Hanging… On…In….There.

by Lori Dwyer on June 30, 2011 · 31 comments

Both my children are sick.

Fevers, runny noises, a deep rattly cough that is terrifying in the middle of the night. (We are so far away here, if something goes wrong… so far away from a hospital, a large medical centre… so far away from my mum.)

I am exhausted, up to them repeatedly at night to cuddle and kiss the pain away, to administer Vicks on their chests for their coughs, Nurofen for spiking fevers that leave them brick hot, cheeks flushed.

And I feel a pallid, almost complete exhaustion. This is single parenting, and this is rough.

After two days of sickness, two days of the Bump crying, clear liquid running from her eyes and nose and mouth all at once; two days of the Chop, grumpy and screaming unintelligibly at me when his fever rises, cheeky and filled with a kind of energy that only a three year old boy can possess when the meds kick in… after two days of that, I snap, and lose my temper.

The Chop screams at me, for pressing Play on the DVD we are watching, and throws a dummy that hits me square in the face. I am filled with a white hot rage, and, before I know what I am doing, I slap him, open hand, on the thigh.

His face crumples, and of course, the screaming intensifies. I see a red mark, the shape of my fingers… it’s the shape of shame, and it’s forming on his leg.

I kiss it better, I apoligise profusely, and I wrap him up on the lounge in a blanket to watch TV. I go outside and look at the stars, I light a cigarette.

And then I cry. because this is so fucking unfair, and so difficult, and I am so damn tired. The mother guilt is eating at me, the life guilt takes my breath away.

My son, he forgives quickly, as small children do, and the three of us, we cuddle on the lounge. The smell of Vicks, warmed by the skin of tiny bodies, is comforting.

Tonight, it will be another long night. I remind myself that this is what millions of women do, all by their themselves…. but it’s still difficult. I just wish I had someone to take the pressure off, someone to get up at night.. someone to cry with, to play tag team with… I wish i still had Tony’s endless patience for our children, that kicked in when mine was lacking.

Hanging on in there. Because what else is there to do?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynda Halliger-Otvos July 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

From the north Pacific Coast on the western side of North America there is a small unit in a small co-operative development. Within that small home rests a heart that wishes it could reach out and touch yours.

Sole parenting (to distinguish you from a separated or divorced parent) ranks as the highest stress job in our lives. Times will come when you will lash out. Apologize, be aware, take breaks, move forward–we have all done it. None proudly.


JB July 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hang in there, it will not last, but you surely can. Many thoughts of and with you and the kids, as always.


Melissa July 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Oh Lori – so so sorry. Every mother has snapped. Even those of us who aren't travelling the incredibly difficult single parent route. Take it easy on yourself. I hope you are all healthy soon. Oh I wish you had some help. Keep hanging in. Lots of love.


Girl From the Ville July 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Sick kids would test the patience of a saint. Sometimes I wish I could just be the kid again and have my mum care for me, instead of having to be the grown up all the time.

I really hope your kids are better soon. Big hugs to you all.


Kelloggsville July 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I did it with one and was working, I'll equate that to the stress of doing it with 2. It's a rotten time when they are sick but the fun will be back sooner than you think. I don't know how I did it and my mum was very close. I am in awe of the mums still doing it and those to come. Motherhood is what we were born to do but it's definitely not a walk in the park. Smacking is not illegal in this country it is sometimes a valid way to teach young children. I don't think it should hold a regular place in discipline but sometimes it works where a lifetime of trying to reason it out would never do it. It'll all look a bit rosier with the children very soon, stick with it xxxx


Donna July 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

If only we could forgive ourselves as fast as our children forgive us…

Its got to be normal to feel this way, you are thrust into a situation you never asked for, and are dealing with it the best way you know how.

Wrap yourself in that rainbow and free yourself of your guilt xx


River July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Forget the slap, it's done, it's over. But, (but but but), keep a close eye (ear?)on those coughs, whooping cough is going around right now.
Hope you all feel much better soon.


Eccentricess July 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I was scrolling down through the comments to post "Vicks – put it on the soles of their feet".

And there it is, already recommended, so I will confirm that it helps much faster.

If you have an oil burner and some eucalyptus oil, that helps too.

Cuddles are the best thing ever, especially after a mutual outburst that leaves you feeling horrid.


Mrs Woog July 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Total shit and although I can imagine how lonely you feel right now, I cannot know it. And I can only imagine it is shit. Shithouse. Sick kids drain you. It would be exhausting having no relief from any of it. And I am not going to try and lift your spirits now, but go smoke that ciggie and bunker down for what may be another rough, long night. And I will be here for you tomorrow. And then some.
Love you
Mrs Woog


little chicken July 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

Hoping things go better tonight. I have 2 little boys – 3 and 18 months. Both dont sleep through night.

I screamed at my son before he went to bed last night and he had night terrors.

I decided i didnt want to be a mother anymore. Too hard.

I hope it gets easier for you. I pray it will.

I dont know if this will work, but it was passed onto me, and people SWEAR by it… put vicks on the souls of the kids feet and then put socks over them before they go to bed. Apparently the feet absorb the vicks into the blood stream or something and it super helps their coughs. I have tried it and it doesnt hurt.

Fingers crossed for a better night. Your doing awesome. Promise.


Mrs Woog July 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm



Photographer Mum July 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

Big hugs to you Lori, I can understand that frustration. It's hard and it sucks, especially when they make you snap. My kids had me in tears yesterday. They can be very intense, small people. Love to you



Frogdancer July 1, 2011 at 7:37 am

Don't stress. It gets better. (Coming from a single mother of 4 boys.)
And honestly… sometimes kids need to learn when they've crossed a line.. it's part of teaching them how to be people that other people WANT to be around. You just gave him an Extreme Social Skills Lesson: people don't like it when missiles are thrown at them for no good reason.


Eccles July 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

So, my Dear Lori – you snapped! Meh!! Who hasn't? Parents do!! It's a fact of life. Chop isn't bleeding, you're not bleeding. Move on. Guilt & shame would have to be the biggest emotional time wasters EVER!! They are the energy draining emotions that take the most energy to rise above & you need all your energy to look after you & Chop, Bump & Dog!!! You took a break for a smoke & you got to look at the stars. I LOVE the stars & the waves on the beach – so soothing, restful, healing & I take strength from those – they will be there tomorrow! Your family will be there tomorrow, loving, laughing, snotty, poohy, singing, dancing… You are in my thoughts every night & every morning!! I care about you, & if my words above seem a bit harsh?, call it my virtual shake. (rattle & roll lol).
So, my dear Lori, close your eyes, wrap your arms around your self & imagine many pairs of other arms around you. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out slowly. Shake your shoulders. Open your eyes.
Know that you are loved, UNCONDITIONALY by two of the most beautiful characters that you & Tony had the delight to create. (X)


Fox in the City June 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Let go of that shame, we all make mistakes and none of us is perfect.

You are parenting under the most extreme of circumstances and I am impressed that you don't break more often. My god I am so thankful that I am able to tag out for a bit and let Brad take over.

Chop has forgiven you, now it is your turn.


Melissa June 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Don't beat yourself up too harshly about this, you aren't the first one to snap and won't the the last either :( I wish I was where you are so I could offer some help, even watch a DVD with your little ones so you could have an hour off… instead I'll have to offer cyber *hugs*


Hear Mum Roar June 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm

You're doing the best you can, and it's good enough:)


yendis July 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

Oh Lori~ I know how you feel. You are right it is difficult but we are women and we are mothers and we can do it.


OurGangof7 July 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

Oh Lori, big hugs to you. I've been down the single parent path, not in the same way as you but also not by choice, and yes it sucked, majorly sucked. It is so hard and it is so unending. I used to feel that it was just one thing after another and there was never a chance for me to just take a breath between the neverending demands and needs of small children.
You are doing the best you can and that is all your children ask of you and at the end of the day, all they want is you. I don't think there is a parent out there that hasn't lost their patience and slapped their child. We have all done it and at the end of the day I'm sure all of us were smacked as children too and we all turned out okay.
So take a deep breath, smile at those beautiful little cherubs and take it one minute at a time.
Hugs to you all.


Glen June 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Sounds to me like you are human.

It is tough, it really is.

Just keep being there – getting it right or wrong doesn't matter at all – just be there


Maxabella June 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm


Okay, Lori. Come over and enter the giveaway on my blog. You need a party outfit to help cheer you up (even if, like me, you will most likely end up wearing it to the washing line…) x


robyn June 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I hope they both feel better SOON! And I pray you all have a good night's sleep. It is amazing how much that helps. You are doing something very difficult, it's okay to not be on top of things- just keep swimming.


Miss Pink June 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I think the clear line is that many single parents choose that path in some way. They leave the deadbeat of a father, they decide that there isn't love and it's better to do this on their own. Your choice was taken away from you.

The red mark? It will fade. Chop will forget. But you won't. Mistakes they happen, all the time, but if you learn from it, then they're mistakes that are worth it.


Kellie June 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Just because a million women around the world do it, doesn't mean it's easy. Not a fucking bit.
I did it myself, and it was the hardest and one of the worst times in my life.
My situation was nothing at all like yours, but I know how you're feeling and I know you will be alright.


Lisa June 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Oh Lori,
There is nothing I can do except to say, you do what you can & you are human, I've slapped & the same as you felt like shit afterwards & we are lucky that our kids have short memories, we don't & we judge ourselves harshly. We can be our own harshest critics, you are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.
Am sending you cyber hugs xxxxx


Kimmie June 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Oh Lori how I wish I could sweep you all up in a hug then take some of the pressure from your weary shoulders.

Tomorrow hopefully will be a better day.



Tash June 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hugs to you, Lori.
To be going through what you've been through, and dealing with two sick kids on top of that? I can't imagine how tough it'd be. For any single mother.
My prayers are with you and your kids. Hope tomorrow's a bit brighter.


Good Golly Miss Holly! June 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I understand that shame. I have been battling with it often lately. My heart aches for you Lori. If there is anything I can do, let me know. Seriously xx


Crystal Cheverie June 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I'm not a mom, but I know what it is to be that frustrated. Honestly, it could've been worse and I'm sure you didn't do any lasting damage or anything like that. Try to forgive yourself.

My hat seriously goes off to all the single parents out there – it's a hard enough job when you have someone else there. To do it alone, especially when that choice was made FOR you? I can't imagine.



Ames June 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I wish there was something I could do.


Toni June 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Lori, yes millions of women do this but I doubt very many of them would swap with you right now. What you're doing, sweets, it's a tough gig. Really. Bloody. Tough.


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