You were probably wondering where I’ve been for the past week or so. Those of you who follow me on Instagram were somewhat in the loop. Our little boy was actually in the hospital for a few days because of an infection. I tell you the truth: never are you more helpless and at the mercy of others than when your child is confined to baby jail with an IV in his tiny little arm.
I will try not to be any more dramatic than I need to be. But maybe these details can help someone avoid a similar situation. We noticed little B had a prolonged fever for about a week or so (and also some pretty yucky things happening in the diaper dept., of which, I will spare you.) Suddenly, one afternoon, his temp spiked to almost 104. It was super high for several days and his pediatrician had us come in for blood work. (Mamas who have ever been with your infant when there has been blood drawn: it plain old SUCKS. The worst thing ever.) We left the doctor and would wait for results. 24 hours later, the culture came back positive for gram negative rods, which, I learned, is the shape of the BAD kind of bacteria (think E. Coli, meningitis, etc.) Rather than wait and see what the contaminant was, we were immediately advised to get to the hospital and start him on an antibiotic. As soon as the drugs hit his little system, his fever went away, praise the Lord. (Seriously, you guys, it had been almost 2 weeks of this fever mess. We just assumed it was teething.)
So we stayed at the hospital while we waited for more conclusive test results. A day or two later, the verdict was in: salmonella.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what every other mama is thinking: HOW in the world did he get salmonella? He’s a baby. He doesn’t eat “big boy” food. Do you just live in squalor? Do you lick raw chickens for sport?
Of course, the answer is no to those last two, and thank you very much. Believe me, mama guilt hit me HARD at that point. “This is all my fault. I’m his mom, I should have protected him. Give me all the bleach you have. I’ll use it, I will!”
The doctors assured me that we could drive ourselves nuts trying to figure out where this came from. The best things ANY of us can do:
1. Keep a tub of warm soapy water in your sink whenever you are cooking.
2. Use a washcloth in said tub to wipe down countertops thoroughly and often.
3. Wash the packaging on raw meat. (Who knows how many people have had their hands on it!)
4. And let’s be honest, merely rinsing off fruits and veggies isn’t enough. We’re using a few drops of grapefruit seed extract in water and washing produce that way. (Grapefruit seed extract is an antibacterial. You can stick a few drops in your kids’ juice, too, and it will help guard their little systems. Of course, I’m no doctor, so check with your ped first.)
5. Use Clorox to clean surfaces after handling raw meat. I love the natural cleaners as much as the next girl (in part because, seriously, isn’t the packaging so adorable??) but NOTHING kills bacteria like Clorox. (White vinegar probably does a good job, too, but I just am not taking any chances these days.)
Salmonella can live on surfaces for MONTHS. It’s okay to be a little bit more Monica Gellar Bing than you think you need to be.
So, besides becoming a complete clean freak since my last post, what else have I learned?
First, (and this is surprisingly tough to say): I cannot do it all, and I don’t want to.
My cute friend Jillian gave me a great analogy yesterday: your life is a stovetop with four burners. Each burner represents areas of commitment in your life: your spouse, your kids, your job, friends, church, you fill in the blank. The thing is, you can only have two of those things on the front burners at once. The other items can be functioning, but they are on the back burners. And as tough and as fun as it is running my own business, Miss Wyolene is NEVER going to replace my husband or my children on either of the front burners. It is a balancing act, for sure, but honestly, this whole experience has lifted a weight off of me in that sense. I’m not built to do it all and do it all perfectly. I’m built to fail if I try it all on my own. And I’m so thankful that as a Christian, the Lord offers to take our burdens. Y’all, I have TRIED to carry them. I’ve tried to carry others’. All while putting out this whole “I got this” vibe that is such a lie.
Second: Being joyful doesn’t come from me.
Because when faced with tough circumstances, I’m kind of a big ol’ bummer. When little buddy was baby jail bound, he was in such good spirits. He flirted with the pretty nurses and jumped up and down in his crib. It hit me while we were saying prayers with him that, he has EVERY reason to be sullen and whiney (and there was some of that when he wasn’t feeling well) but overall, he was so joyful. Talk about conviction. How do we get through tough situations with smiles on our faces? It’s NOT pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, smacking ourselves in the face and screaming like drill sergeants “BE HAPPY OR ELSE!!” God wants to GIVE that to His children. And thank goodness, because otherwise, it just isn’t going to happen for me.
Third, and this kinda relates back to my first observation: I am a mom. And I love my child WAY more than I love paper.
My clients are SO important to me, and thank goodness they’ve all been SO understanding through this. Even they have encouraged me to be like “uh, hang with your family.” And I wanted to! I just had a hard time taking the week off without feeling guilty. Or without scrolling through Instagram and being like “DANG IT, I’m not creating anything to put out there!” The thing about creativity, I find you can’t force it. And last week, greeting cards just weren’t on my mind. So, I’m done beating myself up when I don’t produce something new every second of every day. I can’t, and I’m letting myself off the hook. If my child or my husband needs me, they get me first. Everything else can wait.
So, moving forward, and with His help, I’m reworking things a bit. I think this experience honestly will make me a better mom and a better biz lady. I don’t have time to make things I’m only just “meh” about. Quality over quantity. And that new invitation suite can wait if little B needs a longer nighttime snuggle.
P.S.- I’m going to be updating my Christmas card promotion in the next few days. It got derailed last week. And that’s okay.