I do not think there is ever a mother who never had to deal with a child’s fever. It is a rite of passage. Lucky you if it falls on a work day where you spend the evenings doing sentry duty with a thermometer and paracetamol. I consider myself fortunate that I have flexibility of hours to take breaks to administer meds and log symptoms during the day. There are others who have to commute after not sleeping for nights.
In keeping with my nerdy approach to life, I booted up a Notion page containing a tracker of my children’s symptoms this year. I had a very detailed discussion with a pulmonologist and sleep specialist before that. I realize that I needed to do some rudimentary data management of my family’s medical history in the same way I do my due diligence at work.
My management of symptoms like fever usually comes in pairs, as my kids are close and constant playmates. They end up naturally picking up each other’s viruses or infections. Three years in this routine, I already brace myself when one of them gets the high temps.
Half a decade ago, I found motherhood very jarring. You no longer had command of your schedule. They get sniffles and they have their own personalities. Type A folks like me find it especially difficult since we thrive in being able to predict the routine and schedule by the hour.
Surrendering to chaos of unexpected events and still getting things done— this is the tall order of the daily life of a mom. Constantly you will try to reduce risk, you bring your best efforts. But they don’t come with manuals. Things can happen. Data can only go as much; intuition also plays a critical role over time.
Case in point, we had to go to the doctor more frequently this month. Around midweek, my youngest was in the ER and was diagnosed with measles. This weekend, my eldest got the same intermittent fever but no rashes. I find it fascinating that my Gomo sim delivered; I finished my documentation and coding tasks for 3.5 hours uninterrupted in the emergency room while my kid slept and we waited for the lab results.
A few weeks ago, there were barangay health officers who woke me from my sleep ensuring that their measles booster shot reduces risk. It still did not stop my kid from getting it. Those ladies were not the nicest. From the tone of their inquiries you will deduce that you are judged if you are not wearing an apron or if you do not have a running encyclopedia of your kids’ symptoms in your head.
(I did not like them disturbing my home, and there were no announcements that they will be doing this. It seemed rude to turn them away since it was a free booster; in hindsight I should have politely declined their entry. I am okay with vaccines but I am not okay with rude people entering my house.)
After that, I just told my husband that I was unhappy with this incident. I did not expect any do overs. Just being able to express to another person that I felt they crossed my boundaries was more than enough.
Near our home, our wedding godchildren also has 3 kids and they are a decade younger than us, struggling to balance time and energies. We reach out to each other when we need help. I am so grateful for her and the others I can call when I am having a challenging time.
The solidarity of being nearby and combining resources or support to each other has been very essential to me especially on my low moments. You cannot go through motherhood journeys alone; there is a sea of tasks that demand your attention and you need to still remember who you are outside of your role. You have the baby books, the logs of the symptoms and your files, but sometimes you just need another human being to hold your hand and tell you the fever passes, and this motherhood is a marathon and not a sprint.