Friday, November 4, 2011

Mom of the Year.

Can I just tell you all what a terrible mother I am?

Here's why.

When my older kid gets sick, I don't immediately feel the urge to rush to her and smother her with hugs and kisses and soup and honey; I feel like backing away slowly and making the sign of the cross and saying a prayer to the Patron Saint of Boogers that I don't get what she has. I don't want to cuddle her on the couch; I want her--or rather, what she has--to stay far far away. When she's sick, I feel almost like she's poison. That's why I am a terrible, terrible mother. When she's sick, I feel like my oldest child is poison.

I get so terribly afraid that she will make me sick, but only because if she makes me sick, I will make the baby sick. It's not really about me, it's about the baby. I don't really care if I get sick, even though ever since I broke my nose* in 2004 the slightest stuffy nose hits me HARD. But it's all about the baby Naomi. I'm so worried that she will get sick and, worst case scenario, stop breathing or that she will get sick and, best case scenario, have a terribly difficult week, that when Maya gets sick, I panic. I worry that she will infect the entire family, one by one, zombie like.

* A long, sordid tale, too complicated for this blog.

Just writing these words makes me know how awful I am, makes me believe it. I don't need anyone else to confirm it, I already know it. I mean, what kind of person thinks their poor sick firstborn is poisonous? Who doesn't feel that motherly urge to cuddle her sweet sick baby? I know I used to feel it, I know it for sure. I used to feel that motherly urge, and now I don't. Now I'm afraid of my own kid when she gets sick.

I'll tell you a tale, a tale of pre-all-OCD*-Jo.

It just so happens that your friend here used to be only mostly OCD. There's a big difference between mostly OCD and all OCD.

I remember specifically, when Maya was just over a year old, she got very sick with Roseola. She had a high fever and was just about to break out in spots, and she was miserable. Now, Maya was not a cuddly child, not by any stretch of the imagination. She would not give in to hugs or kisses, would not cuddle us at all. AT ALL. So when she was horribly sick with a 105-degree fever and wanted nothing else but to lounge in my arms for hours, poor sickly thing, I lapped it up. I was sad for her and scared for her, but loved the cuddle time. Perhaps because I didn't have a younger baby in the house to worry about. Or else my disorder just hadn't peaked yet. All I know is I cuddled that cuddlebug like there was no tomorrow. 

Behold, poor sweet sick Maya:

Poor baby. Oh how I cuddled her. I didn't give a thought to catching what she had even before I knew it was Roseola and I would not catch it. I cuddled her.

But something has changed over the years. I've gotten much worse, and I've also had another baby, and now, I don't know, my aim is to protect the littlest one. At the expense of my biggest one, I guess. Because that's how I roll.

So I am a terrible mother. I am terrible because my child is sick. She is sick with a bad chest-cold, and when I hear her cough horribly and gag with phlegm to the point of almost vomiting, I don't immediately run to comfort her, I cringe and flinch. I CRINGE AND FLINCH. Who does that? Me, I guess. OCD Me. Mother of the Fucking Year over here.


Literally, as I was writing this last night, Maya woke up from her nap, and I tried to give her love. My kind of love. OCD love. I hugged her, parked her in front of Wow Wow Wubbzy with her 5-hour-old refrigerated peppermint vanilla-bean frappuccino (because nothing says I Love You like leftover refrigerated frappuccino) and hope she'll keep coughing into her elbow and won't infect the baby.


  1. The very idea that you can tag something "Miracle Max" tells me there is hope in this cruel world.
    You are not a bad mommy. We all have our issues, we all have our things that make us feel like we are not doing our best for our kids. Don't beat yourself up. That is why she has two parents. We make up for each other's lackings.
    Questions (because I am terribly nosy and a curious little kitten): How do you keep older away from younger? Also, why are you so much more worried aobut the baby? Because they are more fragile the younger they are?

    Stop the self whippings. You are doing the best you can. You gave her Starbucks for god's sake. That makes everything better.


  2. Starbucks coating. Helps it go down easier. ;)

    Thanks for your comments. I still feel like the world's most awful person though. I just get so scared around any person with a cold that even when it's my own child, the fear is there.

    To answer your questions, I guess I'm so much more worried about the baby because, yeah, she seems so much more fragile, and because I've heard horror stories of infants choking on phlegm in the dark of night and stuff. Not only is having a sick infant just hell on everyone, but it's terrifying to me.

    As for how I keep them apart, I don't. I mean, I try, but ultimately I can't. That's the take-away lesson here that is always so hard for me to accept. I spend so much effort at first saying, "Maya, don't touch!" or "cough into your sleeve!" when it's all pointless. Naomi has probably swallowed, sniffed, eaten, or otherwise ingested 38975327403294793423 of Maya's cold germs no matter how hard I tried to protect her or no matter how much Purell I throw around.

  3. Also, there's no cough medicine for babies. :(

  4. Oh mama you will be fine your there with her and that is all that matters. Have yourself a drink it is Friday :0)

  5. yes, we both have nasty, germ ridden chilrens. bright spot, at least you didn't get thrown up on.

    does going ot the ped's office put you over the edge? they keep it 125 degrees. the perfect temp for cultivating horrible kid germs.

  6. Oh the ped's office is the absolute worst. I panic like crazy and break a horrible sweat and saying 9823470234 times, "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING." And then the doctor is always super super late so I'm pissed off and my OCD is in overdrive from breathing in the germs for so long.

  7. LOL. Very funny blog. So honest and refreshing.

  8. Totally off topic, but I was curious: how does All-OCD-Jo feel about bowling alleys? Balls (*snicker*...balls, heh) that other people have touched, rented shoes, etc...

  9. Not a bad mommy at all! Like an earlier poster said, we all have our issues and it's not about feeling the "right" way. As long as we're meeting their needs in the end and doing the best we can, we've done our job.

  10. Thanks, Barb and Ixy. I prefer to be called funny and "refreshing" and not a bad mommy than to be slammed. I still feel like crap over this though. :( I know it's the disorder making me feel and act this way, but man I feel like awn awful mom.

    Bobbi: I read somewhere that bowling balls are one of the filthiest things there are. I will go bowling, have gone bowling, but I wash my hands like 20709234 times and use a gallon of sani afterward. And I remove my socks upon coming home and wash them, and would probably Lysol the insides of my shoes (since they had contact with my socks on the way home). Nasty City. Bowling is fun but gross, like so much of life. ;) Balls are fun but dirty. Snort.

  11. It's alright, your eldest one will understand. Just tell her about it.

    Hopping by and following your lovely blog. I'd be honored to have you follow back too:)

    Author of children's picture book 'Over and Under' --> give the gift that gives

  12. Of course you want to protect the baby - the baby is more vulnerable. That doesn't make you a terrible mom. Me? I have a hard time w/ stomach viruses. I do okay with the other stuff. But I sure hate vomit.

    I've lost followers over the most random posts before. Sorry you lost one over this post - I don't think it was warranted at all.

  13. delsym is a good cough med for babies.

  14. Really? I've heard of it but never knew you could give it to babies. Thanks God, I thought they were shit out of luck.

  15. Lisa: I do surprisingly OK with vomit these days. (I used to be a raging emetophobe, as detailed previously.) Of course, we've never had a full-on stomach flu in this house before. *knocks loudly on wood* I think if we got a bad case I'd be a wreck.

  16. Little babies, yeah. I held and soothed and coddled through a difficult time. Toddlers and above, no. I don't wanna make any future hypochondriacs. Other than medicine and a little TLC, I don't baby them. I have taught them to let me know when they feel sick, I will assess them and carry on from there.
    I don't care about the getting sick part. It's bound to happen anyway.