Two kids, nine consecutive days of fevers and coughs, and one mom losing her mind. It’s the flu. The real McCoy, no “severe cold” or other such beast. It’s pretty nasty, too. The fevers are high and the chills are bone shaking. Their coughs are gut-wrenching. They’ve had achy bodies and touchy tummies. I really feel bad for them. And I feel bad for me.
Don’t get me wrong. My empathy for the boys runs deep. But right now, I’m having a pity party for me. I’ve had too little adult contact, even less sleep, and way too much whining exposure to be healthy for anyone. Almost every night for over a week, I’ve shared a bed with a sweaty child, moaning, coughing, and waking early as his body battled the viral villain. I’m tired and rather cranky.
These are the times that try this mom’s soul. The internal push-pull between the mom-me and that me-me part. As an attachment parenting type with five cumulative years breastfeeding two kids who has been homeschooling these offspring for the last five years, I’m wholly committed to mothering and family. I chose to have these amazing creatures, and I believe in deep, impassioned, committed motherhood. Some would say I drank the Kool Aid, giving up my own identity to parent my kids, but I’d wholly disagree. It’s a new dimension to me, and I’ve grown in ways I don’t believe I would have without it. It’s also exhausted me, frustrated me, and sucked me dry at times. Like now.
I need some regular time to just meet my own needs, not in a way that neglects the real needs of children but that respects that my own mental and physical health is essential to the well being of this family. If I swallow the message that all should be about my children, 24/7, I miss some essentials to being a healthy woman. This often is referred to as putting on one’s own oxygen mask first, but that creates a sense of “emergency only” self care and consideration. Ask any person who relies on the ER for all her medical care and you’ll quickly realize most emergencies wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for neglect of routine care. Regular nurturing of me keeps the oxygen mask need to a minimum.
So I’m feeling sorry for me. With barely a breath without interruption for the past week and a half, I’ve missed that time to attend to me-me, and that portion of me screams for attention when neglected for long. It’s all been oxygen masks for awhile, and I’m in need of some routine care, just enough to restore and strengthen this weary woman. It’s coming.