Monday, February 11, 2008
Today is my second day of being sick (I know, poor me), and being sick has caused me to ponder at the differences between being sick as an adult and being sick as a child.
I remember when I was younger and even up until I had children that I didn't hate being sick, I only pretended to because it's expected. I think that even then I knew somehow that it would be drastically different later in life. I was thinking about this as I laid on the couch yesterday because I had suddenly remembered what it felt like to call in sick to my boss. I remember that I had to muster up all of the horrible feelings I felt and try my hardest to sound disappointed to be missing work that day when really I was elated (also truly sick, but elated none the less). Because for most people, being sick, as awful as it can be, really means you get a break. Especially when you are a kid.
For me however, now that I have kids of my own that I care for in my home full time--being sick is hell. I promise that no one gets the full meaning of the cliche "Mom's don't get sick days" until they have been a sick mom. I realize this excludes many of you who are reading this, but please keep reading.
Let me tell you, even busy working adults who don't like taking sick days still have the option of doing so and I believe they would if they were sick enough. But who is going to fill in for me when I get sick? No one. Period.
It's sort of like that scene from "The Devil Wears Prada" where Emily the assistant comes to work even though she is visibly ill, and we are all supposed to think thoughts similar to: "Wow, what a horrible boss to be so uncaring!" and "I can't believe she has such a demanding job that she can't even take ONE day!" That's me, I'm Emily the assistant and my kids and house collectively are Meryl Streep. The only difference being that neither of us get to wear such expensive clothes.
Being sick means that I have to do everything I normally do while feeling like crap. I must wake up when my kids wake up, I must feed them meals, I must entertain them and clothe them. I must change diapers and do dishes and laundry, and if I decide not to do them while I am sick, guess who still has to do them later? Me. The mom. Only by then, the piles of housework have become larger from not doing them earlier. And unless I want to have my kids forcibly removed from my house and placed in foster care, I cannot neglect that aspect of my job. ever.
Being sick no longer means that I get to take a break from the things I dread doing, but it does mean that I have to give up all of the things I love to do. I had to miss church, which I love because it is a wonderful opportunity to fill myself spiritually, and an opportunity to get out of the house and dress up (which I love to do), meet all of my friends and get a break from my kids.
If I had become sick one day earlier, I would have had to miss a party that my friend was throwing, and these types of parties are few and far between, and incidentally they only seem to happen when you already have eighteen obligations or are sick.
So I guess what I am getting at is the fact that mothers have the ultimate sick wild card to play that trumps anyone else's sick card. Particularly those mothers who have kids at home--and the younger they are, the worse off the mother is. Which basically boils down to the fact that I no longer pity anyone who gets sick unless they are a mother of young children. I really don't feel bad about that either. Some of you who are reading this might be a little put off by my admission, but I don't care, it's my only joy that I get out of being a sick Mom, and you know me--I love to look on the bright side.