Mummy Flu

Last week I had the flu. Not just a runny nose and a slightly warm brow but full on ‘even the bones in my pinky toes hurt’ kind of flu. If how poorly I felt was ever in doubt, here the fact that I went on the school run with no bra on should tell you. I’m so pathetic at being unwell. I get all whiny and groan over dramatically like I’ve eaten a dodgy prawn sandwich.  I even had a good old cry to myself when my eyeballs hurt.

I’m not always such a namby pamby when it comes to illness, physician present me with a three year old with a fever and a productive cough and I’ll have him Calpoled up, chicken souped up and tucked up before you can say Atishoo. A six year old with a sore tummy? Hot water bottle, fleecy blanket on the sofa, plenty of kisses and I’ll snuggle in and we’ll watch Tangled together. I’m just not so hot at dealing with my own ills. The kids are poorly, I still manage to look after them, work from home, make a homemade lasagne for dinner and throw in a couple of piles of laundry. When poorly myself? Well, it took me until Thursday before I was able to brush my hair. Friday before I could wash it. So far, the man of the house has weathered the germs fairly unscathed. He ‘fessed up that he’d quite enjoyed his ‘man week’ whilst I’ve been doped up to the eyes on beechams flu remedy and snoring into my pillow again by 7.45 every evening (after my napping was broken only to scare the fellow mums on the school run with my greasy unstyled hair and free hanging assets). He’s watched boys movies, endless football games and worked late in to the night without me nagging him.

So now I’m back to one hot lemon drink a day to keep the sniffles and poundy head at bay, I’m also catching up on a weeks worth of washing, a weeks worth of ironing, a weeks worth of dishes…..now where’s my bra…

The worst part of parenting.

This is the worst part of parenting. The part where despite being overwhelmed with urge and desire to make it all better, here you are left feeling helpless and frustrated.

Today we have a poorly little monster. His monstrous bounce is much less bouncy. His mischievous grin is more of a grimace. His ravenous appetite has been replaced by food apathy. Cuddles are the order of the day. Duvets on the sofa. Cartoons on the television. A plastic telescope free with an overpriced colourful magazine. And a bucketful of hot water and disinfectant to hand to mop up the sick.

We’re onto a second antibiotic to try to rid this chest infection. The one we’ve been using for the last week may actually have been making him sicker. Why didn’t I associate the sickness last Thursday with the first dose of the antibiotic? Instead I put it down to ice-cream and jelly treats and running amok at Nanna and Granddads just before bed. Where was my mothers instinct then? Was my eye on my luxury weekend away with the girls? Why didn’t I register that the crackle in his chest wasn’t improving any? Was my head too full of my busy working week?

Being a parent is as testing and guilt inducing as it is rewarding and fulfilling, capsule and today I deserve to stink of puke.

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Packed Lunch, Gym shoes, Calpol.

We’ve all done it, here cure haven’t we?  One of the littlies complains of a sore tummy or is a bit on the warm side and not too fussed for their Weetabix of a morning, seek but we pack up their school or nursery bag, page dispense cuddles and a spoonful of Calpol and send them on their merry way. The reasons why we do this vary from person to person, but a recent poll by the Daily Mail indicated that just short of 30% of 2000 mums asked were concerned that taking time off because their child is poorly would result in them losing their job. If those numbers are anything to go by, I think I fall into the ‘very lucky’ category. My organisation makes provisions for the fact that as working parents, it is inevitable that at some point one of our offspring will be struck by dreaded lurgy and we need to be there for them at home. It doesn’t stop the feeling however that somehow, we’re in the wrong as working parents for wanting to be at home with our poorly children.

I’ve had many instances in the last four years where one or other of my brood have had an ailment of illness that has precluded them from going to school or nursery on the basis of them either being a) genuinely too poorly that I wouldn’t dream of letting them leave the house or b) slightly under the weather but sporting a runny enough nose / sticky enough eye / higher than normal temperature (despite being fine in every other way) that nursery won’t allow them across the threshold in case they start an epidemic.

Despite my boss being very understanding, and not a working parent herself,  I can’t help dreading having to tell her I can’t come in because one of the children is sick or that the nursery have called and simply insist that I collect a very hot and bothered two year old.  My boss trusts me and knows that I’m a big enough girl to know what I need to do to get the job done on those days where I just can’t be in the office, the buck stops with me at the end of the day if I don’t deliver what I need to. But I still can’t help feeling bad.

I do recall being back at work only five or six days after a year of maternity leave, and receiving a call from nursery – Little Monster Blue has conjunctivitis. Whilst my first and very natural response was a feeling of sorrow for my little man as its a yucky ailment and not very pleasant at all, I quickly moved to wondering how long I could get away with staying in the office before leaving  to collect him. Quite simply, I was afraid of telling my boss that I had to go.  I had absolutely no reason to be, but well, it just doesn’t look great, especially to my colleagues who have just seen me return from my year long ‘holiday’.

And to top it off, there has been many a time I’ve been called to collect a nipper who has been really under the weather and by the time I’ve gotten to nursery (and after a dose of Calpol) he’s running amok dressed up as a cowboy and swinging a pink leopard print handbag. Yes, really. Now I don’t for one second suggest that the carers at nursery shouldn’t have called, quite the opposite, I secretly believe this is my two-year olds way of getting me back for those mornings where a spoonful of Calpol has helped me get out the door and into the office when perhaps a longer morning at home filled with cuddles, cool drinks and CBeebies might have been the better option.

I have to confess also that I am guilt ridden when I think of the time where I played to the ‘off you pop, you’ll feel better when you get there’ approach when it was nursery photo day.  Poor Little Monster Blue was actually suffering from tonsillitis (though I absolutely didn’t know that at the time) and I have a photo collage full of prints of the little guy looking downright sorry for himself. Gulp. Bad mummy.

Yesterday we turned a corner.  Little Monster Blue is poorly once again (we’re not a disease ridden family generally, I do believe nursery breeds everything but the plague, and it is that time of year isn’t it?) but this time Super Daddy got the nursery call, and bless him he was there in a flash. This morning when it was clear that LMB would be banished from nursery if we dared take him anywhere near the place, Super Daddy donned the stay-at-home-parent mantle and I went to the office.  Sad though it is, there was something fairly empowering about me being able to say, yes I have a poorly child, but here I am. Aren’t I dedicated? Aren’t I committed? Look at me, I’m showing how much of a priority my work is to me.  I rang home ever hour to check how he was of course. I looked at the clock and gauged that he’d be finished watching his movie of choice (Tangled!) by now.  I ate my lunch wondering if the wee scone was able to manage his.  I dashed out of the door at home time, took my rightful place beside him on the sofa, and settled down for an afternoon of CBeebies.

And that made everyone feel better.

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