Two weeks ago I came down with a nasty flu/cold/chest bug that knocked me out for 9 days. This past Monday I spent my first full day “out and about” and while I’m back into my full work load I can still feel a thickness in my chest and a tickle in my throat.
Being sick when you are a mother of young children is a completely different experience than being sick any other time in your life. It wasn’t too long ago that I was living on my own and if I felt like I was coming down with something I would simply not go to work for a day or two, spend that time resting in bed, and in no time I’d be feeling fine. Or, if I had to go to work, I’d slog through the day as best I could knowing that when I got home there’d be a warm bed, a good book, and as much sleep as I needed.
When you are a mother, there is no such thing as peace. Your kids still want you to wipe their bottoms, kiss their boo-boos, and make their toast the special way they like it. Even having my husband at home, essentially unemployed, does not grant me true respite. The house all but fell apart – garbage did not get taken out, floors did not get swept, laundry did not get done…you get the picture. And it wasn’t because Husband refuses to do these things, but that he simply doesn’t realize what goes into running a house smoothly and without me to instruct him it all just fell by the wayside.
People have commented to me that I wouldn’t have been sick for so long if I hadn’t: gone for a run that first day when my throat hurt, decided to homeschool, made that one short trip to the yarn store (see below) – (but the grocery store visits apparently did me no harm), you name it. If I did it for me, then it was all my fault. At least according to my some people who shall remain nameless.
But not my friends who are mums. They know. They understand why we are so run down and it isn’t because we stayed up late one night indulging in the rare luxury of an uninterrupted movie that doesn’t start out with previews of the latest Dora adventure. They get why husbands and children measure their illnesses in hours or short days while we can be knocked out for well over a week. There is no such thing as true rest when you are a mum. And while I am not complaining – I love being a mother and wouldn’t change it for the world, there is a certain amount of frustration in realizing that most people (our own family included) just take us for granted. And yet at the same time, in my suffering, I feel part of something, connected to all the other mothers in what at times can feel like an exclusive and secret society that you only get into when you commit to the raising of a child. Those who don’t have children will never truly get it; but even old grandmothers always remember. I can tell my mother now that I appreciate her in ways I never did and she *knows* that I get it now.
But I’ll end this post with some positive things about being sick. First, I lost about 5 pounds (I’m now two pounds away from my goal weight – wahoo!). And second, I used the time in bed to learn how to knit socks! And here it is, my very first ever sock. It fits me perfectly and doesn’t have any gaping holes in it. Not only did I have to get used to tiny double-pointed needles, but I decided to learn how to knit continental-style because it seemed faster. This was a “jaquard” yarn which meant it knit up in cool stripes and patterns – I enjoy this type of yarn because you never know what is going to come next.
Today I went for my first run in exactly 2 weeks and it felt really good. I wasn’t sure how much conditioning I’d lose in 2 weeks but I was able to do my usual distance without feeling really horrible. I’m getting my house back in order, meals planned and groceries ordered. It’s nice to be back!