Whenever I get sick (which happens all too frequently, with two kiddos in the house), I’m forced to sloooooow dooooown.
To realize that all those can’t-miss, urgent projects can wait.
That the chores I “must” keep up can wait as well.
The harried pace of life is just … life. Most of the time, anyway. But getting sick reminds me of being off after having my babies: when the days extend and stretch in entirely different ways, casting my obsessive email-checking self into shadow. Whittling my world down inside the walls of my own home. Setting my schedule to the daytime court shows I used to love growing up.
The “good” thing about getting pink eye this week? It’s highly contagious, but not debilitating … like, say, the flu. I can’t leave, but I can actually tackle projects around the house!
And with the kids at day care and my husband at work, I’ve been home … by myself.
For two days.
(Insert joke about You Know You’re a Parent When … getting pink eye is exciting. But that’s where I am.)
With my unexpected break, I’ve scrubbed most surfaces with Clorox wipes; done several loads of laundry, including all bedding; vacuumed; organized the kids’ toy bins; cleaned the fridge of all its leftovers; loaded the dishwasher twice, and actually emptied it. No more grabbing mugs and cereal bowls until my husband and I start squinting to assess whether it’s even clean or dirty anymore.
I’ve also watched a lot of “90 Day Fiance” and “Married at First Sight,” because the TV is mine and no one is here to judge me. I wrote a column in my living room with both eyes open, because it wasn’t 11 p.m. on a work night. I’m writing this post, too.
With two prescriptions putting a dent in both the pink eye and upper respiratory infection, I also went to the library today. I was able to switch out the long-ago-listened-to audiobooks I’ve been renewing out of laziness, because it’s been weeks since I made time to stop for new reads. And I had lunch with my dad — something we haven’t been able to do since I took a new job last summer. I really miss that.
I can’t tell you the last time I went out in public wearing my glasses, rather than contacts — or when I chose to forego makeup completely. I haven’t thought about what I’m wearing and how I look in it, or whether it’s covered in chocolate pudding after my three-year-old used the leg of my pants as a napkin.
The pace is slow over here. I started cooking chicken for a tamale casserole I’m putting together for dinner. It’s easy, but has multiple steps — not something I would normally attempt on a weeknight. But I have time.
It’s not that “normal” life — life as a working mom of two young kids, a busy wife, an anxious human — isn’t great. But it can be tough. Full, but with little space for me to collect myself. Rarely any time alone, aside from my long drives back and forth to the hospital where I work.
It’s easy to forget who I was … you know, before. Before I was so needed by two little people with darling faces and wide eyes.
What I used to like to … do.
Hobbies I enjoyed.
Projects I attempted.
This break was unplanned. It didn’t include daiquiris or tropical waters. I got freakin’ pink eye! It was gross.
But tomorrow, I’ll get up and return to work and our family routines feeling much more refreshed. Put-together. Caught up. Ready to tackle it all again — with coffee.
Feels kind of like cheating, though, with it being Friday and all.
Still. Little victories.