Parenting

Single Mothers Don’t Get Sick.

Single Mothers don't Get Sick

 

I overheard two mothers talking in Costa this morning. I think one of their friends must have been ill or something. One said to the other, “what would you do if you were a single mother, though, and you were ill? I mean, what would you do with the kid?”

single mother
This is something that crosses mind periodically. Every time I’m a bit careless with crossing the road, I think: you’re an idiot; what if a car had hit you and broken your leg, or worse?

S is 15 months old now, and I’m lucky that the worst I’ve had to deal with, illness-wise, is a bit of a cold, or a headache. The one day I had a monstrous migraine, S went to nursery and I was able to call in sick for work and sleep it off.

You can’t call in sick for parenthood though; especially when you’re a single parent.

The idea of getting properly ill, especially while S is still so young, scares the bejesus out of me. I have actual nightmares about it. What if I did get ill? What if I had to spend one or more nights in hospital? What would become of my beautiful girl?

In the early days, I was petrified that I would become ill in some way, and that her father would turn up and take her away.

Now I’d like to think I’m in a position where, if I ended up in hospital, he wouldn’t even know about it – and even if he did, would never have the nerve to rock up and try to take my child away.

But it still worries me.

And so, I just don’t get sick.

Seriously.

I think being a single mother has forced me to man up when it comes to illness. I can’t just laze about in bed all day if I feel a bit rubbish; S still need to be dressed, fed, and played with. There’s nobody else here that I can kick out of bed and ask, “can you just give me a few more hours’ sleep?” And so I kick myself out of bed, and I get on with it.

I take all sorts of supplements, religiously, so as to maintain some semblance of health. I try to exercise and stay active.

I have been very, very lucky not to have been seriously ill so far, and had to try and find ways to keep S cared for and safe.

Mostly, I try to stay positive mentally. I really think that makes all the difference. I don’t allow¬†myself to think “oh, I feel a bit rubbish, I feel sick, I might be coming down with something…” I tell myself, “it’s just a niggle, drink more water, you’ll feel better.”

I’m interested to find out what other single parents think about this. Do you constantly worry about what would happen if you got ill? How do you deal with it when you are ill?

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

10 Comments
  • mel mcgovern

      REPLY

    When I have been ill with flu etc the tv becomes the babysitter and the duvet finds the sofa. It takes that bit longer with no proper rest. I am usually sick after my son so have taken a week off already and as I don&#39;t want to lose money/appear unreliable I often go in in agony crawling through the day.<br />What gets me through is the thought that I have been worried about illness my son&#39

  • mel mcgovern

      REPLY

    When I have been ill with flu etc the tv becomes the babysitter and the duvet finds the sofa. It takes that bit longer with no proper rest. I am usually sick after my son so have taken a week off already and as I don&#39;t want to lose money/appear unreliable I often go in in agony crawling through the day.<br />What gets me through is the thought that I have been worried about illness my son&#39

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Yeap constantly, and i worry what happens if i get sick and dont get better... hense why i need to get the money together and write my will. Whilst her &#39;daddy&#39; will prpbably get residency if the worst happened, i still want to do my best to stop that happening. I&#39;ve carefully selected and spoken to the people i would like to care for my daughter if i cant... morbid i know, but i still

  • Victoriaaa

      REPLY

    It must be horrible when single parents do take ill, i soldiered on through one handed nappy changes when i broke my hand and sickness while my OH was at work..hats off to anyone that does it on a regular basis! X

  • Firefly Phil

      REPLY

    Why &#39;man up&#39;? Hate to say it, but men are soft. You have you &#39;woman up&#39;!<br />Seriously, though... The way you have turned your life round in the face of trouble is an inspiration to us all... [loud cheers]

  • Purpledegu

      REPLY

    Yep - worry about this a lot. I have a neck problem, which the doctors want me to have surgery for, but I can't because I can't go to hospital or be out of action for even a day.

  • Alexis

      REPLY

    Just a few months into being a single parent to 3 children, then 9, 6 and 5, I experienced my worst nightmare. At 5 am on my daughters 5th birthday, I woke up with severe chest pains and pain down my left arm. As a 30 year old woman I hoped I was being paranoid as I rang first an ambulance and then my mum. My worst fears were confirmed, I was having a heart attack! All I was thinking whilst the paramedics were working on me was please let the children stay in bed until my mum gets here. Fortunately that happened. I was whisked away smiling and waving to my terrified children and my mum. The paramedics drove away calmly, but once we were out of sight the blue lights and sirens were going. I was in hospital for a week, my poor mum and dad had to become full time carers for my children. During this time my daughter went down with chicken pox and couldn't even visit me. Once I was out of hospital I was back to being full time carer. I would get the children off to school and sleep for most of the day to prepare for getting through the afternoon and evening. Sometimes bedtime was brought forward as I was too exhausted to keep going, but we muddled through. 2 years on I still have niggles that mean sometimes I have to put my health first but we're doing well and the children are happy.

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      omg Alexis that's terrifying! I hope you're on the mend now.

  • Sarah Quell

      REPLY

    I constantly worry about having another episode with my bipolar. I have to manage my life so that I don't have a relapse. Gracie is only 5 but the fact I've reached so long without getting sick gives me hope.

  • Hayley Pearce

      REPLY

    Such a great post! I'm with you, I look after myself so much more now - mentally and physically. Even when I had a stomach bug for five days I just powered through because you have to, don't you? No time for self-pity, which is definitely a good thing!

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