Supermom

I was messaging with a friend this morning who is suffering from a migraine. She has had it since yesterday morning and still went into work and accomplished a full day. Last night it was at a point where she was considering going to get something stronger from the hospital to help her manage the pain. But like a lot of people that I know (myself included) she pushed through it, ignoring the brutal throbbing in her head. After a full day she went home and made dinner for her children and got ready for today.
We spoke for a little while last evening and she did manage to lay down for a bit but that did nothing to ease the pain. I am assuming that she thought that this morning it would either be gone or have subsided.
Fast forward to my waking up at 3:58 a.m. and ready to start my day. I made myself coffee and as it brewed sat on the couch sending my good morning texts and gif’s to my circle. I do this every day for those of you who may not have read the previous blog. Well within minutes of sending the good morning gif to her, my friend was messaging. She feels awful. Her neck and back and shoulders are all stiff. Her head is not any better. Maybe on the way to work she will stop at urgent care for something.
First I suggested that she take the day off and allow herself the time needed to get through this migraine. Well nope that was not going to work because she could not afford to miss a day of work. I did point out to her that only a few months ago she was getting by just fine on less, one day would not make or break her. She agreed but than messaged back ‘But Jay, as single moms we have to work.’  First I asked her who she sounded like right there? And than I sent her a message saying that I had something really important to tell her so I was sending it all in capital letters, not yelling at her. I am going to put it here word for word in capital letters because this is something that all mothers not just single moms need to hear/read and realize:
IF AS (SINGLE) MOTHERS WE DO NOT TEND TO OUR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL/MENTAL WELLBEING FIRST WE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO USE TO THOSE AROUND US. (I copied it word for word although I added in the mental for this post.)
Really what use are we? Cringing in pain. Near tears. Short tempered with our children and loved ones. We are useless. I am worried that working in front of a computer will only exacerbate her pain. And finally because she has told me her boss is a fairly decent guy I said he would not have any issues and if he did the Wicked Witch of the North (a.k.a. me) would fly down on her broom and have words with him. Takes too long to drive and besides my passport has lapsed so broom it will have to be. And she said that he most definitely would have a problem.
This lead to me thinking about the differences between a boss and a leader. When one works their butt off, getting everything reorganized and up to date, fixing the errors of others, a leader will see the benefits in allowing a worker to stay home to recuperate. They realize one day in the grand scheme of things is better than having them end up taking off a week or more if the illness continues. . But if he/she makes you feel guilt, as though you must come in when you are clearly ill and/or in pain that does not a good leader make. Making people overextend themselves and push through illness/pain is the sign of someone lacking in compassion and empathy.
Bosses who lack in compassion and empathy, they are people who are looking at the bottom line and not putting their employees well being first. Happy employees are efficent employees and generally long term employees who can be counted on to be reliable and willing to work hard at their position.
I use to be that boss. I myself would push through illness or a bout of depression because my bosses have made me feel that I needed to be there. That it was my responsibility come hell or highwater to make my shift and do a good job. This despite having six to seven supervisors on my team who could easily cover for me. So when my staff would call in sick I would get a little tense and snappish about it. (I do have a policy that staff are can call in 3 hours before their shift if feeling under the weather. I have had people try to call me at 7 a.m. for a shift at 6 p.m. and ask them to call back because sleep sometimes does wonders.)
Now though, and I started doing this prior to my latest bout of depression, I do not sweat it when someone calls in sick. I have more than enough people who can and want to pick up extra shifts. If they are scheduled to work the next day, I will call and check on them. Urging them to stay at home if they still are feeling under the weather. I do not want to be that person that is considered callous and insensitive. And reality is all it took was a simple shift in how I thought and priorities. Happier staff I have discovered leads to more productivity and people who want to do a good job for you.
As moms I think our focus is generally outside of ourselves. Children. Parents. Spouses. Friends. Being a good employee. We fall through the cracks because we believe that we are Supermom and can manage everything and anything.  Truth is even Supermom can be felled by the flu or a cold or an injury. The list goes on and on. We need to learn how to take the time to recuperate. There is no one else who will insist on in.

Not his Responsibility

I was sitting here late yesterday afternoon when I received a text from the Ex. Not that this is unusual, he has been checking in on me every couple of days. Asking if I am okay, how my week went. Giving me the encouragement that I need to make it through. I don’t deserve him doing this, I was so brutal to him when we first split up, but that is a story for another day. Back to yesterday, this was actually the second text I received from him. The first was to ask if I would take T for nights during his week while he and K3 (I may need to write myself a K list) are working. So wohoooo extra time for me.  The second text was to tell me that T wanted to come home early. (We have switched from Sunday to Sunday to Monday to Monday so the Ex  has an extra full day with T.
I was a little shocked and asked if everything was alright? I was thinking they had had an  argument or fight. Wanting to have a handle of what I was going to be walking into. The Ex reassured me that everything was alright. And than, he said those words that cut me to my very soul. T wants to come home and cheer you up. I immediately fired back that I was okay and T could stay with his dad for the night. No, he was coming home. T was worried about me.
I text the Ex back and tell him that I have told T that he is not responsible for making me happy. That my depression makes me sad sometimes, but I will always come out at the other end of the tunnel. I probably should have said ‘could you please reiterate to T that he is not responsible for making me happy’ but I assumed that the Ex would know my shorthand solely because he is the Ex. Completely unrealistic as he never got my short handed way of speaking when we were married, why would I think that he would get it now? This is not a him fault, but a me fault. I do it to everyone.
When T got home, he introduced me to Mr. Tuna and the Granola Brothers. He drew faces on the tin and the packaging. I laughed. He sat here and talked and talked to me. His friend had phoned Saturday evening, so T called him back to see what was up. His friend, C, wanted him to come over for a bit and hang out. This does not happen often as usually C is not home on weekends. T comes out of his room, it has begun already, hands me my phone and begins to talk again. I asked what was what ? Oh C had wanted him to come over and hang out but T had felt that it was better to stay home with me. He wanted to be home with me.
As much as I reassured him that I was fine and he could go, T was adamant that he was not going anywhere. He was staying glued to my side.
I again stated to him that it was not up to him to make me happy. That that was my responsibility. His was to be my son and have fun with his friends. While I molded him into a decent human being. He completely ignored me and said, ‘Of course it is mom, who else is going to make you happy.’
Is this what I have done to him? I work so hard not to have him feel this way. Even when I am crying I talk to him and explain that there is nothing that he has done. There is nothing that anyone has done. That I have to let the tears work their way through my system. But I guess he notices those small cues that I cannot hide. The ones that give away that I am not 100% myself.
I am feeling guilt. I want T to be a child for as long as possible. To have that innocence (not the same innocence a child of the ’70’s had but the version that exists now) and not be burdened with the cares of adulthood and the outside world. Yes, things are very different and kids grow up unbelievable fast in today’s world, but one thing remains the same, we do not want to thrust our children into adult situations. And yet, it appears that I am doing so.
I have written before how I make a concentrated effort when T is here. Doing the dishes, tidying up (I am still putting off cleaning apartment with the ‘well V isn’t here until tomorrow it is okay to do it tomorrow morning.’ excuse is the one I am using.) I make sure they are done. Bed being made. Little things as we both settle into our weekly routine. He is smarter than the average bear is T, and he catches the small things most would not even spot.
Today, he is not his bouncing self. Not feeling well, tummy hurts and he has a headache, covering the top of his head. I asked him if he was hungry? No definitely not that, he does not want to eat. I asked if he was saying he was sick so that he could stay home with me? No, he really does not feel well. So as I write this, I am debating whether or not to send him to school. Am I caving into and reaffirming to him that I need him if I allow him to stay home, or is he truly not feeling well and I am making a mountain out of a mole hill?
I have until 8:30 a.m. to make my decision. At the moment T is laying on the couch wrapped in his blanket, Thomas draped across his lap. He has no fever but is clammy despite having taken his shower already.
I will debate the pros and cons of keeping him home from school today. And I am going to figure out a way to ensure that my 9 year old son does not feel that he is responsible for my emotional well being.
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