Tag Archives: patience

“Mama, you are just like a nurse.”

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For much of the past week, the hubby has had a bit of a cold. Nothing earth shattering and for the most part, he handles himself well when sick.

However, when either of us are sick, we tend to sleep separately. Just makes it easier so the tossing and turning won’t keep the other up and the sickie can get comfortable without having to account for another person. So this week, I have slept on the couch a few nights. No biggie.

Two nights ago, since I had to go to work the next day and he didn’t, he suggested Newt and I go to sleep in our bed and he would sleep on the couch. No problemo. It would save time from our nighttime routine when I put her to bed. She fell asleep fine but I couldn’t fall asleep until probably 2 am. Again- whatever. It happens to me a couple of times a week.

Until approximately an hour later, when I woke to the sounds of my sweet daughter violently retching in my bed. I guess the best thing about the rest of that night is that she was turned away from me and most of the considerable mess landed on the floor and down the side of the mattress.

I did a pretty good job suppressing my own gag reflex until I was safely in a different room than the kiddo, who kept apologizing. I spent the rest of the night doing laundry, holding her hair and her, and cleaning up puke. Eventually my husband joined in to help and we ended up blowing up the air mattress and all 3 of us slept in the living room.

As the sun was coming up, Newt and I had a nice moment noticing that had we actually slept, my alarm would be going off at that moment in time. Instead, we were sitting on a blow up mattress watching old Smurfs cartoons with a puke bucket between us. Good times.

Midway through the next day (yesterday for those keeping track), I started to feel not only queasy, but also a sore throat coming on. The good ole double whammy. But, I pressed on, trying to work from home and take care of the family. Several hours later, after much frustration and not much work done, it was almost time for bed. And then, the love of my life (besides my kid), stretched his legs out and kicked the coffee table, splitting his big toe nail in half and breaking in down about half way. Cursing and blood ensued.

Newt cried to see her daddy in pain, but as soon as I grabbed the first aid supplies, she was stopped and watched intently as I cleaned his wounds and carefully bandaged his toe. She commented, “Mama, you are just like a nurse.” I was pleased that she recognized the additional hat I had been wearing for the last several days.

That’s the thing. Moms often have to be like nurses. And teachers and therapists and cops and seamstresses and short order cooks and chauffeurs and secretaries and mediators and the list goes on and on. We have to know how to do a lot of things (or how to use Google well) and we don’t usually have time to prepare for which skills we might need to use in a given moment. And we have to do these things even when we are not feeling well ourselves.

So this week, even though I was hit with the double whammy of 2 different illnesses at the same time, thankfully I had the “mom versions” of them, which is apparently when moms feel symptoms less intensely than other family members in order to still carry on their “nursing” duties. The mom version of the illness does seem to come with the additional symptom (at least for me) of significant irritability when not directly administering comforting measures to others.

Oh- and to my husband- if you think that the little trick that you did with your toe will get you out of our triple date tomorrow to go paint pottery- you are sorely mistaken.  Love you!

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You’re a child therapist? You got this mom thing covered, right?

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Some light reading while hanging out with mom at work.

Some light reading while hanging out with mom at work.

There I was, screaming at her. Screaming at my beautiful, sweet (then) 4 year old daughter. About a dress. She wanted to wear a super fancy dress and I wanted her to wear a regular every day dress, and we drew our lines in the sand. I was tired, stressed and overwhelmed. Not about a dress I’m sure, just about getting through the day to day. I had to get her dressed and fed, the dogs fed and let out and myself dressed and off to work. I did not have time for an argument about a dress, especially when it was *clearly* an inappropriate dress to wear on a regular day. She was screaming back at me, tears rolling down her red face. Both of us making our arguments and neither of us listening to each other.

After several minutes, I just grabbed her. Grabbed her and hugged her because at that moment I wanted to do everything but. She quickly calmed down and so did I. The rest of the morning went off without a hitch.

I can’t remember what dress she ended up wearing that day. THAT is how unimportant the subject of our disagreement was. I do remember how I felt. I felt sad and angry. I felt ashamed at myself for losing it. But most of all I felt like a failure, not just in my “mom” moment, but also in my career.

 I have been a mental health therapist for almost 16 years and much of my work has been with children and their families. People come to me to help them figure out how to make their day to day routines smoother. How to deal with children with significant emotional and behavioral problems. I know all about child development. I know about behavior management. I know some pretty creative ways to reach kids and I know the importance of communication and self-regulation and assertiveness and nurturing and structure and limits and patience. Especially patience.

So, of course I felt like a failure when despite all of my knowledge about children and managing behaviors and letting things that don’t matter go, I resorted to screaming and ineffective parenting. I felt like a fraud.

Sometimes I forget a very simple fact.

I am not perfect. I am human.

I am not always the best mom, or the best therapist, or the best wife or the best friend. Sometimes I am not even particularly good at those things. But I always keep trying and keep learning.

I am learning to be patient with myself. I am learning to be kinder to myself. I am learning to allow myself to be human.

-Kat