Parenting without a net

It’s been a rough week here, but we’re starting to find our way out of it.  Benjamin is better, Dan avoided getting the worst of this, and Liam and I are (hopefully) in the final phases of kicking this flu (or flu-like whatever-it-was) out of our bodies.

I think we’ve been through more than our fair share of weeklong illnesses in the past year — not just that we’ve been sick more often than usual, but that the illnesses we’ve had seem to hang on a bit longer.  And, to be honest, I think we’ve handled some of it less than gracefully.  This blog is a testament to the fact that I’ve gotten a bit whiny and grumpy at times about our recurring illnesses.

But, this thing we’re doing here is challenging.  I suspect that the fatigue caused by parenting in an environment with a consistently elevated level of stress (moving, travelling, being out of our element, every little thing being such a challenge) coupled with not having a local support structure (no Grandma to come and help, few friends to impose upon, young babysitters with few available hours and lots of commitments, not even a pizza guy to call when it’s been a long day) contributes a great deal to the frequency and duration of our illnesses.  (Benjamin attending school for the first time can’t help, either, because we’re all constantly being exposed to new germs and such.)

With things being the way they are, once any one of us gets sick, it’s fairly inevitable for the rest of us.  Once one of the kids is sick, Dan & I share the sleep-deprivation which ensues, which wears us down, and then we succumb to the sickness, too.  And then, with it just being us, with Dan working full time, Benjamin in school half a day and Liam home all day, there’s not any real chance to rest and recover, so we stay sick.

It’s like swimming in the ocean and accidentally getting a lungful of water.  It’s no big deal if you can sort yourself out, with your feet firmly on the sand, before the next big wave hits.  It’s another matter entirely when the surf is rough and you’re in water over your head.

The logistics of living here aren’t as easy as we thought they’d be.  We haven’t been able to find a good babysitter for more than an hour a week, and our days are so packed that it’s nearly impossible to give each other a break of more than an hour or so at a time (and if you’re coming off of a sleepless night, that’s not a lot of relief, especially when you’ve got the flu).

I’m not sharing this to complain.  I’m saying this as a reminder to give myself a break, to be understanding of (however) we handle this challenge.  I’m still glad we’re here, and I’m still glad we’re doing this.  But it isn’t easy.  (And I really miss having my mom nearby.)

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