One of the advantages of being a work at home mum is that when my kids are sick, I can take time off to look after them.
However, sometimes I really wish I had someone to take care of me as well as I take care of the kids. Sometimes I’m in need of a little TLC too.
Take these last few days for example. My eldest Corey had been very unlike himself from Friday. He cried to come home early from a birthday party he’d been looking forward to all week, he cried going to Nana’s for a sleepover on Friday, which is usually one of his favourite things to do. He didn’t want to go to his tennis class on Saturday morning and had little or no energy on Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday morning he woke with a raging temperature and a barking cough and took to the couch to convalesce. Then at around 10am he started vomiting. Oh Lordy Loo! It was one thing after another. I spent all day rushing around trying to look after him as well as make dinner and tend to the other kids in the afternoon. So come last night, I was totally beat and I took to bed at about 8.30pm to try to get a decent night’s rest. (You know this isn’t going to end well, right?)
Since we came back from Australia I have been very relaxed about the kids sleeping patterns, allowing them to come into our bed in the middle of the night and stay there until morning.
However, this has backfired on me.
The two middle kids (5 and 3) have started taking advantage of this relaxation in bed rules, and have been finding all sorts of excuses for nocturnal visits (I need water/to go to the toilet/my room is too dark/my duvet fell off…).
Now I am what I would lovingly refer to as “hard”.
By this, I mean, I’m a tough old bird: it takes a lot to wear me down or rattle my cage. But I didn’t realise that the constant disruption of my sleep, combined with rising at 5am and daily yoga workouts, have been taking their toll.
As a result, I woke yesterday morning looking like elephant woman.
A seemingly harmless pimple on my forehead had turned into a swollen fluid filled mountain about the diameter of a golf ball, and a gland had come up beside my ear which was swollen and painful. I mean, WTF? Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
Another night of constantly disrupted sleep last night (45 minutes sleep in every hour, then up at 5am to iron) meant that this morning the whole side of my face was also swollen and sore.
To top it all off, Kai and Maya decided to get up at 5am with me, then proceeded to fight, bicker and scream at each other due to tiredness as I tried to ignore them and keep ironing.
As I went about my morning chores trying to feed, clothe, tend to the sick and mediate arguments (no doubt they were reacting to me not being my usual chirpy self) it took every ounce of my strength not to either scream in frustration to make myself feel better, or break down in tears.
Alas, when Kai refused point blank to put his clothes on for school, all my fight was gone and I kneeled down on the floor, put my head in my hands and wept. And once I started, I couldn’t stop.
The kids were a bit shocked and started rubbing my back and asking what was wrong, which only caused me to sob even more. I kept crying until Ryan appeared with a look of surprise on his face to find me in this very unfamiliar position, and promptly took over the dressing in a very masculine way (i.e. No negotiation allowed and they were dressed and deposited downstairs within 2 minutes).
Once I had cried for a while, my tears naturally dried up and I felt a bit better. I fetched a cup of coffee and and ice pack for my swollen head and eyes, and lay on the bed for a bit while it all got to work.
30 minutes and some caffeine and ice later, I felt like a new woman. Allowing myself to release my pent up emotion and feel my tiredness and frustration had been incredibly freeing. I felt lighter and more human.
I always thought that the worst thing ever would be allowing my kids to see me cry, as I was supposed to be the strong one. But the tenderness of their response surprised me. They weren’t scared or freaked out by it; they seemed to understand my need to release through crying. Corey even told me that after a good cry he feels better, which surprised me that someone so young would be so aware of his emotions.
I also immediately made an appointment to see my chiropractor who helps my body to realign and naturally heal itself. He told me the bone structure in my head and face was out of alignment which was causing the swelling and he worked on me for about an hour. As a result the swelling has reduced and I feel 100% better.
The moral of this story?
Don’t be too strong all of the time.
Don’t deny your emotions or judge them to be bad or wrong. Sometimes an emotional release is exactly what you need and your kids are the best people to comfort you without judgement or trying to make it better. It’s good for them to see that mommy is a human being too.
Maybe if we allowed our kids to see us more as human beings and less as human doings, it would help them to understand themselves better.
But more importantly, it would teach them that crying is okay. Pain is okay. It comes and it goes in the same way happiness does.
Emotions are part of life. Don’t deny yours. Embrace them for a richer and more expressive existence.
And remember to be a mom being, not a mom doing.
Please will you do me a favour? If you enjoyed this post and have ever felt the same as me, please share it amongst your friends by using one of the sharing buttons at the bottom of the post.
Let’s encourage and support other women in their incredibly hard and emotionally challenging journey into motherhood. Let’s tell them that it’s okay to feel sad, and scared and helpless. Cause we’re here for one another; without judgement and with lots of love.
Take care of you
Love Kim x