I created this graphic for my blog. I thought it appropriate for this post, as I hope you’ll realize.
I have always played this parenting thing “by ear.” While I do read books, websites, and blogs about parenting, there’s just never anything out there that tackles my situation in a specific way. Of course, that’s to be expected! We all have different families; we all have different sets of issues to deal with in our families.
I recently had to deal with a “blow” to our family, in the form of sickness. It’s the end of the summer season here in Manila, and immediately after is a rainy, monsoon season. At this time of the year, flu and colds are rampant. Within two weeks (going three), each of us in the family were struck one-by-one with sickness, starting with my son, Vito.
Having a sick child when you’re a one-woman show running a business from home means that things are positioned to get crazy in a matter of hours. For me, it meant juggling work, child care, and household duties. For the entire duration of my son’s illness, I was operating in “super mom” mode. I had to make sure I was giving him sponge baths, keeping him hydrated, making sure he ate. I also had to make sure I wasn’t neglecting my business, for the simple fact that it did bring food to the table.
I was feeling worn out already three days into my son’s malaise. It seemed too much to be able to balance work, our home, and caring for my little boy, all at the same time. And yet, I forced myself to suck it up and find some source of energy that could propel through those difficult days. In Tagalog, we have a saying that says, “Sige na,” (which loosely translated means “just go with it”), and I was telling myself that: “Sige na, Martine (Just go with it).” I felt like I didn’t have a choice.
That is, until I got sick. And I should say hellishly sick, at that. My son was down with a mere cold and fever, but the universe decided to strike me with a triple whammy: cough, cold, and asthma. Within 24 hours of my temperature going up to 38.5, I was a total mess. I had run myself ragged.
When to say “stop”
As I write this, it’s Tuesday of the week after I was bogged down by this onslaught of sickness. I’m still dealing with traces of asthma, thanks to this hacking cough. I was thinking of whether or not to write this post at all: Shouldn’t I be resting? Shouldn’t I wallow in the guilt-free misery of a soft bed and smelling salts?
Maybe for a couple of days. I actually slept for the first two days, rising only to feel slightly human again and to somehow connect with the world, even if only by social media. For the most part (when I wasn’t sleeping of course), I reflected on my “just go with it” attitude and decided: Enough is enough.
When my child gets sick, I do have the right to stop. I run my business, don’t I? A few emails here and there can easily alleviate any pressure on my end to deliver on projects and consultations. Isn’t this why I signed up for the life of the solopreneur, work at home mom, anyway?
Sickness aside, when my child needs me in any way (whether to play or just be with him), I have the right to stop and be a mother. It’s my privilege; it’s the life I want to live.
I realized that I didn’t have to beat myself up over the matter. I also needed to stop feeling like every part of my life outside that of being a mom was an obligation. I’m a mom first, a homemaker next, and work… well, I could just as well put it on “pause” if I want to. I just need to give myself the option!
Have we ever thought about the obligations we set for ourselves as moms, especially those who work, whether at home or outside the home? What have been your reflections on being “too busy” to be mom.
This is an original post by Martine de Luna for World Moms Blog. Martine is a wife, mom, work-at-homemaker, bliss-finder. She blogs over at Dainty Mom, and organizes events for work at home moms over at the WAHMderful Life. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram, her social media channels of choice.
Photo credit to the author.