This was originally published as a guest post on the excellent parenting blog Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? Thank you to Laura for giving me the opportunity to borrow her readers for the day!
The DorkyBoys are sick. It is truly a pathetic sight.
DorkySon has created a little triangle of activity to make sure everyone can see how sick he is. First he stands in a corner of the room, swaying slightly and sucking his thumb. Then he walks slowly round my desk, trailing his hippo lovey along the floor behind him and occasionally fixing me with a somewhat baleful look. Finally he comes over, puts his head in my lap and sighs. I rub his hair, give him a sip of juice, and send him on his way to start the whole routine again.
DorkyDad isn’t a whole lot better. “Can I have a lemon tea?’ he croaks at me from the sofa. “Can I have a painkiller?” he whimpers. “Do you think I’ll be well enough to play golf tomorrow?” he asks, sticking his bottom lip out slightly. “Why don’t you Google ‘head cold and golf’ for me…?”
The thing is, all three of us have exactly the same cold. It’s a stinker, for sure. It started in our throats, before moving to our chests, and is currently residing in our sinuses. DorkySon and DorkyDad got the standard version. I got the bonus version, which included a throat infection, and a bloodshot eye (actually two bloodshot eyes – just never at the same time – if I slept overnight on my right side I woke up with a red right eye, and if I slept on my left I got a red left eye).
But Mummies aren’t allowed to get sick. It’s just not in the rulebook. Even if you have the kind of serious flu that would have kept you off work for a fortnight pre-motherhood, you have to keep going… changing nappies, dealing with middle-of-the-night wake-ups and making sure the rest of the family is well fed and watered. Thank God for Sudafed and brandy.
Looking after my family when they’re sick actually makes me long for the times when my own Mum would take care of me. I remember when having a cold meant that I tucked up on the sofa and watched chat shows all day. Mum would bring me a boiled egg with soldiers, a big bottle of Lucozade, and the latest issue of Smash Hits. When I went to the loo she’d fluff up my pillows and straighten the blankets. I never really stopped to wonder whether she was sometime sick at the same time as me, but it goes without saying that she probably was. Bless you, Mum, for all you did.
Now, I think I have to accept that those days are gone. Not only do I have to call and make my own doctor’s appointments these days, I have to make them for the DorkyBoys too. I have to gather their tissues off the table, spoon out their cough syrup, and warm up their chicken soup. Only then do I get to sit down myself.
Soldiering on when I’m sick is the one thing, above all others, that really brings it home that I’m a Mummy now. It is such a responsibility. And utterly exhausting. But having DorkySon’s head in my lap, waiting to have his hair rubbed, means I don’t grudge it for a minute.