Pouring from an Empty Cup: When Mom is Sick


sick mom

“Don’t pour from an empty cup.”

I have spent the better part of my parenting years teaching myself how to prioritize myself. I often fail miserably. But, I still try my best, making time for work, exercise, hobbies, date nights, and all of the other things that make me feel as if I more than a mom.

But what happens when you are desperately trying to fill your cup, but circumstances beyond your control keep pouring your cup out and leaving it empty?

I do everything one “should” do to stay healthy, like eating a balanced diet full of organic foods, exercising regularly, rarely drinking, never smoking, and using plant-based cleaning products. I even diffuse essential oils and take spoonfuls of elderberry syrup and apple cider vinegar. 

Despite doing all of the “right” things, I have been sick for two months, and I haven’t yet been able to get better (hopefully my luck will have turned around by the time you are reading this).

Since September, I have had a sinus infection, coxsackie virus (hand foot mouth), a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics, and pneumonia. I have seen an internist, dermatologist, and pulmonologist visited both urgent care and the emergency room (twice each), received an x-ray and a cat scan, and taken antibiotics, steroids, and inhalers.

I am tired and frustrated.

My husband has stayed home from work many days over the past two months because I just haven’t been able to parent alone. My family has stepped up to stay with my kids so that I don’t have to take them to doctors’ appointments. I have been unable to chase my kids around the way I need to because I’m out of breath and exhausted. My work deadlines continue to hover over my head, and so I work under less-than-ideal circumstances.

What I really want is to curl up in my bed and have my own mom tuck me in and bring me tea and soup. Instead, I’m tucking my own kids into bed, putting on a brave face, and getting on with the realities of adult life.

I have been anxious since childhood, but my anxiety amplified tenfold since having kids. I have complete and utter fear of leaving my children without a mother. Do you know what happens when a doctor says the words “blood clot” to an anxious mother with two small children. Complete and utter fear. {No, I don’t have a blood clot – thankfully a false alarm}.

And the medical bills (on top of the already exorbitant amount we pay for health insurance). Don’t get me started on those. The envelopes that have started to arrive in my mailbox are just icing on my anxiety cake.

I am practicing perspective and thankfulness.

This is just a rough patch for me. My kids are healthy and happy. I am thankful for family and friends who have stepped up to help me when I have been unable to do things myself, to have money to pay my medical bills, and to have ready access to experienced doctors and modern medicine.

I am ready to celebrate the holidays with my family and to then put 2018 behind me. This holiday season, I am using perspective and thankfulness to fill my cup and reminding myself that “this too shall pass.”

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Hilary was born and raised in New York City. She moved to Connecticut after college to go to graduate school, where she met her husband Dan on their very first day. She now lives in Ridgefield with her husband and their two rugrats, a daughter C (born 2013) and a son L (born 2015). She works from home as an attorney, which would be completely impossible without coffee (for mom) and television (for the rugrats). She spends most of her free time (when there is any!) reading, drawing, and listening to lots of music. You can find her over at https://www.instagram.com/apinchofsaltus/, where she documents the humor of life through all things colorful.


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