Sick Day, What's That?

Some morning, a modern mother may wake up feeling as if she has been run over by a freight train. No, she is not suffering from a “morning head,” she is sick: feverish chills, aching body, and sand paper throat. She may roll over, remember that her husband is out of town on business, look at the clock and think, 1 hour and 15 minutes until I can deposit everyone at school. I just have to make it through 1 hour and 15 minutes, she repeats to herself, as she briefly closes her eyes again. She has to rouse herself. No sick days for mothers -- that’s what separates every mother from everyone else. Through her fog of illness, she rises to begin the morning chores and motions required to get her brood out the door and on their way to school: the dressing, lunch packing, breakfast eating, tooth brushing, dishwasher unloading, and that most crucial component of the morning routine, the nagging. She may move more slowly, she may look pathetic, but she will get it done. Woozy and feverish, she may even whisper, “Mommy’s not feeling well this morning. I can’t really talk because it hurts too much, so I need you all to do what you’re supposed to do, no complaining, no dawdling, no meltdowns.” She knows the children may listen or not; sometimes the tragedy of the blue dog shirt not being clean and ready to wear can overshadow any sincere sympathy for mother. But then, miracle of miracles, the gestures and wordless prompts start working. Everyone is clothed (socks included) and in the kitchen, cereal is poured, breakfast is eaten, teeth are brushed. She points at the lunch box on the counter and her 8 year old carries it to his backpack; she whispers “shoes!” and everyone dons both shoes and jackets; she grabs her keys and heads for the door and they follow like a line of ducklings. And they're not even late! When she returns home and collapses, she may briefly ponder the morning events. Maybe they behaved so well because they were so surprised to see me so quiet. Or, maybe this morning was the perfect example of “less is more” parenting. And, maybe she’ll even try a nag free morning again. Soon, and when she is better.

3 comments:

Allison said...

This works when the kids are in school, but when they're not? It's brutal. Which would be why my husband is covering for me today and I'm going to an ENT having been sick for two months. Definitely need to figure this out better!

Elizabeth Hammond Pyle said...

I know, I know. I even still have a baby at home. I was just channelling the times in my life (before my youngest) where I have had everyone in school of some kind of another. Its really catastrophic when they're too young for school or to watch TV.

Anonymous said...

I guess letting them hang out in the yard while you sleep for an hour or two is out of the question?!?

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