Posts tagged hand foot and mouth
3 Ways To Cling To Your Sanity When Catastrophe Strikes

Guys, I. CAN’T. EVEN. right now with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFM). The word catastrophe in the title is pretty dramatic…or is it? All day as I wrote this blog in my head, I was preparing a list of the unfair, uncool, and downright miserable characteristics of this stupid virus.

A couple weeks ago (some of you may have seen my post in our Facebook group), Cal got HFM. It was stressful because it entailed a daycare shutdown which also quarantined my 3-year-old. And it was the week before we left for a much-needed and much-looked-forward-to family vacation at the BEACH! So adding that all together, while trying to work and work ahead on my real job and both of my side jobs (Radio Theology and I Am Mother of the Year) and I was at my limit!

Thankfully, his case was so mild that I even questioned that it existed at all! Everything got done. Vacation was a dream (understatement of the century), aside from what I thought was a pretty gnarly diaper rash for my boy. This morning, when it had spread out of the diaper area to his feet and legs, I almost knew for sure.

I kept him home and called the doctor, even though I knew what it was. I knew it was HFM and I didn’t need her to tell me that. I needed her to tell me that it wasn’t that. That it was a lookalike nothing that spread for fun and wasn’t contagious and didn’t mean that instead of recovering from vacation, I’d be staring down the barrel of more sleepless nights and soothing a fussy and uncomfortable baby.

But alas, she confirmed it was indeed a different strain of HFM due to the number of spots he had already compared to last time. It’s going around, she said.

And on my way home, I began planning my pity party. I planned for zero productivity and the worst mood I could muster. Two cases of HFM in 3 weeks? Not. Fair. I was going to cry, binge on chips and salsa despite my plan to get back on the healthy eating post-vacation train, and probably drown my sorrows in Netflix. I’d avoid all of my responsibilities except the most pressing (the baby), and leave the unpacking, laundry, and grocery shopping for another time.

But at the stop light, it dawned on me that my selfishness would not and could not be the victor today (note that I didn’t hardly mention the baby and his impending pain in any of my woe-is-me thoughts above). I needed a heart shift.

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I’m not sure what your proverbial HFM curve ball is today, but I bet you’ve got one. Whatever you’re dreading, working through or pity partying about, here’s my plan for this kind of stuff:

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Keep Perspective: As I mentioned before, I was writing this blog post in my head hours ago, and was listing the horrible qualities of HFM (a ninja virus with no cure, where your kid is most contagious before he even shows symptoms so he’s spreading it all over tarnation before it is caught {and also how he caught it}. Then, in swoops a high fever, sometimes a bout of vomiting, followed by painful sores all over the tops and bottoms of hands, feet, bottoms, and of course, inside and outside of the mouth. The only treatment is symptomatic, meaning that pain reliever is the only thing that can help. And it gets worse before it gets better and can last days and sometimes weeks. Sleep is trash because how would you like to attempt rest when you’re covered in painful bumps from head to toe?). On and on I went. Until it hit me, that some parent right now is leaving the doctor with a cancer diagnosis for her kid. One mother just heard the news she was suspecting – autism. And another mom has buried her child. So my little pity party just got pathetic pretty fast in the light of those kinds of realities. My son has a mild-to-medium painful rash that can be eased with Tylenol and will go away after a week. He will sleep again, and so will I.

Do Something Nice For Yourself: #TreatYoself. I did. To a Starbucks. Triple Mocha Frappuccino with coconut milk. $5.78 well-spent. But I didn’t stop there.

Do Something Nice for Someone Else: Well, who should happen to pull up behind me in the Starbucks line?  A mama with kids in the car, getting herself a little caffeinated treat. So I thought, what if her day is worse than mine somehow? It’s probably not likely that she was the mom receiving horrible medical news about her kid, but I bet she’s going through something. Aren’t we all? So, I paid for her drink and handed the barista a Mother of the Year award sticker to give to her when she arrived at the window. If I’m grumpy or can’t pull myself out of my own worry or problems, nothing brings me back to reality like a good ole random act of kindness.

HFM is no joke. And neither is what you’re walking through right now. But whatever unfun surprise that motherhood or life throws at me, I want my family to say that I wasn’t easily shaken. That each little bump in the road didn’t lead to a self-destructive pity party or an out-of-control tailspin. That I’m steady and loving and full of grace even when I don’t want to be. That I pray more than I worry. That I believe the truth that I’m known and loved by a God who knows and loves each person I come in contact with (and I treat them that way).

And just in case you’re like me, with the gift of feeling all of the emotions of life, making it both easy and hard to do and be what that last paragraph says, know this: it’s ok to throw a healthy pity party. To process and grieve and feel. And it might sound silly to grieve over HFM, but it is more about the loss of routine and getting back into the post-vacation swing of things. It’s another week of rearranged schedules. And sleeplessness. Oh the sleeplessness. And if the tears come, just let ‘em flow!

Case in point, this morning I felt like crying about this. When I told our daycare provider. When I talked to the doctor. When I told my friend that her kids could be infected. When I was texting with my sister. Coulda, shoulda, woulda…later in the day, due to the ridiculousness that is my life sometimes, I ended up crying on the phone to the airport guest services lady about how there were no parking spots in the garage. Another story for another time, but you get my point.

It’s ok to feel how you feel, but don’t stay stuck there. Reclaim your peace and joy and move on.

So what is it for you right now? Even as I type this I don’t feel qualified to say this, but if you’re walking through something and feel alone, please please reach out to me! Or share your struggle (or victory over it) in the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group. You are loved, friend!