When Mama Gets Sick


Let me preface by saying that I have one of the most considerate and helpful partners around. I am blessed that he genuinely wants to help make my life easier. Yet when he received a work call this week I overheard his co-worker, another husband with young children, tell him, “That sucks that’s she’s sick, man. If I’ve learned anything the last few years, it’s that nothing is worse than when mama gets sick. All things fall apart.” Quite an ominous reference to the end of life as we know it. My husband simply laughed and agreed “wholeheartedly,” which got me to thinking. 

When the kids get sick, we coddle them. They stay home from school, watch endless TV, get homemade chicken soup with the good orange juice, and go to the doctor immediately. When the men get sick they either get the same treatment, or (like mine) become incredibly stubborn in their denial of being a sick person to be cared for that they run themselves into eventual collapse. Then they usually get the treatment. When mama gets sick, as I explain, it’s all in the details.

Back to school season is practically back to cold and flu season. Illness recently circled through my house ending with me, the mama. My husband worked from home one day to help with the baby, which included almost all parental tasks, such as taking the older one to school and making fish sticks and PB&J sandwiches for dinner.

However, all the details fell by the way side. Laundry got done, but my daughter’s special uniform skirt for school and son’s favorite sleep blanket weren’t thrown into the load. I had medicine to take, but tissues ran out which led me to be extremely grateful for my foresight to buy thick toilet paper on my last grocery run. I was asked repeatedly where the ingredients were for the aforementioned dinner, while I tried to sneak a nap on the couch. I heard that my son cried in the car drop off lane to school because there was no morning snack to comfort his boredom and hunger.

I could go on, but I think you have the picture. It was a day that affected every single person in my family, even though only I was sick. And when a friend asked if I went to the doctor, I instantly thought, “What?! Spend the probably $80 patient responsibility on something I can probably tough out? No way!” Because although the old adage states that ‘a cold is three days coming, three days with it, and three days going,’ I believe we all know that society expects mothers to shake it off after that one three hour power nap. While it is ridiculous that I didn’t take care of myself as well as I did the rest of my family, I realized that I was just another detail that had slipped.

That’s my take. All things can fall apart. And even if only for a few days, why not prevent it? So I am begging you all. Consider getting the flu shot. (Publix will even reward you right now with a ten dollar gift card at their pharmacy!) Go to bed early when you feel off. Wash your hands constantly. Then wash them some more. Stock up on medicines you prefer when you see them on sale or with coupons so that your partner won’t waste over twenty dollars on the inappropriate. Stash that frozen meal in the back of your freezer now. Actually swipe that cell phone with a cleanser wipe now and then. The devil is in the details. And you are the most important of all details.

Now please excuse me while I run to CVS for tissues, and go through Zaxby’s for two kids meals with extra milk, which allows me one more day of avoiding the grocery store and the kitchen.

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Valerie McGee
Valerie was born in 1985, which means she identifies with both Gen X-er's and Millennial's depending on the time of day. She grew up on Florida's treasure coast, and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in History and Literature. This is where her love for reading and writing blossomed. After working many years in Retail throughout the east coast as both a manager and district trainer, she and her husband, Rick, moved to northeast Columbia. There she took the opportunity to become a SAHM. Valerie has both a smarty-pants little girl, Mary Sue, and an overly mischievous baby boy, Connor. In her spare evenings she is a local Girl Scout Co-Leader for younger girls. Her interests also include expanding her talents in the kitchen, as shown by her participation in a local Baking Club and a general obsession with all things Food Network.


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