Does mother know best

Posted Wednesday 25th April 2012   By Ericka Waller

I have an irrational fear of being sick. I don't like to do it, talk about it, be near someone who is talking about it, or doing it, or has done it in the last month or so in case they pass it to me and I start doing it too.

This hampers my parenting skillage when my children get ill. Like this weekend, for example. The husband is away. 19months has a chest infection. The coughing makes her sick. She coughs, gags, retches, upchucks. On the floor, on her her feet, on her way over to me as I run (screaming) in the other direction with my hands in the air. (Ok, not really, but I want to.)

Overiding my fear of being sick to give comfort to my kids when are is one of the toughest battles I have had to face as a parent. Shameful stuff eh?

It's all my mum's fault. She had a fear of being sick, which she talked about alot. Then picture this. I'm five.. I wake with tummy ache. Scared, I go to her room. "Do you feel sick" she asks. "No" I say, then promptly throw up all over the bed.

I won't tell you what my mum said, but it was not "Poor you princess". No cool hand held hair from my face as I spent the rest of the evening in the toilet, and I've never been sick since.

Everyone say ah, poor me. But poorer still would be if I passed this fear onto my kids.

My fear of sickness means I have never gotten drunk (in case it made me sick), tried drugs (ditto), eaten seafood (don't ask)...Don't get me wrong. I am not desperate for my kids to get drunk, snort some coke and then have a dodgy fish supper - but by the same token, I don't want them to be scared of doing anything "just in case". It's no way to live.

Me and the husband have thrown money and counselling hours at my phobia, but it's still not much better.

Love for my children is just slightly bigger than the fear though. OK, so they mostly live on pureed food, even four, in case they choke. Grapes are banned from the house and they've never seen a lollipop.

And you'll never hear me say "That looks fun, I think I'll have a go" when they are having a cuddle with the toilet, but I do help them, and I try my best to not look horrified, and I say all the things I wish my mother had said to me "It's OK, mummy is here, brave little princess. I'll look after you."

It's pretty scary, the imprint we leave on our kids eh? Philip Larkin, I salute you...

This Be The Verse

They f*ck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were f*cked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.