That Time I Felt Like The Worst Mother, Like Ever


We’ve recently encountered a problem.

Riya has been complaining about a sore tummy.  A lot.  Like all the time.  Like at least 5 times a day for the last month or so.

So normally I’d be really concerned and we’d be off to the Doctor, forking out more money that we don’t have.  BUT here are a few extra little deets that might put my irresponsible parenting into perspective.

  1. There is no fever, vomiting or unusual poop.
  2. She eats really well.
  3. Besides being miserable when she is tired, she is upbeat, playing, laughing and generally her lovable nutty self.
  4. When I touch her actual stomach, it isn’t sore.
  5. When she is bored she whips out any one of the following sayings at random, “I’m hungry” or “My tummy’s sore” or “I needa wee”.  A urgent exclamation of “My tummy’s sore” will be followed very shortly with “I want cake”.  Not really convincing.

Then the other day at our Mom’s group we had a Doctor come in and chat to us about things that should flag our attention and our need to get them to the Doctor quickly (I’m hopefully going to share these really informative tips on the blog soon).  One of the things that she mentioned for a sore tummy with no other symptoms, is that it could be emotional.

Now this is something I can understand.  I mentioned the other day that when I was in primary school I stayed home a lot.  What I didn’t really say, is that to me, I actually felt an incredible pain in my tummy every time I thought of going to school.  It was so bad that we did blood tests and all manner of things, only to find out that I was fine, it was just an emotional reaction and it eventually wore off.

Knowing that Riya is most acutely in touch with her emotions, it wasn’t a stretch to think that this could be the cause.  This in light of all of the above, but also in the last few months she’s had to deal with quite a few new situations.  Her teacher left after just getting to know the kids, then they were without a permanent teacher for a while, then she got a lovely new teacher.  While all of this was happening we had a much loved Aunty who came and stayed with close family for 3 weeks and then had to leave again.

For a feeler, this is all just too much to grin and bear.

I spoke to her teacher who concurred that every mention of the tummy was when she was feeling tired or bored or when she would rather be doing something else.  So although I try and be sympathetic, the all to frequent mentionings of a sore tummy were starting to drive me nuts.  My sympathy was wearing so thin I often struggled to find it at all.

So when she woke up yesterday morning moaning and groaning about her stomach again I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I forced her to put on her shoes and jersey, brush her teeth and just generally get on with it.  We were not going to let “it” win, we needed to get her out of this slump.  Right?!  My hardball attitude was totally going to work.

Until she vomited on the floor.

Aaah parenting.  You funny thing you.

11 thoughts on “That Time I Felt Like The Worst Mother, Like Ever

  1. Aww man , I really enjoy reading your blog . You are an amazing mom and have one beautiful family . Lots of hugs

  2. I know this emotional tummy ache all too well – when I was little, I hated ballet. And so started the “ballet tummy ache” which my Mom couldn’t handle and eventually, she got the message and we quit ballet. And the tummy ache disappeared!

  3. I had an experience similar to this when I was a child and as a result, I am always on the look out for symptoms with my girls. I also was one of those kids that always had a sore tummy and was eventually diagnosed with a spastic colon as a young child, also all linked to anxiety and emotions. When I was about 8 years old, I had a school teacher I hated and I was very stressed and my spastic colon got worse. I guess my parents just got used to hearing me always complain that my tummy was sore and so never really put much stock in it and my teacher, the one I hated, when I complained to her at school, she told me to go to the toilet. This went on for a couple of months, until one morning, I couldn’t stand up or walk from the pain…
    Turns out my appendix ruptured inside me and I had to have emergency surgery (as a side note, it is thought that a large portion of my fertility issues come from my emergency appendectomy which caused massive internal scarring and a severely damaged right Fallopian tube).
    So when my girls complain of sore tummies… I pretty much freak out! Not the ideal reaction either!

  4. I’m still like this occasionally. Something stresses me out and I don’t or can’t pay attention to it and I get the runs or feel weirdly nauseous.

    We are body and soul. Not everything gets fixed with a pill. There’s a ghost in the machine.

  5. I am 100% sure she has emotional tummy ache – so its so very easy to miss when it’s a real one! Be assured that a lot of us has been there and you are still an incredible mom. (They actually warn us about this at school- the emotional tummy ache)

  6. Firstly I love love love your blog!

    Secondly I’ve gone through the tummy ache problem too with my son and it turned out that he was bullied at school. It was my firstborn so I had alarm bells ringing for any old ache and pain until I discovered it was emotional. That covered I’ve become hyper aware of those types of complaints but it also helped me identify ‘real’ issues as opposed to the attention-seeking-boredom kind with my girls.

    We live, we learn.

  7. oh yes that old sore tummy… its so often the fail safe “default” in our house too. You did what you thought best Cindy, no need to beat yourself up about it.

    Kids, they’re funny things.

    Hope she’s feeling better now.


  8. I ignored Ethan’s ear ache complaint at 2am on Saturday morning and even left him to cry on his own after 3 thinking he just didn’t want to sleep and was fussing over nothing…the joys of having a bad sleeper!…only to get an 8:15am doctor’s appointment after the crying didn’t stop all morning and discover what I first thought was a case of “crying wolf” to be a severe ear infection in both ears!!! I felt like the worst mother then 😦

  9. You are far from a bad mom. The dreaded tummy ache!!! I have it too when I’m nervous or anxious about sometime or in a fix. Also some people can vomit on cue. I wouldn’t beat myself up

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