So this was me a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting exhaustedly at my kitchen table sipping a cup of hot water with lemon and honey to attempt to sooth my sore throat. I’m watching the clock tick down. It’s 10 minutes until the school bus arrives and my nose is running like a broken faucet. Do I have the energy to start the second shift of homework, after school lesson chauffeuring, cooking and bed times? Does it matter if I do or not? It’s happening regardless. This got me thinking..are mom really ever allowed to take a sick day?
I had left a trail of hacking coughs and used Kleenex everywhere I’d gone. In my 20’s I would have been crawling into bed to watch chick flicks in my pj’s with a bowl of Raman. In present day, however, taking a sick day isn’t really an option. My husband was out of town for work so no reinforcements. Someone had to get the kids up and ready for school. Someone had to do one last review with our daughter for that day’s test. Someone had to drop the kids off at school. Fairies weren’t going to come in and fill the fridge, buy my medicine and/or the snacks for the kindergarten class-our turn to bring them this week. If only..don’t fairies come if you really, really wish on a star or something? Isn’t that what Cinderella did? Fairy Godmother I believe..I believe!!!
My kids are under the impression that mom can do anything regardless of how she feels. This is my fault to a degree. I express that I don’t feel well and then plow forward. I have changed diapers with 10 stitches in my hand (stroller-1 mom-0). I have made Halloween ghost shaped cookies for a large class party with a sprained wrist. I have cooked a huge pots of mashed potatoes when all 4 of us had the flu and it was all anyone could stomach.
History has shown them that moms find a way. We do things one handed if we have to. We will throw on sweats while experiencing chills/fever and run them anywhere they need to go. We will stand in front of the stove coughing into our elbow so everyone can eat a healthy dinner.
I ran into an acquaintance at the store while picking up the week’s worth of kindergarten snacks. There I was coughing my lungs out next to the fruit snacks when she came down the grocery aisle. “Are you sick?” she asked. My answer came automatically. “It’s just an annoying cold, I’m fine” I said with a weak smile. Why did I say that? It plain wasn’t true. I wasn’t actually fine.
Fast forward to this week when I’m actually fine but a friend of mine has been battling the flu. I messaged her to see how she was and she tells me she’s feeling better, yay! So I took the opportunity to ask her for her perspective as a fellow recovering sick mama. My friend had this insight- As moms, telling the world we are sick or need help would be like admitting defeat, right? It’s self imposed guilt. We just try to handle it. She reminded me that so many moms she knows have other “gigs” too. Running businesses or jobs that require some tending to. You have to try to stay on top of what you can-you have to answer the emails and try to keep things running. She’s totally right and wise on this one. We don’t, almost can’t admit defeat. We just push through.
So, here’s to the amazing will power, strength and determination of mothers! Maybe we will be able to define that sick day better when our nests are empty. I think when we can define it we will also look back with fondness to the days when we couldn’t. The days when we were at the table watching the clock tell us how long until that bus arrives. The days of wondering whether we could ______ (fill in the blank) and finding a way to do it. Because I believe we are capable of so much except….maybe taking a day to be sick.
I’d love to hear your stories or comments on any (non) sick days you’ve experienced. You know I enjoy the details!
Shout out to my friend 2.0, tough amazing broad she is, for sharing her insight. So glad you’re better chick, now you can continue to take the world fabulously by storm.