Sick Days and Shit Days.
When children are ill it is gross any way, but I realised whilst holding my child’s poo in my hand last night, that when you are a single parent it is extra tough. But mostly I was struck with…
I felt so guilty that I had to drag my child out to get medicine and supplies whilst he was so poorly. I felt guilty that his brother had to be picked up by a neighbour from school. I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to give his brother much attention when he got in from school, because I was so tired myself, and having to say, “hang on a minute I’m just cleaning up puke and poo.” I felt guilty that I had to ask his dad if I could keep him with me, as his dad was due to have him tonight, because as much as I would love the sleep, to recoup, to drink a hot cup of tea and not have to be attached to a child, I couldn’t bare the thought of him being ill somewhere else, with me not there. Even though the other parent is more than capable of looking after him whilst ill.
The guilt and logistical nightmare of trying to explain to your boss or people waiting on an email, that your child is ill and you are the only one that can look after them. Which means that you fall behind on work and someone in the office might have to pick up the slack.
What I’ve realised is that the world can wait, everything has slowed down, stopped even. I have reached out and asked for help, which as a single parent is tough as you think that you can do everything yourself, and you aren’t used to relying on others, but it was an important part of my sanity and mental health this week.
When my youngest was a few months old him and his brother got chicken pox, which meant being confined to the house for nearly two weeks. I swear this triggered my post natal depression. Which is why I am writing this post. When our children are ill we can so easily focus on all of the negatives and think all of those feelings of “why me, why no, why don’t I have a partner to help.” Which is then a downward spiral, that stays with us long after the sickness has gone. But I wanted you to know that during this week I have made sure that I am not pouring from an empty cup. I have had candles on burning, snuck in some reading to relax, lots of hot showers and made sure that we have eaten well this week. It was my priority to make sure my son gets better and that I was looked after too. So that meant upping my self care game in any way that I could, including writing this blog, asking for help and slowing down. I am just one person but that for this week, that has been enough. AND when this is all over and done with and I am not cleaning up shit, I will remember how bad ass I was to do all of that solo.
Ps even whilst I was writing this I had to stop to catch some sick in a glass!