One of the tough things about motherhood is the lack of sick days you can take off. I’ve been down and out with a tough head cold this week, and my 4-year-old is right down here with me. To make things worse, she’s done with preschool, and off for two weeks before the summer session begins, so our routine, the cornerstone of her existence, is blown. This would make both of us a tad more antsy, even if we weren’t both sick. Add to that that hubby is out of town, and we’re a pretty cranky household right now.
I’ve noticed that when I’m sick, it’s not just tough that the endless demands of little ones never cease, but I suspect that their need for attention actually increases. Maybe this is a special reaction from my two precious ones, but when they see me running extra slow, trying to spend generous amounts of time on the couch, giving in to the urge to lay down or close my eyes for a minute or two, they go crazy. It’s like their sense of safety and security is thrown into the balance at the sight of a sick and weary mother, and they feel compelled to harass me until I perk back up and get back to the business of running the house.
Whenever I’m sick, I feel like if I could just get a few nights of decent rest, then I’d bounce right back. So why is it, when I’m sick, that my girls give up napping (as if they know that all morning I’ve been dreaming of taking a nap myself), fight going to bed at night, call me in the middle of the night to reassure them after nightmares or phantom bug sightings, and wake extra early the next morning? I feel like they’re testing me, making sure that even though I’m cranky and tired, I’ll still make sure they are cared for. And I understand this childish type of fear, and so I do push myself to take even better care of them when I’m sick. Which, I suspect, makes it take even longer for me to recover. Oh, but what I wouldn’t give for just one sick day, to rest and not care for anyone but myself.