Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Working with kids (and animals)
We have all been a bit under the weather for the past two weeks. I spent a couple of days in bed with the flu, and it has taken me a while to recover. There aren't many occasions as a mother that you get to lie around in bed all day, and if I hadn't felt quite so unwell I might have actually enjoyed my days of leisure. The rain poured down and the wind whipped the red and gold leaves of the Liquid Amber tree into a frenzy outside my window.
And then the rabbit got sick. Storm lay listless in his hutch, his eyes oozing. He has myxomatosis, but one of the less virulent strains which he may yet survive. Having yet another body to nurse felt like more than I could muster energy for. I called the vet and started drip feeding him electrolytes, keeping him warm in a washing basket lined with straw by the fire.
When the vet came to visit this morning she had her six-week old son tucked under one arm. I bounced him on my knee while she injected Storm with antibiotics. We sat on the rug and breastfed our boys while discussing the treatment plan for our Storm bunny. And it was just so inspiring to see somebody combining new motherhood and work with such grace and ease.
I have been reporting for the local newspaper for a month now. I do my interviews over the telephone if I can. But I have always preferred to talk in person, especially if it is for a colour piece requiring a bit more human emotion. For my first face-to-face interview I felt it was very important that Quinn be asleep. So I put him in the pram and went for a walk around the river in the sunshine before pushing my sleeping boy up to the hospital and parking the pram in a quiet corner. He woke towards the end of the interview and sat on my lap eating chocolate biscuits from the tea tray while I finished up my questions.
But that was all pushed to one side when the kids and then I fell sick - as it must. Stories remain un-researched and unwritten. And that is the reality of working while also caring for a home and family full time. I don't have any sick benefits, but then I am not really doing it for the money either. And having the freedom to say 'sorry, but I can't manage it this week', well that is worth its weight in gold. Now please excuse me while I go and syringe some more gastrolyte into our rabbit.