Single Parenting A CFIDS-Afflicted Child


Single parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. You have no support from a spouse, no help when you seem to need it the most, and no relief from the unending responsibilities of raising your child alone. Most people can't perceive how difficult it is for one person to fulfill the role of mother, father, friend, disciplinarian, wage earner, financial accountant, etc. You are expected to perform various duties to sustain your child's minimum of what a "normal" household is supposed to be within today's society. He or she may also expect that you will fill the void in his life that the absent parent left behind by being yourself and so much more. You have found that you cannot be a super person who can do and be everything for your son or daughter. You are only human and are limited in what you can and can't accomplish. This acknowledgment is accompanied with the awareness that you have boundaries and limitations to how you can take care of yourself and your child. You will discover that life is not going to be any easier for you or your special one in the immediate future. Life is tough enough on a daily basis and now you find out that your son or daughter is tolerating chronic fatigue syndrome. It is difficult to comprehend that your child is chronically ill with an infestation of viruses in his or her body. There may be lots of inquiries that you have about the disease and how, when, and where your sick one got the syndrome. Your child's physician has attempted to provide you with as much data that he or she has on the disease and what to expect for your ill child. Once the answers to the questions have been partially accepted and you and your son or daughter have resigned yourselves to the actuality that you now have to face, it is time to consider what to do about the specific issues that affect you being a single parent to a child who is facing this equivocal journey. You will ascertain that two parent households do not have many of the challenges that your household does in coping with this specific situation. You have no choice but to find alternatives in dealing with the extra obstacles that are in front of you and your ill one. Support is vital to anyone who confronts CFS. You have decided to be your son or daughter's sole support in tolerating this syndrome since you are the only one that he or she can rely on to be there for him or her no matter how long it will take or what it is you will have to confront. It is the practical option. You don't have to depend on or owe anyone else any favors or future obligations for anything that he or she may do for the two of you. Your decision is admirable and exhibits your sense of courage, independence, and love for your child. However, it isn't very considerate or accommodating for you or your child.

The stress of being a single parent is overwhelming at times and trying to get things accomplished and/or finished is almost impossible. There are usually delays, postponements, and cancellations because there is not enough time to do all that has to be done. It could be that you can't seem to get what you need to get done because you haven't got the energy after working all day or night to be able to satisfy your son or daughter's demands. You should be very realistic about what burdens and responsibilities that you now have in your life and how much energy it takes to effectuate these tasks. You are only human and can only do so much in one day and night. From when you get out of bed to when you go to sleep, you are constantly busy doing something for someone else. Your sick one will demand more than he or she ever has from you now that he or she is very ill. You need to be honest with yourself in how much of this ordeal you can encumber on your own.

There is no manual or instruction book that comes along with your child's affliction just as there was no indoctrination into the obligations of single parenting. You will gain insight into the depth of your son or daughter's sickness by living with it and learning along the way. Yet, you are already aware of some of the enormous strains that you can face in the future. You have some limited knowledge on the subject. You may have asked your child's physician questions about this disease, read books on this syndrome, and talked to other parents whose children are ill with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. Your expectations of your future months or years for you and your child aren't very pleasant ones. There is a strong possibility that you and your son or daughter could be embroiled in this skirmish for a long time but you aren't entirely sure because nothing about this syndrome is absolute. Now is the time to question how much do you predict that you can tolerate before you will need to ask someone for some aid not when the situation occurs. A little honesty and pre-planning can prevent some disasters from happening to you and your son or daughter. You should be proud of the fact that you have accomplished as much as you have to date in being a single parent. It takes so much energy, courage, and strength to do what you do every day. Nevertheless, you know that you are going to have to extend yourself even more now that your child needs you. For the majority of your single parenting days and up to this point in time, you have been able to sustain your son or daughter's life in a satisfactory way. You know now that you have to determine and acknowledge your own limits so that you can try to keep the status quo in helping your child. It is permissible to aver that you may need help in coping with your sick one. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or stating that you have a flaw. You are requesting some assistance in getting whatever your child requires accomplished. The appeal for help is an indicator of how much you love your son or daughter. Don't feel or think that if you can't do everything on your own that you are any lesser of a parent! This supposition is far from being truth. Again, consider the two parent household where there are two beings who support their child. They help and balance out each other in the process of aiding their son or daughter.

Being a single parent means that you don't have the capability or luxury of having someone who can balance and help you out with your parenting responsibilities. The reality of confronting every single issue that your child faces while ill with CFIDS is solely your own battle. Accepting that you cannot do and be everything that your child requires while he or she is sick is the initial step in getting some support. You know that you can't do it all by yourself. Now what do you do? Where do you turn to for some aid in this situation? These questions requires some serious contemplation. You should consider all of the available people that you have in you and your child's life. There may be some hesitations in wondering if a particular person could shoulder some of the responsibilities in helping you with some issues. You may also detect that some people have already alienated themselves from your lives because they don't even understand what chronic fatigue syndrome is and what it is doing to your son or daughter. A few people may even think that your child isn't even sick and he or she is just pretending to be ill to get some attention or to attempt to get the absent parent to come back to him or her. Your attitude should be as positive as possible in trying to select which people to ask to be part of your support system. You could use common sense and intuition in compiling this list of possibilities. You shouldn't rule anyone out as unavailable because your conception of his or her convenience may not be true. It makes logical sense that if someone whom you wish to ask is the same individual who doesn't believe that your child is actually sick, you shouldn't seriously consider this person as part of your safety net. If your son or daughter doesn't feel comfortable around a particular individual, then don't think about him or her being on your roster of possibilities. Your sick one has to be totally at ease with whomever his or her temporary caregiver is so his or her opinions do matter when contemplating who and who not to add to your list.

It is important to begin to ask people to be involved in your situation as soon as possible after the onset of the disease in your child. You will require help right from the commencement and this situation will instigate a more supportive role for your support person. He or she will be able to comprehend the progression of the disease and its symptoms in your sick one and can offer more understanding and empathy for what you are both dealing with day to day. This situation will be much more comfortable for your child to contend with as well if your support people are in place and assisting the two of you from the onset. Your son or daughter will feel more secure and stable.

Another consideration to muse is that whoever you choose to be involved as a part of your support team, he or she has to be able to commit to helping the two of you for the duration of the illness. It is wonderful to have people who will be there to abet you occasionally, but your needs will require a steadfast individual who truly comprehends the importance of his or her contribution to your household's present and future stability. There should be an unspoken sense of connectedness and reliability between the three of you.

The next step is to figure out where to find these kinds of people in your world and to motivate them to help you and your ill one. Your child's absent parent can be a primary support individual if he or she is involved with your son's or daughter's life on a regular basis. Most absent parents spend very little quality time with their children so when there is an emergency or illness, he or she is at a loss in how to cope with his or her child. There is no true bond or connection of trust between child and parent so the child usually wants and asks for the loving primary caregiver or support parent when there is a crisis. The absent parent would have to be more in tuned with your sick one's demands and needs and want to be involved with your son or daughter's recovery. There needs to be no selfish motivation towards helping his or her child in getting well. The absent parent should not use this opportunity to satisfy his or her parental inadequacies. If there should be any disagreements or you are disgruntled with his or her past and present disregard for your child's welfare, immediately get the issues cleared up before he or she gets immersed in this set of circumstances. There should be no distractions to your focused goal of working to accommodate your ill child and fulfilling his or her health demands. The problems or disagreements that you have with this person shouldn't stand in the way of pursuing your goal. If they do, it isn't a good idea to include this person as part of your support system. He or she can be a hindrance in your son or daughter's recovery instead of a help.

Your family is another source of possible support people to add to your safety net. They may already be actively involved in your son or daughter's life and very aware of his or her regression into inactivity. The family has observed how much your child has changed both internally and externally and feels so helpless in not knowing what to do to assist your sick one. At other times, you may sense that they have additional ongoing agendas that they are trying to fulfill for themselves in asking to lend a hand. You should be aware that they may have their own opinions and suppositions about your son or daughter's bout with this sickness. There could be some negativity and judgments being made that could undermine any parenting that you are trying to do during this harrowing, traumatic time with your child. They could have the feeling that you have done something to make your ill one chronically sick. Their estimations could be based on some underlying personal opinions about the way you may have chosen to raise your son or daughter that they may not have agreed with from the onset. Your family may desire to have some kind of ongoing disagreement with you about your decision to raise a child on your own since you are single. Whatever the basis of their attitudes, you have to sort through them and evaluate if these individuals would truly be someone that can help aid you and your child. Your assessment of their positive impact on your son or daughter is vital to conceding if they will be able to be a help in his or her life as well as your own. The past shouldn't be a barometer to how you perceive this person in this situation. You cannot approach this appraisement with any negative attitude as this slant may color your unbiased opinion of how this person can be beneficial for your ill one. There needs to be an objective approach to detecting this individual's personality and desire to support you and your son or daughter. Inasmuch as a person is a family member doesn't mean that he or she is the best alternative to offering assistance to your household. He or she should have the same qualities that you would seek out in any other person you wanted to ask for help.

There are many benefits to having a family member be a support person. He or she already has a pending relationship with your sick one. Your child trusts in this person and knows that he or she can rely on your relative for support and love. Expectations within their association are what either one of them want the desires to be. There are no specific restrictions already in place that hinder a long term commitment to each other. Both of them know who the other one is and respect each other for being who they are as people. Your family will hopefully be more flexible and accommodating to the upheaval within your household as well. If you need for a person to come to your home and watch your son or daughter instead of you having to take him or her out, they would feel comfortable doing it. Your relatives know your home and respect it as they do their own and are fairly mindful to how you run your home. You may have to remind them that it is your household and that they are there to watch your child not rearrange the way that you have your home organized or to undermine any of the household rules with your ill one. There may be times where your son or daughter will want to go to their home and they would be commodious with that idea. It may be more convenient for them to watch your child at their locale so that they can continue their daily routine without any real sense of interruption. Your relations may like the idea of having your sick son or daughter at their home so that they can feel more secure about not having to alter their behaviors to harmonize with the rules and regulations of your house.

You may have no confidence in hiring a sitter because you could feel that he or she may not be able to reconcile all of your sick one's demands. Your family would comply with your child's requirements somewhat easier because they know him or her, can communicate with your son or daughter, and have an inbred respectability in their relationship. You know that you are the only one who you think and feel that can truly meet all of your child's requests for aid. Yet, you may feel that your family is secondary to providing this type of assistance because of their pledge to your ill one. In accordance with the decision to have them watch and care for your child comes the assurance that your sick one will be safe and happy while you are away. Your reality could be that you can't afford to pay for a sitter while he or she is at your house all day while you are at work. Hopefully, your family would understand not only the emotional and mental impact that this set of circumstances is having on your household, but also the financial stresses on you as a single parent. They would understand that you have to work to pay all of the bills and may be able to help out without expecting any remuneration for their services. Your relatives may wish to watch your son or daughter out of enjoyment in spending time with your child not for making money. You would feel much more relaxed with knowing that this situation is not going to mean any more money out of your strained weekly budget.

Your relatives will be more inclined in having your child as a part of their daily routine as compared to a stranger who may not give him or her the security that your child needs while he or she is ill. They would be able to participate in his or her activities and bring some their own to share with your son or daughter. The bonding that already exists between your ill one and his or her relatives makes for a stronger connection where there is a common ground to discuss issues openly, talk of other family members, and show each other physical affection such as a kiss on the cheek or a hug. The intimacy already existent within their relationship will become deeper and stronger with every experience that they share together. However, you will detect that your child may not be too crazy about the idea of having relatives help him or her out on a daily basis. He or she may not have minded visiting them once in a while, but to see them day to day may be too much to bear. The idea that he or she would be disciplined or watched over by relatives that your sick one doesn't really like may create some disagreements and disappointments as well for both of you. Your sick son or daughter does have an ongoing relationship with these individuals and within that alliance is a genuine respect, admiration, and regard for them. It will be very difficult to him or her to try and comply with what the relatives want in comparison to what he or she may need at the time. If your relatives are negative towards you and your life style, they make take advantage of the time that they spend with him or her to humiliate and dishonor you. Then, your son or daughter is carrying the burden of knowing how they truly feel about you and that they are afraid to confront you with their actual thoughts. Because of a sense of loyalty to you and to your family, your child feels caught in the middle and may dread the idea that the relatives are coming back to care for him or her. There needs to be clear communication between you and your ill one to keep any real problems from surfacing, so that you won't be detecting any undue tensions when you have to leave him or her with a relative. The both of you should talk about any uneasiness that either of you feel about a particular situation. If the conclusion reached is that there are too many issues in having the relatives help your child out, then you must be honest in approaching them. You could discover that they are having problems with your child and adapting to his or her new requirements. They may be afraid to approach you with this revelation for fear that you won't understand this situation from their perspectives. Speaking with everyone involved is the key to a successful support team for your ill one.

Close friends can be another outlet for some support. You may be a little more comfortable in asking for their help as compared to your family because there is no unpleasant past to deal with or you may feel no obligation to them in requesting relief. Your close pals are probably already involved with your child's life because he or she is a direct connection with you and your life. They relate to your son or daughter sometimes better than your family because they have a sort of detached objectivity in perceiving your sick one's dilemma. There are no agendas to be satisfied and they truly care about you and your child. He or she may be much more at ease with your close friend because there is an effortlessness relationship between them. Your son or daughter can tell this person whatever he or she thinks or feels and not feel punished or chastised for his or her opinions. This leniency promotes a sense of freedom and, in turn, trust for this person.

Benevolent neighbors can also lend a helping hand in providing some sustenance for you and your child. Friendly neighbors are more likely to be embroiled in the daily routine of your household. Your sick son or daughter knows that the people next door are usually available whenever they are home. These two groups of individuals can offer relief for your household and lend a sense of security. Neither of them will terminate their relationships with you based on your desire for encouragement and assistance from them. They will be empathetic to your plight and more than likely will be anxious to help you out as much as they can. There will be restrictions to their cooperation that you have to consider in asking them for help. They may not be available to coordinate with you and your son or daughter's schedule. These people will have their own responsibilities and timetables to adhere to in their own lives. The coordinated efforts that your friends and neighbors can make will be at their conveniences when they can spare the time and energy to aid you and your child which may not be too convenient for you if you are in need of help when they are busy. Yet, they can provide a type of relief that is beneficial to the "little emergencies of life" that you will have to contend with once in a while. If you are late coming home from work and need someone to stay, they can accommodate that need. You may have the situation where you can't get away from work to bring your sick one to the doctor's office-your neighbor can come to the rescue. Your son or daughter may be reacting to some symptom and you need a prescription filled. Your close pal goes to the store to get it for your child. Your ill one may need to be brought to the doctor's office in the middle of the night and your neighbor or close friend is right there to help you out.

How about your cohorts and your boss at work? They can be of assistance in their own unique way. You have job responsibilities and fulfilling those commitments can be almost impossible when you have a chronically ill child. You will have to take a lot of time off of work to take care of your sick one. It could be that you detect that there has to be some kind of flexibility in rescheduling doctor's appointments or school meetings and that your work calendar doesn't allow for these adaptations. You may be so tired from being up all night with your son or daughter, because he or she has insomnia, that you can't perform at work and are only capable of maintaining the minimum standard of what is expected from you. You may be afraid that if you have to take off any more time from work, you could be fired. There may be very little to no compensation or sick time that you can take advantage of at your job. You wouldn't be able to survive without having this position and feel like there is no way to remedy this situation. First and foremost to aiding this difficult issue, there has to be totally honest communication between you and your superior. He or she should understand that you have a sick child and that you are the only one that can be depended on to satisfy his or her needs since you are a single parent. If you aren't completely aware of what your superior's position is on what you are coping with, then you won't be apprised enough to agree on what can be done so that neither your work duties or your obligations to your sick child are ignored. If he or she requests it, bring in a doctor's note to prove the fact that you are telling him or her the truth. Your boss may not be as understanding as you would like and/or he or she may not care one way or the other about your personal life. He or she may not be able to offer any solutions to the issue of you and your expected job performance since there are plenty of other people who would want to have your job position if you aren't capable of working under his or her strict limitations. You should try to reach some kind of compromise in what is expected from you at your job and what you can do now that your son or daughter is sick. If you are lucky enough to have an understanding boss or supervisor, you can get some support and help from him or her. There may be federal mandates incorporated into your company's regulations which state that you have so much leave time to take off to care for your child. Your employer may suggest that you consider taking some of this time off until you can create some kind of dependable support system so that your home life won't distract you from your job responsibilities. It is important to consider the future of both you and your child when taking time off from working, You may need some of this time in the future if you should get sick yourself or your son or daughter may develop a more serious condition. Be sure to contemplate how much time you can rebuild if emergencies should exist down the road and take this precaution into consideration when planning how much leave time you really have available to you as an allowance. He or she could be even more flexible and suggest a change in scheduling at work so that you can be home when your son or daughter needs you the most. There is a definitive pattern to when you are not at work as compared to when you are. Consider any scheduling differences as working in a positive direction towards helping you and your child not as a result of your reduced job performance. Your superior is not punishing you or making your life more difficult by rescheduling your work day. The idea is to make your life a little easier and to sustain his or her current active work force. Frequent consultations with your boss can abet any future misunderstandings or disagreements over scheduling problems. Your co-workers are another resource in the work place who can be part of your support system. They are indirectly affected by any adaptations that you have to make in regards to your job. These individuals are the ones who will have to either cover for you and/or pick up the responsibilities of your job duties. You should be considerate to the situation that everyone is in because of your circumstances. Your relationship with your co-workers may not be intimate enough to share all of the details of what you and your child's life is like now he or she has CFS. However, they should be informed of how chronically ill he or she is. There may be some who won't care at all, others may not believe you, and some will have no reaction to your predicament. The majority will only be concerned with how much extra efforts that they will have to expend if they are to help you out in any way. The special few who truly empathize with your situation and want to help when they can will make themselves available to cover for you whenever you ask them for aid. It is important for you not to take advantage of their generosity and overextend the magnanimity that they are offering to you. There will be many times where you may have to leave the work place in an emergency and your caring co-workers are the ones who will have to contend with the leftover work that you have to leave behind. There can be a smooth transition of cooperative efforts if you stay as organized as possible and communicate with them on a regular basis during the work day. Doing these two things daily will mean that when your co-workers have to take over your responsibilities, there will be no question as to what you were working on when interrupted and that this task has to be done as soon as possible. If you don't stay methodical and businesslike, these individuals will be bothering you at home or tracking you down at your appointment to inquire about what has to be done, where a particular work item is, or if you plan on coming back to the work place that day. Imagine how embarrassed you would be if in the middle of a scheduled meeting with your child's school administration if there is a call from your co-worker looking for some trivial information!

All of these groups of people can comprise a secure, complete safety system for you and your ill son or daughter. Some may choose to cooperate, some may not. You should only depend on individuals who desire to help and want to involve themselves with your situation. A suggestion for an even safer and securer support structure is to have your different groups connect with each other through telephone contact or in person. Your superior should have your close friend's telephone number (with his or her permission) in case you aren't home and he or she has to contact you in a work emergency. A neighbor watching your son or daughter on short notice should know who your care taking relatives are by sight, so there is no assumption that these people are strangers who have come to your door to visit your child. A co-worker should have your neighbor's telephone number (with his or her permission) so that he or she could be made aware of any middle of the night trips to the doctor's office or hospital which could interfere with you getting to work the next day. The interaction of one group with another will create a "networking" or "webbing" effect so that you and your sick one have someone who knows where you are if you should need help. With so many people available to aid you and your child, you should be able to avoid imposing more on one particular person as compared to another. The both of you will definitely appreciate the help that you will get, however, you don't want to abuse your support system's generosity. There can be a problem when one person or group of people think that they are being taken advantage of as compared to you asking someone else for help once in a while. Their kindness and caring for you and your ailing son or daughter is the motivation behind their good will. You should be grateful to have these people in your lives and shouldn't hesitate to express your feelings and thankfulness to them. These individuals need to know that they are appreciated for what they do for you and your child. A simple hug and thank you when they leave your home, a homemade thank-you note made by you and your sick one, a potted plant, or a home baked goodie are some ways to show your gratitude. The simplest, most heart felt gifts are the best ways to say thank you when words don't seem to be enough.

Whenever your diseased one has to go to the doctor's office for an appointment, you do have the flexibility, to a certain degree, to schedule your date and time to coordinate with your work schedule and days off. However, there may be times where the doctor's scheduled appointment time conflicts with your work timetable. Your son or daughter needs to see the physician and you can't get him or her into the office. What should you do? Contact one of your support persons and ask for some help. He or she may be able to take your sick one to the office for you. You should be sure to notify the office manager or physician before your appointment time that someone else is bringing in your child for you since you can't make the visit. You could contact the office after the visit is over to hear what the physician regards of your child's condition. It would be a good idea to take along a specific caretaker with you when you can go to the office at another time so that the doctor and his or her staff recognize and acknowledge that your neighbor, friend, or relative is someone that is permitted to bring your son or daughter into his or her office instead of you. The physician may opt not to discuss your child's case or condition with the caretaker and may want to talk with you via telephone while your son or daughter is still in the office with him or her. You may discover that your physician desires for the support person to wait in the waiting area for your child instead of attending your son or daughter in the examining room. The doctor may wish to inspect your child without the distraction of your caretaker in the room. You may have an emergency whereby you have to leave your work site to take your child to the doctor's office or the hospital. The support system that you have at your job site should be prepared in case this situation should happen. Your superior must be notified and you should get his or her permission to leave no matter if he or she is busy or not. The co-workers are equipped to handle the overflow of your work that will be their responsibility when you leave. Everyone will be competent in covering your work load while you are gone if you have pre-planned and organized a coordinated schedule for them to assist you. Be sure that someone has a telephone number where a support person will be kept apprised of your ongoing situation at the hospital or doctor's office. The support person can notify the work place of if and when you will be able to return to work while your focus can be on your child and his or her welfare. Your superior may inquire upon your return how you plan to make up the time that you had to take off. You should be prepared for this question and have some kind of idea as to what you plan to do to make up the time. You cannot expect that you should be any more privileged than anyone else and be able to come and go from your job site at your leisure. The obvious choice would be to claim your time and that way you wouldn't have to make it up. However, you might have to work overtime on that work day. You could come in on a weekend day if he or she requests that this is the way this situation will be handled. Your boss may be willing to have you come in a little earlier the next day and for you to stay later. The alternatives should be discussed ahead of time when you first let your boss know that your child is ill and that way you both can discuss what options are agreeable to the both of you for when you have to make up any time that has to be taken off.

Another issue that you have to contend with that two parent households don't is that your afflicted son or daughter has to have someone watch him or her while you work. You have to go to work. You don't have the option of taking the day off to be with your child no matter how much you may desire to stay home with him or her. There is no alternative person available to discuss the matter with so that one of you may opt to stay home with your ill one. You have no choice but to dress your child and tote him or her to day care or a sitter. It is very difficult to hear your son or daughter complain and cry that he or she doesn't want to go and begs for you to stay home with him or her for just that day. Your instincts cause you to hesitate and seriously contemplate if you should call in sick from work and attend to your child's needs. The sensible and logical part of you knows that if you do this today, he or she may expect it tomorrow and the day after and the day after. You have no idea of how long your son or daughter will be ill and you can't risk your job which provides the means for the two of you to survive. Reluctantly, you take your child to the day care or sitter and leave him or her there. You leave for work almost in tears at the idea of having to bring a sick child outside of your home for someone to watch him or her when you know that he or she only wants you for comfort and love because he or she is sick. Why can't it be that you can have the best of both worlds like two parent households who have the preference of one or the other parent being with their child?

An alternative solution to this heart wrenching situation is to consider someone to come into your home to watch your child. Your son or daughter would be in familiar surroundings and a lot more comfortable resting in his or her bed. There would be a sense of safety and security in knowing that he or she is cared for at home. You may decide to request some support from a non-working relative, friend, and/or neighbor and attempt to get someone to sit for you. It may be impossible for just one of them to watch your child on a regular basis, so you could propose a coordination of each person's available time and design a convenient schedule where everyone would be happy to help out. You should be aware of the fact that you and your sick one require reliability and trustworthiness in your sitters and this certainty should be a prerequisite for any request for aid. Finances will become an intense source of anxiety and stress for you. As with most single parents, your financial condition is weak and fragile. You are working within a limited budget and can barely make ends meet. Your household could be surviving paycheck to paycheck. The additional medical costs and required alternative treatments for your child could be the ruin of your budget. You should be sure to check any and all current medical insurance coverage that you have on your son or daughter to see if there are any specified limits to types of coverage and capped dollar amounts of what can be covered. Some of the diagnostic tests that your physician could request and the numerous office visits may not be covered under your current policy and you could end up paying for these costs out of your pocket. You may qualify for state financed medical coverage if you make under their financial boundaries of income and assets. This type of medical program could even cover you for medical services as well. You will need to contact your state Medicaid program in your community through the Department of Human Services office. The office staff will give you all the information that you may need to see if you would qualify for help. Even if you have some coverage through your employer, you may still receive benefits under this program. Some offices will mail the appropriate forms to your home and others will request that you come into the office to fill out the necessary paperwork. It would be worth the trip to be able to get complete medical coverage for your ailing son or daughter. Try to cut down on any unnecessary expenses to help finance some other area of your budget. You could consider clipping coupons, taking advantage of sales, shopping in bulk instead of smaller amounts, buy store name brand products as compared to specific national brand name products, and cutting back on any extraneous spending. Clean out the closets, attic, and garage and have a yard sale. You would be surprised at how much money one can generate! You could borrow videotapes from your neighbors, family, and friends instead of renting them at the video store for your child while he or she is sick in bed. Ask your neighbors to see if a qualified person they know would be willing to do car repairs or yard work for you at a lesser rate than you would normally pay. It is a hard situation to be in but you can survive this time by being cautious and careful about how you spend what funds you have.

How about bartering services? You could watch your sitter's children on a regular basis when he or she might want to go out instead of paying the full amount of your sitter fees to him or her. Baking bread, making cookies, or cooking soups could be something you do in your spare time. Why not offer to sell or trade for other services some of your surplus to your neighbors, friends, and relatives? How about giving your neighbor's kids a haircut in return for your neighbor's husband doing your outside yard work? You could give your friends and neighbors cheap manicures or offer to do home hair colorings or permanents at half the cost of at the salons. There are many talents that you have that you may take for granted that could be turned into useful bartering services. Use your imagination in creating an offer to barter. Don't think that you have nothing to propose as a service or item.  If you are at a loss, walk around your home and look for homemade items that you created or ask your child what he or she thinks you do that is special. You may not be giving yourself enough credit for the things that you can do and take for granted. A group of friends could get together with you to create an alternative proposition to cooking dinner night after night. Every person who wishes to be involved in the project contributes a designated amount of money into the fund for the meals. Each individual selects a particular meal to make with a specified and budgeted amount of money to spend on making it. The money for the meals come out of the funds that were determined for this purpose. This person cooks enough meals for everyone's families in the group and delivers them to his or her door. It saves cooking dinner for you and your family. You may find yourself having to spend one day cooking when it is your turn as compared to each and every night. Imagine how much time and energy it could save you during the work week that you could use as quality time for your child and how nice it would be to have a hot dinner delivered right to your door! It would make eating dinner just as special as if you and your son or daughter went out to eat. If there isn't any type of group similar to this one in your neighborhood, why not start one? You probably have a specialty dish that you cook that could be used as a dinner entree in this plan. Have your group of friends adapt the concept and design of your alternative to fit into your timetables. Everyone could meet at your home to discuss the details and design your specific alternative project. This opportunity is also a great way to make friends with your neighbors and builds up possibilities for support people in your network.

Child support can be very helpful during your duration with CFIDS. The absent parent may be refusing to pay any money towards the support of your child. He or she may not be in contact with you or your sick one so you are questioning how you could get some support money to help out while your son or daughter is ill. You need the money to pay for his or her medical costs. Most states have programs that can help you with collecting child support from the absent parent. Some state run programs provide money to aid you in sustaining your child's life style. The child support funds paid to the state will be the absent parent's responsibility. In some states, there must be a court order in place for the state to be able to go after the absent parent for support. In some cases, the state does have the ability to attach the absent parent's wages and income tax returns. You should inquire about this program at the same time that you ask about the medical coverage program through your community office since these two programs are sometimes combined as one state monitored program. Be sure to check with your particular local office for specific details about these programs. It may be rather difficult to expect a raise in pay from work if you are constantly having to take time off to be home with your sick son or daughter. You might have to consider taking on a part-time job as well as your full-time one if there just isn't any other alternative to getting the necessary funds to pay your bills. It isn't an option that you really want to think about, but you are responsible for the support of your child and yourself. Any part-time work that you can do out of your home would be the ideal solution in this scenario. You might be able to baby-sit a neighbor's child, watch a friend's pet while he or she is on vacation, or do data entry work from your home computer. You may have a hobby that could generate some funds for you. The key is not to sell your own abilities short. You do have some type of talent that could help instigate earning more money for your household. If you do have to take a part-time job outside of the home, consider your sitter costs and what your work schedule is now. Will you have enough time to spend with your son or daughter as well as work? It won't be worth it to you to go to work feeling guilty for not having any quality time with your ailing one. If you can get by on your present income, then do so without encumbering your life with extra work and excess stress. Getting a part-time job should only be a last resort if your financial situation is in dire straits. Your son or daughter needs you to be with him or her during this difficult time more than he or she needs to have the things that can be bought with the surplus funds that you earned with your part-time job.

A single parent' s requirements for personal space and time vary from a two parent household's needs. In a single parent home, he or she is responsible for everything and everyone in that household. He or she usually gives every ounce of himself or herself to what he or she does. There is no reserve of energy for personal use later on. A two parent home allows for two separate individuals to donate and offer their energies as individuals and a combined unit to their family. Two parents can reflect fatigue off of each other. When one is tired, the other can take over the burdens. Being a single parent means that you don't have that amenity. If you are weary, you still have to wrestle all of the household accountabilities by yourself. Burnout is more of a downfall for a single parent. You will find yourself burning out rather quickly if you don't get some sort of respite from all of your daily responsibilities. Your child's demands will drain what energy there is left in you after you fulfill your work obligations. There will be times where you will dread coming home because you are already exhausted from work and you know that your son or daughter needs and wants your attention as soon as you come in the door. You may be asking yourself when will you get a break from all of this chaos. Fun will no longer be a word in your vocabulary. "What does relax mean?" will repeat itself over and over in your head. You crave rest and relaxation for yourself yet there is a sense that you don't deserve to be thinking of yourself when your son or daughter is so sick. How can you put your needs above your child's demands? You may not be able to have much of a social life either since your little one is ill. It was difficult enough for you to find time to go out and be with other adults before your son or daughter was sick and now it is literally impossible. Your life cycle consists of sleep, work, and home. There is a slim possibility that you will ever meet anyone since all of your spare time is spent at home and your hopeful significant other is not going to come to your house to find you. The most socializing that you tend to do is in the work place with your co-workers. You do deserve to have some personal time even though your child is sick. If you don't find some time to treat yourself, you will end up being resentful of your son or daughter and his or her illness robbing you of so much of your life. The overfatigued and exhausted you should make the time to have some fun and relaxation. You will be no help to your ailing one if you are sick yourself and illness could creep into your body if you allow yourself to get too wearied and tired.

There are some things that you can do right now without any help from anyone to make yourself feel better. How about taking advantage of the time that your son or daughter sleeps and treat yourself to an aromatic bath? Turn off the telephone and relax in a tub full of wonderful smells. Your muscles will get a chance to unwind and your body can release some tensions. Watch a tear jerker movie and allow yourself to cry-this may be the one of the only opportunities that you actually can let yourself feel and sob out your anguish. Tears are an excellent catharsis for you living in this stress filled daily environment. Practice some type of regular meditation or yoga. It takes very little time and energy and can relieve a phenomenal amount of stress in your body. Repeat positive affirmations every day to promote positive thinking and a good attitude about life as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. If you approach your day with a great attitude and truly feel that you are able to tackle any issue that comes your way, you will detect that you have internally gained increased tolerance and more patience. Take some time to reread a good book that you really enjoyed in the past. Work on an interesting hobby. Since you have been so focused on your sick one for so long, you may have forgotten how it feels to do something for yourself. Remind you that you are special and deserve to be pampered occasionally. Other people can also help you relieve burnout before it happens. Your support system is also important in taking care of your needs as well as your child's demands. If you decide to treat yourself to some personal time, ask one of your support people way ahead of time to watch over your sick one for you. You do have the right to ask for some time to yourself. Some people may perceive your wish to have some time for you as being selfish. Because no one else is going to, you have to monitor yourself in this set of circumstances. You must have an opportunity to replenish and revive yourself so that you can aid your child. A burnt-out shell of a person is not going to do your sick one any good. You shouldn't have to explain your need to go out to anyone else. Most support people in your child's life will understand how much energy and effort that it takes to help him or her day to day. They will comprehend that you are an individual who requires socialization as much as your son or daughter does on a regular basis.You comprehend that you don't have the freedom to go out as frequently as you may wish since your support network of friends, neighbors, and relatives are only going to help out if you need the assistance not be there as a convenient baby-sitter. Remember not to take advantage of their generosities. If you say you are going out until a specific time, be home by that time. If you are going out on a Friday night, don't expect that this person will be available or understanding of the fact that you are going out again on Saturday night. Rest and relaxation time are important, but shouldn't be a constant demand or requirement in your life. Your situation is hard to cope with at times but not impossible.

For the most part, you should be capable of dealing with the stresses of your life and not over demand too much time to yourself. You should be sure to explain to your child that you are going out to spend some time to relax and enjoy yourself so that he or she doesn't feel abandoned or neglected. He or she needs to understand that you are an adult who wants to socialize with other adults not just with him or her all the time. Your ailing son or daughter may get slightly upset and unnerved but should calm right down once you express your thoughts on having some private time. Elucidate in your own familiar way why adults should get out of the house and meet other adults. Be sure to clarify in terms that your child can understand of when you will be home and where you expect that you are going. It will alleviate some of his or her perturbances. You should never insinuate or vocalize that your child's situation is the major reason of why you want to go out and that you just can't stand being around him or her any longer. He or she could get the impression that you don't want to be near him or her since the disease started and become very upset and feel instantly rejected by you. When you are out, enjoy yourself and appreciate your private time to the fullest. You may not be absolutely sure of when you will have the opportunity to partake of personal time again in the immediate future. Don't be overly concerned about your ill one at home. If you aren't too comfortable in having a particular support person with your son or daughter and are afraid that there could be some behavoir problems, go to a telephone and call to check on him or her. If there is no apparent problem, then forget about the situation and take pleasure from being out socializing and that your child is being watched over and safe. You can't consider the time that you have as pleasurable if you are constantly worried and fretting over your sick child at home. If this occurs, you should just go home. It is a waste of your support person's time to be aiding you if you can't enjoy yourself. You may need this individual's services at a future time when you are better prepared for going out to socialize.

As a single parent, you have learned to schedule your time so that you can pay special attention to your relationship with your son or daughter. Quality time becomes very focused and extraordinary and you and your child look forward to the little time that you can spend together. Now that your special one is diseased with chronic fatigue syndrome, your quality time has taken on an even greater significance. He or she may not be capable of staying awake for any specified length of time, so you have to acclimate your attention and devotion to when your ailing child is awake and somewhat responsive. It may be that these opportunities don't coincide with your scheduled time that you set aside for your son or daughter. Some time readjustments may have to be made to accommodate the two of you. You could discover that you are sensing more depth and intensity to what little time that you are spending with your sick one. From the talks you have to the dinners you share together to quiet moments of just hugging, there is a depth of feeling that never existed before. It is almost as if you never really appreciated how much this being's life is intertwined with yours. Coping with your son or daughter being ill with this ailment and having these intimate moments almost brings out another facet of the profoundness of your love for your child.

As a parent, you can't help but be grateful that this disease is not a fatal one. You look in his or her room at your special one in bed sleeping and can't even begin to imagine life without him or her. The thankfulness you have that your son or daughter is going to survive this disease wells up inside of you and overflows into the time that you spend together. It doesn't matter what the two of you do. It is just the reality that the two of you can be there together. Your devotion and love for your child reminds you of how precious life is and that there will never be enough time to spend with him or her. Revel in the quality time that you have with your child and be willing to oblige your time for a chance at spending quality time with him or her. Lifelong memories are created and designed within the limitlessness of the love you express to your sick son or daughter.

Being a single parent and coping with a child who is suffering with CFS is not the end all to your current life style. You can do justice to yourself and your ill one by accepting the extra responsibilities, confronting them, and adapting to the oriented way of life that you now have to live. Your child unconditionally loves you and needs your support more than ever. You have proven to yourself that you can get through the toughest of times by believing in yourself and your love for your son or daughter. You live this philosophy each and every day being the single source of parenting for your child. Now you are required to have this fundamental principle carry over into another challenge that you are facing with your sick one. . .chronic fatigue syndrome. You and your child will get through this experience by having kindness, compassion, and faith in yourselves and your commitment to each other no matter what you have to go through together. The journey with this affliction will create a deeper bond of mutual caring and respect that will extend itself into your child's adult years when he or she will look back on this time and remember how much you sacrificed out of love for him or her.