Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Unpaid Leave.

I have been sick. Really sick. Head splitting, coughing, sneezing, achy, weak - the full compliment. Of course as a parent I don't get to be sick. Little children can't look after themselves. Spouses still have to go to work. So I have been dragging myself through life. Taking the girls to school, making meals- operating at a minimum.

Inevitably my body protests. I get sicker. So we go to Plan B. The husband juggles work to take the girls to school. We ask our already over committed friends to help - and they do. We eat from the freezer. I get a full precious day to stay in bed and get well.

I should feel grateful. (I do.) I also feel pressured (to get well) and guilty (so many people are helping.) What if I don't get better in one day? We can't keep asking overstretched people to stretch further.

Dutifully I take to my bed with a box of tissues, a flask of tea, and a book. I sleep, sneeze and cough in peace. Then I get bored. I get up - load some laundry and tidy up the kitchen. This makes me breathless and I feel a bit fevered. I take a shower and sheepishly crawl back into bed for a nap. An hour later I am awake and antsy.

That's when it hits me. I can't switch off. I no longer know how to do down time. Even although I have been dreaming, nay fantasizing, of a day in bed - I can't do it. I am too aware of what needs to be done. I am worried that my kids will be wondering where I am. I can't shut down the mommy brain. It seems mommy guilt is stronger than bodily weakness. Sigh.
I compromise by doing a few things and returning to bed for a nap in between.
It's the best this mommy can do.

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