Friday, May 11, 2012

Sick Days & Kids

We just got over an episode of the plague in my house. Okay, not literally the plague. It was one of those dreaded illness that starts with one family member, spreads to another until it hits everyone and then somehow mutates until starts all over.  Good times.

Usually I am the not going to let this cold get me down type of girl, but as I huddled under my covers trying to rest my strained throat as my children rampaged around my bedroom, I realized that  I might not be able to kick this thing with kids around.

The next day, I took my first sick day (for myself) in over a year. Since I work from home, this is highly unusual. Normally if I am sick, I shuffle to my office, fortify myself with cold medicine, tissues and vitamin C and get to work. There is no one to dress up for and no coworkers to annoy when you have a hacking cough or to contaminate when you are sneezing all day. Not working for the day because I'm sick is a big deal to me.

Me, my blankets, decongestants, throat spray, tissues and ice pack spent that day on the couch with shows from HGTV playing in the background and my mind wandered to the good old days of being sick. I bet you didn't know there were good days of being sick.

Those are the days I categorized as "Before Kids".

The days when I could come home, collapse in bed with a pile of books and magazines and the remote control and watch bad movies til I fell asleep. That is in direct contrast to the take enough medicine so you can make lunches, take the kids to school, do the dishes and laundry, go to work, pick up the kids, put them to bed and maybe fall asleep exhausted 15 minutes earlier than usual and don't dare take something like Nyquil because what if one of the kids needs you in the middle of the night sick days.

I worked up a good amount of self-pity that afternoon (and learned quite a bit about home renovation). Not only did the kids stop me from recovering, they were the ones bringing home all these illnesses. Why oh why did I have children? Yes, I admit I was not going to get mother of the year award that day. After a short (maybe long) nap, I realized three things:

  • Your mother is right. When you are sick, you need to sleep to help your body recover.
  • Use your sick days. They are there for a reason. This is probably already clear to people less guilt ridden than me about missing a day of work, but a big step for me.
  • Sick days are even better with children
Yes, that's right even better. That night when my 6 year old came home, he wrapped his arms around me and said, "I'm so sorry you are sick, Mama. I'll do anything to help make you feel better."

And I said, "You already did."

So how do you cope when you are sick? Do you stay home or go to work? If you have kids, do you find you get sick more than before you had them? Is there anything better than a hug?

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