About a month ago we had a close contact COVID scare. I immediately went into quarantine for a week. Being in quarantine is interesting, you have all the time in the world to do projects and productive things but you have no motivation to do anything. I guess you could say that seasonal depression also plays a role in that.
But anyway, back to the quarantine.
While I was secluded in my house, I started thinking about what would happen if I were to test positive or get sick with something else. How would my kids get to school? Who would plan meals and cook them? Would my husband and kids just eat frozen pizzas, Bagel Bites and cereal the entire time? The easy answer here is me. I would still do all of that, because I’m a mom.
Being sick is hard. So we were lucky that I dodged the COVID bullet, but we weren’t two weeks later when my husband came down with something. Thankfully it wasn’t COVID, but it was enough to keep him from work for an entire week. His week was filled with sleep and resting. And everything that he normally would do, besides going to work, was put on my plate. I’m going to be honest with you here, I have a really hard time not resenting or being jealous of people who are sick and get to sleep it off.
Moms are put in a tricky position. Oftentimes we are the glue that keeps everything together. And when we are sick that glue starts to become less sticky and things start to unravel. Why do I get resentful? I think it’s because many times I don’t get time to just sleep and rest. I still have to get up and take care of the kids, and get them to school and back and cook them dinner and everything else that moms fill their days with. And it’s hard.
I know that my husband means well, that he isn’t rubbing it in my face that he gets to rest and I don’t, it just feels a little lopsided when I think of the amount of time, he gets to rest versus the amount of time I do. Now that my kids are older, I will admit that I get a bit more time to recover because they don’t need constant supervision, but I still have to get up and be the mom taxi and make sure homework is getting done, and that they are awake and ready for school and so on. With children the workload never seems to end.
I guess I should be thankful that I am fairly healthy overall. I don’t get sick too often, but when I do it seems to hit me like a truck. It knocks me down and I have trouble getting back up. But it always gets better over time. It just may take longer than it should to recoup. The moment I start to notice my children sniffling I immediately start spraying Lysol around the house. Parenting while sick is just awful.
I’ve asked my doctor what the key to getting over sickness is and am always told that I need to rest. That makes me laugh. As I’m writing this today, I am now thinking about everything that needs to be done. I need to go to the store and pick up some things for my daughter’s school musical she is involved in. Then we have physical therapy appointments twice a week, doctors’ appointments, haircuts, preparing for board and PTO meetings, the list goes on. So, how would all of this get done while I’m resting and my husband is working 50-60 hours a week? It’s impossible.
I know what you’re probably thinking. I need to take care of myself first in order to be able to take care of everyone else. But is that really realistic? I mean, some self-care is doable. I can shower and brush my hair and put on clean clothes. But when you’re sick that’s about the extent of resting you’re going to get. I find time to sneak in a nap here and there when they are at school, in between the errands and appointments. But that’s not enough.
There are no sick days when you’re a mom. Much like the Energizer Bunny, we keep going and going whether we are sick or not. And guess what? The world keeps spinning around because as moms we help the world move everyday by keeping it all together.
For future reference though, is there a place where moms can request some sick days? If you figure this out, please let me know. In the meantime, I’m going to continue spraying Lysol everywhere and cross my fingers that I don’t come down with anything. And if you find yourself not feeling well, kindly keep your distance because I don’t have time to be sick.
Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.
Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.