I felt the tingling in my throat. There was pain when I swallowed. I told myself it was just allergies and the air being dry; I’d just fix myself an extra cup of coffee and it would be all better. It started to improve. At least that’s what I thought …
Until I woke up with a fever, chills, body aches, and the worst headache I’d ever had.
This couldn’t be happening!
And if it was, why couldn’t it happen on the weekend when my husband was home? He’d already gone to work for the day. The kids were up, I could already hear them calling for me from the other room.
“Moooooommmm! I want breakfast!” they screamed from their beds.
“This isn’t happening,” I said to myself, barely able to open my eyes.
I texted my husband that I was sick. He responded that he was sorry I felt bad but he had back-to-back meetings at work that day and he’d try to make it home as soon as he could. I knew he wasn’t going to be able to come home early. He’d told me of the craziness going on at his office weeks ago, so I didn’t want to hinder his day.
I went into the baby’s room and took him out of his crib. I told the girls to follow me downstairs so I could fix them breakfast. My oldest had the day off from school but my youngest daughter still had to go.
We went through the morning routine: feed the kids, get them dressed, make lunch, and get out the door.
My head felt foggy from all the congestion and I was freezing despite it being warm outside. But I sucked it up because despite being sick, the show must go on.
I dropped my daughter off at school and brought the other two back home with me. It’s impossible to rest with my youngest around. He’s 19 months, full of energy, and needs to be watched like a hawk.
I texted my husband again that I was really not feeling well and he suggested I go to the doctor. Even though the idea of taking two kids to the doctor’s office with me sounded so unappealing, I took them anyway.
There was a wait when we got there. While I was coughing and sneezing, my oldest asked me to watch something on my phone while my youngest tried every possible way to get the water out of the water cooler. I got up to pull him away, but the second I sat back down he went back.
Finally, I got called back to a room where the nurse told me the doctor was running behind so there was going to be more of a wait. I was stuck in a tiny room full of medical devices with a curious toddler and a 6-year-old who didn’t want to be there.
For the next 30 minutes, my toddler attempted to touch everything in the room until the doctor finally rescued me. He checked me out, prescribed some antibiotics, and sent me on my way. By now, it was time for me to go back and pick up my daughter from preschool.
We go home, where I proceeded to feed them lunch before putting my youngest down for a nap. This was the only couple of hours during the day when I knew I could possibly get the little bit of the rest that I needed. I turned a movie on for the girls and headed straight to bed.
When I came out an hour later to check on them, I found that they’d taken it upon themselves to take their brother’s diaper rash cream and spread it all over the front door, the television, a pile of clothes I was planning on returning, and the bathroom floor. I’m guessing they attempted to clean it up because there was an entire roll of toilet paper and paper towels on the floor too.
I spent the next hour scrubbing every inch of what they’d covered in diaper rash cream. Did you know that diaper rash cream doesn’t come out with water or really any household cleaner? Yeah, I didn’t know that either until I tried everything under my sink. It took dish soap and a whole lot of elbow grease to get it out.
Every minute that passed of me scrubbing, my symptoms got worse. All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed, but my youngest had woken up.
By this point, the afternoon was only halfway over. So I just let the kids have their way playing and I laid on the floor and watched them, counting down the hours until bedtime. Thankfully, dinner and bedtime went off without a hitch and I was finally able to do what I had been wanting to do all day long: lay in my bed and close my eyes. And that’s what I did. For a couple hours. Until the first kid came in with me.
I remember when I was younger, if I felt just the slightest hint of a cold coming on, I would call out of work or take the day off from school. If I weren’t a mom, I still would. But I can’t.
Because for moms, a sick day looks like any other day.More On