Did that thermometer read what I think it did? I pushed the button again. Seriously??? How did her fever just to 106 degrees? We just gave her a cold shower thirty minutes ago. 106. Crap. What the heck do we do?
This was only a small portion of my weekend. Saturday, I came home from work to find a puking, fevered 5 year old and a clingy, demanding, yet healthy 1 year old. Don’t forget the slightly frazzled husband – which I don’t blame at all in that scenario. It all went down at once and continued for the next 72 hours.
She rested; we rotated Advil and Tylenol and tried to keep her as comfortable as possible. I didn’t get stressed or worried until we hit the critical moment of 106. 1-0-6. Suddenly I lost all confidence in my mothering knowledge.
I had Chris run a cool bubble bath and I sat in the bathroom with her until her fever went down to 102. That was a far more manageable temperature. Throughout Tuesday her fever stayed closer to 100. By Wednesday we finally took her to the doctor and got an antibiotic.
My biggest struggle when it comes to sudden illnesses like that is how it affects the rest of my plans. Everything else goes on hold. All the goals, responsibilities, and plans have to change to accommodate a sick child because she has to be the priority.
And I do it. I will always do it. My brain, though, likes to remind me of the things that did not get done. While I know I made the right choice, I always feel guilty when I see….
Piles of unfolded laundry;
Dishes stacked higher than a skyscraper in the sink;
Mounds of toys strewn all over the house.
The worst is when the walls of the house start closing in on me from being stuck at home for days on end or when Eli follows me around screaming for HOURS because I’m not solely focused on him.
Before I had kids when people talked about motherhood, it was always colored in a beautiful, life-fulfilling way. Their descriptions always left me eager for the loving bond I would have with my kids. They left out the part about sacrificing portions of yourself for a time and that if you aren’t careful you could lose yourself completely in the craziness.
Well, I learned about this particular truth of motherhood real quick and keep relearning it each and every season.
I have a tendency to lose myself. I forget about balance and my needs for the needs of the those I love most, Chris and the kids. By the end of a season, though, I’m drained and empty with nothing left to pour out. I become my own emotional desert because I lose sight of those needs of mine.
I know that the day is coming quickly when my children won’t need me so much anymore. When I will long for these days of snuggles and clinginess and running up to me when I walk in the door shouting, “Mama! Mama!” I know that all too well.
Because of that, I chose to place some things on the back burner. I volunteer at church less than I would like to because I refuse to give up another night of week for family dinners. I haven’t pushed into new realms of my career because it would possibly involve travel or just more hours away. I have a limited amount of time for friendships and I have to just be ok with that. I can’t be everything to everyone all the time. Eli and Sophie need me to be their mom. I’m the only one they’re going to get.
I also have to teach them that it is important to take care of myself as well. Sometimes my introvert needs to be alone. Other times I need to be with my friends without the kids. One to two nights a week I need to work late.
It’s all one big balancing act that I usually am terrible at, but for today, the dishes can wait; the laundry will be there; my friends and clients can wait another day or two before I respond to phone calls or text messages. My sick daughter needs me now so I’m going to snuggle her.
Do you find yourself lost in the craziness that is motherhood? Have any of your goals had to be put on pause for the time being because of it?