Not Letting Illness Knock Down Our House Of Cards

Yesterday I got the call. We were due, really. It had been two weeks, and of course, like clockwork, it was time for our kids to get sick.IMG_3176

Mia grabbed their bunnies and blankies so that she could make a bed. Mia loves to parent Everly, it melts my heart.

Everly’s daycare called letting me know that she hadn’t been acting like herself and she had a mild fever.¬†I took a deep breath, dropped what work I had planned for the day and raced to pick her up.

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Although Illness is very common when you have young kids, it has probably been the biggest source of tension in our home.For a long time, whenever a crying, sick child would wake us, or hours would pass and no matter how much consoling we did, and we couldn’t seem to soothe our child, those moments would make us snap.

Mike and I are pretty great parents, in my opinion, but it somehow seems like to too much when our kids are sick.

It is an unpredictable, messy, pressure cooker situation. A wrench into our world. A situation that we can try to help, but cannot fully control. It pains us to see them in pain. Mix that feeling of helplessness with exhaustion and you have a recipe for bickering.

We are working on this, and I am seeing progress. This morning we walked into a sick bedroom. We both stayed calm and knew what task was who’s. No freaking out. Just action, communication and making decisions as a team for our sick child.

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That kind of teamwork is a big deal for us. We are growing, both as parents and as a couple.

We know that a couple of events that occurred when we first became parents, have made us hyper sensitive to any time our kids are ill, or struggling.

You can read ‘My Traumatic Start To Motherhood And How It Changed Me As A Parent’ here.

For a long time we couldn’t grasp a healthy perspective when our kids got sick. We would turn on each other and release our worry, stress and helplessness on the other person.

But with time, experience, patience and communication, we are handling these common real-life parenting experiences with strength and calm.

We are no longer letting illness allow our world to come crashing down. Heaven forbid, if we are ever confronted with a real crisis, we will now be able to face it as a team.

The Art Of Trading Off

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Last week, illness entered our house. It took hold of our twins one by one and then circled back to each of them once more.

My husband Mike and I know exactly what to do when our kids are sick. After more than six years of being parents and having four kids, we have figured out what medicines to use, how much to give, how to hydrate, when a cry is a “sick cry,” who cleans the sick child while the other changes the sheets and at what point they need to see a doctor.

But when your child is only sleeping in 30 minute intervals, and has you awake for most of the night, it can feel like you are in a pressure cooker.

For the first part of the night, we usually have our rhythm. But then this point hits, where we would start to snap at each other and fight about things that don’t even make sense.

Over the years we have learned that it is so important, (especially when an illness lingers), that we communicate with the other person when we feel like we have nothing else left to give.

A few days into our outbreak, Mike was unravelling. In fact, he was telling me about things that were irritating him that didn’t even make sense to me. It reminded me of when I get really bad PMS and my nerves feel raw.

I took charge and told him that I was taking over. I did all of the night waking, medicine administering and comforting. He slept and recharged.

But by Saturday morning, although Mike was back to himself again, I was the one who was crashing. Only for me, it was a physical toll the stress and lack of sleep was taking.

He immediately jumped into action, took over with the kids and let me hide in bed all morning. I knew that the house might be a mess when I emerged, but I was okay with that.

Eventually the days passed and everyone is healthier. Although we each feel a bit ragged, there is this sense of victory that we feel.

If you and your marriage are going to survive parenthood, and yes I am using the word survive, then you need to not only master the art of “survival mode,” but of also “trading off.”

That includes communicating with the other person when you are DONE and avoid picking meaningless fights, or snapping at the other person. This also means that when the other person is in charge, you give up control. You don’t micromanage or judge if other things fall by the wayside.

We all go through it. Having sick kids sucks. But there is something incredibly rewarding when your little one turns the corner, starts smiling again and life returns to normal… at least until the next illness hits.

Here is a video of me emerging from my Netflix cocoon on that Saturday morning…

 

 

 

Leaving My Family Is Good For My Marriage

At Blissdom conferenceI left my family for a few days, and it feels amazing. I have slowed down, eaten hot meals at my own pace and have enjoyed both talking to adults and enjoying the silence of my hotel room… heaven.

I am off at a blogging conference a couple hours away from my home, at BlissDom Canada. I am here networking, learning and being inspired. These are my people.At Blue Mountain

Enjoying the picturesque sights at Blue Mountain Village in Collingwood, Ontario

If you have been following my blog, you would know that the last few months have been a tad stressful. Ha! More like can’t catch a breath, feeling like I am drowning stress. Between my kids being sick, living with two toddlers, plus two big kids and all that goes into making lunches, meals, giving baths, playing, cuddling and school drop offs, while running my blog… it’s been wild.

I have been trying to express to my husband, Mike, the level of exhaustion and stress I have been experiencing. Although he has somewhat been hearing me, the magnitude of what my life is at the moment has now sunk in for him in a deliciously real way.

Let me present the series of texts that I have received from him in the past 24 hours… (yes, I have his permission to share these).

Desperate text from husband

The text above was during the last stretch of getting our four kids to bed last night. Here is the text I read when I woke up this morning, that he had sent me in the middle of the night:Text from husband

and…

Text from husband 2If you are a mother, you probably get that hearing these words is so incredibly affirming. Hearing this also makes me feel relieved, knowing that I am, in fact, not crazy. Because let me tell you, there are days where I feel like I am losing my marbles.

I think it is so important for moms to leave their families for a brief time (even if it is just for a few hours) to get a mental break. If possible, have your spouse or significant other step into your shoes.

Although I am loving my time away, I cannot wait to arrive home and re-join the incredible team I am on.

Photo by Sarah Martin Photography

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