Friday, July 16, 2010

Parenting during illness

Wow, the last 2 days have not been good. I needed a day to recover from our 2-day trip and didn't get it because of my son's accident - I had to drive to the scene and help him out with al the red tape. I am so thankful he is okay. That's part of being a parent and I feel that for the most part, I'm a pretty lousy parent at his point in my life. My kids can't really count on me; I am too sick. I've been reflecting on that a lot. I was once a good mom, a GREAT mom actually. When they were little I took them everywhere and exposed them to everything - arts, music, animals, hiking, nature, sports - you name it and we were there. I worked every weekend and had weekdays off which was great because we never had to get day care. We were very proud that we raised our kids ourselves, and everything we did was as a family. I wish I could still be that mom, the one who could attend all their events, be there to help them with things, spend time doing fun things together, but I am not. The last 2 days I spent mostly in bed. Can't do much mothering from that vantage point. It's a huge loss for me.

One of the things I did while I was on treatment (our youngest was in high school) was to make my husband go to all of her sporting events. He never missed one, home or away. While I was sad I couldn't go it was my way of supporting her and I'd arrange to have someone come over when I was too sick to take care of myself, but most nights I just toughed it out. He'd call me at intervals to give me an update (and check on me, of course).

It's very difficult to be an effective parent when you are ill. Your kids cannot count on you. Sometimes, you feel invisible because everything is going on around you and you're just in the background ("the sick person"). This has been extremely difficult for me, probably THE most difficult. And I realize how hard this is for them too....they handle it in their own ways, sometimes well and other times not so well but they hurt too. They must. Going to try my best yet again today.