Parenting is a pain in the back

Today, as I hobbled into school to pick up my daughter, people asked me how my weekend was. It really sucked. Well, sort of. Why, you wonder? Follow:

My husband left Saturday morning for a week in Cuba with his brother and dad, leaving me alone with the two children. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that 15 minutes after he left for the airport, as I was bending over to help my son on the potty, my SI joint went out. I felt a twinge of sudden pain in my pelvis and the next thing I knew, I couldn’t stand up straight, walk without pain, or sit comfortably. Basically, the muscles all around the joint seized up to prevent further damage. The result: extreme pain and severely limited mobility.

This happens to me about twice a year and usually occurs because of something ridiculous. Last April it happened when I was bending over to pick up a bar of soap, a year ago it happened when I was bending over to grab a diaper, two years ago the pain hit while bending over gardening and three years ago it went out when I was bending over to put my son in his crib.

Clearly, I should find a way to live without bending over. The problem is that back pain and parenting go hand-in-hand as parenting is nothing if not a never-ending schedule of bending over. Get them out of bed (bend over), change a diaper (bend over), get them dressed (bend over), play horsie (bend over), pick them up (bend over), help them put on their shoes (bend over), cater to their every whim throughout the day (bend over backwards). It’s times like these when I wish all those predictions about life in the 21st century had come to pass: the hover cars, the metallic jumpsuits, the robots. This weekend I could have really used a robot to do all the heavy parenting lifting.

In the end I did what any modern gal in my situation would do: I hired the nanny from two houses down to deal with the rugrats in my feeble state. She played with them; I read. She fed them lunch; I napped. She took them over to play with her regular charges; I got through that stack of magazines. Except for the excruciating back pain, it wasn’t a half bad way to spend a weekend.

I learned that, in the next couple weeks, should I ever want some time to myself — and fob off the children on my relaxed, newly-tanned hubby — I need only bend over to grab a diaper, and fake the SI thing. Bet I’d be pretty good at it.


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