Illness, guilt and parenting

I’m feeling the need to have a rant.  I also write a blog.

The two go together perfectly.

As some of my readers may be aware, I hate being ill and I am incredibly disappointed in the human race for not yet delivering to me a cure for common pesky viruses.

Ok I’m not dying or anything and I totally deserve whatever you may throw at me in terms of “pull yourself together, woman!” or “you don’t know how lucky you are!”.  But I’m still ranting.

Recently, I suffered from the illness many parents dread, and from which they tend to suffer (if you’re like me) around once a year.

The vomiting bug.  Rotavirus.  Norovirus.  I’m sure it has many different names (I could give it one).

It did its usual trick – came on very suddenley in the middle of the night, just as I was enjoying some blissful slumber after a week or two of get ups with a coughing three year old. After the necessary vomiting, aching muscles and general malaise followed.

I rant about having the norovirus and feel guilty as a parent for being ill

Before children, of course I would have taken a pragmatic view and rested the next day – perhaps lying on the sofa watching films, wrapped up nice and cosy, waiting for the illness to pass.

But now of course, my winter vomiting bug day went something like this:

7am: First child wakes up and wants my attention. I turn over, unable to get up and ask my fiancee to deal with it. I feel guilty, as well as rotten.

8am: We’ve progressed to getting the children ready. I just about manage to get our one year old dressed. I’m not my usual exuberant self and think she must wonder why. I feel guilty.

9am: Phone in work and tell them I’m sick. Feel guilty. Arrange care for the chidren. Feel guilty for asking.

9:15am through to about 2pm: Intermittent sleep, waking up, feeling fretful and guilty about not doing stuff. I could be getting some washing on, putting those picture frames up, at least doing some online grocery shopping.

2pm: Decide to try and eat something. Put a crumpet in the toaster as I think it’s all I can manage. Wash some crockery up at the same time. Feel awful and go back to bed.

Feel guilty…and so the day went on until I gave up, admitted defeat and went to bed for good.

Of course such a common bug only last for around 24 hours, but it leaves you feeling generally rubbish and not quite yourself for a good few days afterwards. I remember fiancee telling me “you’ve been grumpy for two days now!”.

I guess my ranty point is that it’s hard enough dealing with work, organising the children and all the general stuff that goes on in my head about school applications, picking presciptions up on time, dentists appointments, writing thank you letters, sorting out some swimming lessons, remembering to pay for ballet class.

Being ill just tips me over into ultimate grumpiness as it interrupts my life and my children don’t understand that I can’t be the same person, just for that day or two, even if I try.


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Working Mum of two, living in Didsbury, Manchester, in a house which breeds washing, mushed up raisins and various toys in the brightest primary colours. Oh, and the odd empty wine glass.

26 thoughts to “Illness, guilt and parenting”

  1. have you been reading my mind mrs? ive had an awful chesty cough/sore throat the past couple of days and i feel TERRIBLE that ive been no fun and not able to do the simplest of things. i agree that pre kids you could get over illnesses with minimum fuss and no guilt 🙁

  2. hi, its so horrible being ill when your parent, you can never be truly ill! You cant pull the covers over your head and stay in bed and just give into it. The guilt feeling is even worse, when your dragging yourself around the house feeling rubbish and not wanting to see or talk to anyone. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. I feel your pain! I had the bug 2 weeks ago – I had to wait to go to my death bed until 6pm on the Friday when OH got home from work – In the meantime I cooked the 3 kids a full roast dinner. I was told I had until 7.30am the next day when OH leaves to go to work to be ill. I may have had a rant on FB! x

  4. It’s awful being poorly isn’t it! The kids just expect you to carry on regardless! That’s what being a parent is about though I guess – never putting yourself first! So difficult sometimes.

  5. I can completely sympathise, I have been the same recently, a few days of work and I felt terrible for sending the children to childcare and not getting the house spotless. And being snappy and not myself with the kids. It’s easier said than done but you need to let the guilt go and relax, hope you’re feeling all better now? X

  6. Being ill when you’re a mum is crap as you just want to wallow in a self-indulgent heap on the couch but unfortunately can’t. They never made that point clear in the mummy handbook: being poorly is simply not allowed!
    Hope you feel better soon xxx

  7. Hope you are feeling better soon. It’s very hard to be ill and have children because our work never sleeps. Bless you. Never feel guilty we have all been there too.

  8. Being ill with kids to contend with too is a nightmare. I dread gettting stomach bugs (which I am prone too) as my OH is rarely around and I just have to get on with it – how I miss the ‘die on the sofa’ days at times. #PoCoLo

  9. This is also a new challenge of parenting we are currently facing. After a month of our son being healty and bug free due to a break from nursery and a holiday in a sunny warm part of the world, he returned from his first week at nursery with a vomiting bug…and yes, you guessed it…I got it exactly 2 days after he got it! This is the first time I’ve had to look after him whilst I was wiped off my feet. We’ve had the flu together (where I moped around in a BIG way!), but this was debilitating – I completely empathise with you and all the other mums and dads out there who look after their children whilst poorly. I hope you and everyone else are on the mend…but from what people have told me, this is going to be a recurring theme for the rest of his childhood! Oh the joys!!

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