Way back when I was just out of college and had an office job I would occasionally take a sick day. Not because I was particularly sick; but just because I felt a little under the weather and really wanted to spend the day in bed with a good book. I thought of them as mental health days. And my employer, a behavioral psychologist, actually approved of the idea. He’d given me carte blanche to take the occasional mental health day.
This morning I was acutely aware of the fact that stay-at-home moms don’t get sick days. Especially not “mental health days”.
It’s not like I feel especially bad. Perhaps a touch of the head cold the girls have had all week.
It’s not like it was a particularly hard night. Bella was up once needing me to find her piggy. Then Ben woke up about half an hour later (just enough time for me to fall back asleep!) screaming for no apparent reason. Not wanting to go back to bed, back to sleep. I gave him some tylenol and rocked him and rocked him and he just wouldn’t sleep. This is the second night in a row he’s done this.
And this on top of the fact that I’d stayed up too late both nights,not for any good reason. Just that my sister came in right as I was going to bed and we both needed to talk and so as we’ve done so many nights in our lives we stayed up late talking and talking and talking. Far too late. And then last night it was hard to get myself settled because, well, after staying up too late one night my night owl clock gets reset and it’s hard not to keep staying up late.
But you know though I don’t get sick days I do have a sweet husband who gets the kids up and feeds them breakfast letting me sleep. And who even makes me my oatmeal when I tell him I feel awful. And who listens and stops to talk with me when I start crying and making all sorts of irrational accusations at him out of the blue. Because even when he doesn’t understand, he understands.
And yes, it will probably make him late for work; but he still takes out the trash.
He doesn’t get stay in bed all day sick days either.
Now, though, I have resources to draw on that I didn’t have back then in those long ago days of the office job. Although I can’t take a mental health day and stay in bed, I can draw strength from prayer. I didn’t have time to stop and pray the morning office before I had to jump into my day; but I uttered a small prayer, a plea for a lifeline: “God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.” I cling to Him and somehow I find the strength I need to meet the next demand with a smile.
Somehow I find myself changing a poopy diaper and blowing a raspberry on a fat toddler belly just to hear him laugh. I find myself pulling my four year-old close for a hug and another hug and another hug. I delight in helping the two year-old to choose an outfit and put it on.
Back then in those days when I had sick days there were no little boys to play with me on days when I just wanted to cry. There were no little girls to ask, “Mama, why are you crying? Are you sad?” There was no husband to ask how I like my apples cut and how much cider to put in the bottom of the pot to poach them just right.
Ok, I’d still kind of like to stay in bed all day to read and eat chocolates. But I don’t think I’d go back to the single life for all the world.
Thank you today, Lord, for the gift of peace.