Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Not Mean, Just Me First For a While

Ever noticed how life gets thrown out of gear at the worst possible moment? The flat tire when you’re heading for an important job interview, the blinding migraine before a major presentation at work, the stain on your blouse/skirt/jacket that shows up five minutes before you’re due to meet your boss for your annual review.

Then there’s other, less earth-shattering stuff, but equally lethal in the long run. Like everybody in a family coming down with the worst case of flu in a decade. So you use up half your vacation days (goodbye, holiday on the beach, sniff), get low on energy and high on a short fuse. And when you think the worst is over, it isn’t.

The whole menu has to be radically changed for days because people in the family are still suffering from sore throats, upset stomachs and whatnot. And as the wife-and-mommy, you’re the primary caregiver (oh, how misleadingly sweet that sounds!) so you have to ensure that your family is taken care of. As for you, well, didn’t they call you Superwoman and try to disguise it as a compliment? So you can’t take a day off, not unless you stop caring altogether. This is really not possible because you are the primary caregiver and so you can’t stop caring – it goes with the territory of a working mom.

Take today’s example, for instance. I gave notice this morning to the DH, declaring I wasn’t cooking for the rest of the week. By the time I got to the office, I was contemplating extending that to the next one month. I simply cannot continue cooking the elaborate stuff that DH wants and expects. Not while I too am recovering from an illness. Managing a cranky six-year-old who’s just come through a debilitating fever and upset stomach at 7 am is hard enough without having to cook an elaborate meal, feeding the brat and getting him into the school bus on time and reaching the office by 9 am.

But husbands – especially spoilt brat husbands – have the devil’s own luck. There’s a gastro-enteritis outbreak in the part of town where his office is. So of course, he can’t eat out. So I’ll be making something everyday for quite some time. He may not like the quickies I put together. I don’t care. In fact, having to nuke his own dinner stressed him out enough to turn in early tonight. He’s already throwing temper tantrums at the thought of fending for himself. Ha! Let him.

Sometimes, you need to love yourself enough to stop putting everybody else ahed of yourself for a little while.

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