I 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.