Nurturing sick ones when we’re already feeling stretched or depleted can be challenging, can’t it? Yet it’s a frequent theme of motherhood—to give the things that we most need.
I’ve been feeling pulled in too many directions these past few weeks. Spread too thin, I have been desperate for some hard to come by solo time to simply nurture my own thoughts and dreams and desires. How grateful I was to carve out an hour last week for a much needed coffee date with a friend. It refilled my cup, and left me with some space to breathe during this brimful season.
And then last week Sage started feeling under the weather, and ended up with the flu. Needles to say, it’s been an intense week of parenting in that ways that illness or injury always area. That’s life, that’s motherhood, but I’m tired.
These ordinary bumps in the journey of having loved ones under the weather are just that–ordinary. Yet they’re awfully trying, too. I think we sometimes negate the feeling that bubble up around these ordinary hiccups of motherhood and life.
What might shift if we instead honored these messy feelings, and ourselves along with them?
So I’m reaching for balance as best as I’m able. Knowing when to say no, when to dial in my expectations, and when to rest. To sleep as long as I’m able, to pause for tea or to knit a row when I can, to steal away for a long, quiet soak in a hot bath. To remember that I, too, matter. And that I can’t nurture others without first taking care of myself.
It’s something many of us struggle to honor.
My self-care game has never been strong. But during these moments of need, it’s imperative I do better.
And so I will.
To all of the mamas out there, just struggling to get through this day or this season for whatever reason: I see you, I feel you; you’re not alone. You’ve got this.
One piece of my keep-it-together medicine is to get outside everyday, no matter what. Alone, with dogs, or with family, it’s keeping me sane. Fresh air, the light on the hills, the weather varying wildly day after day.
Yesterday Lupine and I headed out for white pine needles (Pinus strobus) from the tree in the yard for tea for Sage’s cough, and it was restorative just to feel the cold air on my skin. It wasn’t even a walk, but it was still a pause.
Back inside she chopped the needles and brewed tea for her brother, I organized the herb cabinet, and we strained tinctures, elixirs, and oxymels together. It felt like order in the chaos. It felt like an exhale.
We’re keeping the tea and bone broth and hot toddies flowing, and we’re keeping our sanity, day after day. I’m grateful.
As his illness moves its way toward closure, and the rest of us are doing our best to stay well in this small house full of abundant germs.
We’re all taking daily doses of elderberry and echinacea to shore up our immune systems and keep the crud at bay, sipping lots of herb-spiked teas and broths, and Sage continues to take elderberry, chaga, and other herbs as the symptoms call for.
Wild Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) and ginger-sage tea for sore throat and chills, yarrow and elderflower for fever, white pine and elecampane for cough, etc., etc. I even offered him a little rose elixir last night for his (emotional) heart, which is so weary of all this time in bed, feeling miserable.
Since the flu has largely settled out at this stage as throat discomfort and cough, Lupine and I crafted two types of throat lozenges for him yesterday as a part of our homeschooling day. Unlike the sugar- or rice syrup-based candy-like throat lozenges, these are crafted only of powdered herbs, raw honey, and an optional few drops of herbal tinctures or elixirs. Intuitively, they feel much more nourishing than a sugar-based remedy.
The herbal pastilles we made were based off of this recipe. We modified the formulation based on Sage’s symptoms and the herbs we are most called to use.
Our first version (shown at right) we crafted from homegrown marshmallow root powder (in place of the slippery elm), homegrown garden sage, powdered rose petals, homemade wild rose elixir, and a pinch of ginger root powder.
In our second version we substituted Monarda (wild bee balm) for the sage, omitted the ginger we added to the first batch, and added some elderberry tincture for good measure.
As we rolled these little herbal throat balls in slippery elm and marshmallow powder, Lupine popped one in her moth to test our formula. “These are amazing!” she said. Amazing little herb balls.
So there you go. We made Amaze Balls.
And if nothing else, there will always be humor to get us through!