home

January 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm 5 comments

I am home with little, sick, Echo today. She is no longer throwing up, like she was yesterday, but she sure wants her mom close by, to snuggle and read with, and just touch. I look outside and know that we won’t be stepping foot into that outer world. The little monkey clinging to my chest isn’t ready for an outing. We won’t go get cat food, we won’t adventure down to the corner bakery, we won’t run any number of errands that make me feel like I’m ticking things off the list.

As I feel my body slacken with lack of rigorous use, and feel my mind running in circles, looking for some way to “make use” of this downtime, I realize: you really have to have your emotional shit together to stay at home with your kids. Big time.

Four walls and a sick, sleepy child make you stop jumping from one distraction to another, and though you may try to squirm away from the view, the view remains.

For example, to stay at home, organizing your day around the needs of your kids means that it is imperative to be okay with how your thigh looks crossed over your leg. There will be no running to the gym to burn off some extra calories if  the girth of your limb makes you uneasy. There is no escaping that thigh, it isn’t going anywhere.

To stay at home, pinned to the couch by a sick, sleeping child means that you have to accept the dirt on the floor and the dog hair on the couch. The child cannot wait while you turn on the loud vacuum or scurry to sweep the mess away. In fact, someone important might be dropping by that very afternoon, and will certainly sit in the chair covered in dog hair, and you will be forced to be okay with this, and with whatever his impression of you and your untidy house might be.

To stay at home in this way, means that if you are triggered by the wrinkles around your eyes, you’ll have to find a different way to address those feelings other than shooting over to the health and beauty department for some hydrating creme.

To stay at home like this, means that it is essential to be at ease with your own company. There are no girlfriends, or strangers, or coworkers to distract you with gossip, news, or simply stimulating visuals like outfits and hair-dos. And although our children are distracting, it’s not usually in an escape kind of way. In fact, they will more likely show you more of who you are by highlighting issues that set you off.

To be at home like this, means that you must have the mental stability to withstand a repeat viewing of the same episode of Olivia that your daughter has selected for the last three days straight. You must remain sane from the catchy jingle at the beginning through to the same catchy jingle at the end. You also must remain sane while your daughter certifiably “loses her shit” when it is time to turn off said episode of Olivia.

To be at home like this, rendered immobile, means that when the phone rings, you don’t answer it. Even if  you’ve finally figured out the ever illusive motives behind your girlfriend’s husband’s strange behavior, you can’t call her. Or when you’d like someone to tell you what they are doing with their day, so that you don’t feel so lonely, you have to accept that the phone isn’t within reach of your pinned down body, and accept the loneliness that wants to accompany you.

To be at home like this is a spiritual undertaking. To be at home like this, without crawling up the walls, is to truly be at home with who you are.

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Entry filed under: favorites, life lessons. Tags: , , .

tender sneaky thoughts

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kris  |  January 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    amen sister.

    Reply
  • 2. Angela Malson  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    it does take your whole self to be wholly with your child when they are sick and at home. maybe echo has been nursing a lot lately because she was getting sick, i know mine have always done that. your giving of yourself to help her through this is what makes a mama, and it certainly gives her the trust that you will be there 100 times over when she really needs it. it is a spiritual undertaking, because on days like this you are doing more than holding and nursing a sick child back to health, you are showing her that she is safe and loved and teaching her how to give in times of need.

    Reply
  • 3. Ivy  |  January 26, 2010 at 8:06 am

    You brought back so many memories. And everything you said is perfectly true. This job isn’t for the weak of heart.

    Reply
  • 4. Debbie  |  January 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Oh this was fantastic. I felt like you were talking about me. 🙂 Yes, spiritual indeed.

    Reply
  • 5. fillydesigns  |  January 26, 2010 at 11:10 am

    You just described the singular reason I am resistant to motherhood. Not being able to check off the list or move my body would really challenge my understanding of a successful and fulfilling day. I’m so impressed that you can do that Nat! Where did you learn this stuff?

    Reply

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