I’m sick. My throat hurts from coughing. My nose hurts from sniffling and the endless tissues. My head feels like it’s going to explode. I’m tired from being sick. I want to close my eyes and sleep because I’m tired from being sick.
But I can’t – I can’t because I have two little boys who need stuff done and on top of my Mummy job I’ve got my corporate job.
I love my corporate job and, for the foreseeable future, I can’t see myself giving up work (I’m a better parent for it). I also love being a parent and watching the kids grow daily. But why do I, and probably most mum’s and dad’s out there, carry guilt around with us when we get sick and try to keep doing it all?
I’ve got my husband here to help, and in all fairness he does the brunt of the housework and will take the kids to their activities if I can’t, but he’s also trying to build up a business. With no family or ‘community village’ to help out with the kids or the house, a wave of guilt feelings emerge.
I feel guilty at the thoughts of staying home, letting my work go and having to catch up.
I feel guilty going into the office coughing and spluttering. And I dislike it when other people do it.
I feel guilty by not having the energy to get into the kid’s activities with them.
I feel guilty when the kid’s meals don’t feel as healthy as they should because I don’t have the energy to stand in the kitchen prepping and cooking.
I feel guilty when I look at the state of the kitchen, or the overflowing laundry, or the unchanged beds, or… the list can go on and on.
I feel guilty when I look like crap because I feel sick. No amount of make-up will make me feel better. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t have the energy or motivation to sit there and put make-up on and pretend I feel okay. Because I don’t feel okay.
This time around, however, something had to give. The alarm went off at 545am. I was about to crawl out of bed, get dressed for the gym, drop the youngest to day care and head into the office for a day of work. But I couldn’t – I couldn’t get out of bed. I physically and mentally felt exhausted from a night of constant coughing that felt like razor blades in my throat, and it was then that I realised I just needed to let it go and stay at home to get better.
What use would I be to my kids or to my job if I couldn’t focus, couldn’t talk, coughed and spluttered all day and past around this hideous viral infection? The kids won’t collapse because they’re having sausages and beans for dinner. In fact they won’t collapse if they have Weetbix for dinner. They’ll think its funny and still eat it. The kids have enough clothes to get through the week without having to resort to pyjamas for day clothes. Work will still be there when I go back into the office (it never magically disappears!!). My colleagues won’t be giving me the death stare for my coughing and spluttering.
So for me, my ‘something had to give’ was some time off work and trying to not feel guilty or worrying about everything that couldn’t be done for a few days. For those who know me will know it was hard to do – I’m a very routine based person who likes to be busy. But lately I’m coming to realise that letting something go, even for a little while, is okay. In a few days I’ll feel more like my old energetic self – and tackle that overflowing laundry basket!
Do you find it easy to let something go when you’re ill?
Loopsy Mum is Debbie. A wife, mum, corporate worker, organiser of everything, diplomat and negotiator, cleaner, cook, taxi driver, teacher – and everything else in between! Check out her blog here.