Tag Archives: sick day

Does Mommy Get a Sick Day?

I spent this weekend crawling from bed to the couch and back again in a haze of Gravol and ginger ale. The 3 girls had a lighter version of the same (more vomit, but less crawling).  There’s nothing worse than cleaning up their messes when you’re choking back your own sick. Wretched stomach bug.

sick dayNaturally, our little Energizer Bunny, 2 year-old S has been healthy and raring to go. On Friday afternoon he played in the rain puddles on the deck, still wearing his PJs, while his sisters and I watched bleary-eyed from the couch. Tracking mud in, throwing his toys and random items of kitchen ware over the railing and screeching for our attention whenever we drifted off. Stellar parenting.

Daddy’s arrival home was greeted with a family wide sigh of relief. He brought Subway sandwiches and ginger ale. He popped the littles in the bath and bundled them off to bed, while I watched Netflix and dozed off again. My hero.

C was devastated to miss a friend’s birthday party that afternoon. Normally I would roll my eyes at her over-dramatic reaction, but I had my own taste of tragic unfairness having to text my sister to find someone else to go with her to the Opera the next night. I had been SO looking forward to it. It’s NOT fair!

We consoled ourselves by watching an old video. That’s right, a video: a clunky black rectangle that goes in an old-fashioned machine called a “VCR.” These “videos” are so outdated that they can be bought for only $1 at the thrift store and are eagerly handed down to us from friends. We have stacks of old movies in our storage room – REALLY old according to our girls, like, from the 90s. Cause that’s how we roll.

This was C’s introduction to Jane Austen. Gwyneth Paltrow as the irrepressible and often oblivious, Emma. I had tried to draw my girls into the fold before this, but they weren’t at all interested in the strange costumes, stilted language and bizarre customs. But this time she was intrigued. We discussed the class system, gender roles, courtship rituals and, of course, the amazing hairstyles. The next night we watched Newsies and tackled poverty, child labour, unions and cheesy dance moves.  Teachable Moments FTW!

It wasn’t the weekend I had planned. And I sure won’t be looking to repeat it anytime soon. One of the hardest parts of parenting is the unrelenting nature of the job. It used to be that my sick days were about ME, but now they’re about everyone else. Rearranging the plans, leaning on friends and family, using what little energy you’ve got to change diapers and sing lullabies and scrape a meal together… because you can’t take a day off of being Mommy.

But it’s not all sacrifice and sucking it up.

I’m blessed to have a man who jumps in as much as he can to carry the load. And maybe he doesn’t do it all the right way my way, but it gets done, and he works his ass off to take care of us. And maybe he isn’t a natural caregiver, but he’ll drop everything to get me what I ask for (including the middle of the night, no questions asked). But it’s a good lesson for me in spelling out what I want/need instead of expecting him to notice (because he really doesn’t).

I’m blessed to have pre-teen daughters who still want to spend time with me. And maybe those days are fleeting. And maybe both they and I are too busy and distracted most days. But I enjoyed some of the best mother-daughter talks we’ve had in a long time, lying side by side with a plastic bucket between us.

I’m blessed to have an 8 year-old who thinks it’s fun to take care of Mommy every chance she gets. And maybe the blanket she pulls up over my head isn’t as gentle as my pounding head requires. And maybe she wakes me up when she climbs in bed behind me and pulls the pillow out from under my head so we can “share.” But those snuggles are worth it and the loud, off-key lullaby she shouts sings to me is too.

I’m blessed to have a busy, noisy 2 year-old who stayed healthy. And maybe it’s just a matter of time. And maybe he seemed like more work than ever this weekend. But I’ll take a happy, dancing, climbing on my head, aggressively affectionate boy any day, because there’s nothing worse than a sick baby.

It was easier being sick Before Children. It was certainly quieter. I’m not going to lie. I miss that. Still… though the lows can feel so much lower when you have all these little responsibilities blessings in tow, the highs are so much higher, and that’s what keeps me pushing through. Well, that, and ginger ale.

So here’s me, finally feeling better. But I just noticed that my shirt’s been on inside-out all day. Guess I’m not 100% just yet.


I’m awfully fond of breathing.

Usually my lungs and I are on the same page about this one, but today we are at odds. My “lingering cough” has taken a turn for the worse. When the hacking gets so bad I’m sleeping on the couch each night and I have to hang up the phone mid-conversation because I’m unable to get a word out, even I have to admit it’s more than “just a cold.”

There’s never much time for Mom to see the doctor. It falls down the list along with “pull out the refrigerator and dust the coils” and “back up computer files.” Something that really does need doing, but isn’t causing immediate problems and can just as easily be done another day. Or the one after that. Or never.

Except when it starts causing immediate problems. The kind where I have to cancel plans.

Like taking the ferry to Vancouver Island last weekend to hang out with my cousin (and longtime bff), her 5 kids and 11 newborn piglets. I was SO excited to show off my new son and enjoy a day of big-city-cousins-run-wild-on-the-farm.

Or our plans today to meet the daughter our dear friends just brought home from the Philippines. We’ve been praying for her and oohing over pictures for months. I couldn’t wait to finally meet her and have a long been-there-done-that “adopting a toddler” discussion.

Or the playdate I JUST set up yesterday with the little boy we’ve chosen to be our son’s new best friend. They haven’t met, but he’s so cute and we love his parents and it’s just meant to be. I had decided I would definitely feel better by Friday, so why not?

This is a problem for me. I hate cancelling. I hate it.

Not only do I miss out on the activity, but I have to rearrange my plans and change my expectations. I hate that too. But the worst part is: I have to admit my weakness.

I can’t do it. I can’t blame the kids or the weather or the economy or the politicians or even my husband for being unreasonable (as he is wont to do when I overcommit us). I have limitations and I’ve just run smack dab into them.

I HAVE to get better at noticing those ahead of time. Apparently acute bronchitis doesn’t need to get this bad. If only I would slow down and rest. You know, BEFORE coughing up green and sticky all the way to the walk-in clinic. I’ve had pneumonia more than once and that’s where I’m headed if I don’t slow down.

There is a time for pushing through and getting things done. There is a time for rest.

There is a time for making plans. There is a time for cancelling and rescheduling and just letting things go.

There is a time for doing, making, cleaning, teaching, writing, talking, fixing, helping… There is a time for breathing.

So here’s me, *hack, hack, hack* and it’s time to rest, even if it kills me. Because in the long run, it’ll kill me not to.

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