Do you remember when you were a baby and you used to cry to your Mommy when you were sick? In all of the ways that make a Mom so special, this is one that is way high up on the list. She has the ability to comfort us in times of need. This whining, I mean crying, to Mom when you were sick probably continued through adolescence and maybe even college. Personally, I remember specifically having to call my mom at least a couple of times when I was in college. Once was because I had the flu, a high fever, chills and was delirious and actually seeing things. And another time when I visited Ground Zero in NY and actually caught the tiniest piece of metal in my eye on a windy day (I didn’t realize it was metal when it happened). I had to go to the ER after my college roommates unsuccessfully performed eye surgery in our apartment. That tiny piece of metal formed a ring of rust in my eye and I had to have it surgically removed. Ouch! But still, Mom was 90 minutes in distance or just a phone call away to provide comfort and, of course, advice.
There’s something about a Mom that makes everything better. She takes your temperature, calls the doctor, gives you meds and a cold bath. She keeps your medication schedule, makes you a bed on the couch and feeds you soup, crackers and Gatorade. Moms make it all better. And Dads do too, of course. Actually Josh was the one fetching Gatorade and staying with our sick ones this morning while I went to work. And he stayed up after midnight with the baby who is irritable and can’t stand to be put down.
But I guess eventually we grow up, turn 20, and handle it ourselves right?
So, Mommy friends, tell me, what is it like when you are sick? Do you get to lay on the couch, take yourself to the doctor, give yourself a bath, relax and eat soup? Do you even get to put your feet up, read under a warm blanket, feel sorry for your self or even sleep in? While I think self care is super important, likely you are sick because everyone else in your house is sick, and YOU (at this time) are the low man on the totem pole. Likely, those carrier monkeys that you call your sons or daughters brought it home from their cesspool and while it caused a cough or fever for them, it extrapolated to the full on flu for you. Sweet.
A sick day for Mom? Likely it looks like trips to the pediatrician followed with $140 spent at CVS. Or your sick day looks like your 1, 2 or 3 kids on their “couch beds” and endless demands of water and Gatorade,
“No, I said water MIXED with Gatorade, Mom. Where’s my straw? Do you have more Popsicles? I want purple. Now can you put it on the table? I need a tissue but just half of a tissue. Where’s my blankey? Tuck me in up to my shoulders. No, not like that. I have to poop now.”
Your shirt is definitely a snot rag and everyone hates you for putting a cool washcloth on their head. Do they even notice that you are just as sick too? Of course, not. And you don’t bother telling them because what does it really matter anyway?
If you are lucky, you are home on your sick day. You take Aleve for body aches, forget to take your own temperature, and take a dose of DayQuil, have your coffee and press on. And if you have the stomach virus as a Mom? What do you do? Well, I have breastfed a newborn while vomiting in a trashcan after googling if it is contagious through breast milk (it wasn’t) and I have even held a 9 month old while puking in the sink making his bottle. Again, glamorous, I know. Please share, what fun things have you experienced with the stomach flu as a parent? You, Mama, are stronger than you know and it is times like this where you prove it loud and clear.
Sometimes your sick days are spent at work because, you know, your actual sick time is probably spent home with your monkeys. And you take a trip to YOUR Doctor on your way in to the office or on your lunch break if you are lucky. Or like recently, I went in to work to cover an event and then left because I am sick and coughing but really I needed to go home and care for the 3 sick boys who are presently in the care of the sickest of them all, their Dad. Just to come home to find all 3 have hot heads, their fevers spiked again and they need their next dose of meds since you left them early that morning. You guys, I have never seen 104.4 on a thermometer before until yesterday! And while everyone rested, I scrubbed puke out of 3 different spots of their WHITE carpet in their bedroom. Mind you, I am sick too. But again, low man here. Aleve, Dayquil, coffee, Suck it up, Mom.
Funny though, when you are young, immature and sick, you never once think about how Mom or Dad feels. Mom is so selfless taking care of you, it doesn’t even cross your mind how she is doing or if she has caught it from you yet. Or all of the things she isn’t getting done in her life because she is picking up your prescription, getting you a Popsicle and scrubbing puke out of your carpet or washing your sheets or disinfecting all of the toilets in the house. I admit it, when I was 8 or even 12 years old and home sick from school I am sure I was never thinking about how my Mom or Dad was feeling. I was too busy, probably feeling bad for myself. Sometimes, most times really, it is a thankless job. (Thank you for always taking such good care of me, Mom and Dad.) But as a Mom, and a wiser person, I now understand that there is NOTHING else we would rather be doing than sucking it up if we are sick and just taking care of our sick little children and babies the very best that we possibly can.
While it would be a luxury now to lay in bed and have a sick day, we put our boys and girls first. You go ahead, catch that puke in the air, change your own snotty shirt, spend $80 on their in-haler and press on. You are a Mama and you are their Comfort in life and you are doing an Amazing job even if they are forgetting to tell you that right now. So tonight, Mama’s I am wearing one of my favorite T-shirts for you. Because, really, what a joke, right?
Isn’t winter the worst?