Stop the world, I want to get off

Having an ill child is stressful and worrying and I wouldn’t recommend it. To parents or children. But every cloud has a silver lining (that’s unusually optimistic for me).

Having an ill child forces you to slow down and prioritise. And in a weird kind of way I’ve enjoyed having my son poorly. Just the bits where he’s pretty much himself. Not the bits where he’s been crying on the toilet.

I spend my life in a state or perpetual anxiety about all the things I have to do and haven’t done. There’s hoovering and washing and bed changing. There’s shopping, appointments to make, appointments to attend, recycling to sort.

Oh, and there’s running and blogging and school governors. Things I have chosen to do, putting further unecessary pressure on myself.

When my daughter started school my plan was to spend half of one of those two precious ‘free’ days a week reading. Because I absolutely love reading. Did that happen? No chance. Because I’ve always got a hundred things to do and I’m always panicking that I’m not going to manage them. Stop the world, I want to get off.

And then somebody gets ill and throws an enormous spanner in the works. The world grinds to a halt. I have no choice but to slow down.

I was on my way out of the door to dance class, one trainer on, one half on, when my son told me I couldn’t go because he needed me. So I didn’t go. I never miss dance class.

The next day the plan was for him to go to school, me to pick him up from school and take him to the doctor’s and me to go to work. But he wasn’t well enough for school. So he didn’t go. And I didn’t go to work. And things didn’t fall apart at work, everything was fine.

I got to read my school governor papers, rather than do my usual thing of cramming them just before my meeting. And when he didn’t go to school the next day I didn’t do my shopping or recycling and I didn’t go to my school governors’ meeting, even though I was all prepared having read my papers. And nothing went wrong. The world didn’t fall apart. In fact, the grass got cut.

And best of all, I got some quality time with my boy. We played on the Wii. How do they do that? I was dreadful, couldn’t get the hang of it at all. He even let me score a couple of goals. That’s not right, surely. He’s the child. I should be the one letting him score the goals.

I’ve always been close to my son, but he’s never been very affectionate. And over the last couple of years as football has taken over his life he has stopped being Mummy’s boy and become Daddy’s boy. Daddy wasn’t around much during his illness. And he certainly wasn’t there during the daytime. My boy knew who was the one looking after him. I didn’t do a lot. Just reassure him and sit with him when he felt poorly. And that’s all that mattered to him. It made him want kisses and cuddles more than he’s wanted them in a long time. And not just when he was feeling poorly, but when he was feeling not so poorly too. That’s a really special thing.

So although I’m not grateful my boy was ill, I am grateful that I got to spend some time just with him and I’m grateful that the world didn’t fall apart because I didn’t go running and I didn’t take my recycling out.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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10 Comments

  1. I can relate to this post a lot! I fell ill last year and am only just recovering now. The silver lining is it forced me to slow down and reconsider my life. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day stuff that you end up missing what really matters.

    Hope you son is all better now.

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  2. This is really interesting and highlights an important point that we all need to slow down a little bit, they are only little for a short time etc etc – things we all know but tend to get forgotten in the rush of day to day life. Thanks for the little reminder and I hope your boy is feeling better, Bee x

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  3. Sorry to hear you’ve been ill for so long, Stephanie. But glad it’s helped you see what’s important. I’m pleased to say my son has been well all day today, so hoping he’s properly over it now.
    Thank you both for your comments, really appreciate them. X

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  4. I know what you mean I’ve found that. Days when they are ill, but not too ill, can be quite special. As you say you put things on hold and spend time doing different things. Sometimes a slower pace is good. Glad he’s getting better.

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  5. Thanks very much, ladies. Yes, seems to be OK. Second day of being back to normal now. Going to gradually bring milk and chocolate back in and see what happens… Finger crossed, nothing will happen! x

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  6. Thanks, Emily. I really need to try to make time to spend more individual time with each of my kids. x

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  7. Arr bless, hope he is better now? I know what you mean about days like this, I love bonding days when they need you 🙂

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  8. He’s fine now, thank goodness! He’s gone back to normal now, doesn’t want my cuddles 🙁

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