No Sick Days for Moms

by Abby on February 10, 2012

Mom taking care of sick daughterEven all these years into motherhood, I still have days when I wish someone else could be the mom. Do I have to? my inner voice whines. Can’t someone else fill in for me today? I don’t wanna be in charge. You can’t make me. Oh, wait. Yes, you can. Because let’s face it, when the puke hits the floor, you’re it. Besides Daddy, if you’re lucky, there’s no one else who’s going to step in and make it all better. Paging Mommy. Cleanup on Aisle 1.

Sick days are the worst. Even worse than the leaving-the-hospital-for-the-first-time panic and the newborn sleepless nights. If you’re lucky – and I use that term loosely – you will be spared when illness hits your house, mowing down your babies and spouse. Lucky because you at least will be of sound mind and body while you’re taking care of everyone else. The WORST is when you are sick, too. Because as every mom knows, we don’t get sick days. Ever. Life marches on.

I remember hanging my head over the toilet bowl when I was 8 mos. pregnant with my second child, gripping my tight, swollen belly and wishing I could die right then and there on the far-from-immaculate tile floor. My son and I had contracted a stomach bug. So as not to worry him, I was trying to be as discreet as one can when one fears a baby might emerge from the wrong end of her body. Is it possible to throw up a baby? I would’ve Googled it if I’d had the strength.

If you’re lucky – and again, that term is relative – your husband or another family member will be available to come to your aid. Not to take care of YOU, mind you, but to tend to your offspring while you heave your intestines out. But all too often, a mom can find herself horrifyingly alone in these situations. Forced to survive so that she may nurture and protect her young. Just let me die… then, at least, someone ELSE will have to care of everything. It’s hard not to have these thoughts when you’re gripped with nausea and faced with a dirty diaper.

And when your child’s sick… The pain of looking upon their poor little flushed cheeks and glazed eyes is matched only by the agony of the clock tick-tocking away ever so slowly as you go nowhere and do nothing, except pray for the swift passing of this latest malady. Honestly, the scariest part of my kids being sick is that they are suddenly and uncharacteristically quiet and listless. Seeing them lie on the couch, too tired to even watch TV is alarming. Make it stop!

But we are lucky. And here I mean “lucky” for real. Sick days, for my kids and for me, are few and far between. A day or two of discomfort and stultifying boredom, and we are up and at ’em again. And for that, I am thankful. Not as thankful as I’d be if someone showed up on my doorstep with vegetarian chicken noodle soup for me and endless patience for playing Candyland with my kids, but thankful nonetheless.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello February 10, 2012 at 6:42 am

Very hard to all be sick at once, and the kids are so helpless and there is so little we can do. Moms alone with sick kids are Saints in waiting.


Kathleen Basi February 10, 2012 at 6:53 am

Oh, Abby, we’ve been there the last *several* weeks. The crowning insult was that after their noses, their coughs, their ear infections, escalating into a hospital stay with the baby…after everybody ELSE got well, NOW I have an ear infection. I was crying last night, weeping “I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do this anymore.” I’m so with you.


Abby February 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I’m so sorry, Kate. And with a new baby, too! Someone just asked me whether adults can get ear infections and I didn’t know. Now I do. Hope you all feel better very, very soon.


Malia Jacobson February 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I so there right now too. Strep throat for me after 2 long weeks of sick days for kids and hubby. My kids are rarely sick, like yours, so when they are they just can’t deal. The 5yo cries almost constantly when she doesn’t feel well. It’s awful.


Abby February 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I’m hearing that from SO many moms. Must be the time of year. Let’s pray it passes quickly and spring comes early.


Lisa February 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm

As soon as I saw the title of this post, I knew I would be able to relate. Just a week ago, my son and I were both miserably sick, and of course it was the day of a big meeting for my husband. But we made it through. Amen to that.


Marina February 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I can totally relate – the last two weeks were rough, and with travel plans quickly approaching, I was getting nervous. But here we are now, in my sister’s guest bedroom…my 14 month old daughter in the pack n play (my sweet baby who is a awful night sleeper anyway) praying to be able to get some rest…and that this lingering sinus infection will be gone for good in the morning. At least I can pray for it 🙂
Thanks Abby for another terrific post!


Abby February 15, 2012 at 8:57 am

Sinus infections are the WORST. I once flew on a plane with one and thought I was going to die. Feel better!


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