Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Motherhood and More: No sick time granted for a stay-at-home mother*

It’s a bit of a cliché now, what with the dawn of mommy blogs and everyone telling everything about their lives, myself included, to a point.  But as a mom, especially a stay-at-home mom, I’m not really allowed to be sick.

I’ve been dealing with a heck of a cold, full of coughing and sneezing and headaches and the need to spend the entire day laying down watching bad TV on Netflix.  I’ve lost my voice, which I at first attributed to a late night at a friend’s house and too much wine, but it lingered longer than I thought it should have.

I’ve been fighting to keep my eyes open intermittently throughout the days.  Sometimes I do not win that fight and my daughter decides to wake me up by poking my eyes.  So that’s fun.

In order to keep myself from coughing all night and waking up my husband I accidentally over-medicated on Nyquil, which, of course, means I took one dose.  But apparently I am not made for that type of medicine and spent the next day catching myself staring off into space, trying to focus.

I suppose I could ask my husband to take off work, but I feel guilty for doing that.  Like, how sick is sick enough?  Plus all that would happen is that I would be stuck in the bedroom without the TV, and sporadically interrupted from sleeping by a 3 year old who likes to jump on people who are lying down and yell “Stop sleeping!  Open your eyes!”

Or there’s always one of the grandmothers.  I could ask them to pick up the kids and let me rest.  But again, they would have to take off work.  And I don’t quite feel like I’m that sick.  Plus it’s hard to admit you need help and to ask for it. 

So no.  I’m not allowed to be sick.  I still have to do what I normally do, it’s just harder and I have to put forth more of an effort because a simple act of fixing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes mental strength. 

And I’m not entirely sure my husband believes I’m sick, as is evident by the fact that he asks me every morning if I’m going to the gym to work out.  I’ve thought about coughing in his face to show him that I may not be up to it, but settled for a simple “probably not.”  I assume he’s trying to be encouraging and not irritating, however the outcome is still the same.

It’s dispiriting to look around your house at all the stuff that needs to be done but only have the energy to force yourself to do the essentials.  The essentials being, of course, cooking and cleaning and entertaining children and reading stories in between coughing.  So basically just like every other day, but with less enthusiasm and more exhaustion and sore-from-coughing stomach muscles.

That totally counts as going to the gym, right?

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on January 22, 2014.   

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