Mom’s Sick Day
The Night of No Sleep
I have been sick the past couple of days. Three nights ago, as I began to feel the worst of this cold come on, my children took a night off from sleeping. This decision to forgo a night of sleep happened to take place on a night my husband was on a 24 hour call. I was up coughing and sneezing and feeling generally awful until around 1 am. At 2:15 my son Sean woke up from a bad dream. By 3 he wasn’t fully back to sleep yet so I surrendered and invited him into my bed. Around 3:30 we began to drift off.
At 3:55, Owen woke up. For the night. I’m not even sure how one decides to wake up before 4 am for the day unless they have to start a shift to make a living or they are headed to the airport for a flight to a dream destination. But somehow, this seemed like a good decision for Owen. He is generally a really solid sleeper, but when he’s sick all bets are off and we can count on one night where he can’t get comfortable and decides sleep is for wimps.
I tried everything. I rocked, I sang. I walked out (many times) and listened to him cry as I cried to myself sitting on the floor in the hallway. I cursed my “aloneness” because another adult in the house would mean I could have left Sean in one bed downstairs and taken Owen to another bed to let him lay on me and be comforted which was clearly what he wanted, being sick himself. But sadly, it was just me. One person, two hands, an inability to be in two places at once and children on different floors of my home both needing me.
Ultimately, my evening ended with me managing to get a combined 1 1/2 hours of sleep while facing the worst symptoms this virus had to dish out. I didn’t even know how I was going to put one foot in front of the other to get breakfast on the table.
Thankfully, help was on the way. My husband Matt was coming home after a 24 hour call (and he even slept for some of the night) and I had our awesome sitter coming over. I felt so lucky to have help when I really needed it as there are so many who get through a night like that and look around for help and there is none.
Mom’s Sick Day
Matt isolated me in our guest room, brought me fluids and told me I was in bed for the day. Mom’s sick day – no arguments. It was just what I needed. But of course, no amount of time off comes without a heaping dose of guilt. Even if the time off means laying in bed in and out of sleep for hours trying to fight off a nasty virus and hoping it isn’t the flu.
At the end of this day, most of which I spent in a fog, I felt weak, fatigued and guilty that I checked out for an entire day. I was discouraged that my “to do” list grew longer not shorter as I planned it to. I felt frustrated with myself. At this moment, my son Sean was running back outside to play with my husband and our younger son Owen and I asked him to stop. I said “I’m really sorry I missed your whole day buddy, I feel bad I haven’t really been around”. He stopped what he was doing and walked back to where I was sitting and told me “You don’t have to say sorry Mommy, you are sick with Owen’s cold, you should rest” and he ran back outside.
It was a moment that made me realize that while I heap a lot on my shoulders, my tiny humans think I’m kind of a big deal. Sometimes I mix up what that means. I see being “kind of a big deal” as a call to duty. I must be present, available and working at this nonstop because I am relied upon. But to them, me being a “big deal” means that I am a big deal to them no matter how I show up. No matter how close I got to perfect or a complete failure that particular day. They have never treated me like I’m not enough, so why do I treat myself that way? They have a lot more understanding and compassion than I give them credit for. They may just be able to teach me a thing or two about giving myself some of that same compassion and understanding in such a simple way. “You’re sick, you should rest” (even if you’re mom). Go figure.
The meme above is from a site I really enjoy – Her View From Home – check it out for some great recipes, interesting topics and other fun content!