My nose is blocked, and my head is pounding. My eyes can hardly open through the excruciating sting of exhaustion. I had an awful nights sleep…more like NO sleep whatsoever. I’m now lying in bed, trying my best to ignore the daily alarm clock of little noises and morning excitement that are making their way into the room…and…there it is, two little bodies, complete with giggles and chatter… one trying frantically to climb over me and the other sneaking in under the covers from the foot of the bed. It is very muffled, but it sounds like they’re playing ‘catch’, or perhaps they’re arguing over something…yes, they’re definitely scuffling over something. “Mommm!” …and, it’s the start of a new day everyone, except, I don’t feel so new.
As the scuffling continues, my ‘I want to give up and try to find any reprieve possible’ thoughts promptly flood in. “Can’t I just take a sick day today? It’s not a ‘tired’ day where I just need some added rest, or a Monday after a busy weekend…It’s not even an ‘I’ll take a day off, because I don’t have much on at work today’ day. I’m not trying to swindle my way out of a day at the office. I am legitimately ill.” I tell myself to stop thinking back to the days when I could call in and speak to an empathetic boss, then remain snuggled up under the covers, undisturbed till midday, cheekily wondering if I will still be ill enough tomorrow to call in for a second day of rest and relaxed reading or even the therapy that is daytime television.
Then, my ‘feeling awfully sorry for myself’ thoughts start to roll in. “This is going to be the worst day EVER! How on Earth will I keep my ‘Wet Noodle’ toddler as far away from me as possible to avoid passing the bug?…Oh no, that’s going to inevitably mean another weeks worth of sleepless nights for me, and us all! How long will this bug take to go round the whole house? How will I cope? Would someone please make me a lemon ginger tea, some hot chicken soup…anyone? I just want my mama… oh wait… she’s 7036 miles away, on the other side of the PACIFIC OCEAN!
The reality sets in, I may be sick, but I’m still on Mom duty. I have to get out of bed; I have to get the girls ready for their day. It’s a normal day for them, and they deserve to enjoy it like any other day. Today is a day where I need to action my positive attitude, no matter how hard that may seem right now. It’s a day where I need to remind myself of the things I AM grateful for rather than wallowing in self-pity.
In the end, we survived the day, as I knew we would have to. Sure, things were a little less organized and a whole lot more chaotic, but we made it to the end, when Daddy came home to let a very tired and frazzled Mommy curl up in bed, just like she had dreamed of all day.
Apart from surviving, the other positive thing about today was that I learned some very insightful things that helped to formulate some ‘Rules’ for next time I’m caught out by illness. Who knows, they might even help other moms when they unexpectedly find themselves a little under the weather.
#1. I discovered that I had to be OK with leaving dishes in the sink, and having leftovers for lunch instead of the new recipe I had wanted to experiment with. RULE: Don’t take on too much and be OK with letting things go.
#2. Turns out my 4 year old was more than capable of exercising her independence a little more than usual (I’m overjoyed at this discovery). RULE: Let the children take ownership of keeping themselves entertained in situations where they are capable.
#3. I found that during the very few times that I felt well enough to physically pick myself up from the couch, it was important to be proactive, and get more than just the ‘one’ thing done. So when I was up to warm the leftovers for lunch, I also prepared the afternoon snacks so they would be on hand come after school time. RULE: Manage your ‘productive’ times well, as they will be far and few between.
#4. I had been thinking how much I miss my friends back home, the ones that would have already been by with a warm meal, or a hot water bottle… so I was very thankful that my sister made me that so desired chicken soup this afternoon. RULE: In times of sickness, do not be ashamed to rely on those who genuinely care.
#5. Every little noise, or scurrying across the floor seemed to sound like a steamroller to me today. My head felt like it had been pounding since the time I was so abruptly woken at 7am. RULE: Be aware of your reactions. You WILL be more irritable than your usual self.
#6. Today was the first full-blown day of virus battling so there was a lot of sniffling. RULE: Keep boxes of tissues handy in as many rooms as you can. You never know when you’re going to need a Kleenex. 😉
You hear people say that being a stay-at-home-mom is the hardest job, and when you’re a stay at home mother who is ill, I have to say, it REALLY is! The children still need to be dressed and fed. They still need a full-time carer who will ensure their safety and police their hygiene. There’s no such thing as a ‘day off’ in this job. Caring for children really does take up every second of every minute of every day. It was certainly a tough day at the office to say the least, but it was a good reminder of one of my favorite quotes…“Where there is Love nothing is too much trouble, and there is always time.” ~ Abdu’l-Bahá