Parenting When Sick

Posted by Kirk

Anthony has been sick in bed for the past two weeks. He's been coughing and feverish with lots of tossing and turning at night. It's times like this when I start to panic about the idea of having kids. It's a challenge sometimes- just trying to take care of each other and all the responsibilities of daily life. How in the world do people continue parenting when they get sick or when their co-parent is out of commission because they're sick?

We've always had a pretty egalitarian relationship, even when we first started dating. We're good at knowing when to step up or step back. It's been important for us to walk that line of how much support to offer each other vs giving the other space and autonomy to figure things out and heal on their own. Getting sick is one of those times when it's hard to know. The tasks and logistics that Anthony usually takes care of fell to me this month. That also made it harder to slow down and nurture him through his ick-fest pneumonia. In general we share a lot of the responsibilities in our household. The laundry, the cooking, dishes, cleaning, paying bills, taking out the trash, keeping up with yard work, and maintaining our social connections isn't easy. We fall behind- and many times one of us feels like we're carrying all the weight. I wonder how parenthood will change us. I anticipate that it will change our love for each other and the way that we support each other too.  Caring for another being means we'll have to find balance in ourselves, ask for what we need, and talk about how we feel.

I am not disillusioned into thinking that parenthood is all giggles and snuggles. I know there will be restless nights, painful cries, bruises, and heartache as we watch our kids grow and learn. And yet, we still want to make this happen. Even though we're aware that there'll be times when we want to collapse from exhaustion, we are gonna make this happen. 

But one step at a time.