That I would get sick was, I suppose, inevitable; but I had no idea how quickly it would knock me off my feet. Though (knock on wood) all I’ve got is the nasty cold that’s been going around, it hit me hard and I hit the proverbial mat with a resounding thud. It’s been so long since I’ve been this sick that I hardly knew how to cope. As a mom, I’m at the ready whenever my daughter gets sick. I go from zero to Florence Nightingale in sixty seconds flat. I can change puke covered sheets in the middle of the night without batting an eyelash. I can deftly juggle back-patting, temp-taking, clean-up, and channel-changing – all while managing to remain at least marginally functional on the work front.
But when mom’s sick, the world comes to a grinding halt.
I felt the evil virus sinking its teeth into me on a Monday afternoon. My daughter had been out of school for three days in a row the previous week, so I should have seen it coming. When my daughter saw me dragging myself around the house Tuesday morning, she immediately knew something was up.
“Are you sick?” she asked, in a voice that conveyed morbid fascination tinged with anxiety.
“Yes, mommy’s sick.”
My little girl is growing up, so – lucky for me – she was able to manage most of the morning routine on her own. I could hear her foraging in the cupboards, but I felt so awful that I almost wouldn’t have cared if I heard her starting up a chainsaw. She managed breakfast. I drove her to school, and then returned directly home where I collapsed on the sofa and failed to move until it was time for pick-up.
It’s especially difficult for moms to be sick. We’re so used to being the ones taking care of everyone else. We’re not daunted by any task and will do whatever it takes to comfort and heal our kids. We’re so used to putting our own needs aside to cater to theirs, that when we do get sick it’s a bit of an adjustment to remember how to give ourselves a little TLC. Even as I was lying on the couch, feeling too sick to even read, my mind was churning away about all kinds of tasks, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. I was lying still, but I wasn’t really resting. It took me a while to let go of all the chattering in my head so I could focus on getting better. Kids are great teachers when it comes to putting themselves first. It might sound selfish, but it’s sometimes a matter of self-preservation. We moms should take a few notes.
As it is, I’m finally starting to feel like myself. The first thing I did after my week of muddling around in a cold-induced haze was go over the house with sanitizing wipes. I may still be sick, but I’m also still mom.