knowing that you still cater to their every whim even though it hurts?
We all admit that our children know when we're hurting, so the question is: is martyring ourselves (going and going until we hurt for things that our children want but don't need) going to end up helping our kids, or our relationship to our kids?
Have you all ever heard of the concept of "good enough" parenting? It was one of my favorite theories in developmental psychology. The basic premise is that there is kind of a level of parenting quality (quality meaning all of those things we see as "good parents" vs. "bad parents") that is "good enough." To go below that has extreme consequences for the child. But above that, the rate of return for pushing that little bit harder and being the "best parent" is very small. In simple terms, the difference in outcome between "good enough" and "not good enough" is big, but the difference between "good enough" and "best" is tiny. And, of course, often what we consider "good parenting" is a matter of our own culture and upbringing and not related to outcomes at all, but that's a different discussion.
So in chronic pain, what is "good enough" parenting? To me, it's always being there for my kids, giving them love, nurturing, and affection. They do not begrudge my skipping school activities that would be painful, because why would they want me to hurt? But they also know if they told me something was important to them, I'd always push myself to do it.
I'm lucky, my kids are older and able to communicate. But even if you have small kids- or especially if you have small kids- pay close attention to whether it affects them when you put yourself in pain for them without question. Devotion is a lovely thing, but children do not need to be burdened with a parent who martyrs herself for motherhood. It's a balance.