You all know by now that my daughter and I kissed California goodbye in April and headed south to Arizona! Our mold riddled sinuses needed the hot, dry air and what better place that Arizona in late Spring and Summer?
We didn’t bring much with us because, well, we don’t have much. I pretty much brought what we own with the exception of the winter clothing we had been wearing. I did leave most of my herbs behind because they were in glass jars, cumbersome, and I figured if I needed something I would just get it here. I brought a couple of important ones that we regularly use but left most behind. I also left my essential oils and tinctures behind for my dad to pack and bring with him when he came with our stuff. (Yes, my dad drove our stuff because I had my daughter and our rabbit in my car and that pretty much took up all available space. Rasta Rabbit was riding in style so as to not stress herself out).
Anyway, the first week after we arrived was fine. We got the lay of the land and settled into our temporary digs. I was confident that things would start looking up. And then…my daughter woke up with this tickle in her throat and a major fever. Everything went completely downhill from there.
Long story short, she was majority ill for 5 days and then the flu slammed into me like a freight train gone rouge. I muddled through day one but by day two I was violently ill, barely able to walk five steps to the bathroom. I honestly do not remember much about that day. Apparently my daughter found cold rice in the fridge and ate that. Yeah – cold rice. All day.
My mom said that I called her crying and that my daughter was crying too. She was still pretty sick after all and here was her mama, basically incoherent and unable to care for her. Now Tiny is 6 years old but that is still really little. I can’t imagine how she must have felt. I don’t want to imagine it. It breaks my heart.
Ultimately, my mom called my mother-in-law who was about 5 hours away from us. My MIL arrived late in the evening on day 2 of 11 days of hell. If she hadn’t gotten here, I have no idea what would have happened.
What I DO know is that I will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER be this unprepared again especially when parenting solo.
Never. I made a horrid mistake when I came to Arizona. Actually I made several. No, coming here wasn’t a mistake but not immediately making sure I had supplies and food for any given situation AND that my daughter knew how to get help should something happen to me was a mistake. A bad one that could have be a lot worse.
We all survived. Barely. I honestly thought that this flu was it for me. But I came out on the other side with a lot more wisdom. Wisdom that I feel is extremely important to share with you today! And so, without further ado…
10 Things A Move To Arizona Taught Me About Parenting Solo
- Never assume that you will be well enough to grocery shop – at the store or online – or cook. Always have a couple of meals prepared and in the freezer in the event that you cannot physically cook for your child. Also make sure that you have age appropriate snacks stored that you can grab and have available while you are down for the count.
- Have broth. I don’t care what kind although bone broth made from scratch is best. Just make sure you have some in the pantry or frozen. It may be all you can keep down. (This is a decent premade broth that is shelf stable).
- Have a small stash of coconut water or another electrolyte drink. (Recharge is my cheat drink that I keep on hand in addition to coconut water). I had nothing. Water. Just water. I was terribly dehydrated from not keeping anything down for 48 hours and my electrolyte balance was messed up something awful. I wish I had these on hand.
- Don’t cut corners and buy cheap toilet paper or tissues. Spend the extra couple of bucks and have the good stuff at the ready. Just trust me. You need the good stuff.
- Have some natural support for fevers at the ready. I didn’t have my typical arsenal of tinctures and homeopathic support and I regretted it. I didn’t even have Epson salts to put in a lukewarm bath for her. When my daughter first got ill, I was still able to order online but the products I wanted still took a few days to arrive. I couldn’t drag her out to the store in her condition and I didn’t have anyone to call. Lesson learned.
- Have natural support for colds, flues, and viruses. However this looks for your family, make sure you do not leave home without it! I figured I would be ok without my tinctures and herbs for a few weeks. I was so wrong. So so wrong. If you want to see what I typically support illness with, check out this post.
- Whether you are living someplace permanent, temporary, or something in between, make sure you teach your child how to find help, should something happen to you. Tiny didn’t know how to use my cell phone. She sure knows now! We also didn’t meet any of our neighbors yet. That was my priority after I was able to get up and out of bed! I wanted my daughter to know she could go knock on a door and get help. I was honest with my neighbors and told them I was by myself, we had been really sick, and it was scary there for a few days. I told them if they ever heard my daughter screaming for help to PLEASE help. And to answer the door if she was banging on it. Make sure your child knows how to find help!
- Don’t lock your child in your home. I went a little overboard with safety when we arrived and put all kinds of locks on everything that could open. Well, that could have ended badly as Tiny had no clue how to unlock all those crazy contraptions. So if she did need to go get help, she couldn’t have. I didn’t think to stop using the special latch on the front door in the event that Tiny needed to get out.
- If you have ANY contacts in the area you are moving to/vacating at/etc… make sure you have a phone number for them. I have a few contacts in the area but I only had access to them via Facebook. Bad idea. I was literally too sick to even try to get on Facebook. Shoot – I could barely make a phone call but that would be doable. My mother-in-law really got on me about having contacts within a short drive of me but not actually having a way to contact them! (Hangs head in shame).
- Make sure you know where to go to get medical help if needed. Have a list with the address and phone numbers to the nearest hospital, urgent care, or any doctor you might need. Also, have a map printed out with how to get there in case you need someone else to drive you. I needed a doctor. Badly. I don’t often get seen for the flu but I was in really bad shape. (I haven’t stayed in bed for 11 days in over 20 years!!!) I knew about a couple of walk in clinics in the area as well as the teaching hospital. But I didn’t have the information at the ready so it was sort of a production to make all that happen once my mother-in-law arrived to help. What did come out of all that chaos was that I found a really amazing house call doctor! I ended up seeing him as well and he was phenomenal. He didn’t even mind having a rabbit assistant trying to climb his leg to see what all the fuss was about.
I could use parenting solo as an excuse for being so ill prepared.
I really am embarrassed to admit just how ill prepared I was. I mean, I just didn’t think that we would get this sick. But I should have known. We had a long trip from California. We were in a new climate with new bacteria. We have horribly compromised immune systems from toxic mold. And we weren’t eating normally for a week or so. That was the perfect storm for a major illness.
I will never be this unprepared again. Not as a mama parenting solo. Not as a mama who is away from her entire support system. Not as a mama of a child with health issues. I don’t care if I pack too much. I don’t care if I don’t use a single thing I brought. I will never assume that I don’t need something or that I will be capable of caring for my daughter. I will always be prepared.
What about you? Were you ever caught off guard? How did you compensate? Is there a difference in preparedness when parenting solo?