This week has probably been the toughest yet in my new career as a Mum. Baby has been sick, really sick for the last 6 days and nothing I could do or say would help. I have new found respect for families who have really ill children all the time, how exhausting and how dedicated the parents must be. After just 6 days I feel completely battle weary, I cannot stand to hear another whine, change another set of clothes, be hit, clean up snot covered mess or cook anymore tempting meals to have them thrown onto the floor in disgust.
My biggest mistake to make, as always, and one I constantly do, is to put adult human emotions onto my little baby. He has never coughed before, had a chest so full of gunk he cant breathe or a headache and achingly dry lips. Even though all of this is new to him, I get frustrated that he wont do what is best for him. Why does he not just sit quietly with me and read a book, why does he need to pull everything out of the cupboard and then slam the door on his hand? Why does he need to throw his head back in rage against the wall until finally he gives it such a crack he ends up howling. These are his ways of expressing his dismay in feeling so terrible, but to me they seem an addition to an already highly demanding and stressful situation, of the all consuming sick toddler.
Being a stay at home mum means I have had no respite all week, not wanting to lurgy any of my friends and not up to play dates we have spent hours inside, him slowly getting better, while I got iller with said cold and more exhausted from night screaming (him not me!). I have found the constant demands physically hard, but hey I’m a strong cookie, its the unexpected mental drain of not being able to do anything right, in fact doing everything wrong and no reward for a long day apart from a still fractious and ill baby.
In my previous life I have always been able to control situations, work wise I liked nothing better than chairing a meeting and making decisions (ask my department!) and in training thrived on a dedicated and demanding schedule. But here I am now, melted down to the bare bones of me, nothing to show for my week, but a son who has now turned a corner and is happily out shopping with Dad and me a frazzled, worn out and cranky mummy!
That’s the hardest thing, I think I have probably worked harder this week than in any of my working weeks or training units and I have nothing to show. I feel a sense of guilt that I haven’t really achieved anything this week or been a particularly good wife and lets not lie, we all like praise and recognitions, but none will be coming my way. The only person to say thank you for that, you did an OK job (debatable!) is me. And so, I will.
Gone are the days when I had trophies and targets to show my talents but I have a family, a medal so special, yet so demanding that only those lucky enough to also have this gift in life will understand. I’m beginning to understand you don’t need the thanks, you don’t need to prove you are a worthwhile being by being a high achiever, you just need to know in your heart, when the going got tough you did the best you did and it all worked out in the end.