We’re Sick of the Man-Cold
Whenever I tell the kids their father is sick, they want to know one thing: Is it a man-cold?
That’s the tough thing about a man-cold. It can be hard to diagnose because sometimes what starts off looking like a classic man-cold turns out to be a 24 hour-bug. And other times what looks like a simple case of the sniffles turns into a 96-hour debacle of non-stop lounging and complaining – OK I’ll admit that some of that complaining is coming from me and the kids.
We absolutely hate it when Fred is sick. And while some of it is that we don’t want to see a loved one suffer, there are other, less compassionate reasons.
Number one, if Fred has a “man-cold” we may not see him for days because he’s camped out in the bedroom with his computer in one hand and the remote in the other. Number two, he is a somewhat demanding patient. On those rare occasions that he does emerge from the bedroom, he expects Florence Nightgale-caliber care no matter what time of day or night. Number three, quite selfishly I don’t like playing single parent to our three kids for days when he’s just in the other room with a sinus infection.
Perhaps I would have more patience with Fred’s man-colds, if I could get the same type of vacation from responsibility when I got sick. But let’s be real that typically doesn’t happen for moms.
When I recently was feverish, Fred was sweet enough to handle the kids and send me to bed. But when I got up to check on things a while later, I saw the chores that remained undone and found myself washing dishes, ironing the kids clothes for the next day, and picking up some of their toys all while feeling dizzy and slightly nauseous.
Fred pronounced me crazy, but there was no way I could rest when there was work to be done. If only that attitude were as contagious as the common cold. – KayEm
The Curse of the Superwoman
When I’m not feeling well, I’m perfectly content with lying in bed all day. I also have no problem with KayEm’s taking care of me or having the kids fetch me the remote. After all, my getting better is the most important thing. Right?
Obviously, my family disagrees. Instead of serving me a healing breakfast in bed, they taunt me by calling me a big baby. Every time my daughter sees me sleeping longer than normal, she says, “Oh no, Daddy has man-cold. I guess we won’t see him all week.” Hey, I’m only responding to my body’s telling me that it needs a break.
KayEm, on the other hand, refuses to be still when she’s sick. Many times, I have to physically carry her into the bedroom, place her in bed and tuck her in. If I could lock the door from the outside, I would. That would be the only way that I could keep her from escaping and washing a load of clothes.
The last time KayEm was sick, she reluctantly went to bed while I prepared the kids for bedtime. Forty-five minutes later, she came upstairs with a disapproving look on her face.
“Why aren’t the kids in bed yet?” She asked looking at the clock that displayed 8:35 p.m. I turned off the TV and put down my guitar to better defend myself.
“I told you I had everything under control,” I said. “Why are you up here?”
“I’m just checking to make sure everything is going okay,” she said.
“Everything’s fine,” I said as I escorted her back to the bedroom. “Now get some rest.”
The next day, we had an event to attend and I told KayEm that she should stay at home since she wasn’t feeling well. Of course she didn’t listen. She spent the next 4 hours in a room filled with rambunctious cub scouts with lassos.
She ran herself ragged for the rest of the weekend and refused to take any time to decompress and get better. She continued to wash dishes, iron clothes, and pick up around the house even though I told her I would handle it. But she likes things done her way and it’s hard for me to convince her that my way works too.
I really do wish she would come down with a case of man-cold because she could use the rest. – Fred
Question: Has a similar scenario ever played out in your relationship?