I don’t normally share the specific details of my every day life, but over the past two weeks, I have been near bed-ridden. Coming down with what I thought was a 48-hour virus, but turned out to be pneumonia, has had me lying in bed for the better part of each day, trying to rest and allow my body to recoup.
As any Mom who has been sick knows, it is not easy. It’s bad enough that when you’re sick, you barely feel like a complete human being, but can’t you do much of anything for yourself, having to rely on those around you to do it all. On top of that, you also lose the ability to do simple things, like tuck your kids into bed, or hold your head up for more than 30 seconds to look at their school work. To go from doing what seems like everything, to not doing anything at all, can make you feel completely helpless, and a little useless.
Being forced to let go of your normal responsibilities is what I imagine it would be like if a captain had to give up control of his ship. It’s a hard thing to do. Everything from getting the laundry done, to ensuring the kids have balanced meals, to making sure they get to the bus on time, no longer rests solely on your shoulders. It’s up to a spouse, or your parents, or a helpful neighbor or friend. This isn’t to say that I always get these things done perfectly, but at least when I don’t, it’s on my own terms!
I had a friend tell me to just enjoy this time; focus on getting better, but relax while I can and take advantage of it. This got me thinking. I should take advantage of it. But I shouldn’t stop relaxing just because I start feeling better. I should keep relaxing a little bit more than I normally do. Because the fact of the matter is, the house didn’t fall apart just because I was sick. My kids didn’t go hungry just because I wasn’t feeling well. They got on and off the bus every day, regardless if I was the one able to be there when they did.
From the time our kids are brand new babies, Moms spend so much of our time with a great weight on our shoulders; feeding them, changing them, waking up in the middle of the night with them, rocking them to sleep, and everything in between. You would think that letting go of these responsibilities as your children grow would be easy. But it isn’t. It’s part of the inner struggle that goes along with being a Mom.
So, as the dust and mess of the house piles up around me, I’ve realized that I need to cut myself some slack. I have two capable children and a helpful husband. They may not clean, fold laundry, cook, or grocery shop the way I do, but the world will not stop spinning because of it.
There is no shame in asking for help if you’re overwhelmed, or sitting down and reading a book instead of cleaning the house, or just taking some time to yourself to sit quietly and relax, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Whether we’re healthy Moms or sick Moms, we can all be great Moms without trying to be Super Moms.
For the sanity of Mothers everywhere, it’s good to remember to put the reigns down every now and then, or hand them off to someone else for a bit. Take a breath, and give yourself a break. I know I will.