How To Prioritize Parenting When You Fall Victim To Chronic Migraines

Those suffering from chronic migraines tend to experience attacks at least 15 days each month. To those who have never experienced a migraine, it might seem like just a bad headache. However, this is far from reality. The severe pain associated with a migraine often comes along with other distressing symptoms, like vision loss, weakness, fatigue, numbness, difficulty speaking, confusion, nausea, and vomiting (via the Mayo Clinic).

Parenting while experiencing a headache and parenting while experiencing the myriad of disabling symptoms that accompany a migraine attack are two different things. Since stress can trigger a migraine for chronic sufferers, according to Healthline, it is important not to worry yourself sick about parenting while chronically ill. Indeed, it is possible for you and your children to thrive despite any challenges or setbacks. Here is what you can do to help ease the struggle of suffering from chronic migraines as a parent. 

Avoid triggers

People who have been diagnosed with a chronic migraine tend to report several common attack triggers. The American Migraine Foundation reports that stress, irregular sleep, caffeine, alcohol, bright lights, and strong scents are among the most common culprits. If you'd like to have more symptom-free days to spend with your kids, avoid as many potential causes as possible and get to know those you experience well. Since stress and sleep irregularities rank as the top two most common triggers, prioritize self-care and a regular bedtime.

Be vigilant with medication

If you haven't been prescribed both a preventative and rescue medication for acute migraine attacks, now is the time to discuss it with your doctor. Most medications used for preventing migraines, like beta blockers, anticonvulsants, and tricyclic antidepressants, were originally developed for other purposes. Acute medications can be taken as soon as the first symptoms begin. However, overuse can actually cause more attacks (via the University of Rochester Medical Center). Don't give up until you've found the right combination of medications, and be sure to stick to the exact instructions you've been given by your doctor or pharmacist.

Prioritize quality time

Living with chronic migraines means losing some of the best and most opportune time that could be spent with your children. It's okay to acknowledge and even mourn that fact. However, keep in mind that if you don't take an adequate amount of time to rest after a migraine attack, you'll likely lose even more moments to more frequent attacks. Rest and sleep are key to speeding up your recovery (via Healthline). After recovering, prioritize spending quality time with your children on your good days. This means spending time fully engaged without distractions, like your phone. When it comes to parenting, quality time fosters connection, according to Karen Andrews Psychology.

Be honest

When a chronic illness is affecting the way you parent, it's best to be honest with your children about what's happening. If you don't, you open the door for them to come to their own conclusions about why you aren't always available to them. Let their ages dictate the language you use and how much detail you provide, but make sure they understand what you're going through to the best of their abilities. They will likely surprise you with how much understanding and empathy they display (via The Mighty).

Ask for help

Say you're the parent of very young children. Well, there's no way around the fact that you need help when struggling with chronic migraines. If you have the financial means, invest in as-needed childcare services. Similarly, if money is a barrier to getting the help you need, go to your loved ones. Explain what your challenges are and ask for help without shame. If you can't find help within your circle, expand it. Search for local groups of other parents struggling with chronic illness on platforms like If you can't find one, create and promote your own. A childcare co-op for parents who experience symptom attacks could be life-changing for you and other sufferers (via Frugal Mama).