A “sick” day in the life of a mother…
For seven days I have been battling a bad virus and decided to take the advice I often receive and often give out to others: “take care of yourself”. I have been resting, accepting others help when offered, drinking tons of fluid, curling up under a blanket in front of the fire with a good book, etc.
And yet, I woke up feeling even worse than yesterday. Worse. Not better. And I have essentially taken the past 5 days off from parenting, for the most part. Parenting my 4 beautiful children with all of their crazy schedules, homework, procrastination and health issues. So, at what point is this laziness, instead of just “taking care of myself”.
In answer to this question, I made a list (as I often do to help my children get through moments like this) of the options I had for the tasks in front of me. And here is how it goes:
The kids need to get to school (my options)
- Stay in bed, pretend not to hear the alarm
- Help kids get ready and let someone else to drive them to school
- Get kids ready and drive them to school. Be sure to let everyone involved know how bad the drive was, since you are so sick.
I need cold/flu medications (my options)
- Ask someone that is home to hand them to me
- Uncurl and get up to get the meds myself (because stretching is good even when ill)
- Get up, drive to store to buy cold medicines. Let everyone know how difficult it was.
The kids need to be picked up from school (my options)
- Send someone else to get them
- Drive to the school to pick them up, but make no out of the way stops
- Drive to school to pick them up, tell them how bad you feel, and stop at Starbucks for a hot drink, and then collapse upon returning home
Homework time (my options)
- Pretend you do not know the kids even have homework and watch project runway for hours.
- Ask the kids what homework they have and leave the TV off so they can focus.
- Prepare snacks and beverages for children doing homework, all while sipping tea and blowing your nose loudly.
Dinner time (my options)
- Declare a fend for yourself night.
- Set out an easy dinner, and have everyone help prepare.
- Make a full dinner and exclaim “I am so sorry dinner is late or not good tonight but I have been so sick”.
Bed time (my options)
- Make kids come to you for their bedtime hug, and then have them tuck themselves in.
- Ask kids to tell you when they are ready – you only want to go up the stairs once.
- Go upstairs multiple times, as though the kids can’t get themselves ready on their own. Remind them how difficult this is for you, and how horrible you feel.
Ok. So I can safely conclude that there are options to every task that are clearly “lazy” options, options that create a “martyr” and options that likely can be used to strike a balance of taking care of yourself while respecting the needs of others. So, I think I will take the middle road of neither laziness nor martyrdom and just get some rest.
I am going back to my chair in front of the fire to take a nap. There will be plenty of time to analyze my behavior and judge myself tomorrow. 🙂
Written by Tawny Kasten, married for 26 years
Mother of 4 children who have multiple chronic illnesses
A woman who gets how complicated life can be, and wants others to know someone is listening.