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Attack of the Mom Guilt

My child has a double ear infection. Again. And I am wracked with an awful case of Mom Guilt about it.

Joshua had a low-grade temp this morning.  It was 99.something and I knew what we were facing.  So I called my boss to get a substitute and she didn’t answer.  And then Dan said he’d stay home and take him to the doctor.

When Dan offered to stay home with him this morning, I could tell that it wasn’t really something he could afford to do. And I don’t mean afford monetarily.  He’s one of four men in his department.  He’s the “boss.”  And they’ve just rolled out new software that none of them had ever seen before four days ago.  So, to say that things are stressful around his place of business is a bit of an understatement.

I knew he couldn’t really be out of work today.  But part of me, that part of me that I wish I could squash like a bug, raged “Why is it always ME who has to miss work?! My job is important too!” and then the other me on my other shoulder went “Uhh, you’re his mother. This IS your job.”  Because it is.  I’m his mother.  And truth be told, I feel like it’s my responsibility to take care of him when he’s sick, despite the fact that he has another awesomely capable parent who could do it. (I’m also a bit of a control freak, so there’s that.)

That kind of internal monologue sort of sucks.  Because neither part of me was wrong.

But then Dan came into the bedroom and said Joshua was acting fine so maybe we should go ahead and take him. Maybe it was just a fluke.  So I took him.  And my heart hurt.

I could tell he didn’t feel well when I dropped him off at daycare.  He just wanted me to hold him.  He didn’t want to eat his berry muffins.  He loves berry muffins.  He kept saying “no…noooo” when I was leaving.


I called on my planning period and Ms. E said he was doing great. He was playing and seemed fine.  Whew.  We’d dodged a bullet.

By the time my lunch period rolled around, he was running a fever.  Of 102.  Under the arm.  Which I believe means it was 103.  ::cue the resurfacing of the Mom Guilt::

The earliest I could reasonably get him to the doctor without abandoning ship on my classes was 4:00.  So, I got all knotted in my stomach and thought about how my baby boy was feeling for the next three hours.  I planned my escape for 3:00.  Arranged for another teacher to cover the last 30 minutes of the day for me.  And then I paced. I was distracted. I told my students he was sick so they’d understand if I seemed frazzled.  (Luckily, they are great kids, so they understood. Because I was frazzled.)

I just really wanted to be at home on the couch snuggling him under a blanket and watching whatever show happened to be on Nick Jr. (or one of the dozen DVRed episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba.)

I know that I cannot keep Joshua from getting sick.  Apparently, he did not get the no-ear-infection-gene from me and instead inherited Dan’s one-infection-away-from-tubes-gene. (Seriously, I’ve never had an ear infection in my life.  Ask my Mama.)

This is the third ear infection (either single or double) he’s had since school started back.  He had one when he went for his 18 month check-up.  We had to take him in for one in October.  Now, a month later, we went back because he started running a fever today.

I knew, KNEW, it would be an ear infection.  I knew without the pediatrician even sticking that little scope-y thing with the weird name in his ears.

(sidenote: Does anyone else’s child hate the exam as much as mine? Stethoscopes are apparently evil torture apparatuses. apparati? INSTRUMENTS OF DOOM.  He screams when the doctor pulls the thing out of the drawer and doesn’t stop until we leave the office. And the scope-y light things? Sounds like we’re killing him.  And that’s with no shots. Completely non-invasive-ish looksees…)

Part of me wishes I could just wave a magic wand over him so that he never gets sick.  So that he never feels so bad that he just lays his head down on my shoulder, a limp, heavy, 31 pound rag doll, as we walk into the pharmacy. 

Part of me wishes I never had to face the choice between my child and my job.  And the fact that I’m taking him to daycare tomorrow because the daycare owner/director says it’s fine makes me feel like I’m choosing my job over my child.  Because I am.  I totally am.

It’s really…hard isn’t a strong enough word…to split myself like this.  To share the responsibility I have to my son with the responsibility I have to my students.

This shouldn’t be so hard. But it totally is.

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