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  • Writer's pictureMicah M Rodrigues

It was hard.

The last few days have been hard.

I have laid on the couch, had a bath and binge-watched my favourite shows, slept and read.

I know what you’re thinking. Sounds amazing, right?

But I am a mom, a mom with two kids, a husband and a business who got sick right before Christmas. You feel me now? And all those so-called relaxing things were hard for me to do.

It was hard to sit on the couch. Not wrap presents or make homemade candy grams or put up those last-minute decorations.

It was hard to sit in the bath. Not wipe down the faucets and the toilet, not run the towels through the laundry or clean the other parts of my house that so desperately needed it.

It was hard to watch TV and not answer the emails that kept piling up. Not to work on a client’s Instagram or finish another client’s blog.

It was hard to nap, when my head was running with all the things I should be doing instead; like volunteering at the kids’ school, making lunches and dinner and grocery shopping.

It was hard to read, blinded as I was by the guilt of having not done anything else, anxious that it was my turn to host the school playdate, and I couldn’t.

I felt like I was missing out.

I missed taking the kids to school in the morning, dropping them off, and getting their quickie hugs and kisses before they ran through the gate. I would fall asleep on the couch when they got home from school, torn between the desperate need to sleep and the equally desperate need to care for them. I pawned them off to after-school camps, friends and my parents whenever I could. I cancelled playdates, missed their Mall Santa visit and stopped talking to friends because, on top of strep and an ear infection, I had vicious migraines that made opening my eyes nearly impossible, never mind staring at a phone screen.

An infection that would take me a few days of recovery in my 20s, when I could sleep all day and all night, knocked me out for a week. I was ravaged, mind, body and soul. I felt disconnected from family and friends and didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. It was only seven days, but on the 6th day, with my fever at its peak, I cried in desperation on the couch.

Frustrated, sore and somehow devastated.

It was only seven days. It was two minor infections. Was I sicker than anyone had ever been before? Was I worse off than a friend who had strep twice this year alone, who has two kids, a full-time job and a shift-working husband? Was I worse off than a friend who has experienced crippling vertigo in the last six months? No, definitely not. It wasn’t the big C or any of those heart-stopping illnesses people suffer through for years and months and in much better spirits than me. So, what was it? How could something slightly annoying send me so low? Pressure. The pressure to do all and be all - a seemingly uniquely female cross to bear. Don’t get me wrong, I know my husband experiences immense pressure as the main breadwinner of the family, but he also takes time when he needs it or wants it without having to worry about what the kids will have for dinner. Never mind feeling anxious about lunch prep. When he gets sick, he rests, reads and watches TV, nary a care or thought about the upkeep of the house or the kids in it. If he needs a weekend away, he takes it without thinking about prepping food or managing babysitting schedules. He sits on Christmas morning with the same wide-eyed look the kids have because, like them, he has no idea what’s under the tree. He’s not had to worry about decorating the house, making candy grams, or buying a single gift outside of mine. He faces pressure, but the pressure is focused, covering only one area of our lives, and that is his only responsibility. As the joke goes in our family, I do everything else.

I was brought low by two minor infections because the pressure and the guilt became too much to bear. I couldn’t get off the couch, but every fiber of my being told me I had to. That I was letting things slip, that things were coming undone, and it was my sole responsibility to set it right. I’d love to say I saw the light and let all those thoughts go and just relaxed through the last few days. I didn’t. After finally rounding the corner, I spent the first day where I finally felt better catching up on work, doing laundry, wrapping gifts and prepping lunch, dinner and grocery lists. I am writing this now at the end of that day, my body desperate to lay down, but my brain letting me know the laundry has to go in the dryer, the kid’s lunches need to be made, and their clothes put out for the morning. Also, the youngest has a class party, and I can’t forget the veggie tray, the teacher’s gifts, the principal’s gifts, or the secretary’s gift. Oh, and I must plan that playdate because it’s my turn to host.

My husband is lying on the couch, reading.


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