Two weeks ago, Baby got sick. What started as a sore throat and high fever turned into croup. And that has now turned into a yucky, but less barky cough and a nose that… well references to Niagara falls don’t even do it justice. Croup is an awful sounding word for an awful illness.
From this fever, then croup, then cold experience, I learned three things:
- People with fevers are physically hot to the touch (M thinks it’s odd that I did not know this before)
- The only known treatment of croup is to barricade yourself in a steamy bathroom
- When Baby is sick, I forget to eat, drink, and pee
For nearly two weeks, I got caught up running from home to work to home to doctor to home. I didn’t stop for lunch and I barely ate dinner. I would forget to go to the bathroom. How does one forget to stop to pee?
I did what I imagine all parents do when their baby is sick. I put all of her needs ahead of my own. And in those moments, I’d have it no other way. Holding your child when he or she is sick and just wants to be in you arms is one of those moments when you truly understand what it means to be a parent.
But by Friday, 9 days into this round of illnesses, I wasn’t holding it together anymore. I hadn’t slept more than a few hours at a time in over a week. I had spent my days quite literally running from one place to the next. I left work early everyday to get home to Baby and stayed up late to catch up on the work I missed. The only minutes I had to myself each day were those tiny seconds between when I laid my head down at night and when I fell to sleep. There wasn’t enough makeup to cover the bags under my eyes. And I was CRANKY. All of the running with no downtime had caught up with me. I could tell in my interactions with co-workers, family members, and most especially M, that I was just being cranky, and therefore kind of mean, but I couldn’t stop it.
By this past Saturday, Baby was feeling better and sleeping through the night again. I celebrated with a manicure/pedicure. After an hour of relaxation, I walked out with pretty pink toenails, shiny purple fingernails (purple is not my normal choice, but I was feeling spunky), and a smile on my face. Just one hour of pampering left me feeling refreshed and revived. I felt lighter as I drove home. I was no longer wearing cranky pants.
Just one hour of time for myself is all I needed. Why didn’t I find that hour sooner and avoid that awful crankiness?
For me, as I suspect for many women (not just moms), I tend to feel guilty when I take time for myself. And I get caught up in the flow of everything that is going on around me that I forget how important it is to take a bit of time to myself. I don’t know how to keep what I need in balance with what others need. And sometimes trying to figure out what I can do to take a break seems overwhelming.
A few months ago I came across this idea to create a list of 50 things you like to do. It’s a brilliant idea and seems like the perfect start to a solution to this problem. With such a list, I can have a place to turn when I am so busy that I can’t see straight, to help me slow down and do something for me. So I’m going to start working on my list and will post it when I’m done. You should make your own and share too!
Before I end this post, a funny Baby story:
During the first week that she was sick, Baby was running a fever of about 103. It went on for days, responding to repeated doses of ibuprofen for only a few hours at a time. On the last day, she woke up from her nap with a fever of 104 (I nearly lost it before remembering that body temperature is always higher when we first wake up). The nanny happened to get her up from that nap and when I rushed in the door, the nanny had Baby stripped down to just her diaper with a cold wash cloth applied to her back to cool Baby down. Baby was sitting on her lap and turned to me as I walked in the door. As soon as she saw me, she looked up and said “Hot!!” Hot is one of her most used words, though she most often uses it when her dinner hasn’t had enough time to cool. This was the first time she had used it to refer to herself. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.