Flu season is upon us, and many of us are dropping like flies. Once that first inkling of sickness creeps into your body you know you are in for it. Why? Oh that’s right, it’s because moms CANNOT GET SICK. Didn’t you know that? That is a chapter they should have written for “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. They could have titled it “Once You Have this Kid, if You Get Sick You are Screwed”. You are ALL screwed.
It starts off small. Maybe you have a cough. No big deal, you tell yourself. It’s just a scratchy throat, I’ll be fine! Then the next level sets in, maybe you go to bed earlier that night, still in full flu denial. But when you wake up that morning feeling like the school bus ran you over you know it’s time to go into mom survival mode.
Or maybe it’s after you clean up all the vomit, wipe all the noses, attempt to sanitize the whole house, all the while taking care of all of the other mom stuff, thinking maybe you have become immune to whatever plague has visited your house that you get sick. Now the kids are all robust and healthy, jumping all over you demanding sandwiches and entertainment. However, instead of getting to cocoon yourself in your comforter and watch old DVR’ed episodes of The Bachelor while groaning softly and chugging Theraflu YOU have to still do all of the mom stuff that is expected of you while you’re healthy. There is still laundry to do and lunches to be made and diapers to be changed and toddlers to chase after. There is no rest for the weary. Even if that weary has a 102 degree fever. Suck it up mom.
And if the kids are sick at the SAME TIME as you? Well then you are really in for it. Because pretty much the only thing worse than having the flu or the stomach bug is having to clean up someone else’s vomit while you are feeling like death.
There really is no advice to offer when Mom Sickness hits. Dig in and hang on for dear life. Slog through it and know that somewhere on the other side you will feel better, the black death that has descended on your house WILL lift and you will all have non runny noses at some point in the future. It will happen. Let that pile of laundry sit, let them wear their pajamas until the afternoon, let the microwave assist you in meal times. There is no mom guilt in survival mode.
What you don’t need is the “non-advice”. You know the kind, sort of like the stuff you hear when you have a newborn like “Nap when the baby naps”. They do not tell you this is ONLY true for your first baby (or only true if your baby takes nice naps frequently, not always the case). If you’re on your second or third that whole nap when the baby naps thing turns into a sick joke. Oh okay? So when the infant naps I should nap? I’ll just let this toddler run amok in my living room while I lose consciousness for twenty minutes is more like it.
What we need as moms is realistic advice for when mom is exhausted. Like try to barricade an area of your living room, childproof it as much as possible, find a favorite show for your little one and try to sleep enough so that you feel human again. Don’t feel guilty about it, this is survival mode. We don’t need the advice about “pulling yourself together, it’ll make you feel better”. Forget that. Pull those yoga pants on, put your hair in a bun and get through the day. There will be plenty of times to “pull yourself together” when you have enough energy to condition your hair.
The only really usable piece of advice? When someone offers you help, take it. Don’t be a mom martyr, no one likes those (TRUST ME). Whether you’re sick, are trapped in no sleep newborn purgatory, or are just having a crappy day, when someone offers you a little piece of driftwood to float on you hop on that driftwood without looking back. And the next time you see a fellow mom struggling, it’s your turn to help, it’s that simple. For all of you moms stuck in flu hell right now, hang in there, and feel better. And don’t get me started on the Man Cold, that’s another post for another time. xoxo