Mum trumps all

I don’t normally write about my private life on here, (other than my private creative endeavors of course), but this week is different. This week my child had gastroenteritis serious enough to get us admitted to hospital.

He is starting to turn the corner, I hope, but it has really brought home to me some truths about being a mother like a snowball to the face.

Firstly, there is nothing more important than your child, especially when they are sick. I love my partner dearly, and so I almost hesitate to type that, but being an adult he can look after himself, rationalise things, and he can seek help and resources outside me. My bub, especially as he can’t speak more than a few words, is entirely dependent on us to help him. We are his entire world. Sometimes all you can do is cuddle him. My professional work and my creative work, come so far down the list of priorities in comparison that they don’t even rate a number on the list.

The other thing is that gender equality and that delicate balance we weave as joint partners in bringing up this little person go completely out the window. My child is no respecter of politics, or even other people’s feelings. All week he has pushed his father away (and is grandfather is out of the question), because he needs ME. Intensely, 24 hours, and in close contact at all times. It’s been hard on my partner to be left feeling second best, especially as they have such fun when he is well.

Someone at my work recently suggested that a colleague who was going on maternity leave at the end of the month would have a lovely relaxing time when the baby comes, reading books and putting her feet up. I confess that I did have to pipe up and put him straight – about the intensity of the relationship – about how it is hard to explain what you do all day, but your days are completely full – about how my child was so demanding when he was tiny that I lost weight as I had no chance to eat.

One of our reviewers (Ella Dee) for ‘The Milk of Female Kindness’ said that as she is not a mother, reading the book was like reading science fiction, the worlds of mothers’ real and honest experiences were so different from her own. I can completely agree with that. I don’t think you can have any real idea of the intensity of the relationship until you are caught up in its whirlwind.

Hopefully this particular whirlwind will set us down somewhere a little sunnier and calmer soon.

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6 thoughts on “Mum trumps all

  1. I agree – few things strike a terror as deep as that of an ill child. That bond you have is the next level of love – kids take us there if we’re lucky.

  2. So sorry to hear this, but glad he’s on the mend! I was in hospital with gastroenteritis as a baby of a few months old (I was actually hospitalised with bronchitis and then caught gastroenteritis while I was in there!), and I turned out just fine! Awful awful time when your kids are ill. Sending you all lots of good wishes.

    I had to laugh at the comment that your colleague would have a relaxing time once baby arrived! People who don’t have children really don’t have a clue what any of it is like, that’s not a criticism, none of us had a clue before we had children. I always kind of put it into perspective by saying that when you have a baby/young child, you can’t even go and have a shower without having to think about what to do with them while you’re in there! Also people who think that if you are home with baby rather than having to work you can get on with writing or studying, or any other projects perfectly easily – ha!

    • Thanks everyone for the good wishes. Apparently he has Salmonella, so we are hoping to get some treatment today. Ten days in, he is getting rather thin. 😦

  3. So sorry to hear the little one was poorly – hope you are okay as well, it must be so traumatic to see your child so ill! Thinking of you all and hoping to a fast recovery 🙂 xxx

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