I was planning to write about productivity today. I really was. After a one week spree to read The Productivity Project, I made notes and I was all over my reflection. About what I do, I don’t do but want to and what I don’t do but cannot bring myself to do. That plan is now postponed – sorry to all of you dying for the ultimate 10 tips on productivity. As Baby S is back on antibiotics, my world stops spinning. I can think of nothing else. It would not be productive anyway. Or honest of me.
I wish I was sometimes wrong
It started 5 days ago. At first no fever, only THE cough. I can tell that cough from a mile away and I dread it. As the fever kicked in, the cough actually seem to be better. I was proud of my little guy. Only a week into deciding to leave his nappies he was also now finally able to “cough it out,”. This is something he was unable to do in the double digit number of bronqueolitis he had over the last 15 months. Yes, I stopped counting precisely.
As he started warming up again on Saturday night I felt something else was cooking. The more high fevers came on Sunday, the more I worried.
I settled myself – it is only a fever. For sure it would recede and it was nothing else.
Don't get stuck, you might jinx it I thought.
I have been here before
As I came back from an hour long appointment which included the doctor explaining to me how the x-ray of his lungs should look like and how it really looks like, I can’t help but think of how much I hate the word should. If it should look all black and full of clear airways, then why doesn’t it? I held my breath for the explanation which is usually not even as detailed. My brain is thinking – is this one worse? Did he never get rid of the February pneumonia? What did I do wrong? Certainly I must have done something wrong.
I know what you are thinking – it is not my fault. But is it really that hard to think that? I mean between all the choices we make with food, sleep, travelling, routines we certainly must have an impact on something? I try and make all the good choices, and still I seem to be losing this fight against his weak breathing capacity.
What it feels like: the world stops spinning
It feels pretty nasty at this point. I know, deep down, it is not my fault. But as a person that likes to be in control, I struggle with his poor health and how I can change that. I understand he could be much worse, don’t get me wrong. There are people who have it way worse than we do. I have mentioned this in my recent post about my own physical and mental health). But as a mother it is hard to see your child struggling and growing up with a “normal” of measuring fever and taking meds as often as every 3 weeks. You want to do something, there certainly must be something in science (or not so scientific) that can change this course. Something that can teach his little lungs what to do when an infection hits.
I am utterly frustrated about all this. I am frustrated about the fact that not a single infection will go as a simple thing. It always has to be the minority chance that things get worse. And more often than not, they do.
Being kind to self
My good self – whatever the name of that ego is – knows what I am meant to do. I need to be kind to myself and know that this is just part of his growth. The best I can do is to be there for as many cuddles as he possibly wants. In a mischievous way I welcome every single one of those cuddles. But knowing is easier than doing. So I take baby steps to get there:
- Reducing Overwhelm: I chose not to work today. – I am grateful for that flexibility. I responded to more urgent things and kept an eye for the team but I honestly did not feel like I would do anything worthy. Not only would the quality and productivity suffer but also my feeling towards it. I need no further frustration right now and I would certainly be frustrated to be working while he is less well;
- Gratitude: when I put Baby S down for his nap, I took 15 minutes to do my gratitude for yesterday. I admit it, it was not easy. We had a very nice family day but now that I know that his fever highs were more serious than we expected it is hard to be grateful for having stayed back home. I made it. That is what the practice makes – provides perspective;
- Writing: I felt compelled to continue writing after I finished my gratitude. I don’t do much long journaling these days but I allowed pen to hit paper as it wished. It was a sea of frustration but it was key to help me accept what I was feeling. It also helped me put it out in a way that I could see all the different things going through my mind at once. Furthermore, once on paper, the thoughts are out there, just a tiny bit more distant, and a tiny bit less part of you;
- Sleep: I took a nap today. I know, crazy. The book Why I sleep continues to make a dent on my choices and I knew sleeping would have multiple benefits. First, I barely slept last night, between high fevers and worry. Second, as my mind wanted to multiply negative thoughts about myself and bring me down I knew tiredness played a big factor and allowed no space for that. I am not good with power naps, as I always get drowsy but I know that those 45 minutes of sleep gave me extra power through the day;
- Eating: that may not always be the best advice, as emotions may lead you to the wrong types of foods (or drinks). As the first high fever of the early morning arrived during breakfast, food lost its taste and I no longer finished my toast. I chewed on bits knowing that it was unclear when I would next eat, but I struggled. As I got back with a diagnosis I did not like but no need for admission, I knew comfort food would play a role in giving me mental energy. I spared myself no carbohydrates, my easiest form of food satisfaction.
Isn’t all this common sense?
All these tips seem like pretty simple advice for anyone with common sense. But that is precisely the point, common sense is not necessarily there at all times, even less when it involves emotions about your own children or someone you deeply love. Mothers are well known for taking precarious care of themselves in general, so imagine in a crisis situation. Let’s face it, I went to get a charger for my phone in case I was stranded at the hospital, but I left my phone at home. We cannot trust the brain to make the absolute right choices at all times, so it is good to have a set of basics to go back to.
Why are you here then?
I started this article mostly as therapy. For my mental sanity. I know now that no matter how much I plan an article in advance, the way I feel on the day preceding publishing date always takes precedence over any preparation.
So I started writing for myself, to help me process. But I continued writing for all the mothers that sometimes feel lost and useless, emotional and incapable of taking care of their little ones and stopping them from suffering.
I continued because I know it is important to care for the carers as well, but I am less than good at taking care of myself. And I continued because doing so ensured I had to really assess what was the bare minimum I had to do and ensure I did not deviate from it.
As I said, I keep it as honest as can be, so today was more emotional as it may have been. That’s real life. Perhaps next week I go back to my article on productivity.