cupboard
Pinterest is great for ideas. On bad days the boys are quite happy to sit and create something or play with playdough (which is also a good exercise for your hands). We also enjoy reading stories together, boardgames and movie afternoons.
Meal plan and batch cook
Not only is it better for your budget but I always end up with leftovers which I then freeze. These are great to pull out on bad days when you don't feel up to cooking. They simply need defrosting and reheating.
Get your kids to help you out from a young age
I don't mean with caring for you - one thing I always said was that my children would never become my carers - but with household jobs. I taught mine to tidy up their toys from the get-go so I didn’t always have to spend time bending over to pick up tiny bits of Lego!
Tables Are Your Friend
Dining tables, the kids’ play table, desks, coffee tables...make use of them. Once you get down on the floor it might take a while to get back up! Either that or have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand where you are!
Don't let it get really bad
I know I’m guilty of not taking my own advice here because sometimes I definitely push myself past my limits just for the kids, but normally if you have a flare-up and nip it in the bud, it won’t get worse. Ask your doctor for advice, see if there are other medications you can try and if you can see a physio or get some hydrotherapy. An issue will only get harder to deal with if it left to fester.