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Mummy Musings is a fortnightly column where Elisabeth Lee navigates the ups and downs of bringing up her daughter.
It’s been a doozy of an autumn, so far. School started in September, so my partner and I have been thrown headlong into the back to school rush – we’ve gone from relaxed, summer days of doing nothing to crazy two-working-parents-plus-a-kid-in-daycare mode pretty much overnight.
Add to that the arrival of fall weather – for us in the Pacific Northwest, that means 10 to 15 degree days filled with grey skies, endless dribbles of rain and lots and lots of hot cups of tea – and you pretty much have a recipe for instant burnout.
We soldiered on until this weekend – which was Thanksgiving here in Canada – when all our debts caught up with us. Knackered from lack of sleep and too much of everything else, we all fell sick. I was the first to fall – a scratchy throat, a pounding headache – but soon enough the whole family was sniffling and coughing up a storm.
Now, being sick is awful. But being sick with a kid in the house is 10 times worse. I’m not sure if it’s age or temperament, but when I’m sick, all I want to do is lie around the house watching Netflix and drinking various combinations of brandy and cough syrup (don’t try this at home). My whirlwind, Tasmanian devil of a child, on the other hand, doesn’t even miss a beat.
So, this week, I’ve been dragging my sorry self all over town, trying to keep up with our child’s non-stop schedule of playdates, daycare, visits to the park and playground, bike rides, swimming lessons, yoga sessions, music lessons and more, all while trying to keep both our noses wiped so that we aren’t spreading our germs everywhere.
It has, frankly, been the most exhausting week I’ve had as a parent. And I’m including all the sleepless nights when A was teething, having a sleep regression, suffering from colic, was sick or any combination of the above.
Even in the midst of all this snot and chaos, or perhaps because of all this snot and chaos, I’ve had a chance to think about Thanksgiving, and what I’m truly, deeply, thankful for this fall – my partner.
There’s a lot of ink that’s been spilled recently about emotional labour and how mothers bear the brunt of all the extra, untallied work in keeping a household running. While there is no denying that women do a lot more of that sort of labour than men, in our household this week, it was my partner who carried the load and then some.
So, thanks to T, who got up each morning to make the coffee, feed and change A, pack her daycare lunch. Thanks for cooking, cleaning and caring for both of us. Thanks for showing me that we’re a team, through thick and thin.
Now, hand me another dose of Nyquil and pass me the television remote.
Elisabeth Lee is proof that it is never too late to consider a second, third or even fourth career, having come to both motherhood and writing late in life. She occasionally freelances and can be reached at bethgoeswriting.com.