I have to start with a thank you to Sadia for taking the initiative to get a publication schedule set up and to recruit some new bloggers for HDYDI!
When you have three preschoolers, including twins, managing home, childcare, work, volunteer work and everything else that comes with motherhood is a continual balancing act. It doesn’t take much to upset the delicate balance that allows everything to flow smoothly, while still having the flexibility needed to deal with the inevitable, unexpected challenges. Last winter that balance was literally disrupted when I was diagnosed with vertigo just a few weeks after getting anemia (probably a long term consequence of my twin pregnancy). I felt like I was continually about to fall over – or maybe the world was about to spin out from under me. The finely-tuned system that ensured our commitments were met melted down. Everything from the kids got to playschool on time to buying groceries, from marking assignments to paying bills, from watering plants to putting away laundry was suddenly a challenge that required energy, concentration and balance that I had taken for granted. Even comforting a crying child was a new challenge since I couldn’t sway from side-to-side or rock back-and-forth without feeling nauseous.
The medication that gradually helped with the vertigo left me tired. I had to ration my energy to get through the day. I had to learn to let go of my expectations of what I could accomplish in a day. Our children got to watch more TV that I would usually allow, they ate grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner at least once or twice a week, and my husband had to take over the bedtime routine so I could lie in bed waiting for the medication to stop the world from spinning.
I had to find new ways to be present with my children. While I lay in bed, I would cuddle one of our girls on each side. I would talk to them, tell the stories and hold them close. The drive to playschool with my son was another challenge. I didn’t feel well and he was reluctant to go. Finally, I stopped fighting with him. I realized that the situation wasn’t working. I don’t know if he was picking up on my anxiety and the uncertainty at home or if there were other reasons he protested so much about going, but we just stopped going. It was what I need for my health and wellbeing as much as what he needed.
Things that I didn’t need to look after were picked up by other people, or if they weren’t essential they just didn’t happen. Extras were pushed to the side, until they fell over the edge. Unfortunately managing this blog was one of the things that didn’t get the attention it needed.
It is now almost a year later. The year has been filled a series of ongoing health challenges following the vertigo. I’ve finally realized I need to use my time and energy differently to be healthy. In my upcoming posts, I plan to share more of these insights and some of the strategies I used to be the best mother I could as struggled to stand, to leave the house and to look after myself.