So this week there’s been a tummy bug in our house. Harriet is going through that stage of picking up absolutely everything, and it is my personal mission to try and prevent things spreading to the rest of the family.
The whole house feels bruised and battered
Tummy bugs are my least favourite of all the illnesses, I just have to get the mess cleaned up as quickly as possible – wash and sanitise everything – and then hope like made that no one else comes down with it.
They also tend to come with a sleepless night as well – so the next day the whole house feels bruised and battered. All round no fun.
The tiredness and the worry usually bring about a spike in anxiety, and I even sometimes find myself in moments of quiet, trembling slightly from the panic. And also trembling from the relief that I am managing to look after my baby even though I am in a situation that I can’t stand. I find myself wondering if other parents feel as I do in these moments. Perhaps the trigger is something different for them.
I know that phobias are related to how we feel about ourselves
I remember being about 12 when one of my sisters was poorly with a bug once, and I was so in awe of how my parents handled the situation. I remember worrying even at 12, how I would manage to look after my children in that same situation, when all I wanted to do was hide. I probably sound very lame – there are parents that have to deal with much more tricky situations than me. But sickness is something that I particularly loathe – even have a marginal phobia of to be perfectly honest.
I know that phobias are related to how we feel about ourselves. They are irrational – something in the way we feel about ourselves manifesting itself in something external. As I write this, I can feel my head trying to analyse what it is that I fear about myself. I suspect it is to do with my on-going worry that I won’t be able to cope in a situation. The big, “but what if …”.
Of course, if the big “what if” ever happens, I know that Noel and I will deal with it. Because that’s what you do when you are a parent. Your daily goal is to take whatever happens and survive to the end of the day. And then hope that the next day will be a bit more normal. I love normal … Who knew that normal could be so glorious! Something to aspire to, even.
Normal is having a relatively undisturbed night’s sleep
During my 20s I would have been so disappointed to ever think of normal as something to aspire to! Now, normal is great. Normal is when you can anticipate the mood swings and the tantrums. Normal is when you can guess at how someone is going to react to a situation, and normal is having a relatively undisturbed night’s sleep. (Undisturbed being the holy grail – literally can’t remember the last time I had one of those!)
Anyway, I’m sleepily wondering where I’m headed with this post. I think part of it is me needing to extract some anxious feelings, in the hope that it will be a cathartic experience … It definitely does help to write things down.
The other part of me wants to reach out to other parents, and indeed anyone who feels a bit lame for feeling scared sometimes. I always think I should be braver at this sort of thing, but I’m not. Its a few days of me feeling extra worried, and maybe a few ill people. And then, as things start settling back to normal (gosh, I really do love normal), the anxiety starts to subside again.
Oh, anxiety. My arch nemesis. So what will I do now? Take a few deep breaths, do some work, and get myself to bed early. Anxiety not really conquered today, but maybe I’ll do better tomorrow.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the bad stuff
… I wrote the above a few days ago now, when I was still feeling incredibly anxious. Thankfully, the feelings did of course subside as I believed they would. Getting out of the house when Harriet had passed her 48hr probation period helped – especially as it coincided with us spending time with some lovely mums and tiddlies at Toddler Group. That really helped. Some serious chatting was done, not just about the silly stuff, but some of the serious stuff too … A reminder that its always good to talk. Please don’t be afraid to talk about the bad stuff – most of us have a bit of bad stuff we sometimes need to talk about.