I've practically given up on the idea of being able to do housework. I try sometimes, but pay for it for days after doing something as simple as cooking a meal or doing a load of laundry. My husband is great in handling most of these things, but gets tired and gets behind. I gave in and hired a college student to come in one day to help us catch up on housework. He had so much energy and worked so hard. It looked like a new apartment by the time he was done. Totally worth the money.
Last night I had to admit to my husband that I could no longer handle cleaning my guinea pigs' cage. I strain my back so badly every time I do it. I felt bad, because he didn't want me to get them in the first place (he's not a fan of small animals like that). I told him I couldn't do it anymore, and asked if (1) he'd be willing to take over cleaning the cage, or (2) whether I should adopt them out to another family. I would have been fine either way. I really just want them to be taken care of properly. I haven't been keeping their cage nearly clean enough.
I can no longer do many child care tasks either. My husband handles baths because lifting her in and out, bending over to wash her, and other such things are hard on my back. I frequently come into the bathroom at bath time so I can spend some fun time with her (she *loves* baths). Then I'll handle combing her hair afterward. At bedtime, my husband brings her upstairs and reads her a story and puts her to bed. I used to come up too, but climbing a flight of stairs is hard on my back, especially late in the day, which is usually a high pain time for me. It usually will cause my pain level to increase dramatically. I already climb two flights of stairs to pick her up at preschool. Perhaps I should consider switching, and staying in the car while my husband gets her from preschool, and I go upstairs with her at bedtime. This has got me thinking.
This past weekend, I felt badly that I hadn't brought my daughter to the beach yet this summer. I guess that's a bit crazy, since many, many kids don't get to go to the beach since they live too far inland. But anyway, we spent a day at the beach (myself, my husband, my daughter, and my father-in-law). I went into the water, not even up to my waist, and the waves were so strong they kept almost knocking me over. And I had to get down on the sand so we could build sand castles and such. We went to an arcade to play skeeball (I used to be good, but not anymore), rode an old-fashioned arcade, and had a pizza lunch and ice cream cones. We had so much fun. My daughter finally got over her fear of walking on the sand (yes, you read that right!). But I paid for it dearly. Monday at work was torture. I didn't want to go, but I knew my boss would only be in the office on Monday and Tuesday, so I forced myself to make it in both days. I spoke with him today and updated him on my situation. (I do let him know details, even though it's not legally required. He is so caring and has been so helpful. The least I can do is be honest and keep him apprised of the situation.) He was nice enough to agree to let me work from home for the rest of the week (Wednesday-Friday) while he is traveling. This will allow me more time to rest and a more flexible work schedule (e.g. more frequent breaks to rest in the recliner or lay down or take a walk). He will be doing more dictation that he wants me to transcribe, but he will be mailing it to my home. This is why in my previous post that I feel badly for letting him down. I know it's not my fault, but still it upsets me. I'm so overwhelmed with handling work lately that I frequently end up crying. I'm trying to tough it out at least until after the MRI and surgical consult to see what my options are.
One day my daughter said that I'm a "mean mommy because I'm in pain." I hate how my chronic pain affects my family. I try not to let it affect my mood, but sometimes it takes over and I don't feel like I have any control. I get grumpy and snippy and just want everyone to leave me alone. This is not very conducive to being a mother to a 3-year-old.
I'm terrified of a week coming up in October when my husband has to go on a business trip. I will need to do everything myself. I could probably call my father in law to help with a few things. I do plan on asking him to help with taking the trash cans down from the porch to the curb on trash day, since they are far too heavy for me. I wonder if he could handle the bedtime routine one night so I can get a break. He's never babysat for her since he never felt like he knew what he was doing with respect to caring for an infant/toddler. But now that she's a young kid who uses the potty and can do many things herself, I don't see why he can't. He said he'd help more when he retires, which will probably be within the next year. That would be good. All of our other relatives live one hour or more away. And some would not be appropriate to ask for assistance (poor health, alcoholic, drug addict).
One responsibility I have kept is that I handle the family finances and any type of paperwork. This became my task because it's non-physical. But I have gotten behind lately, partly because of my condition and partly due to my own fault. I'm going to try to catch up soon.
Sorry for going on so long and kind of hijacking this thread. Your post got me thinking about my situation, and I guess I had a lot of feelings to get out. But I guess I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in struggling with whether or not to still handle caring for your family or whether you should defer to caring for yourself. I used to try to focus more on caring for my family, especially when my daughter was a baby, but now that she's a bit older and my condition has worsened, I focus more on caring for myself and depend on my husband to handle housework and child care much of the time. I hope some of my ramblings help you (or others on this forum) in some way.
Scoliosis fusion w/rods - 1992; herniated disc - 1996; partial removal of rods - 1997; microdiscectomy - 1997; sudden inc. in pain - 2008; tried the following non-pharm treatments: PT, aquatic therapy, TENS, acupuncture, piriformis injections, selective nerve root blocks; other: depression, anxiety, add; current meds: lyrica, baclofen, vicodin, topomax, tramadol, welbutrin, ativan, ritilin