Geez! Us parents! We’re always wanting something… some peace and quiet, some freedom, some time to ourselves, a drama free mealtime, some SLEEP (just a couple more hours… is it really too much to ask for!?) In the early years of parenthood we irrationally fear these luxuries have been snatched from us for good. Don’t we?
I’ve been guilty of all the above. And having just spent over a fortnight in bed I’m wondering if I should’ve been more careful in what I wished for. Peace and quiet? Tick; Sleep? Masses; Time to myself? Check. But unfortunately this wasn’t the stuff of dreams, no extended luxury Mummy break, but a darn evil virus that came for me on my birthday (timing eh?!) and clearly enjoyed my company so much that it hung around for Mother’s Day and beyond. It’s still flipping lingering.
So yes, I’ve slept. I’ve also sobbed. I’ve downed drugs. I’ve become acquainted with Judge Rinder and well educated in the UFO files and the World’s Wildest Weather via endless Discovery Docs. I’ve whimpered infinite declarations of love and gratitude to my non-complaining hubby as he offered me yet another gallon of Lucozade whilst maintaining two businesses and the lives of our two little darlings (whoever said men can’t multi task?!) I’ve even recharged my Kindle twice in the space of 7 days – something I haven’t done since, well, ever. Humour aside, I’ve actually been a bit scared too. Never in my life have I been in so much pain – never have I been so incapacitated.
Illness is up there at the top of parental fears: Illness in our children or illness that strips us of our ability to parent them, or worse. Thankfully I’m on the up. And thankfully this period of convalescence has offered me a great dose of relief from yet another parental worry – are we doing a good enough job the rest of the time?
The Internet is rife with articles, blogs, posts and opinions on how we know if we’re doing a good job at raising our young. You’d think that purely watching our offspring in their daily pursuits, heeding the words of their teachers and observing their social interactions would provide some relief from this constant anxiety. But in the busy whirlwind of life it can be difficult to take the adequate step back required to form a well rounded and objective opinion of our children’s social, emotional, physical, academic and spiritual development combined. And that’s before considering the pull of our own emotions, our own needs and wants and fears that sway our opinions. So we muddle on, we do the best we can and hope, we pray, that our kids are going to be ok and that we’re equipping them with the skills they’ll need for life – to be happy and healthy, to be successful and all round good human beings.
So being stuck in bed for over two weeks, unable to lift my head from the pillow at times, I was forced to take a lengthy step back. And what I’ve witnessed, I’ve liked. I’ve heard two little girls playing downstairs as they should – sharing, quarrelling, whinging, objecting, laughing, reading to one another. I’ve heard two little girls come bounding up the stairs to see their sick Mummy, wishing me better, stroking my hair, thrusting plastic medical syringes containing ‘magic potions’ into my mouth in a bid to make me well (‘I am the doctor, I’m going to make you better Mummy!’) I’ve received offerings – handmade get better soon cards, freshly picked daffodils, pictures of stars, a white feather, a sparkly piece of sellotape, a vinegar drenched chip.
But more than anything, my illness – whatever it has been – has had a silver lining. It has forced my temporary detachment from our crazy, busy lives: the next demand, the ensuing altercation to be mediated, the mess, the spelling practice, the uneaten dinner, the tantrum, the wee accident, the early morning wakings. And in doing so, it has laid bare the happy souls my bedside visitors are and the wonderful caring individuals they’re growing into.
Being ill has been a pain in the arse. But it has also given me one less thing to worry about.
Thank you for reading.
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