I think the thing I wonder most about my mothering skills while faced with being chronically ill is: Where does normal frustration with my child end and where does my illness begin?
I stayed home seven months when Tyler was born. I suffered from some of the usual issues; lack of sleep, on my part and Tyler’s, and postpartum anxiety. But I never tired of playing, singing and just being with him. I seemed to have an endless amount of patience with him. Grant would say I was the best mother in the world. Strangers who would see us together would say, “You’re a really good mother.”
As he became more mobile, I loved taking him to the park, pushing him on the swings, even going down the slides and playing on the jungle gyms myself. Motherhood was finally the completion of the life that I wanted.
Now I am sick, but Tyler is also about to turn three. I’m having difficulty potty training him, he throws food on the floor, I have trouble getting him to go to bed and stay in bed, he doesn’t listen to me. The pain and fatigue get to me and sometimes I feel as if even though it is just Saturday morning, I already need a break.
I think most people would say I am still a very patient mother. I have never hit Tyler, nor come close and have never yelled at him. But sometimes, I just want to go into my room, wrap myself up with heating pads and cry in pain and frustration. It seems to be the worst when I wake up and at night.
And then comes the guilt, and the thought that I would have more patience if I was well. And the wondering if I will ever get the chance to be a Well Mom again.