You may not know it but many of these musings are written on the weekends when S is available to watch the children or supervise naps.? Thanks to modern technology I can schedule these things out but it does mean that I? go through fits of writing interspersed with stretches of thinking about writing.? This is helpful in a way, anytime I have time to write I almost always can come up with two or three posts, but it also means that some posts that I think of never get written, since I forget about them!
Anyway reading my news feed on Facebook this afternoon reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of months, so here goes:
One of the great difficulties in a mother’s life are those times when a child or several children are sick. All household activity is effected. When the baby needs to be held through the night (I did that two nights in a row when F and Su had the chickenpox several years ago) or an older child needs Mama to read to them, cuddle them, clean them up after vomiting, the laundry, dishes and other regular responsibilities simply pile up.? If the children are sick for a week, it will take me at least two weeks to dig out from under the “undone things”.? How discouraging and just when I am exhausted from caring for the children too.
You know though, it is right that those regular duties should go undone when the only thing that makes a child feel better is knowing that Mama is right there. It is right to skimp on sleep by sleeping in the two year old’s bed when she is feverish, and half-wakefully calls out for Mama every 15 minutes. It is at this point that our children need to be assured of our love. All the “I love yous” that we say do not have as much meaning to our children as being rocked and sung to in the middle of the night when they don’t feel well.
Of course we will fall behind on the laundry and the dishes, but a tidy house is a means to a good family life not an end in itself. And there is no reason that those children who are well cannot do a little extra. There is also no reason that we cannot call on another mother or a teen in our community for help in getting things back to rights again. That is part of what community members do for one another. That is love.
So to those of you who have sick children right now, love them, care for them, get some rest if you can, and don’t worry about the things left undone. And to those of us whose children are well (or who don’t have any),? ask those weary mothers what you can do, and go “bear one another’s burdens” for a while.