Hearken back with me to a time before kids, when you could take a sick day, lie in bed all morning watching Legally Blonde for the eleventh time, and sip hot soup from a Winnie the Pooh mug while cozying up in your favorite fuzzy blanket.
Ah, Pooh. Those were good times.
Don’t even bother trying to take a sick day with kids. Even if you can get a sick day from your office job, your mom job is waiting for you and the benefits blow baby chunks. Your children are the worst HR department ever. Lying in bed looks more like making PB&Js with the crusts cut off, the soup you made yourself is cold by the time you guzzle it down, and you can’t find your favorite fuzzy blanket cuz those bastards took it and turned it into a fort in the basement.
There’s no such thing as a sick day when you’re a mom.
One time when I felt like the moist center of a hot dog fart, I laid facedown on the couch. I knew if my child made eye contact with me it would be all over. Hell, if I made my eyeballs available to my child, whether by lifting my eyelids on my own or having them coerced up with little sticky popsicle fingers, I would be drafted into another round of Candyland.
My head felt like disco-ball twirly-world, like that time I had too much sangria except without the sangria. I suspected that, at any moment, my brain would jammer right out of my skull, and I didn’t think a three-year-old should see that, but I felt too woozy to go away, and, anyway, I had to parent. Parenting was important. Candyland was important. Lord Licorice wasn’t going to defeat himself.
So as a compromise to leaving a child unattended and having to play another round with my twirly-disco sinus infection, I went with flopping facedown onto the couch. My kid took this in stride, assuming I was engaging in a whole new, fun game. He began piling all the cushions and pillows in the house on top of me, climbed up above the pile, and jumped into the mommy-couch-pit with gusto.
He did not break my spine, though I was concerned for a second, and I let him do this over and over while I negotiated a breathe-hole through the pillows and tried to remain as limp as possible.
This is what a sick day for moms looks like, finding a breathe-hole and becoming a human bounce house just to get a lie-down for a few minutes.
It doesn’t get much better when they’re older. On the plus side, you no longer worry that they’ll die if you pass out and leave them alone; however, our schedule is crazier and ain’t nobody got time for Mom’s virus when there’s sewing class, curriculum night, tutoring, and an epic tailgate party before the football game.
I’m sick right now, as I write this, and my daughter may have to wipe the sputum off her spelling list when she arrives at school today, but no one can say I didn’t go over those words with her. I’m willing to submit to a DNA swab.
Cheer up, loves. This unrelenting existence isn’t forever. I plan to spend my fifties in Aruba, mojito in hand, enjoying one long sick day.