Well, let me just say this…2019 has hit me hard with a big ol’ slap in the face. My first post, which I put out on New Years Day, was so hopeful and I was really looking forward to the new year and all the possibilities that it could bring and all the things I was going to achieve. Then the evening of the 1st I started to feel bad…nothing terrible just a little uneasy stomach and kind of tired. Probably from taking down all the Christmas decor and maybe a little too much on the black-eyed peas and cabbage at lunch…you know, a little “health and wealth” for the new year.
But it did get worse and what I thought was a simple stomach bug landed me in my doctor’s office getting IV fluids and finding out I had a highly contagious intestinal infection called C. diff (If you care to know more about that…just Google it. I’m not a doctor so I don’t want to get into any sort of details.). Luckily, we had already sent our kiddos away to my parents’ house when I thought it was “just a bug” so the fear of them catching it wasn’t too great. We worked out a quick plan to get us through the first few days with childcare and then we could re-assess things. My doctor advised me to stay home and essentially quarantine myself until I completed my full 10-day round of antibiotics. So no kids, no work, no church, no nothing for 10 days. Plus, even though I was feeling pretty terrible, I would get to just lay on my couch all day watching movies, playing Sudoku, reading, having prayer time…sounds like a vacation, right?!
It quickly occurred to me that my daughter would be heading back to school this week. I take her to school every day. We say our morning prayer together right as we get into town. My husband and I help her with homework every night. We pack her lunch, fill up her water bottle for the next day, and set out clothes together. Who was going to do that?
It’s not that no one else is capable of doing these things, but it just made me feel so helpless, panicked and a burden to everyone. I’m so lucky that my wonderful in-laws stepped in to help with the kids and getting my daughter to and from school. I’m so lucky that my parents pitched in to pick up my meds, help with the kids, and make me chicken noodle soup (which truly heals anything). I’m so lucky that I have a husband who was floating between places to make sure I’m taken care of and that he is still spending some quality time with the kids so they won’t feel too abandoned (although they do enjoy getting to have sleepovers with their grandparents, so I don’t think they minded too much…lol!). As lucky as I am, it all bothered me.
And it got me thinking…how bad am I at accepting help? Or, as I have been forced to do in this case…ASK for help? I’m going to heal (thank God) and this will all be over soon enough and life will be back to “normal” but is there a lesson to be learned here? I think, as mothers especially, we are so stubborn sometimes (or at least I am). We have such a high expectation of ourselves…we should be able to do it all. We should be able to be the working woman, the mom, and the housewife. We should be able to have a nice meal on the table every night and sit down with our family and have meaningful conversations (with our 3-year-old…yeah right!). We should be able to keep things afloat no matter what and be THE BEST wife, mother, daughter, and friend to everyone.
I feel like I have been really humbled during this brief time of illness where I truly had ZERO control over anything.
I need to stop trying to be everything to everyone. No one expects that of me…I only expect it of myself. And by doing that, I am putting so much pressure and stress on myself and the others around me. When I found out I couldn’t be around the kids for 10 days (when I had no choice) I was so quick to call in the recruits and ask for help, even though I was apologizing the whole time. I think back to when the kids were newborns…had I not been so determined that I could do it all myself, how much happier would we all have been? If only I had asked for help so that I could take a nap every couple of days, or if I had asked for help in keeping up around the house? Why is that so difficult?
I think there is something we can all learn from this. People always say “It takes a village!” but then do we really let our village help us? Or, do we let our pride get in the way and keep the village just outside the fence? I think about when people have let me help them during times of need, and it feels good! Let’s allow our village to give us a hand, and not just when we have no choice. Actually, let’s ASK our village to help us. I appreciate everyone who has helped me during this time and I really hope that, going forward, I won’t be so resistant in asking others for help in times of need.