Kathy: Simply Sick
Normally the kids are like me, strong like ox, but a nasty bug has been making its way around the community and they are stricken like chicken. They’re on the mend but it’s been almost a week of being completely off our schedule and normal daily rhythm. Like, not even getting outside. Kale’s looking a little grey around the edges but his cough is unsettling so inside it is for a couple more days.
Though it’s weird to see my normally screen-free kids veg out in front of with that glazed ‘sicky’ stare, I decided to surrender to the novelty of it; letting them do nothing at all other than quiet activities and naps while I dove into my projects in my studio while stopping every few moments to warm up soup, make more tea, and assist with many, many tea pees.
I have to admit I fought it at first and was grumpy, a little anxious even and concerned about the effect of not doing anything would have on the kids. But then I heard the sultry voice of Danielle Laporte say how life balance is a myth. The essence of life is fluid so it’s only natural that shifts in what needs to be tended to will unabashedly morph constantly. The best thing to do is to see these as opportunities for growth and to reassess what is important and needed in the family right now.
In the meantime I made sure the kids were lubed up with lots of liquids and did implement the bare essential rhythms; mealtimes and bedtimes and our Smokey Sunday pancakes (whipping them up smokes up the whole house — just to explain). I surrendered to life that happens, was reminded of the balance myth (which was a catalyst for reviewing some major life decisions), and saw an opportunity to tend to my own needs at a pivotal time in my career while the children’s growing bodies took on the necessary challenge to strengthen.
Do you want to share your bare minimum rhythm you adhere to even in times of crisis, transition or upheaval? Perhaps a little ritual? Please share in the comments if you feel inspired.
Editor’s Note: Kathy Stowell is a homeschooling, simplicity parenting mother of two small kids, and a hobby farmer’s wife who blogs and offers Backwoods Mama Sew Camps over at Bliss Beyond Naptime, from which the post above is generously cross-posted. Kathy recently released The Bliss Filled Mama: Self-Care for Soulful Mothering, an e-book and audio recording on proper crafty mama care.
i’ve been contemplating that balance myth thing …. i think MYTH is overstating it …. balance is more like the pot o’ gold … what we are looking for …. trying to get, have, do, be …. the trick is to keep your eye on balance, your aspirations towards balance, while all along you are just a titch off balance ….
have you ever done a balance ball class … bosu balls are what i’m thinking of .. half a ball … you can be balanced just fine and then merely THINK the wrong thing and you are all wobbly bobbly …. that’s how life is … we are tying to be balanced in spite of all the stuff keeping us off balance …
i actually like a kid home with a small sickness … slows me down and makes me think about balance … and i think my balance and rhythm are in the chores you can’t get around … feed them, do the dishes, feed them again, do some more dishes ….
Balance means no forward movement. Life’s a see-saw, not a tightrope. One thing that stands out to me is that we mothers have become nearly paralyzed with anxiety about every little moment being meaningful, teachable, nurturing. So much so, that we actually worry about plopping their sick butts in front of the TV for a few days. As if all the love and support and healthy food we give them in general can be undone by a day of Spongebob or a fast food binge. We are so hard on ourselves and hold this impossible standard of not only having it all together, but having it together brilliantly, perfectly. If everyone is sick, you have my permission to throw it all out the window. Let your kids watch tv all day. Let them have more than one sugar-filled popsicle for their sore throats. I promise it will not matter one iota in the long run. 🙂 Don’t worry, don’t beat yourself up. There will be days like this, weeks, even. And in the end, all that matters is you are a good, loving parent.
amen to that! you hit the nail on the head.
So well put, Liz.
One of my happiest mothering memories is when both my kids got stomach flu two years ago. Crazy, right? I had them both snuggled into the couch, hooked up to PBS, and I’d sit with them and knit or make them tea and toast and every hour or so one of them would throw up all over and I’d have to strip off their blankets and clothes, get them re-dressed and re-snuggled and get another load of laundry going. There was nothing to do but love and laugh and be in the moment.
If there is anything I’ve learned from being a mama is to be flexible, as things change constantly. This is VERY challenging for me, because I like routine. It can be a good, as in “this behavior is just a phase”, or poignant, as in “my youngest just weaned off breastfeeding”. Along with “they grow up so fast”, I wish our cultural wisdom included this advice for new parents “your daily rhythm will change on a monthly basis, don’t hold too tightly to it, and trust it’s evolution.”
Our bare minimum rhythm always includes home-prepared meals around the kitchen table, storytime before bed, and bedtime snuggles. These are the anchors in our day.
Isn’t it amazing that one of your happiest mothering memories involves barf? And I totally get it.
I love the idea of a bare minimum rhythm, and I love yours! I want to articulate that for myself.
I just found your blog tonight. And shared this post and the recent one on New Year’s on my FB page. Lovely site. Thank you!
Thank you so much, Vanessa! Lovely to connect.