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There should be a law against mothers getting sick.
A law of nature. Of our biological composition. So that from the second we commence our 24-hour-a-day vocation of raising children from scary 104-feverish infants through whining-hormonal teenage years, we never experience a single lapse in energy.
Because this is what happens when Mommy actually gets sick and may lounge around on the living room lounge all day:
She neglects to inspect the bathroom for spattered toothpaste so it morphs into an encrusted Colgate cave; she forgets to remind little boys to lift toilet seats, so winds up wiping up splattered pee with her own butt.
The house gets gross. Popsicle sticks adhere to table tops; half-eaten cookies are abandoned to computer mouse pads.
Because Mommy dozes off easily, sinking and rising on the lulling tides of Benadryl (her med of choice for dousing the common cold), the puppy gets free rein. To pull out more stuffing from chairs:
To root through garbage pails overflowing with Mommy’s tissues and leave shredded trails throughout the house:
To poop on door matt because Mommy forgets to take him out.
Mommy neglects to clean poop up – for boys to step in coming home from school and track through house. Because she neglects to remind them to take off their shoes.
She nearly forgets to feed her brood.
“What’s for dinner?” Little Bro asks.
Dinner. Meals. You’re kidding. Ramen Noodles:
Easy instant packets. Done.
“I had that for breakfast.”
Little Bro refuses to eat anything but Ramen noodles for breakfast. Otherwise, it’s off to school on an empty stomach where he dozes off during class story time.
Mommy glowers. Through snot.
He raids a cheese stick from the fridge and makes a run for it.
Mommy might remember to put in a load of laundry, but she forgets about the dryer until Daddy comes home and claims he’s out of clean underwear.
He’s just out of shower, standing there naked. On a healthier night, she might find this sultry. On a night when her sinuses were just possibly clear.
“I have a fever,” she announces, with great fanfare.
Because she does and is glad of it; she knows a fever will get his attention, even though she doesn’t mention it’s a mere low-grade 100.2 degrees.
“You need antibiotics.” he says. Which means he wants her to bundle up and go out in the cold to stand on line at the local clinic.
She wants to tell him it’s just a cold, a virus, which it is, but then he might continue with his usual nightly routine. He is a man of perseverance, and will dig out that last pair of clean underwear; don his comfy sweatpants and torn T-shirt; go back downstairs to eat a late dinner and ask Little Bro to do a card trick and how Big Bro is coming along with the “city’” he is building on Minecraft.
“I just need to rest,” Mommy claims. Rightly.
Once she does have Daddy’s attention, he is good. He does breakfast dishes still in sink; coaxes boys into jammies; to brush teeth; reads them Flat Stanley downloaded onto iPad. Gets them into bed.
And by the grace of oh so merciful whatever, Mommy can, guilt-free, lay back down on lounge, with the dog now, thankfully, exhausted from a full day of tissue-shredding:
And she is suddenly happy to be sick because guess what! She can plug headphones into iPad to watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, all the seasons she’s missed since commencing mothering.
Until at some point out of the corner of her eyes she sees shadows. Movement.
Big Bro is on the computer. Little Bro has raided the refrigerator again. He’s eating a popsicle.
“Why aren’t you in bed? Where’s Daddy?”
So Daddy’s asleep and they’re awake and Mommy has to pause Grey’s Anatomy just as two interns are about to do "it" in a hospital storage room, and rise up off her lounge chair.
She storms upstairs. She can storm, anyway, as she is peri-menopausal, but she storms more loudly when stuffy as well.
Daddy is snoring the snore of a deeply sleeping man.
“Why aren’t they in bed?” She harps. Crows. Immediately guilty as this snoring man has to get up daily for work before even a rooster would crow.
He sits bolt upright as if the fire alarms have all gone off. “What?”
“They’re in bed....” He squints at the clock. He thinks he’s dreaming.
“They’re not in bed now...”
He realizes there’s no fire, it’s just his stuffy wife, and rolls over, mumbling, “They were in bed...” He’s snoring again.
Mommy storms back downstairs, the clingy toddler-pup at her heels, because she is Mommy to him too... and barks at the boys to get back to bed which sets the pup barking too.
She longs to unpause Grey’s Anatomy, but the hot storage room moment is ruined.
So if there is no law of nature declaring moms cannot get sick, when we do fall ill, there should be a law that mandates we’re shipped off immediately to a resort.
Ok, if no resort, then a lovely sanatorium, where we can loll in bed all day and be served fresh orange juice and sponge-bathed.
While abandoned needy people back home must fend for themselves doing their own laundry or picking up a pack of Target underwear, and survive on Ramen noodles as long as they all remember to take their vitamins. Because restored healthy moms do not like returning home, not only to popsicle sticks stuck to coffee tables, but to vitamin-deficient family members.
But if there were such a luscious law, perfectly healthy mommies would all be feigning fevers all across the globe and innocent little children would be left to wander their houses sleepless, and to subsist on Ramen noodles. Perish the thought.