I wrote this a few months back, at the beginning of spring, when, for the first time, I was working full time, with two kids, and I got sick. I saved this and didn’t post it. But I want to be more honest on here, and I think a lot of women can relate to this. By this, I mean what to do when life happens while trying to balance the world on your shoulders.
We, as women, are expected to do it all, while looking good, in heals, keeping a partner happy, a home clean, and children well-behaved, while, often times, that onus isn’t placed upon men…This was a breaking point for me. Let me know your thoughts…
Mommies can’t get sick.
This week was ROUGH! Like really rough. It was the first time that I was sick in a really long time. Like not a head cold, or the sniffles, but knock-me-on-my-ass sick. My youngest had a fever on Saturday, and then of course, I got it. But I was a middle school teacher for about ten years, so I have always thought of myself as having a rock solid immune system. I guess now that I am no longer a classroom teacher (I still work in education, but in an office now), my immune system has gotten back to “normal.” So I caught my son’s fever and was sick for three days. On Monday morning I woke up and literally could not get out of bed. I had the chills, but I was sweating. I had a 102 fever, and I could not eat. But I felt like death.
My oldest son came upstairs ready for school, looked at me, so confused, and said slowly, “Mommy, why are you still in pajamas?” It was like his world was turned upside down. Well, that made two of us. This was the first time since I had two kids and a full time job, that I had been incapable of fulfilling my mommy duties. It was really frustrating and I felt like I let my family down.
So my husband took them to school. He said, the first thing my two and a half year old said to his teacher was “Mommy sick.” When I heard that, again, I felt the guilt.
I had no choice, My chest and throat were completely dry, I had a crazy, phlegmy cough, a fever, with body chills and aches. I slept for the majority of the morning. Dishes were in the sink, my bed was unmade, the house was a mess, but I was resting. Around 1 o’clock I forced myself up and showered. I hadn’t eaten so I made tea and toast so I could have some over the counter medicine. It made me feel 50% better, so I decided, I’m picking up the kids at school, because I felt like I had to. Although my mother in law offered to help, I went because it was a beautiful day and I wanted out of my house. (Of course it’s amazing out when I’m sick. When I’m healthy there’s torrential rain.)
I got to the school and the teachers were all like, “We heard you were sick. You should’ve had someone else pick them up.” But I felt guilty, like I usually do, about asking anyone else for help. About saying, I need someone to help. I can’t do it on my own. Because the truth of the matter is, that sick or not, I need help. We all need a village to help us, and the pressure should not solely be placed upon one person.
Why should it be like this? On top of the pressure that I fell, I feel guilty because I’m sick? I didn’t (don’t) understand the feeling. But at the same time, I always do it all by myself, and I know a lot of other women who do, too. Many of us have parents who work, family members who live far away, husbands who get home hours after we do. So the majority of the work falls to the woman.
I guess what I’m saying is, that me being sick this week helped me fully understand something that I already knew: That it is EXTRA difficult to be a woman. That even though, you are sick, and feel physically incapable of doing something, that the show must go on. Dinner has to get done, beds have to be made, laundry must get washed and folded, children and partners still need to be taken care of. Even if you have a supportive spouse, one who helps as much as he can and cares for the children as well as you do, I still believe that a bulk of the work still falls on the woman. It’s something no one can prepare you for and a secret that wedded bliss before children cleverly disguises.
Sorry for the rant, but like I said, it was a rough week. Can anyone else relate? …