It’s been over a month since I have blogged…
You see, my four year old has been ill for the last five days. This, in itself would not be worth reporting if it weren’t for the fact that my 22 month old was ill last week and the week previous, and my 7 year-old ill the week previous to that. In sum: my kids have been on rotating sibling sick-leave for the last four weeks! And needless to say, all of this has shaken up our family routine – a routine that my sanity and my business depend on BIG TIME!
If you are a mother with more than one child, you know (and fear) the likelihood of one child passing bugs on to their sibling(s), and thus extending the period of family sick-leave. And if you are a home-based entrepreneur that is passionate about her work, you will further understand the frustrations (and other unsavoury feelings!) that emerge when your child (or children)’s illness threatens your exciting plans for business growth, and our necessary attention to clients. ARGH.
Anxiety. Dissapointment. Frustration. Panic. Stress. Worry. These are feelings that might surface either in relation to our child’s health OR in relation to our inability to realise our plans and fulfil our business commitments.
Over the last four weeks, I have had A LOT of time to live these emotions and to sit (or lie, in the dark with a babe in arms) and ponder them. And surprisingly, in moments when I lived a sense of acceptance and trust, I managed to go beyond sane and actually found myself reconnecting with my children, with mySELF and even with my business. I was reconnecting with my priorities, my values AND the authentic reason that I decided to be my own boss and work from home! Wow, what a powerful reminder and revelation!
I would even go so far as to say that in moments of quietness, of stillness with my children, creative ideas or solutions surfaced. The value of “doing nothing” but caring for/ cuddling/ lying with/ keeping company with my child became clear – it not only supported my connection with my child, but also gave me space and clarity for all that was important to me!
And so, ultimately, this period of illness amongst my children has turned out to be valuable for my own personal growth, including showing compassion, having space for internal reflection, creative and strategic business thinking! Yes, I do surprise myself in saying it…but it has been a great learning opportunity that has invited some rather interesting shifts in perspectives…OM.
(Here, I want to add that my “OM” experiences were not always long lasting…it was a bit more like a wave of “OMness” and then another of ARGHness. I say this because I don’t want to seem inhuman or create expectations in light of the difficult challenge that having sick ones at home can bring us work-at-home mama entrepreneurs. I’d just invite you to embrace it all as a learning experience, and see what happens…)
Here are a few tips I came up with that may help you if you find yourself struggling to build or run a business while your wee ones are ill at home…
1. Connect w/ your essence to find the inner strength that will keep you grounded in your authentic life priorities
- Take some time while your wee one is resting to breath and centre yourself, focus on your breath and let the “to do’s” enter your mind, then leave your mind. If it helps, write them down so you know they are there, recorded for a later time/ day.
- Invite whatever you need most to support you and your children during the day, and turn this into an intent – calm, compassion, generosity, love, patience, trust. Say this to yourself as you begin your connection time or perhaps write it down. “My intention today is to live with…”
- Use affirmations to support you throughout the day, to remain connected. Make up ones that work for you. Some of mine were:
- My work passion is here to nourish my family life.
- My family life is my priority; my child is my priority.
- My child is vulnerable and needs me right now, while s/he is little and needy.
- My work passion’s growth can wait a few days. What is a few days in the long run, anyway?
2. Perspective switcheroo. Be aware of the perspective that you hold onto, those voices that determine your reactions and work to replace these with voices that are aligned with what you AUTHENTICALLY hold dear.
My perspective switcheroo looked something like this…
“This kid being ill is annoying and inconveniencing me; it is getting in the way of my business growth, of my abundance, of my project, of my time.” “Ooops, I can’t feel this – it makes me a bad mother.” [GUILT - yuck.]
“I’m never going to get this project off the ground! Now I’m going to have to work until midnight. *&%$ and after last night’s no-sleeper! How am I going to do it??!” [PANIC - eek.]
to perspective 2.
“I chose this path because it gave me flexibility to put my children first. I have the choice, the flexibility and the freedom to slow things down right now.”
And at times of great lucidity…
“This illness is an opportunity, it is offering me the gift of time to slow down, reflect, reconnect with my child/ children AND with myself. This is not wasted time. I will step back and learn from this.”
3. Be strategic with your energy.
- If you rest during the day with your wee one, you will have more energy in the evening to catch-up.
- Prioritise the “must do’s” and let the other stuff slide.
- Identify ways of entertaining, keeping company with your children that is in line with your sick ones’ needs. I.e., playing doctor, building a sick-boy tent, a simple card game, books, audio books, telling stories (visualisations), calling grandparents.
4. Call in the troups! (a.k.a. harnessing external support)
If you have more than one child, call on your friends to have your healthy kids over for an afternoon. This will give you the one-to-one time your poorly child needs, and if they manage to rest, it may even give you some time for yourSELF. You can always return the favour in the future and it is always ok to ask for help.
If you have a babysitter, draw on them to help you. Whether it be to cuddle your poorly child, or entertain your healthy ones it will alleviate the burden on your shoulders. They are not only there/ available for evenings!
Call on family – This is what they are here for, even if it is only an hour or two they can spare. This will make a difference.
Keep watch for my upcoming audio download to support YOU in this situation:
From ARGH to OM: Staying sane with sick kids at home.
A series of downloadable audio files to support conscious MAMA entrepreneurs to connect (and stay connected) with their essence and children during the challenging time that one (or more) of your children is at home (your place of work!) with you sick.
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- Mindfulness: key for Mama Entrepreneurs balancing family & business
- Swinging into September? (not)
- Supporting ourselves to support our children
- I’m shouting about an inspirational Mama entrepreneur helping Mamas living their flexible, abundant & balanced lives! Yes, you CAN have it all!