Being a parent is difficult enough without adding in a chronic illness. Most people prepare for back to school season by just mentally preparing for the traffic jams but those with multiple sclerosis know that planning ahead can make all difference.
Here’s a friendly back to school with multiple sclerosis supply kit.
- Plan everything ahead. Be organized.
- Get a cooling vest or towel in case the summer heat is still lingering and know where it is when you need it.
- Keep extra medication (safely stored and secured) in your car or bag in case you need it handy.
- Be ready to grab a cold beverage to cool off and keep healthy snacks like almonds around to keep you going if you have to go from one store to the next.
- Make a list of the stores you need to go to and break them up into shorter and more approachable trips out.
- Print your child’s school supply list and take it with you to the store, arrive early to avoid long lines. If you can order everything online, you should consider it as an option, especially for heavier items such as copy paper and innumerable composition notebooks.
- Consider buying a few extra supplies like crayons, notebooks and pens to keep in the house if you need for the school year. It should save you time and energy by avoiding a second trip to the store (or extra shipping costs if you buy online).
- Keep a written calendar of events to avoid missing deadlines. IPhone users: Use Siri to keep your schedule on point and even set reminders to avoid forgetting important pending tasks.
- Get your shots! Make sure your family and people you are in close contact with get a flu shot, talk with your doctor before getting one for yourself.
- Activate your support system: let your parents, siblings or friends help you out with rides, making dinners or lunches while you adjust to the new school year.
- Have a written action plan if you get sick to help guide anyone assisting you. Include things like school start and end times, school pick up guidelines and any other helpful information.
- Let your spouses and children help you get organized. This is a good exercise in organization skills for them too.
- Use your assistance aids as needed. Use your cane or walker to get to the store or school independently, if you can. If you were able to leave the house, it’s a stride of pride!
- Make lunches in a factory assembly line style to save time and energy.
- Inform your children’s new teacher of your specific needs. You may need to speak frankly with them about your condition; you may not need to mention it all. Decide what is good for your family and you make the call. MS is so deeply personal that the decision to disclose is ultimately yours and yours alone. I usually have to mention it because my son will inform his whole class on day one- my little MS Activist!
- Prepare school uniforms by buying them early (even online) and factory line style organize them on Sunday. Have five of everything (shirts, pants, socks, underwear) ready to avoid morning disasters- our bodies do enough of that to us already.
- SANITIZE EVERYTHING when your children get home. Carry sanitizing wipes and consider increasing your vitamin C intake to try to avoid a cold. Simple reminders bear repeating: don’t touch your face or eyes, wash your hands frequently, drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
- DESIGNATE TIMES: laundry, lunches, cleaning the house. Help avoid over stressing yourself with having to do it all one day or during a time you might not feel well. Learn to be organized. It is a skill you can learn.
- Try not to over schedule yourself during the first week back- you might need to make several trips to drop off supplies if they are heavy.
- Be patient and kind with yourself. Don’t get frustrated with you. Peace is priceless.
Suffer no delusions, being organized is not easy. Use what works for you and your family, ditch what doesn’t. Let this be a guide to incorporate to your life and hopefully make things easier for you. Streamline your routine and condense where you can. MS can be so different in each person from day to day, it’s important not to expect yourself to bat a thousand every day, all day, all the time, without total muscle exhaustion. Back to school is a fun yet nerve wracking time for kids and parents alike. Let’s not let our MS beat us week one because by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.
How do you prepare for back to school?
Erica Hernandez was born in Miami, Florida and is making M.S mean Maximum Sassiness since August 2015. She is a Mother, Wife and Cat Lover. God and Harry Potter got her through the darkest times Follow her on Instagram @msbalance_