• Tue, Dec 3 - 9:00 am ET

As A Mother I Thoroughly Enjoy My Yearly Bout With The Winter Flu

shutterstock_165535151I generally agree with everything the universally awesome Eve Vawter says, and even if our experiences aren’t the same, I always totally get what she’s saying.  That’s why it shocked me when I read her piece yesterday, Moms Can Never Get Sick.  My reaction?  WHAAAA?  Are you kidding me?  And it’s not just Eve.  I see women in my Facebook feed all the time saying “moms don’t get sick days” or “no one takes care of mom when she’s sick.”

Now I don’t want to get all ridiculous so I will stop short of saying I LOVE getting sick, but it’s pretty much just short of that sentiment. Last year I got hit with the flu that completely clobbered me.  One afternoon after picking up my son at school, I had no idea what hit me.  I was suddenly dizzy, sweating and shivering at the same time.  I double-locked the door to the apartment, turned on the TV and went to bed.  I vaguely recall the kids coming in to ask for certain things but I don’t know any of the specifics.  When my husband came home a few hours later everyone was still alive and he got to taking care of the kids.  The next day I was a tad bit more coherent and could drag myself out of bed to throw together a meal or two, but that was the extent of it.  I planted my 18-month-old and 3-year-old in front of the television and spent most of the day under the covers.  I called in sick to my son’s preschool because you know what?  It wasn’t worth the trek to and from school for the two and a half hours he was going.  This continued all week long and it was great.

What’s not to love about no pressure to plan activities for your little kids?  About finally having an excuse to let your kids watch TV all day?  What’s not to love about not a shred of guilt over serving cold cereal for every meal?  About your husband doing more than his fair share of everything?  That’s right, I love being mom with the flu.  Other than, of course, having the flu because that totally sucks.  But I find being a mom who is sick has hidden perks I’m afraid some of you aren’t taking advantage of.  Being a sick mom is like a mini vacation.

As if I haven’t already karmic-ly doomed myself to experience the worst flu of all time, I am going to push it even farther and say I have no fear this cold and flu season.  Because this year I’m working full-time so my kids are in school longer, my husband is around more and I have much less responsibility at home than I’ve had when I was the full-time caregiver.  It’s only a slight exaggeration to say I dream of being able to call in sick, work from home smelling of vapo-rub, and sleep to my heart’s content without anyone asking for anything of me.  But it’s definitely fair to say this mom gets sick once a year and checks out completely without a second thought.  If we can’t take care of ourselves first, we can’t take care of anyone else.

(photo: BigLike/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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  • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

    I hate being sick but I love staying in bed all day, so getting the flu is like…evenly split between awesome and horrible for me!

    • Carinn Jade

      You totally get it.

    • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

      I am only a kitty mom though, not a human mom, so I have way less demanding kids to look after. My opinion could shift in the future!

    • Harriet Meadow

      Litterboxes are glorious things.

    • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

      Oh hell yes. I wish kids came with litter box training, seriously, I’d be way more eager about this whole having kids thing.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    banned, so very banned. #BANNED. I think maybe it’s my kid’s ages that’s the difference? All I know is there is no way I could have checked math homework last night, and I was super thankful my husband has not been hit with the plague yet. Plus, I work all day so I can’t really take a day off for being sick. Plus, I just really hate being sick, I hate the way I feel, I don’t sleep well, I can’t get cozy wah wah wah. You can have my death flu come get it!

    • FaintlyXMacabre

      not sure if I should upvote or downvote. I agree so hard but just fuck the flu so much.

    • Rachel Sea

      WORD. I got the flu when I was 16, and it attacked my ears and throat so badly that for weeks I was deaf and mute. My voice came back within a month, but my hearing was never the same, and I have to wear hearing aids now if I want to understand what people are saying.

      Most flus are not a big deal, but the bad ones can just fuck right the fuck off.

    • Carinn Jade

      I am crying tears of laughter from your taunts. Ok that stuff I totally get. No one wants to be sick! But I don’t mind completely checking out for a couple of days and just keeping my germ ass in bed. Forget everyone else!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I get it and I agree; Moms are allowed to get sick like everyone else, and it would be a great little vacation if it didn’t freaking suck so bad to be sick. What sucks terribly is when the partner gets it too and the kids, and there’s no one to hold the household together/clean up after the sick people.

  • FaintlyXMacabre

    Oh man, I get what you’re saying but can we just talk about how much being sick sucks donkey balls? The aches, the chills, the feeling of utter depression as you begin to wonder if you will ever, ever feel normal again? Maybe its just me? Also, I’m a huge hypochondriac so its never the flu and pretty much always Super SARS.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      with me it’s ebola.

    • Carinn Jade

      Being sick SO sucks donkey balls. I wouldn’t debate that for a second! Also, how many cases of Super SARS have been reported?

    • FaintlyXMacabre

      There was a case last year. Mine. I diagnosed it myself, and it led to an extended bout of permanent ear plague, which, if WebMD is to be believed, is terminal.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I sort of get what you’re saying….two weekends ago, my wife and I were both sick (ugh) and as a result, the kid got more screen time in two days than she probably gets the entire rest of the year. And we ordered pizza (ok we do that all the time anyway, but this time we got to do it without guilt!) and only left the house for an hour walk around the neighbourhood to run errands. We were lucky that we didn’t actually have any plans that weekend, so it ended up being a restful time and it was sort of nice to not be running around DOING STUFF all the time.

    That said, I would have been soooo much happier if the magic babysitting fairy had come and whisked the kid off for a few hours to do something awesome so we could truly just veg at home, guilt-free…..

    • Carinn Jade

      Well, now, if THAT scenario is on the table, I’ll take it!!!! Where do I sign up?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I ordered pizza and I could not even swallow it :(

  • PrairieCoast

    YES! THIS! Last winter was my very first experience with being a sick mom. My husband and I both came down with the stomach flu one night. We tag-teamed the first diaper change of the morning and barely got through it…we looked at each other and said, “we need help or else no one is going to survive this day”. Then it was a phone call to the in-laws and the baby was whisked away for the day, leaving us to cuddle up on the couch with million blankets and stream Mad Men/sleep all day. Since the bulk of the nasty aspects of the stomach flu had been taken care of the night before, It. Was. Awesome.

  • Harriet Meadow

    I wish plopping a newborn in front of the TV were an option…I haven’t been sick yet since my son was born (knock on wood), but I threw out my back when he was only a few weeks old, and my husband had no vacation time, so I had to take care of a very needy baby who had to be held most of the time because he wasn’t able to support/entertain himself yet…WHILE BEING UNABLE TO EVEN STAND UP STRAIGHT OR EVEN SIT WITHOUT STABBING PAIN. It was THE WORST. Even now, when little guy is almost 7 months old, I don’t think I could just lie in bed all day were I to get sick (and my husband is pretty sick right now so I’m hoping that doesn’t come to pass)…heck, the day after our massive Halloween party I was super hungover, and taking care of a relentlessly cheerful baby when I was hungover was a bad enough experience to keep me AWAY FROM THE JELLO SHOTS lol…

    • SA

      Amen! Hungover mama is a TOUGH gig when they are small!! I don’t think I am drinking again until kid can sit through a movie marathon!

  • TheGiantPeach

    The first time I had the flu was AWESOME!! My employer’s policy is that anyone with a confirmed case of the flu is required to stay home, so even though I had a mild case and didn’t feel that bad I stayed home from work for 4 days and it was glorious. Last year’s flu kicked my butt though, and I can’t say I enjoyed it even though I missed another 4 days of work.

  • DatNanny

    My favorite part is that you did technically make a couple meals.

    I still hold that mom-sick is not like everyone-else-sick.

  • SA

    No not at all. Twice in the past year I have been down for the count and it was awful. Nothing is scarier than barely being able to stand-up and having a husband that can’t take off work and a 5 month-old (1st time); 14 month old (2nd time) to take care of by yourself. Husband has to be at work before the sitter opens and I can’t really drive over sick and infect everyone either. Then there is missing work (we just have time-off, it can be used for vacation or sick, so I’d rather be on vacation), missing work when the kid eventually catches it, being behind at work and then immediately having to jump back into the swing of things and play major catch-up once I’m feeling better…then your husband getting it and having no help after the fact too! No thank you!! I’d rather use my time off getting a massage!

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I was sick recently and thanked my stars it was on a Friday night. My husband could take care of the baby and I could take care of myself. Otherwise, I’d be stuck home with my eight month old, worrying about getting him sick too (And no, I don’t breastfeed, so nothing about anti-bodies and such) and having the worst day ever.

  • Toaster

    My older kid won’t sit still for more than an hour in front of the TV and the baby doesn’t give two craps about TV so I’m still in “no mom sick day” land until they’re old enough to appreciate getting to be in front of a screen all day. And holy crap I can’t wait until I’m not pregnant and/or breastfeeding so I can finally dose myself with the good cold meds again.

  • TheMommyPadawan

    If we can’t take care of ourselves first, we can’t take care of anyone else – YES! I was sick for almost the entire month of December last year, I didn’t enjoy the horrible cough and cold but day after day of staying in bed, reading and napping….sigh. Once I got better, I wished I could still take those kinds of breaks. Moms should take a sick day when needed and a mental health relax day when that’s needed too. Just my opinion but with so many responsibilities and loved ones depending on us, shouldn’t we want to take good care of ourselves? :) Great article Carinn!

  • Julie

    Part of me loves being sick because my daughter has two sets of grandparents who live an hour away who love the chance to come and get her. The last time I was sick One came and got her Friday night after school kept her until Saturday evening the other had her Sunday through Monday evening then returned her home to my house at bed time for my boyfriend to take over caring for her because he works all weekend but is off Tuesday. BUT I was also very lucky to get sick on a weekend. I would have been in trouble if it would have been during the week.

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