Parenting Through An Emergency

Last week wasn’t my best week ever. I started a new job (that you’re reading right now). That part was really exciting. But outside of work, my week was pretty difficult. My husband was admitted to the hospital and had major surgery. My washing machine broke and flooded my laundry room. Oh and my windshield broke. Just in case anyone was about to tell me that bad things come in three’s and I should be done for a while, I’d also like to share that our microwave broke as I’m writing this post.

I learned something new about myself last week.  Apparently, I’m focused to the point of extreme rigidness during a crisis. I don’t freak out or get emotional. I get logical. I make lots of lists and spend lots of time on the phone, giving people more updates than they probably need. In our family’s time of stress, I became a competent manager of affairs.

On a competency level, this is a wonderful thing. There were no questions or concerns that things were getting taken care of. Unfortunately, my daughter wasn’t particularly concerned with our FMLA eligibility. She was confused, as to why our week was so different from normal. She was scared, because she missed her dad. She needed a mother, a nurturing, care-taking, cuddling mother. And while cuddling is my favorite thing in the world, I just couldn’t provide that in my managerial state. I mean, I could hold her. But I just couldn’t let myself get emotional and connect with my daughter.

I joke about everything breaking in our house at once. Truthfully, that didn’t make life any easier. But last week, I was terrified for the health of my husband. I was in crisis mode. Letting go of my composure to cry and worry about his well-being, that felt like floodgates. Once I hit that point, there would be no going back. I didn’t have time for all of that emotion.  I had so much to take care of!

My daughter has a lot of people who love her. Thankfully, our family stepped in to pick up the slack. They chauferred and they cooked and they calmed my daughter down when I simply wasn’t able to. I feel guilty that I couldn’t provide the support my daughter needed, when obviously her week was just as difficult as mine. It’s possible that during our next crisis, I’ll be more capable of comfort and control. Hopefully, I’ll learn a better balance. But I can’t promise anything. Apparently, in a time of emergency, I’m a fixer, not a feeler.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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