Flashback Friday: No Sick Days for Moms

by Abby on January 24, 2014

You know that saying, “Be careful what you wish for”? I was JUST telling my husband — after 5 consecutive days of the kids being off school — that I wished I had even a moment to myself. Well, as it turns out, I did have some moments all to myself as I was hanging over the toilet at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and again at 5:30a.m. when a stomach bug hit me full force in the middle of the night. The next day, by the grace of God and babysitters and husbands with flexible work schedules, I got a sick day. A REAL one, where I stayed in bed all day. Of course I was too sick to enjoy it. And it DID only last one day. But as a mom, I know I was lucky to get even that. Stay healthy and enjoy this post from my archives!

No Sick Days for Moms

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 take 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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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dixie January 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I’m telling you we live simultaneous lives…I was throwing up about those same hours and my hubby managed to take over by adjusting his schedule so I could literally stay in bed all day. Now, off to lysol the house before my mom arrives.


Abby January 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Ugh! Poor us. You are on the right track with the Lysol. I just went to the doctor’s and they said hand-washing and disinfecting everything is the most you can do to ward off all the nasty viruses going around. Feel better!


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