Happy Mothers Day, Dads
Do something special for her this year: Understand.
By Tom Karlya
May 2007 — It's the month of May, which means Mother's Day. And that, of course, means this month's article is addressed to the dads. What, you say? How can that be? Very simple, and I'm sure this article will be left on many a pillow or taped to many a mirror this month.
As my friend Randy Jackson (of American Idol fame) says, "Yo dude, lissen up - check it out … check it out … check it out." This is to the husbands out there, or in the case of those couples that are no longer together, the father's of the kids who have diabetes. This Mother's Day, prepare to do something special for the mother who takes care of your child, dealing with diabetes 24/7.
Hold on ... You're the one who's working so hard. Perhaps you're even taking a second job doing whatever it takes to help pay the bills, while your wife is home with your child who has diabetes. You're the one working harder because your wife quit her job to take care of diabetes, which became the newest member of your family. The attention that was usually thrust upon you now takes a back seat. The bedroom door is now open at night, not your choice but your wife's, for those ‘just in case' times, dramatically cutting into your time alone together. How wonderful you are and yes, so understanding.
What do you get in return? Maybe questions about why don't you try harder to understand your wife's point of view? Why don't you try harder to understand what diabetes is all about? Why can't you give your wife a break so she can get a night out, for goodness sakes? Why can't you help take care of your child's diabetes? Why don't you know more? Why won't you try? Why is it all about everyone else and you don't matter anymore? When do you get back the life you had? Why do you have to accept everything and be so misunderstood? Why doesn't she understand your feelings? Where is our passionate time together? It's not your fault right?
Sit down gentlemen. Do I have your attention? The long awaited answer is on the way.
And here it is: You're wrong. Pissed you off, did I? Sorry but here it comes again: You're wrong. Now listen to me carefully as I tell you why.
I know there are dads out there who do not fall into this category, but if this article finds its way into your hands by email, a friend, placed anonymously in your car, taped to the bathroom mirror where you shave, or dropped in your hands by a duck flying over head, take my word for it that someone is trying to tell you something.
I'm not lambasting you for whatever it is you are being told you're doing wrong. I'm here to share with you what I know because I was there, and still am. No one on this earth has ‘screwed it up' more than me. Now the mother of your child with diabetes is not completely blameless here, but it is Mother's Day and a free pass is in order.
If your wife stopped working to take care of your child or quit school or changed her life style in any way to be home with your child, make sure you NEVER forget it. Because the truth is, during the day, you escape the daily regime of dealing with diabetes. And you MUST understand that regime consists of holding your child while they cry, listening to your child say they hate you because of the pain, throw an absolute tantrum to get away from an injection or a blood test, being spit at, peed on, scratched, bit and hit - and that's all before breakfast.
Now I'm not saying that your child is a devil all of the time because of their diabetes, but there will be times that the day will just be impossible to handle and unless you really ask, you'll never know because the mother of your child will do it - someone has to. It's not engrained as a motherly instinct; it's just that you never volunteered for the job. So she does it. And heed my warning: after a day from hell, the last thing she needs is ‘the king' coming through the door asking why dinner is not on the table.
In addition to all of the diabetes aspects of the day, there are all of the nutritional aspects. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and how each play a role in your child's life. Quick, how many carbohydrates in a slice of pizza? If you don't know, it's downhill from here gentlemen. I'm not telling you either - go look it up AND DON'T ASK YOUR WIFE.
Add in the millions of times she'll run down to the school to play nurse, go on the school trip, or come face to face with a school's administrator who ‘just doesn't get it.' Who do you think does that while you're at work all day?
Play time? Test first, possible injection or a bolus (do you even know what that is?) and maybe a snack, who knows? Mom knows, but do you? Gauging the type of day they had, checking the schedule, was there a gym class today, was it before lunch today or after lunch, will that make a difference? You bet it will.
Of course there comes time for diabetes education. She'll learn online about the latest in continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, and - through her tears if she can bear it -read up on the latest hope for a cure. Only she'll find that we're really no closer today than we ever were because all of our children still have it and no one's talking about what's just around the corner anymore. Have you read up on anything lately? Good way to have a conversation, don't you think?
Now let's add the battle with the insurance company. Three hours trying to make sure that you don't have to pay cash for test strips because the idiot on the other end at the insurance company has not the slightest inkling as to what they're doing.
And guess what my friend, they get to do it all over again tomorrow. We haven't even discussed house chores, regular school work, giving attention to your other children, taking care of the pets, doing something in the garden, shopping, and anything else I may have forgotten. And here we come through the door.
"Honey, I'm home."
She just doesn't come running like you would like, does she? Neglected. Tough, huh? Now I'm not saying that everything I mentioned above is what happens every day, but a lot of it does, and you know it also. And the thing you don't understand is that she does still love you. She does. But when you come on to the scene and all of a sudden expect it to be about you, or that she should sit down and relive her day living with diabetes so YOU understand it better, or you're frustrated because something exciting happened at work and you just don't have her full attention remember that she was at work all day, too.
When it comes right down to it, the way you feel dejected because your boss let you have it over a stupid little thing, will never ever, ever, in a million years EVER compare to your child asking, "Mommy why do you hurt me all the time?" Oh, your wife never told you about those days either, did she? No, she wouldn't. Do something nice for her this year, let her know that you really know. Happy Mother's Day, Moms.
I'm a diabetes dad.
Read More of Tom's Articles.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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