As if parenting weren’t hard enough as is, needing to have surgery while parenting is a whole other ball of wax. I’ve had this happen twice since the birth of my daughter (she is now 5 years old). While it is frantic trying to figure out self care vs. child care, I promise it can be done! Don’t panic.
I had surgery on my knee when my daughter was 13 months old. She wasn’t walking yet, and I wasn’t going to be allowed to pick her up or walk down steps for awhile after surgery. And certainly not both at the same time until I could master going down the steps forward. (I had to go sideways holding the railing for support for weeks). Surgery went well, but my torn muscle was slightly worse than expected. My full recovery was expected to be about two months.
We really didn’t know many people in town at that point, and we have no family nearby. I made a plea on one of my local Facebook pages for someone to watch her during the day – preferably not at our home (then a small apartment.) A wonderful woman’s name was unanimously given, we met, and she ended up being the life savor we really needed it.
What did I learn? Always ask for help. It may not come from sources that you are currently aware of and will likely cost your money, but that’s okay. What counts is that you make your life easier.
I had my gall bladder removed this past July. Doctors gave me a wide window of two weeks to two months to feel like myself again. The surgeon told me that he would wait until the fall if he could, simply because I might miss most of the summer. Not to mention that it would make it easier on a mom with an active young child. However the surgery was a necessity. I started my preparations…again.
Thankfully I have a very tight circle of mom friends at this point, and they stepped up to the plate to help. Plans were made to pick my daughter up and take her places (and get her out of my hair) during my week of no driving. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a meal train was organized on my family’s behalf for that first week post-surgery. Offers were made to get my medications, help with house chores, and any other thing I might need or want.
I was actually up and and ready to go with minimal pain in two days time. But it was wonderful knowing that I didn’t have to worry about standing too long to make dinner. Or worrying that my daughter would want me to play a game I simply couldn’t move to do. My husband was great at making sure my daughter did not try to wrestle with me or do one of her lovely head butts to the stomach.
Mom surgery does NOT have to be a family crisis if it can be avoided. If your husband, family and friends can’t help, hire a cleaning service to do the cleaning. Order your groceries through a service like PeaPod. Get take out dinners (with disposable plates and silverware). Have your laundry professionally cleaned. It may cost you a bit of money, but over-exerting yourself and possibly halting the healing process doesn’t help either.
You need to get healthy, so do what you must to get better faster. In any event, practice those networking skills. See who might be willing to help. There are resources all around you. You just need to NOT panic and look right past them. Keep calm and plan it out.