I've come to realize that being a stay at home mom means doing anything but, except when the flu hits. Last week two out of three of my girls were gifted with a mean Flu virus. It also happened to be the week that we were bombarded with inches of snow and a slick sheet of ice to top it off, oh, and then more snow on top of the ice. But really, I wouldn't know much about it since I was home- inside with two babies with the flu. I spent the week, starting on Sunday, doing little more than holding a sick and crying child, or changing diapers. I didn't buy groceries, even with a bare fridge since we were on vacation the week prior. I didn't clean my house- some things will never change. I also let the television run every waking hour. (Another story in it's self) It was the longest week of being a stay at home mom. I couldn't take another day of it, although I kept anticipating my oldest daughter would soon follow suit and get the bug too. But we trudged on until Friday. Friday I decided it was time to take my kids to the doctor. They had been sick long enough and they weren't improving and I wanted to make sure the coughing hadn't moved into their lungs.
I couldn't believe how excited I was to leave the house. I felt like we were going somewhere really fun, but in reality we were just getting a few seconds of fresh air as we moved from the house to the car to the office building. The doctor confirmed that it was the flu, and that it should be going away shortly. The odd thing was, it seems almost immediately that my kids started feeling better. It was like this curtain of doom had been lifted. No one was going to die, and we were one day going to be in public again. So I had this great confidence that we would head to the grocery store and buy milk, eggs and other necessities (oh, my doctor also let me know about chewable Tylenol- not sure why I never thought of another option for my fussy two year old who won't take liquid medicine). Only a few minor disasters at Kroger, one being the temporary loss of snow, my oldest daughter's favorite stuffed animal that goes Everywhere with us. We tried our best not to breath on anyone, and get out as quickly as possible. Really, groceries are life and death, are they not?
Today was our first day leaving the house other than a few hours that we spent at Grandma's and Grandpa's this weekend. (They both had flu shots, so they were not afraid) It was liberating. It was like seeing colors for the first time. I suddenly didn't feel like a stay at home mom from the 50's, who is completely happy staying in the house all day long. I often wonder how my mom managed 5 kids, when two sick seems like 5. I understand why she didn't take us many places, I'm certain she would have if she had the energy. (although it's amazing how much energy she had with all of us little at once). Coffee and cigarettes, right Jayne? I thought of my mom endlessly this past week and I had a new respect for her. I felt desperate and trapped in my own life as a stay at home mom. I couldn't invite friends over, I couldn't take my kids anywhere, we were stuck in the house with the television going and going and going.
So how do I make it work as a stay at home mom? I don't stay home or if I stay home, I have other mom's over so we can chat over coffee while our kids "play", or fight. I'm not sure how rural parents handle life home with kids, or people that don't have a network of friends to make it not seem like work at all. This past week made me realize how great my friends are and just how much I need them. Thank You!
Your week of two-with-flu sounds suck-orrific. I'm glad it's finally over and you can get back to life as a get-out-and-do-stuff mom.
Working Moms Against Guilt
Thanks Susan, I know, it sounds like poor me, but mentally I really was falling apart.
I really hear you on this one. The thought of being stuck in the house with sick kids for days on end fills me with dread; add bad weather to that and you've got a pretty tough mix. And it's great how a little get-together with a grown up friend can make a world of difference. It's nice to be reminded that when you get together with a friend to "do something for yourself," you're often doing something for the other person, too. So, let's be sure to call, email, and even show up on each other's doorsteps, when we think that it will improve our state of mind.
I did the "Stay-at-Home" jig for a few years with my daughter and it was terrible for me. You got it absolutely right about staying at home being extra difficult when you don't have a network of friends or a family to go visit. I was new here in the US, knew no one in the neighborhood, my daughter was the only kid in our entire friend circle, none of the women I was friends with drove (they were new here too) so getting together with them was tough and we didn't have much money to sign her up for many activities at first :( Those days were really very difficult for me.
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