The life of a mom with a sick toddler

Being a mom is amazing and wonderful but also horrific.

That’s right being a mom can be down right awful.  And today was a clear illustration of how it can be so awful.

At around 4 this morning my daughter woke up with a fever of 102.  I know she has been getting teeth but this is slightly higher than a normal teething fever.  I of course start to think of all the common childhood ailments she could possibly have.  Ear infection?  No tugging at her ear.  Strep?  I can’t think of an exposure.  Pink eye?  Other than tears there is nothing unusual about her eyes.  At this point it’s probably prudent to point out she has been teething but her fever has been higher than the low-grade fever associated with teething and her stuffy/runny nose and unusual dirty diapers really point towards something else going on too.

And the fever keeps climbing.  We reached 103.8 today and an uncharacteristic 3 and 1/2 hour nap.

Obviously a sick child you can’t instantly cure is bad in and of itself, maybe one of the worst things for a mom with an otherwise healthy toddler, but almost worse is the secret enjoyment of the extra snuggles.  Hoping her nap would last just one more hour so you can snuggle her just a little longer.

This not so secret wish is not the worst thing ever but it does feel just a little contradictory to appreciate the snuggles your little one is giving because of how miserable he or she is feeling.  With that appreciation comes a little guilt, as her mother how can I enjoy something (even in the most innocent way) making her so miserable?

And as the day draws to a close and we still have a 102+ fever, I begin to acutely feel the struggle of being a working mom and the awful contribution I add to the working mom vs. stay at home mom debate.

While all of my competing priorities float around in my head I am trying to find a solution that will not compromise my responsibility to either my family or my job.  There are things at work that need to get done and with this week already being a short week due to the holiday and planned time off, it just doesn’t seem acceptable to take an additional day off, even if my daughter is sick.  Which is in direct conflict with the way my team has always responded to such situations.

And then there is my daughter’s return to daycare after the Summer off.  She is supposed to go tomorrow for the first time this school year and it just feels flaky to tell my daycare provider that my daughter won’t be there.

In both situations do they think my daughter is sick too often?  Do they think I over react?  And do they secretly roll their eyes because I take off the time to be with my daughter far more often than my husband?  It’s almost a more significant concern as I work with medical professionals … I assume that as a default of their training they are subconsciously or automatically evaluating the situation.  While I realize that is slightly silly because they obviously have better things to do with their time and brain power, it’s a regular back of mind concern.

And now you are likely wondering how this contributes to the stay at home vs. working mom debate.  I am so jealous of stay at home moms everywhere.  This is not a debate they have, they don’t have to have that internal battle of such competing priorities.  I wish I could never have to question if my daughter really needs me home or have to entertain the guilt that results from knowing I have to let someone down.  Real or imagined there is regular fear of judgement and doubt.

Of course we all question ourselves and have self doubt sometimes, and of course I realize that stay at home moms have their own battle to fight but I can hear the judgement of the moms who balance it all as I think I should, the moms who don’t have the same competing priorities and the moms who would never doubt themselves.

I don’t know if those people actually exist out there in the world or if they are made up in my head, but in moments like this they are very real either way.

As if that wasn’t enough, today was the first time our daughter really looked for Lucy.  It was a short lived search and she quickly moved on but she sat in her chair and called ‘Lucy, Lucy, where are you’.  Just over a week after her death, our daughter still remembers her – a really bittersweet realization.

This week is also the week we finally get the drain tile in, turns out that the water in the basement was really the least of our worries.  Seems this was an issue well before we knew it and resulted in some mold under the carpet, behind the drywall, and behind the cabinets.  Now that 90% of everything is torn out (thanks to my wonderful husband, and my dad and brother) we will have all the drain tile installed on Thursday and Friday.

I think it’s safe to say this week is another crazy week with just a little too much going on.


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