Over the last ten weeks, our children has been repeatedly sick also. Life over the last little while, for our household, has been very much dictated by the status of individual household members' health. Routines, extra-curricular activities, attending classes and school...... all has been determined by the irregularity of being well and healthy, or being burdened with sickness.
What happens when sickness unloads itself on a household member or two? What happens when sickness unloads itself again and again, in what seems like a repetitive cycle? Does chaos take over? Do the wheels fall off the wagon and everything come to an inevitable screeching halt?
In some ways, yes.
A huge amount of pre-made plans and anticipated outcomes did come to a halt, require some adaptation or re-evaluation of their importance in the grand scheme of life, as it is known to be experienced by our particular household.
With the sudden effect of ill-health determining attendance, involvement and participation in various activities and events, came some resulting disappointment, some resignation and some resolution. Unable to deal with much of my usual domestic, as well as community involvements, an awful lot of things had to be reshuffled, or even unfortunately cancelled.
There is nothing like physical exhaustion and unrelenting pain to literally stop you in your tracks! There is nothing like repetitive illness to gradually wear the immunity reserves down! There is nothing like repetitive cycles of nights of broken sleep attending to sick loved ones, to set in motion your own health becoming somewhat shaken and out of kilter.
For much of the season just had, while we have had the children repetitively ill and then lately, while I myself have wrestled my way through having tonsillitis, we have been fortunate enough to have respite care and practical support provided by family and friends when I asked for help and assistance.
For this I am personally truly grateful. I simply could no longer function to do what I would normally do as a contributing household member. Lack of energy, ongoing tiredness due to fatigue and pain, needing to provide care for sick love ones over an extended period of time.... have all dictated the experiences and outcomes for me and my household over the last little while.
Other people had to fill in the gaps with regard to the commitments, child-care, domestic activities, etc that would have normally have been labelled mine for the taking whilst our household wrestle somewhat with repetitive illnesses. Other people had to choose to pick up what I suddenly dropped when I myself eventually became ill also. Such is the benefit of community.
Somehow chaos became calmness. The wake or two of waves from Mum leaping out her various roles within the domestic boat gradually settled, and our particular household adapted to the unanticipated circumstances as best we could, with support from our network of family and friends. Over time, rest, medication, and numerous other helpful means have helped us ride out this time of illness.
I am personally truly over any desire to try and swirl around in whatever superwoman cape I thought I had to have. Fatigue and pain have shown me much. It certainly does make you want to figure out how best to move forward again, how to be wiser and better prepared as a household team, should such an experience occur again.
Some times the need to find greater balance with regard to being people focused or task focus, simply has to be worked out by truly being real about how much energy is available during segments of each day. Some times, what we thought we had to do as chief home administrator, can get quite easily picked up by someone else, or simply prove to perhaps not to be as essential as previously thought.
When you are ill, it is your loved ones you want to see, hug and catch up with. How tidy your house is, what chores got done and when, becomes a huge non-issue. When you are ill, you have to make some hard and fast decisions about what commitments and plans do still require necessary attention. If you can, it can help to plan ahead, have some back up meals on hand in the freezer, have a special box of activities tucked away to help keep little ones cheerful and co-operative whilst Mum is under the weather.
There is NO room in your life whatsoever for pursuing a Pinterest standard domestic arrangement when you only have just enough energy to eat, sleep and toilet yourself (and that's been right real isn't it!).
And really, why go down that track under normal circumstances anyway - EVERYONE has their domestic messes and spills, they just don't pop those particular photographs up on the world wide web in all their glory!
There is no room for in your life for a huge number of programmes, plans, activities and commitments when you just can't concentrate and contribute due to fatigue and weariness. How much really is reasonably in reality, even when you are up to par and on a level peg health-wise?
I think I have come through this past ten days reflecting on some lessons about balancing things better. They are some lessons that I personally may not have had, had I not experienced such a daily struggle with physical pain and exhaustion due to tonsillitis and fatigue.
Chaos and calmness. They do go together. Community. We definitely need it, in whatever form it works out best for us to experience it.
May you too, find a balance with regard to all three, in order to have your household served well.