I'm not a bad mom; I'm just grateful for a (temporarily) slower change of pace.
Lenore Moritz: The kids are sick. We've got a lockdown viral situation at my house, and it's all OK by me. I'm not a sadist and, like any of you, I hate to see my child suffer -- but luckily, Tylenol and Motrin are nothing short of brightly colored, impossibly sticky miracles-in-a-bottle.
The reason I don't mind the kids' garden-variety virus is because I'm embracing it as an excuse to slow down. Five days into fevers, you'd think I'd be bananas from being cooped up, but I've conditioned myself to try to find the bright side of things. (I'm not Darwin, but I think that's part of "survival of the fittest" ... or at least "survival of the sanest.") I've been reflecting on what's actually been pleasant about my kids' illnesses.
... The Fountain of Forbidden Liquids: Normally, I'm a "milk and water mom" -- probably because milk goes much better than juice with the Oreos and candy I let them eat. But to the boys' delight, illness means open season on liquids: juice and chocolate milk to their heart's content ... hell, they can even drink bath water, just as long as they're staying hydrated!
... Quarantine: We can't be around anyone. No activities, no playdates. Some might find this maddening, but a long time ago I took the Myers-Briggs test and discovered that I'm the kind of extrovert who needs personal space to re-energize and regroup. I love our friends, but some forced quiet time is not unwelcome.
... Kid Television: It's really good. It always has a point, and any character who whines too much is silenced with an important and gently delivered lesson. I wish I had the endless patience and wisdom that Big Bird possesses. (Though even he's not infallible: He was going to leave the Street and move to the jungle because a smarmy real-estate guy sold him on it. Hilarious.) Anyway, in the boys' drippy states, we've been logging quite a few hours of kid TV, and there's nothing inane about it.
... Snuggling: Sure, we snuggle when no one's sick, but it competes with building, coloring, bike riding and other active things that take place when they're not dishrags. I adore more time to snuggle and cozy up, even if that close contact means your sleeve becomes a snot receptacle.
... Appreciating Health: Their eyes are still swollen and a little goopy and they're still dragging a bit, but as their fevers start to fall to the 100/101 range, my little germy ones are bouncing back -- and it's thrilling to begin to see hints of all their glorious kid-ness. I'm even looking forward to sounding like a broken record: No climbing on the table, no coloring the rug, no throwing your food ....
True, I'm behind on my work and I'm really tired because I'm getting up in the middle of the night to comfort them. But in a warped kind of way, it's not beyond reason to see how a little nonthreatening virus can serve as a welcome respite from the busy routine of life.
|Lenore Moritz is the curator/editor of Mom Culture, a culture fix for your inner grownup. Each Friday, a new artist interview -- and their art -- will inspire and energize you. High culture, pop culture and everything in between is covered.|