Shingles: not the house kind
I recently spent a weekend out of commission with my first and hopefully last case of shingles. Funny thing when you are a mom—being sick just means feeling like crud while still doing my job. Not that I’m complaining. In the grand scheme of things, having shingles, with its itchy rash and aching body, isn’t as bad as most illnesses. And unlike many moms who go at it alone, I have a great husband and family nearby to offer support. This got me thinking about how important it is for us moms to build a network of support, even if it’s just moral support.
I am lucky in that early in my mom life I stumbled upon a group of women with small children who wanted to take on small projects to build community among each other and set a good example to our children. They called themselves the Charity Mom’s Organization and met about once a month for snacks and wine and to talk about what was going on in our community and how we could help. We started with the usual bake sales but soon realized that there were needs within our group too. A member was put on hospital bed-rest due to placenta previa weeks before her due date and with a 2-year-old at home. A friend of a friend’s 18-month-old was newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and yet another family had twin boys, one with a severe heart problem requiring multiple surgeries during his fragile first year of life. Several more women had babies or surgeries or both. And so we heeded the call, mom to mom, and offered childcare, school pick-ups, and meals…the stuff moms need.
Now our little group has nearly a hundred members and a Facebook page (of course). We reach out all the time to each other for little things, like which baseball camp is the best, and big things like who needs help with meals or causes that touch our hearts. Once a month or so, a mom will post with a call for help for another family in need. Last month I was contacted by a fellow pediatrician who had a very sweet, very young mother of two in her clinic who needed absolutely everything. A quick post on our Facebook group, and less than two days later I had a carload of stuff to drop off, all donated from my little mom group.
I hope all moms reach out to each other for support. I encourage all my patients to find a group locally, maybe in a church or at a playground, and get to know each other’s needs. You can even create a group on Bundoo! It feels great to offer support to a family that might be in need and feels equally great knowing you have a support system in place for yourself.
For my weekend with shingles, all I needed was to whine about my shingles to my mom-friends. They were great, as usual.