When Mommy Has The Flu
Don't Worry, I Got This.
Oh, how many times have we heard those words: "don't worry, I've got this." We want to believe them, but our little secret is we can't. Whether we're right in that, it's another story, but we cringe and imagine the 100 different scenarios where us being sick means the world falls apart. But does it really fall apart? I'm not certain how catastrophic it is for other people, but sometimes in my household, I think the world really is going to end when I'm out of commission.
I didn't care too much before my children. I would roller-blade, walk everywhere, I probably would ride a motorcycle given the opportunity. I didn't think "what would happen if...?" Now, I envision terrible things like broken legs and arms, and what would happen to my children if I was injured and needed to step back. In my mind, and I'm sure other mothers either neurotically or with proof. Or what if I died? Who would take care of my children? And of course we all mean "by children", we usually include our husbands that we like to call "one of the kids". Who would make sure they were fed or actually did the laundry? We envision this household full of filth, with "chunky" milk in the fridge and takeout from any place that delivers. But how far are we from the truth? This is a tale in my mind of what happened when I came down with some illness that left me unhappy and incapable.
Yesterday, I felt terrible. Today I'm fairing a little better, but the day has only begun and we'll see. I took my preemptive ibuprofen, and sitting next to a nice piping hot tea to hopefully avoid the terrible day that was yesterday. Shortly after everyone left me alone with the baby, the playpen became my best friend as I constantly ran to the bathroom vomiting. A miracle happened 2 hours of vomiting later, and the baby napped and so I laid down hoping I just needed a few minutes nap. I was wrong, oh so so so wrong. I texted my husband, "so sick, have plague". Then, at his lunchtime trip home, he walked in to see me looking like complete hell. He said "go lay down, I got this". I went to gather my pump supplies, since even though I was sick, my son still needed his "baba". As I was collecting the stuff, my husband was trying to hold a baby and get a bottle together at the same time. I tried to have faith in this, as I've done this many times. And then a pile of clean bottles and supplies ended up all over the floor and landed in the filthiest places possible on the floor. I sighed and looked at my husband who tries so hard... and worried that this was going to be the case if I didn't get well soon.
They try. They really try their hardest to "take mom's place" when we're not around or incapacitated. But they don't always succeed at this. Is it that they are incapable of "doing what mom's do"? I'm not sure if they're "incapable" so much as "un-practiced". We watch them do the same things we do, and they do it slower and without much success sometimes. But is that really their fault? Are they at a disadvantage because they are men? I can't leave then at a dinner time without them living off of some junk food and videogames until I return and see beef jerky wrappers and empty chip bags with jars of left over vinegar from whatever pepper or pickled item they had and was left over from "ghetto chip dip". These things also make me worry that they won't last without me. But I re-ask, is that their fault or are men wired differently?
I agree, they are definitely wired differently than us. Women seem to do better at multitasking without too much stress as long as we're not expected to do 10 things at once, but even then we seem to manage. Even now, I'm currently feeding the baby breakfast and typing this Hub, and it seems to be going rather successfully. Men can't even seem to play a videogame and talk to you without getting flustered. (Women can just fine, maybe we are better gamers than men?) But it's not just because they can't multitask, we're to blame for our spouse's "shortcomings" in this department.
Hear me out before a riot ensues, in case one hadn't started with my previous part of men being incapable. It's not their fault entirely because we're women and we just take over when it comes to the children or certain housework. It would be like if our husband's always mowed the lawn and one day we did it to help and "failed" in their minds. They're used to doing it. So when my husband "fails" at diaper changes or making bottles while holding a child at your hip, it's not because he's a terrible father or incapable of parenting, it means he's not as practiced as I am because I'm home all day with the baby and learned to do things more efficiently and quicker because I do it alone. It would be like me trying to do his job, I wouldn't do things as well or as fast as he does. And it's not a gender thing, I'm sure a stay-at-home dad has the same advantage a stay-at-home mom. It's not a gender problem, it's a "not around or in a groove" matter.
Parents do the best we can. And the ones that are fortunate enough to have a partner in raising their children, work together to raise their children in a successful manner. As partner, we have an advantage that where one has a "shortcoming" the other can pick up the slack. That's why it's a "partnership", and we should be able to rely on our spouses to help us without criticizing them for "not doing it right". If the children are happy and safe, that's really the most important thing. And when mom has the flu, we should remember this and let our partners do their thing, even if they don't do it as well as we do. Because "don't worry, they got this".
When Mom Is Sick
Don't worry, Moms. It's inevitable, we will get sick. So what happens then? Here are some tips I have for moms of all ages.
- Don't feel guilty. It's going to happen, and you shouldn't waste your time feeling guilty. Worry about getting better not, "maybe I should've washed my hands more". Guess what, you probably breathed in germs while cuddling your sick one and the love and care you gave them is worth the bed rest. Plus, it's called "bed rest" for a reason.
- The Television, the babysitter. This only really works for the older ones. You know how you go to the pediatrician and they say "limit television time". Do you really think they follow that? Maybe. Do you really think when they're sick and caring for a child that they follow that? I highly doubt it. Pop on "Adventure Time" and lay on the couch in a Nyquil coma and leave the juice in their reach. Your 10-year-old will survive and probably be happy you're not complaining about them watching TV or playing videogames.
- That's what you have a playpen for. All alone with baby and need to get up to vomit, plop him in their with some toys while you go. Need a few minutes because you're drained at the moment, that's what you have a playpen for. You need to teach the baby some independent play time anyways, right?
- Let the husband help. Finally, just let your husband take care of you. You need help and he needs to fix you. It's really a win/win. And if he does a great job, you can always mooch it a few days to get a mini-vacation. (Shhhhh. Our little secret.)