It’s ‘mother’, not ‘martyr’

It's "mother", not "martyr". You need to look after yourself too.

I have only a small point to make today. It’s Friday, after all. I don’t want to tax you too much. But it comes by way of a little story:

My house has been flu central for the past few weeks.

(For the record, I know the difference between a cold and a flu. This was a flu. Those people who say they have the flu when they just have a cold are ruining it for everyone. This one deserved 1000 buckets of sympathy from everyone. But instead, when I said I had the flu, people would go, “Oh, yes, I had a cold last week.” IT WAS THE FLU. Thanks. Now that we have that sorted out…)

Everyone in my house got the flu, in a staggered format. First the husband (which I initially put down to a case of man-flu – sorry, pumpkin). Then the big daughter, then me and the little daughter at the same time. Then the toddler right at the end when we were congratulating ourselves on keeping him healthy. All told, my house was a heaving bucket of snot and fevers for about three weeks.

All the while, I took time off work to recover and then to care for the children. I missed out on a couple of weeks of work (being a freelancer, there ain’t no sick leave). I mopped brows, I administered panadol, I rocked babies, patted backs, watched more ABC Kids than I think I’ve ever seen in my life before (and that’s a lot!).

During this time, my ear hurt. Then it got a bit leaky and gross. Then blood started coming out. (How’s your breakfast?) But all the while, I was so focused on getting through each day, I didn’t give it more than a second thought.

Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t been able to hear from my left ear for about two weeks. I took myself off to the doc, and found out I had burst my eardrum.

Off I went to an ENT specialist who, thank goodness, says it should heal itself in 6-12 weeks and I just need to keep saying, “PARDON?”  a lot until then. Which is fine because, between that and eating dinner at 5pm, I am totally ready to be an 80 year old.

My GP: “You were lucky you didn’t do any further damage since it burst because it was very susceptible to infection.”

Me: “I guess I should have come in sooner, huh?”

My GP: “Oh, don’t worry, this is just what mothers do, isn’t it?”

And there it is. That is what we do, isn’t it? Don’t those laminated flyers in the back pocket of plane seats say you’re supposed to help yourself first and then put the oxygen mask on for your children?

What use are you to them if you are unwell?

As mothers, nobody bats an eye if we make all the sacrifices and put ourselves last – in fact, it is expected, and we seldom disappoint.

So I’ve resolved to take better care of myself – for me and for my family. Next time everyone’s sick, they can bring ME chicken soup in bed.

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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