As the saying goes, you only have so many hours in the day; and for each of those hours, each of us only has so much energy. There’s a wonderful metaphor used by people with chronic illnesses that equates the limited energy they have in the day to a lack of spoons. It sounds a bit wacky at first, but it makes a lot of sense when you get into it and really resonates with people for a reason. (Read the full explanation here.)
It’s easier to think of things like energy in terms of something physical you can see and count and comprehend. The article linked above theorizes that healthy people don’t have to think about their spoons or try and conserve them because they have an infinite amount. I’m not so sure on that count, but the rest certainly stands true in my experience.
I imagine a regular person (that is, someone without a chronic condition) to have one-hundred spoons per day – one-hundred being a round number for simplicity. It’s more spoons than most days require, with some left over at the end to waste on frivolity or throw away without needing to worry about them.
Relating this to my personal life: my husband – who I care for and who has a few chronic conditions that prevent him from working – has fifteen spoons on an average day; twenty on rare, extremely good day; ten on a bad day, and five on his very worst days. On the five-spoon days, all he can do is sleep, just about managing to eat the food I put in front of him at periodic intervals.
My own chronic condition is less severe and I usually end up with about forty to fifty spoons – much less than your average guy on the street but considerably more than my husband.
Bearing all that in mind, sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy for wanting a child. I’ve sat worrying, some nights, that people who know of our situation will judge us as being reckless or whatever to try for a family when we both have poor health. Sometimes I feel the need to justify our decision, but I won’t.
I am considering my spoons as I plan for the future, though.
All being well, I’ll (with a little help) get pregnant next year. If that works out, we’ll need to move house to somewhere with an extra bedroom and a hallway in which to park a buggy.
Before that, I’d really like to learn how to drive as I think it would make our lives easier. In the super longterm, I want to finally get my degree so, before all of the other stuff I’ve just listed, I’m planning to go back to college and get another A.level in preparation. That’ll take a year, starting in September.
Considering I’m turning thirty in spring 2019, I have a lot on my plate.
How am I managing my spoons in order to clear that plate? Well, I’ve had to let some things go to make room. (Have I killed this metaphor to death yet?)
After a year in the role, I am no longer Project Support Officer for Women Aloud NI. I’ve also decided to stop teaching social media skills on a freelance basis.
I’d already cut back on client work and stopped operating under a separate business name, bringing everything back under the umbrella of ‘Ellie Rose McKee: Freelance Writer’, but I really feel it’s time now to stop it entirely. It never really worked out the way I wanted and mostly ended up costing me a lot of spoons without earning me very much money.
So it’s the end of a few eras. I’m gonna do the student thing, and hopefully the momma thing. And, in the meantime, I’m gonna continue to care for my husband and write me some more books.
Honestly? It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
As always, this blog will continue to document the highs and lows of how the reality will (or won’t) match up with the dream. Keep ya posted!