Written by Doctor G

How to Build Resilience While Mom is Off Her Feet

resilience kidsHi Dr. G,

I am the primary care taker to my two sons, 16 months and 4 years.  My husband and I have decided to get my surgery taken care of since my one family member (my only capable and willing resource) is offering to come down to help with my children. My husband will also be off of work for two weeks which will be wonderful for the kids and my husband to bond with each other.

Hopefully I will be mobile on crutches and have the kids in my lap but I will not be as mobile for the kids as I usually am. After surgery I am going to be in a soft cast for six weeks and a boot for another six.  Although my sixteen month old is able to walk and climb stairs he also loves for me to hold him while I am doing simple tasks around the house.  My four year old will able to understand better what is going on so I am not as concerned with him.

Is there any input or advise you could give me to help improve my outlook.  I am very worried how me being off my feet will affect my boys.  I don’t want to miss out on their little milestones and antics; especially not my younger son’s.  This is such a difficult decision for me since this is not an urgent problem.

Leslie, state not given

Leslie, I hear how anxious you are feeling. This is not bad news! This experience is filled with great opportunities for your boys. What a wonderful, yet not scary, way to build resilience!

What will your sons learn from this recovery time?

  1. What big boys they are! They will each learn what they can do for themselves, as you will not be able to help as much. This way, you will not have to say no just for the sake of teaching, which can lead to arguments. They will get the chance to help you by doing more for themselves.
  2. They will learn to help each other! It is easiest to yell for mommy, but when that option is not the most efficient, kids will find other ways to accomplish what they want, and will turn to each other for an extra hand. What a great chance to build their bond as brothers.
  3. To help you! Family relationships, even child-parent relationships, should not be a one-way street of assistance and focus. Given the chance to be a caretaker for you (in a limited way, of course), your boys can rise to the task and help (or “help” in the case of the 16 month old) mommy.

You are absolutely right that the only help you need is to improve your outlook. Your boys will be fine! This is a small hurdle in a lifetime of larger ones. This is an excellent opportunity for them (and you) to learn that they can handle a change in routine.

They will have a blast. Time with Dad? A family member visiting? Mom off her feet and so much less busy than usual with household chores? No problems for them!

Chances are pretty good that you are funneling all of your worries about having surgery and being off your feet for a while into your worries about your boys. Worry not! This will be but a bump in the road, and can be one that draws you all even closer together.

Good luck with your surgery!

Has anyone else been laid up for a while with young kids at home? How did it go?

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2 thoughts on “How to Build Resilience While Mom is Off Her Feet”

  1. Dr. G,

    Thank you so much for the very helpful advice. In prepping for this time… I am already starting to involve my older son in simple chores that he can do around the house to help. It will be interesting to see how my two boys settle their, “spats,” without me coming to rescue them as quickly as I normally do.

    P. S. For anyone looking for some solid parenting advice, Dr. G is always has great advice.

    1. Thanks so much Leslie! I think this will be a great opportunity for all of you. Best of luck in your surgery, and wishing you a quick recovery (for your sake, not your boys!).

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