The Secret To Parenting When You’re Sick

Just pretend that you aren’t sick.  Seriously.  I don’t even need to write anymore because that is the SECRET.  So only read further if you don’t BELIEVE ME!  The proof is in the post (as THEY say).

Yesterday evening I realize that I have a sore throat.  It’s a slow realization.  Like a hey,  I’m tired.  Really tired.  Hmmm… Am I thirsty?  No.  Hungry?  No.  I think that my THROAT HURTS.  A LOT.

So I take a Tylenol and climb into bed at 9 p.m..  Clearly, I am VERY ILL.

This morning I wake up to a stomach ache and other digestional ills to accompany my sore throat.

Now, this is not the first time that I have been sick with a full day of parenting ahead of me.  And I have taken many coping routes.  I have laid on the couch and had my children watch movies ALL DAY.  I have called in for back-up and laid down upstairs for as much as my children will possibly let me.  I have called my husband incessantly begging him to come home even though I know that he can’t.  (The last one is a favorite of mine.)

And at the end of the day I’m STILL SICK and usually feel like a BAD MOM and a BAD WIFE.  So today I just pretend like I’m not sick.

We keep every appointment (also known as one play date) and do everything as we usually do.

Now before you get all YOU’RE GETTING YOUR PLAY DATE SICK, note these three things:

  1. The play date is at the park so very little of me is touching stuff that they would touch
  2. Once I’m symptomatic, I’m barely contagious (viruses aren’t STUPID, you know)
  3. I tell my friend that I’m not feeling great so I will not be sticking my fingers in her children’s mouths nor will I be coughing, sneezing, or vomiting on them.

Most of our time at the playground, I hardly noticed that I am sick.  I have fun talking to M.  I get into a fight with another mom. And I bribe E to leave.

We get home.  We run around the yard.  S comes home for lunch and tells me that his office is full of the headache-sore-throat-stomach-ache virus.  My illness is VINDICATED.  But I still don’t give in.  (AMAZING.  Seriously.  Because I do self-pity pretty well.)

We do nap time and quiet time.  I write a blog post.

We put on the music mix from N’s birth.  (Nothing beats A Tribe Called Quest blasting out of your Obstetrician’s radio.  Except maybe Green Day’s Basket Case.  Which I’m pretty sure came on after N was out.  Giving her an excellent idea of what she was getting into.)

We dance and sing and pretend to be astronauts.

I make fresh local pasta for dinner.  (Which is the easiest meal outside of take-out.  But for me, it’s cooking.  So I will take my kudos.)

S comes home.  Everyone’s happy.  I tell S: I was a good mom today as I crash on the couch.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sick and just pretend that I’m parenting.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

3 thoughts to “The Secret To Parenting When You’re Sick”

  1. I love that I am not the only one who calls my husband asking him when he is coming home when I know he can't! I page him INCESSANTLY. His colleagues probably think I am a crazed harpy.

  2. I think having an MD makes it VERY DIFFICULT to be the stoic doctor's wife. How can I take his job seriously?
    (Actually your comment makes me feel SO much better about being the crazy harpy here! Thanks!)

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