Motherhood Does Not Come With Sick Days

Rebecca It starts obviously enough, a cough and sudden burst of sneezing or big watery eyes and flushed cheeks, one of my kids is sick and happily looking forward to a sick day at home.  I mentally delete all of the things on my to-do list for the next day knowing that I will not get to any of them.  I probably won’t even be able to leave the apartment. At this point I’m so used to the adjustment in our house when one, or both, of my kids is sick that it barely registers as a surprise when it happens.

My daughters don’t like to be sick, but now that they’re in first grade I can tell that they love the idea of a sick day.  As twins they relish the unbroken full day of one on one attention from me.  They are natural patients; lounging on the couch swaddled in blankets, drinking juice with a straw and commandeering the DVR to watch TV on an otherwise forbidden weekday.  I admit I indulge them, realizing every day that these moments of pure childish dependence are growing scarcer and scarcer as my girls grow older.  I also know that I will not catch whatever germs are creeping all over them, festering in their snotty tissues, spewing from their coughs.  After all I’m the mom – I’m immune to all that.  Until of course, I’m not.

And so I found myself this past week with a fever, the chills, a sinus infection and basically sick enough to need a sick day.  The problem of course is that as a stay at home mom there is no way to phone in a sick day.  The bigger problem was that my daughter was home sick as well.  We muddled through it the two of us.  Luckily she was on the mend while I was just beginning to get the brunt of it.  I could manage the basics – getting her food, drinks and medicine.  I let Webkinz and endless computer time take care of the babysitting and entertaining.  We even managed to bundle up and taxi over to pick up my other daughter from school (thank you Dayquil).

My daughter reluctantly went back to school the next day, having been fever free for 24 hours as she so carefully counted in case she could convince us that it had only been 23 and a half.  I was feeling better but not good by any stretch.   That day spent at home sick with a sick kid left me wishing for a real sick day – a day of solitude, of nothing but pajamas, bed and old movies on TV.  Basically, a day free of responsibilities even if it came without the ability to breathe out of my nose.    However, something about a pile of dirty laundry, a bunch of writing not done and emails unanswered took the fun out of guilt free convalescing and I was soon spinning around the apartment in full mom mode.    I guess a benefit of motherhood is that I’ve become more resilient.  Or maybe it was just the buzz from all those decongestants…

This post originally appeared on nycmomsblog

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