1 thing I hate about being a mum
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Being sick is never a lot of fun. Migraines, nausea, back pain, period pain and the flu – none of that sparks joy. What wasn’t in the brochure was that after you have kids, you kind of have to tough it out and deal with these things and just carry on being a mum. I remember the first time that this became apparent to me. I had gastro and while feeding at god knows what time in the morning, I had to stop part way through, lay down a suddenly crying and probably confused baby, and go and vomit. More than once. I then spent a good few hours oscillating between worrying about what the dehydration would do to my milk supply, dreading having to get up for the next feed, and worrying that I would make my baby sick. While I firmly subscribe to the idea that ‘it takes a village’, there are so many reasons why people don’t have access to one. Maybe their parents are still working, maybe they are retired but not hands on, and maybe there’s a global pandemic and you can’t jeopardise their immune system. Maybe you live away from family, and your friends have their own small children. Maybe you are a single mum or your partner is away or can’t take carers leave. Regardless, when I am ill now, I look back on those sick and childless days almost fondly. I remember spending all day in bed, resting, in silence. I remember getting up to the kitchen in the state I had left it, and grabbing some soup or whatever it is I felt like, and then laying on the couch to watch Netflix. I remember feeling poorly but I also remember it as a genuine period of recovery. Fast forward a few years and a child or two… if you are fortunate to have a village, you might call someone and ask for help (not something many mums are good at in my experience). If you are lucky and help can come to you, you get to sleep but are usually woken by children yelling or laughing or throwing a tantrum (toddlers are awesome but their need for their mum usually trumps their developing empathy for their sick mum). If your help is able to take your children, the silence is golden and the gratitude is high... though often my clients talk about the accompanying feelings of guilt or the sense that help does not come without strings attached. Partners are tricky. I have definitely been guilty of willing my husband to ‘just get over it’ when he is sick because taking over the care of the children and rescheduling work while being caring and empathetic can feel hard… I suspect that the same is true in reverse. In truth, I don’t really have any tips for making this work. Other than to say that if you can, rest, and just know that it is hard and that you’re not alone. It also gets easier. Babies can’t be reasoned with, but older children are usually more empathetic, and are happy to be set up with a lunch box and more screen time than you’d usually allow them.