May 31, 2010

"And she took to her bed for the rest of her days..."

This past weekend I was sick ... again. This time it was strep. And after spending all night Friday at the medi-clinic curled up on Kevin's lap, with a fever, waiting for a prescription for penicillin, I finally got the wake-up call I needed to start taking my health a little more seriously. After all, at least one member of my little family has been sick every week for the past six weeks. So either this is "just life with a kid in daycare," as my friend, Sarah, puts it, or we're all over-doing it a bit. In any case, we're never going to get well unless we spend some serious time relaxing and recuperating, and so this weekend I tried to do just that.

I took to my bed for the first time in years, as if I was some Victorian lady who'd become overwhelmed with the disappointments of life and decided to become a professional invalid. I left my husband to look after the house--or *not* look after it as he chose. I didn't care; I couldn't see any of it from my bed, with the door closed. I left his parents to look after our son. After all, that's what they'd come half-way across the country to do. And if they couldn't get him to eat a proper meal or take a proper nap, I wouldn't be the one to have to live with the consequences. Instead, I curled up with my cat, a pile of books, and napped whenever the urge took me. At least, until dinnertime on Saturday, when I started to feel antsy, and I got up to do the dishes. By Sunday, I was back to running errands, sorting clothes, and trying to play hostess to our guests.

My husband says that I'm "constitutionally unable to relax and do nothing," and to a certain extent he's right. Like my mother, I go strong all day long, picking up one project as soon as I finish another, until my batteries run out and I shut off. But this time, I really wanted to spend all weekend in bed. I'm tired of being sick, and I have of lot of mounting deadlines at work just now, and I'll need every ounce of strength to make it through the next few weeks. I'm also just tired. Deep, bone tired. I was so tired last week, that I couldn't even hold my back up straight. I just wanted a couple of days of not fixing meals, or walking the dog, or doing laundry, or going to the grocery store, or chasing a toddler--but I couldn't make it even a couple of hours.

I suspect my turn as an invalid was so short-lived because I've structured my household in such a way that it's like a Rube-Goldberg machine: every wheel and every pulley has to be in perfect sync to keep the balls rolling. Kevin does his share, but it really takes the two of us, working all the time, to keep this whole operation going. Because I always do the laundry, no one else checks the washing machine to see if anything's mouldering inside. And because I always make the grocery list one else notices if we need milk or there's chard wilting in the crisper or we're running out of toilet paper and dish soap. I'm sure most parents out there can commiserate, but perhaps there are a few out there who have figured out how to take a day off without worrying that the whole household will go to pot. Or maybe you've learned how to let the whole household go to pot for a day without worrying about it. If so, what's your secret?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm OK with the whole household going to pot. I'm just not that concerned about clutter. But my kids won't leave me in peace. Someone needs to take them out of the house, or they're pounding on the door. And there's just nothing relaxing about that.