Day number ten. That’s ten whole days at home with a sick child. It’s as if they planned it behind my back. When one kid got better, the next kid got sick!
Instead of taking off work, which I couldn’t do entirely, I played ‘stay-at-home-working-single-mom’ for ten days. It’s not a fun game, don’t try it.
I had just about had it on day ten when I was standing at the sink doing dishes feeling perplexed. Perplexed because I had just finished the dishes! Why was I standing there, but yet again, with a full sink of dishes? And lucky me, because I keep kosher, my reward is I actually had two sinks filled with dishes! The crazy thing about dishes is, if I don’t do them, they just pile up like unwanted smelly guests. And as I stood there pondering the unnatural phenomenon of the disappearing and reappearing act of dishes, I suddenly became acutely aware of my posture. I looked down, saw my furry pink slippers, dropped the sponge in the sink and started looking through my shoes. I was feeling tired, yucky, sorry for myself and mankind in general and I thought: why don’t I ever wear heels!? So I put on high heels; the crazy ones that I never wear. Then I went back to finish the dishes.
I only got one more pot scrubbed when I heard my son scream, “Moooooommy!” Great. “That’s it, he’s awake” I thought and clickety clacked towards his room. “Had a good nap?” I smiled standing tall in my shoes.
The next few hours were a parade of craziness which included, but (trust me) was not limited to, the following: Placed more laundry in the washing machine, but only after the wet clothes went in the dryer. This was load number four for the day! Gave the sick kid chicken soup. Made sure the sick kid was drinking. Made sure the sick kid was taking his medicine. Answered the call for work and pretended I was sitting at my computer while putting on a movie on the laptop for the sick kid. (“Watch!”) Hung up the call with an immediate follow up urgent three emails regarding the work call. (“Keep watching!”) Swept the floor. Picked up toys. Wrote another work email. Then when I was ready to close the laptop and give the sick kid some TLC, the person from work answered the email. Uch, I have to answer this. And finish that thing he needed me to do today. Shoot, I also need to send that thing she needed yesterday. “Can’t lose the job, can’t lose the job!” I’m singing to myself as I’m typing. (“Just keep watching!”)
Just when I send the last email (for now) I realize I need coffee before I tend to the sick kid. But I’m still feeling yucky and tired. So while the water is boiling (“1 more min and I’m shutting the laptop!”) I go and put some hot red lipstick on. For no reason. Just because. Ahhh, that looks better. I even feel better. And a bit of mascara and bronzer never killed anyone in the middle of the day!
Clickety clack, with red lipstick, I made myself a coffee and finally closed the laptop. I sat with the sick kid and he started crying. “Everything hurts! My head! My tummy! My body!” I put the coffee down already knowing I’ll get to drink it somewhere between an hour from now and never, and I held my child and rocked him. With the heels and red lipstick.
He’s screaming … and I’m losing my mind so I had to go for drastic measures! I gave my son a massage with essential oils. But why should he smell nice and not me? I still felt icky and gross! So I took my perfume and started to spray it all over myself. Why shouldn’t I smell nice while at home taking care of a sick child, as a single parent, juggling the cleaning, cooking, shopping and my work load? Huh?
As my son was moaning on my lap, I read him a book. The mother of Elmo was wearing an apron because clearly she’s a stay-at-home-monster-mom. That did it! I put the sick kid on the couch with the book and my PJ’s came off and I put on a nice dress.
Klickety clack, red lips, smelling nice and with a cute dress… I then decided it was time to clean the toilet. Then I finally finished the dishes, welcomed my second son home, did homework with him, fed them dinner (with plastic utensils so not to have more dishes), bathed them, read them books, showed them I loved them with one hand and magically folded laundry with the other, and tucked them in. Good night sweet delicious children. And if you don’t go to sleep this minute, I will run out of here crying and abandon all my motherly obligations forever and you’ll never see me again! Got it? Good night. Kiss kiss.
Clickety clack, back to my computer. Now I had to cramp a full day’s work into a few hours in the evening.
I guess the bottom line is, it ain’t easy. No one said it should be or would be. But the beauty of the mundane is its opportunities. Its opportunities to feel grateful for a home, food, and generally healthy children. The opportunity to be grateful I have a job that’s flexible when I need it to be. The opportunity to realize that if I can do this, I can do anything. And the opportunity to sit down late at night, with my now cold coffee, in heels and red lipstick, and take a deep breath.
Then back into PJs and finally to bed. Before my alarm goes off in the morning, I also have the opportunity to be grateful to sleep for six hours, if I’m lucky. What a blessing. And as I drop off to sleep, I smile hearing the clickety clack noises in my head.
“Tomorrow” I think, “I’m going to wear the pink lipstick instead. It goes better with that dress!”