It’s a big sky. Its easy to feel very small and insignificant stood under it.

There are so many times when parenting is the best gig on the planet. Then there are other times…

I was trying to convince our son that he had washed his hands enough. He had been at the soap and water for nearly five minutes. Everything I said didn’t seem to have any impact. Finally he decided that was enough. He asked if the towel was clean and had it been washed that day. I assured him that was the case. He left the bathroom and I looked at his hands. His very red and sore skin. That’s what happens when you wash as often as he does. We are using skin friendly soap. I water it down further. But his hands are still red. I encourage him to use his skin care lotion. But his hands are still sore.

These are the times I feel inadequate as a parent. Missing the support of another person. Someone to share the load. Definitely running out of things to try. Actually ran out of things to try. His health professionals try to help but they see this intrinsically linked to the pandemic. Get the pandemic under control and we can start to bring his hand washing under control – hopefully. But that doesn’t make me feel any better as a parent. Feels like I had one job and I dropped the ball on it.

So I’m stood under that big sky. Feeling insignificant. Time to breathe. Reset and go again. Yes significant but definitely not beaten yet.

81 thoughts on “Insignificant

  1. I feel your pain. Through your posts I can tell that you are a very loving and caring Dad. Its not your fault ,you are doing the best you can and I think you are doing great! Don’t start with the guilt trip, does no good! Been there, done that!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A lot of people have the same problem with their hands from the constant cleaning and washing. One possible solution is to wash, then cover with aloe vera gel. This gel ‘seals’ the skin from infections (used to be used for burns for that purpose). It’s also easy to wash off (water is enough), so it may help alleviate both the redness/pain and his fear of germs getting on the skin.
    It only takes a little to soothe hands (about half a teaspoon). Luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Gary Kermit Superdad… HUGS!!!💌💌💌💌💌
    I know that helpless, lost, heartbroken feeling. It sucks so bad! When there’s something that we can’t make better for them… He has your love, your understanding and your full support. He’s a wicked smart young man, I’m sure he *knows* how bad his fear and anxiety have gotten and I’m sure he feels guilt about it too… but we know he can’t help it. It’s an impossible situation. Just keep doing all you’re doing. Sometimes all we can do is wait it out… so difficult!

    Sending more hugs cuz you need them!!💌💌💌💌💌

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah….I don’t know what to say exactly.

    I could send some photos of hands we have seen because of overzealous hand washers? We have seen some very upset skin.

    Maybe a baking illustration could help. If the recipe says bake the cake for 30 mins….
    – what happens if you only bake the cake for 15 mins? Raw cake, you can’t eat it without it making you ill
    – what happens if you bake the cake for 45 mins? It is overbaked and dry, you brake your teeth trying to take a bite out of it.
    The recipes says 30 minutes.

    Thorough handwashing should take 20 seconds…
    – if you wash your hands for just a few seconds you are probably not getting rid of harmful bacteria and viruses
    – if you wash your hands for too long, your skin can become damaged and broken. Broken skin opens up the risk of infections and if may require you to use emollients intensively or even put protective dressings on your hands while the skin heals.

    Some people have set themselves a little timer, or they sing to a twenty second verse.
    Either way….too little and too much could both cause problems.

    Well done for changing the towel everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sky is absolutely stunning and yes, it perfectly sums up how parenting can feel. I’m sorry your son has fixated on this one thing. So many of us feel out of control and are looking for a way to decrease our anxiety. Just keep loving and supporting him, that is your priority and the rest will get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As handwashing comes regular into my life from being a cleaner, my hands used to be sore. More so starting from now and through winter. But you may have seen on my blog where I talked about O’Keeffes Working Hands. You can get this in a tube or a pot and you only need a very small amount. (tip of finger to cover both hands) and they are at the best they have ever been.

    I avoided trying the cream originally because of the price, but because of how much you only need, compared to other creams like Aveeno and Palmers I have used, but not helpful come winter, means it lasts as long, or maybe a little longer, so doesn’t work out expensive.
    I totally recommend this handcream.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Please be kind to yourself! I can see how frustrating and difficult this must be for you but all any of us can do is our best. You are an amazing Dad. I’m sorry you feel alone in this right now. Hugs to you x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There’s this thing that I do occasionally: I think of my outward breath as love to others who are stressed and that the breath coming in is the love of others doing the same. Just a few slow breaths of mutual love one to many, many to one who at the time needs that calm, gentle reasuring love.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lol… I do that… wash my hands dry… and then sting them with hand sanitizer lol

    I plan to not catch anything lol ✌️

    I do use lotion… if severe – before I go to bed … I put the smallest amount of Vaseline (very small amount because is greasy otherwise) but just enough to make not so bad – it does help. But he may not be game for that?

    He doesn’t leave the house right? You don’t want to discourage the safety he needs to feel…

    What specific risk factors does he feel?

    I have risk factors so it’s a must. I wear mask always … hand washing always – plus I disinfect literally everything!!

    Hmm 🤔 is not a bad habit – but it does leave hands raw and red… I do understand his need to feel safe. And also your concern

    He is just feeling similar to you… just in different way. He’s probably looking for ways to control his environment to have safety and protection.

    May I say some things? Hopefully is ok? Forgive me if not…

    He lost his mom, so regardless of how he took it at the time or even now… that is something he couldn’t stop or control, it happened and that’s what he had…

    Now there is a pandemic… and he most definitely does not want to lose you or die himself…

    Remember he is young and the whole world is seemingly just out of control right now…

    He seems to be looking for a sense of control and safety for the things he can do.

    So that’s hard… you don’t want to take that away from him. And I don’t know if you could?

    Could be how he is seeing? You have worries too, and you trying to figure yours out… so is he.

    Maybe just keep open discussions with him? Is there any way to give him some of that power ?

    Could you ask for his opinion on how to make the house feel more sterile or safer? That might help? Give a little ease for his mind?

    Sorry… hope that’s all ok to say. Just trying to understand and think how he might be feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well that’s a good idea… I only use the hand sanitizer too because I just want extra caution … I work at funeral home so I disinfect constantly … and we have sign in forms for anyone who enters – is contact tracing … just incase any family member has COVID then we can notify anyone who comes to our buildings.

        I just use extra caution because I’m all weird lol ✌️ I just don’t want to fight for my life again… I’m good with that. I can’t do that again. So regardless of how anyone else thinks about anything – I will be cautious.

        Anyway… I don’t know your family dynamic with him – he sounds funny and like he has a good sense of humor, good outlook. But you guys have had a few heavy years, just like I have had, so ya know… I always try to figure out the reason for someone’s actions… if I can figure out the gist, then I get a better sense of how to approach.

        You seem to do good with him… you are funny and that helps alot! Definitely keep that going!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Aw, I am sending you a massively big hug right now. As parents, when our children hurt, we hurt and it is the most awful feeling to be so helpless. As you know, hubby has diabetes and one of the pitfalls of that is he can develop ulcers on his feet. They are awful things and hard to get rid of. It always starts as a callous. So….when we were in Edmonton last year they looked after it. Yay – right? The reason I mention it is that the skin has to be kept very soft so callouses don’t form. We were told to buy anything with urea in it. So we did. This cream is amazing! So, thought I’d tell you about it. It may help his poor hands. I had to buy it at the pharmacy, the only place I can get it.

    Hang in there my friend. Sending lots of love and positive energy to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful photograph. You can’t beat yourself up for not having answers where there are none. I can only imagine how hard it is to see your lads poor sore hands, I can only imagine the frustration. But you must not think yourself a failure, ever. You are so the opposite! As one day your lad will no doubt tell you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Try not to buy into the parenting guilt. It lurks around every action, event and conversation. You are doing the best you can with what you have. And your patience is far from insignificant. 💕


  13. I feel for your son. Many years ago I went into nurses’ training. When I was assigned to work in the nursery, we had to wash our hands so often, and when we left and then when we came back to the ward we had to scrub with a brush up to the elbows. The soap we had to use was liquid and called germa medica, and it was very harsh. My hands finally got so red and sore I could no longer stand it. It looked as though I had dipped my hands into boiling water. I suffered from eczema for years after, sometimes very severe.

    I have recently discovered African Black Soap, which is not really black at all, and is made from shea nut. It makes my hands very soft. Actually I use it in the bath and my dry skin becomes very soft. For my hands I water it down to use in a foam dispenser. I also have, when I need it, shea nut oil and use a little to make my skin even softer. I wish I had known about it decades ago (if it was even available then). It might have saved me a lot of discomfort. It might work for your son. I order it from iHerb in the US, but they deliver all over the world.

    That is a fabulous photo Gary. So much texture and depths. Something like life. Keep up the good work and don’t give in to discouragement. There are people rooting for you and praying for you. You will make it through this time however bleak it may seem.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lots of red and cracked skin around here too as they do extra hand washing at school now.
    The only thing that helps is putting a thin layer of Vaseline on red skin every night before bedtime, that helps immensely. I’m not sure if your son would be ok having greasy skin though.

    There is a cream called Lanolin (usually used by breastfeeding mothers for cracked nipples 😁) which is magical for broken skin but it’s super thick, it costs about £10 and lasts a long time. Just another option.

    In terms of hand washing, as your son seems to like rules, would it be helpful to print out some official guidance and pop it over the sink as a reminder how to wash your hands properly and for how long?
    Speaking from experience, I tell something to my kids and they ignore it completely but if it comes as an instruction on a piece of paper from school etc. it’s basically an unbreakable law in their eyes.

    Greetings from Kent!

    Liked by 1 person

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