You may think your child’s worst enemy is that bully that picks on him in school, or the teacher that gives enormous homework, or that Aunt that never wants to baby sit. You may feel it’s his own self that would eat a dozen- mangoes and end up feeling sick or yell endlessly when it’s time to switch the TV off.

Sometimes you feel like you may be the worst enemy. When you continually say no to her ,with tears running down and her face scrunched up like waste paper as she asks for just one more hour on the beach. It’s a sore feeling knowing she is going to cry as you say no to buying that pretty doll.

All these common occurrences make us cringe at being bad parents that are unwilling to bend. We continually feel the urge to do better, to try harder in making our kids happy, only to be attacked by the real fiend and the worst enemy.
Any emotionally balanced parent who has seen their child ill knows that your child’s worst enemy is illness. Sometimes it awakens the innermost pangs of guilt as we could nearly always see the signs only if we listened,paid more attention to their actions, behaviors or habits. Other times just being attuned to our child’s reactions to normal routines would prepare us better.
I always feel upset about not taking precautions or the right actions at the right time. Interestingly it seems for us working parents that our children fall ill at the wrong time, all most as if the gods are punishing us for wanting to have it all.
Wrong time meaning a few weeks into a new project or a new job, the day before a before an interview or presentation, right in the middle of a big move, the list gets more important as the years go by.
In Sierra Leone where getting emergency care is like finding diamonds, it is painstakingly evil for your child to fall ill at midnight or during a public holiday when getting to the hospital is nearly impossible or finding a doctor on duty. The suspense not knowing what you will find adds on to the worry of handling and managing a sick child. In a continent where nearly *Nine (9) million children die every year due to preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia you will see the reasoning behind the frantic search for solutions .
A typical attack of malaria lasts anywhere from 3 days- 7 days depending on the immune system of the child and the level/quality of care and treatment administered. How on earth do you juggle your job and tasks with a child who is vomiting or has an alarming fever? How do you start telling your boss that you need time off to take your child to the hospital for the second time this month? How do you start negotiating the out-patient drugs that your insurance doesn’t meet?
Now that your child is recuperating and refuses to eat the good old regular rice and greens that stalk the houses of typical Sierra Leonean houses but craves a dish that will demand that you spend the last leone in your purse. How do you handle saying NO to the weak frail eyes of hunger calling out your name Mama, Mama!
More importantly how do you prepare yourself better to battle your child’s worst enemy. I have found these techniques to help me through and thought it fit to share with working parents:

  • You are not responsible for your child’s illness, this is true even for genetically linked diseases
  • Beating yourself up or feeling guilty will not help your child get better, in fact it would worsen the energy around you both.
  • Invest into your child’s health by ensuring that they eat the right foods and amounts that correspond with their ages, drink water, exercise and sleep right.
  • Set reminders to administer malaria prophylaxis and other routine supplements. Prevention is always better than cure.
  • Be aware of your child’s behaviour, eating patterns and more especially teach them to express how their bodies feel. Let ‘how are you? ’ be an intimate question than a cliché.
  • Make routine visits to the doctors part of your family routine
  • Ask for help from family members or friends when you feel overwhelmed with looking after a sick child.
  • Take time out to pamper yourself or a day off to rest after your child has recovered
Written by: arianadiaries

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