Mother's Work · Motherhood · Parenting · Self-Care · Toddlers

The dizzy test

I had to make a choice this morning. My cold from about a week ago has stubbornly stuck around and not improved, so I had to finally accept that I have a sinus infection – again. Originally on the schedule for this morning was a prospective parents tour at our kids’ school, and I was slated to be the parent ambassador on hand. Last night I was still pretty convinced that I would stick to that plan, even though it would take up the entire school period, the only time to myself that I would have all day. My husband, bless his heart, already started suggesting alternate plans for the day, especially given that he also had a doctor’s appointment scheduled, and our son was starting to appear in need of a medical check-in to follow up on a croup scare from last week. But no, I was pretty convinced that I’d stick to my obligation. As a side note, the school has been very good to us in these fragile economic times, so I feel a sense of obligation to volunteer whenever I can. Only if I felt “exponentially worse” would I reconsider.

But goodness-of-my-heart aside: what is with that? Why this inflexibility? Why does self-care always fall to the bottom of our list, fellow mothers? What use are we to anyone, including ourselves, if we are not in tip-top shape?

Thank goodness the universe came to my help again. I woke up this morning, and while I didn’t feel exponentially worse, I felt crappy. I couldn’t think straight. Yes, I could have survived the day as I had it planned, but the thought of it made me want to lie down on the spot. I wavered, I pondered, I started moving in the direction of being presentable, but then at 7:30am I admitted defeat. I called the school to withdraw from the tour. At 8am I called the doctor and got an appointment for 9:45. And then magically, everything fell into place. My husband was around because of his appointment, so he came along to drop the kids at school. I had time to pick up milk, which was a last minute discovery that would have thrown another wrench in my originally planned day. I saw the doctor, failed the dizzy test miserably, got a cortisone shot and a prescription, and still had time to call my mom while at Walgreens. I’m so grateful I chose the path that I did.

So yeah, the dizzy test. My doctor had me stand in front of him, feet together, as he held me by each side, then he told me to close my eyes, and he let go. I just about tipped forward into him. He explained that without the support of sight and grounded feet all that remained to give me balance was my inner ear, and it failed the test. The cortisone shot helps fix the mechanical lack of balance.

The idea of a “dizzy test” just seemed so appropriate for today. I think I’m going to develop my own “Mommy’s dizzy test” that I undergo each morning. Stand still, close my eyes, and do a reality check on whether I can truly accomplish what my mind wants me to on that particular day.

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