Being a woman is all about pretense. No, I’m not talking about makeup, high heels, colored hair, and false eyelashes. I’m talking about wanting nothing more than to crawl in a sore throat, snot-nosed hole, wallowing in a pile of used tissues, but knowing which duties come before personal health.
Being sick is placed on the back burner. Mommyhood comes first. Like always, being a mom is a full time gig. I get my pay in fierce hugs, and thousands of kisses.
But, when I’m sick, all I want to do is lay on the couch, coma style.
Sure, I could try to explain Mommy’s discomfort to my toddler. I could waste my strained, painful vocal cords telling Tiny Tot how uncomfortable Mommy feels being an infectious pile of snot. There’s just one problem: toddlers are inherently egocentric.
The only time that trait–which will outgrow itself with maturity–becomes a problem is when Mommy is under the weather, overwhelmed, and decidedly grumpy. But, of course, being the slight diplomat that I am, I try for the conversational approach with my tiny human, asking him to understand his poor mother’s plight.
“Mommy needs a break. She feels sick. Can you play with your toys for twenty minutes, by yourself?”
Sounds rational, right? Describe problem, give toddler-sized explanation, offer a solution. I even receive a consenting response, and lay down to close my eyes.
Here is a summary of my twenty minutes’ worth of “quiet time.”
“Mommy, I need mo. Chocolate mo. No, no. Not chocolate mo … regular mo. … Mommy, I can’t find Spinosaurus, find him for me. No, he’s not in the living room, he’s in my bedroom. … Mommy, I hungry. I need goldfish. Can you go get me goldfish, please? With cheese? … Mommy, I need to go potty. Can you come with me? You have to come with me Mommy. … Mommy, are you done with quiet time? Can you come play with me on the floor?”
So much for resting.
Life must happen, whether Mommy feels good, or not. Unfortunately, the one thing a mommy cannot afford to be is sick. But, it happens, and the virus manages to suck along all of my strength with it.
Gone is my desire to keep the house spotless, gone is my desire to discipline, gone is my ability to think beyond the pounding in my head.
My Mommy Edge is gone.
Worse, Tiny knows it. He hears it in my cracking, waning voice, and his listening ears turn completely off. Which only leads in one direction: upset mommy, crying child.
No one wins when Mommy is sick.
Luckily, I know the moments to suck it up, and get my duties as a single mother done. We scrounge in the pantry for the first unhealthy thing that can be thrown together. Play time is completed in a slight, prone position. Every tiny person, and now animal, that needs Mommy’s attention is seen to, and then my butt finds the sofa, until another round of “needs” begins.
When Mommy is down, she still has to get up.
Thankfully, with enough hugs, and occasional sleep, I will regain my health, and keep moving as much as usual. One, little, voice-stealing virus won’t keep this overly active momma down for long.
It just shuts me up for a few days.