My husband is sick today. He, like most men, becomes a helpless soul that needs my attention and assistance to make it through the day. He will sleep all day, make request after request to fill his water glass, request crackers and soup, and request silence. As I walk away thinking of how men can be such babies when it comes to having the flu, I then realize that I wish I could be more like him.
When my husband is sick, he shuts himself off from the world. No phone calls. No checking email. No kid duties. He shuts down. He checks out. He disappears into the bed and does not leave until relief is attained. Within 24-48 hours, he will feel rested and stronger. He will be ready to take on the world like nothing ever happened. His illness was simply a pause in life. Now it is business as usual.
When I am sick, I still cook. I still clean the house. I still check email. I still wipe little noses and “suffer” in silence. As the flu ravishes my body, I will continue to push through it, end up being ill for an entire week, and never really get the “relief” my body craved. But why? Why do I feel this need to soldier through the illness and the pain?
As a woman, I feel “mom guilt”.
I feel guilt for checking out. For walking away. For taking TIME FOR ME. I feel guilt that only I put on myself. I, as a woman, feel the house will fall apart without me. That the kids will somehow be fed cat food instead of the nutritious dinner. My husband is extremely supportive and wonderful. We share all household tasks so I have no reason why I think he can’t take on the duties of the house for 24 hours.
This mom guilt that I place on myself really is harmful. If I would stop the guilt and think about ME, the world would be a better place. Instead of being sick for a week – I would be sick for a day. Instead of wearing myself out – I would keep myself healthy. Mom guilt is real. It is damaging. It needs to stop. Right here – right now, I vow to allow myself time to check-out when ill. In doing this, I will be a better and healthier parent (both physically & emotionally) for my family.
As silly as men can be when they are sick, they have it right. The next time I am sick…I am working it like a man.