The fate of the day was sealed the night before. As the day began to wear down my stomach started to turn.
“I’m not eating supper,” I informed my husband as I warmed the mystery pasta from the freezer. “I’m not feeling well.”
And yet my inner chubby girl took over at the table and I still ate in an act of solidarity with the rest of the family. It was an act I would soon regret when after a few hours of bedtime routine (bath, books, bed, begging “please for the love of God, go to sleep,” it began.
For the next seven hours I was sick approximately every 20 minutes. My saintly husband came in at one point to helpfully suggest I lift the toilet lid. At that point I begged him for mercy.
“Put me out of my misery Luke, I can’t do it anymore,” I cried into the bowl. It was 2 a.m. and I was at my breaking point. We had both decided my husband could not stay home the next day because he would likely need to save the time off for when he would inevitably get this.
I would be on my own with the kids.
Sick days for moms are very different than sick days for dads. When my husband is sick he naps on the couch as I try not to resent him and instead guide him back in bed (and out of my way). I spend the day keeping the kids quiet and out of the path of his germs while I silently try to determine just how sick he really is.
I am definitely not a good nurse, but I am a worse patient.
My sick day went something like this:
7:00 The alarm begins to go off. I am completely oblivious in my exhaustion. My three year old immediately shoots out of bed and races towards me.
8:00 After an hour of back and forth negotiation, we decide I am done sleeping for the day and we get ready to brush our teeth.
8:01 Decide going vertical was a huge mistake
8:03 Debate brushing my teeth with my now tainted toothbrush
8:04 Brush teeth and attempt not to gag. Decide I need to try to salvage this morning if I am going to get my daughter to school in the next 40 minutes.
8:10 Attempt to dress myself in a pyjama couture which will be good enough for the school yard (fail)
8:12 My oldest daughter surprises me by dressing herself in a passable outfit. I am so overcome with gratitude I instantly decide she is my favourite child. Also decide the other children are staying in their pyjamas as I don’t have the brain capacity to try and match tiny clothes today.
8:15 Pour the kids cereal and drink my weight in Pepto Bismol to prepare for the ten minute car trip.
8:30 Witness a small miracle when I see my sister in the school parking lot. She agrees to walk my daughter across the street and spare me inflicting my germs and outfit on the general public. I wasn’t able to head home though. As the co-owner of a small business, I had a pick up scheduled across town for a new shipment of sunscreen.
9:00 Discover that I am way too weak and tired to be driving after I miss several turns. Finally make it back home and collapse on the couch after firing up some Netflix.
11:30 Regain consciousness and discover my two year old has long since lost interest in Sofia the First and has instead emptied a box of cereal all over the floor.
11:35 Call my sister for a much needed pep talk to try and get off the couch. “Just think of all the weight you are losing,” she said enviously.
11:40 Convince my three year old it would be fun to vacuum up all the now crushed in cereal all over the floor. She enthusiastically vacuums for two minutes before leaving the humming vacuum for me to finish the job.
12:00 Attempt to spread some peanut butter on bread without gagging and cut up some cucumber so I can say I fed the kids something healthy today. Treat myself to a few sips of water and a handful of dry cereal to ‘test the waters’ and gain some strength to breastfeed.
12:30 With the toddler down for a nap it’s time to get to work. Unfortunately for me, my business partner has chosen this week to take vacation so as she is enjoying a cottage with her kids, I am labelling new products while running to the bathroom every hour on the hour.
3:00 Realizing that my gross factor has increased over the course of the day, I beg a friend to pick up my daughter. I am once again horizontal on the couch doing a puzzle my three year old tricked me into completing by emptying it on the coffee table, saying ‘help me,’ and walking away.
4:00 Discover my three year old is also now sick and text my husband a list of necessities, namely toilet paper and Pepto Bismol.
5:00 My husband arrives. I find myself overcome with joy. Although my day is not over, my partner in crime has arrived to take the reins. Although he will likely trade places with me in a few hours he still shows no fear in a chaste cheek kiss.
He will be next.
Have you taken a sick day since becoming a mom? How do you survive the day with your kids when you get sick?
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.