I’m still getting over the worst stomach bug I’ve experienced in my whole life.
I’ll spare you the disgusting details, but OW and EW seem to sum it up pretty nicely. There were a few hours there where I could barely muster the energy to pick myself up off the floor, something that’s quite necessary when you’re at home alone with a 3-year-old who is recovering from a horrendous stomach bug ailment herself.
|Photo by Eva Blue|
“Mommy!! I need you to CARRY me!”
“Mommy can’t carry herself right now, Sweet Girl. Maybe you could walk, or just stay there. Yeah. I’ll be there in a minute.”
“Nooo! I need you RIGHT NOW! I need to go to the potty.”
OK. I can figure this out… I crawl on all fours from the bathroom to the bedroom and somehow manage to get a Pull-Up on my fully potty-trained child. I turn on the iPad—Play Doh videos are a family favorite—and crawl back to the bathroom where I can continue to vomit every 30 minutes in peace. Luckily my still somewhat sick (but no longer vomiting, thank GOD) child has fallen asleep on my bed, YouTube blaring. It’s 3:30pm. Maybe she’ll sleep until my husband gets home at 6pm?
I’ll just have to vomit silently. I can totally do that.
Shit. I have to have a substitute teacher for the yoga class I’m supposed to teach at 6:30. I crawl to my computer.
Being a mom is always a challenge. Being sick is always a challenge, too. But when you put them together after several days of caring for a really sick little one—waking every couple of hours to hold her hair, trips back and forth from the pediatrician, drug store, and grocery store trying to find something, anything, that will help, holding her while she sleeps during the day, and spending every other second worrying yourself sick—the result is catastrophic. I write from experience.
In my case, my immune system was completely worn down from trying tirelessly to care for my girl so when the virus made its way into my system, it had to have been at least 100 times worse. Not to mention, in all my efforts to be Super Mom I let everything else go. I didn’t shower. There were few groceries in the house. I didn’t take time to prepare healthy food for myself. My laundry was piled up everywhere. I got several days behind on my work. Then, I got sick. Really sick. And, unfortunately, there was no one around to hold my hair back, fetch me popsicles, or rock me to sleep. I was on my own. And I still had to take care of this little person who needs me so much.
Not to self: Never try to be Super Mom. You are not Super Mom. Nobody is.
Here’s the thing. Now that I look back on the insanity that was the last week of my life, I know I should have done thing differently. I could tell you I learned my lesson—that I should have taken better care of myself. I could say that next time I’ll ask for help, you know, some time BEFORE I find myself so sick that I can’t stand upright to walk from one room into another. I could say I’ll definitely make sure to eat healthy foods and somehow make time to keep up my yoga practice. But I doubt any of those things would happen.
I know myself well enough to know that I would do it all over again, probably just exactly the same way. I would do it, not because I want to be Super Mom, but because in those moment when your child is sick there’s absolutely nothing else in the whole world that matters, other than making sure she’s OK.
What I WILL say is this: I will continue to work harder than ever to organize my life in such a way that I know if something suddenly comes up (like an illness or a writing job I can’t refuse) I will be far enough ahead that I can slack on things like grocery store runs for a few days without sliding down a slippery slope of take out and convenience food hell. I will clean my dishes and laundry promptly and put them away (most of the time) so my living and work space feels spacious and light because I know that mind will feel just a little bit less cluttered, too, since I won’t have to constantly look through piles to finish simple tasks. I will stay committed to my yoga and meditation practice when things are going well so that when things aren’t going so well, I will still have the imprint of that calm focus at the top of my mind so I can better handle the challenges without completely freaking out. I will continue to do the best that I can and love myself and forgive myself when I fall short, just as much as I will always love my daughter when she falls short.
I will continue to remind myself that I, too, am somebody’s baby, worthy of all the love and care and attention I shower on my little one.
And so are you.