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June 12, 2011

I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I don’t think men are the big babies women make them out to be when they’re sick.


They’re big babies when WE are sick.

When we’re sick, I mean really ill, it’s hard on the little guy.

Not because he feels bad for you. I mean, he does. He loves you and all. And not because he sees his beloved in pain and he can’t do anything to help her. Which hurts him, too.

No. You being sick is hard on your guy because now he has to do all your shit.

And that terrifies him.

I recently had a bout of strep throat, followed by pneumonia and laryngitis. I’m sure this was brought on by the aligning of the planets conspiring against me to meet a deadline for a new book I’m coauthoring with my Indie Book Collective cofounders on self-publishing. The writing gods decided nope, enough was enough and I needed to rest. (Well, actually that was my doctor.)

Two days complete bed and voice rest. No work, no speaking. Not even a whisper.

Do you know how hard it is not to whisper to your husband and two small children when you have a house to run? Clothes to wash? A kitchen to clean? Little bodies to bathe? A five-year-old with non-stop questions? (But where IS your voice exactly, Mama? Did you throw it away?)

My body and voice may have needed rest, but my mind was on overdrive. So much to do!

JP was also on overdrive…freak out overdrive, that is. He kept peppering me with questions I LITERALLY could not answer and that, to be honest, shouldn’t he have known? The butter is in the frig. Yes, honey I promise. The Children’s Tylenol is in the cabinet where we always keep it. Yes, honey, it’s a good idea to bathe the five-year-old after he’s been out in the muddy backyard.

Why was his Refrigeratoritis acting up when I was the one in bed?

I’m thinking he thought the same thing because later that evening I came out to make tea and he was sound asleep on the sofa at 6:30pm. The kitchen was a complete disaster and neither child had been fed dinner.

My two days of bed rest were over in four hours.  


Really, it’s just so important for husbands to have a routine.

(I hate to think what a walk on the beach might have done.)

Apparently, the added burden of him taking on basically everything (for those four hours) was more than he could handle and he was done for. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a good dad & I give him major dad credit for effort.

One friend says her husband takes to vacuuming the whole house, repeatedly, when she’s ill. Never mind the kids or dinner.

A man can only take so much stress.  

To be honest, my guy is usually more on top of the Dad thing. Perhaps his Manesia was worse than I originally thought? I made a mental note to get him into the doc once I recovered.

And hey, sometimes I shut down too. Not usually when my kids are starving and waiting for something I can burn for dinner but…well, that’s the difference between moms and dads.

Moms multi-task. Even when we’re really sick. Dads do their best and then pass out from the effort.

It’s hard being a man in a mom’s world.

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  1. Hope you are feeling better, Rachel–for JP's sake. You know, when my kids were small the only time my wife would get sick is when the kids were, so I was left taking care of sick children, a sick wife, and a house that had gone into shambles because she was feeling bad a few days before she admitted to being sick. That meant, on top of the kids to nurture, there was no food in the house, no clean laundry, and the trash was overflowing the cans with snotty tissues.

    I could cook, clean, and manage the kids just fine on a good day, but it was usually coming home from work and walking into a war zone that kicked my butt. Then of course I was usually not feeling well myself as the sickness had attacked us all. I was just the last man standing, and so the default caregiver. Oh joy. Hang in there JP.

    Get well soon, Rachel ❤

  2. Lance permalink

    hope you feel better

    my wife and I are freaks about this issue. Both of us are pretty cool when we're sick. But I otehr couple lose their minds when the mom gets ill. You'd think the guy ahdn't forgotten how to be a functioning human.

  3. @maxwellcynn Thx Max. I'm getting there. Got out of the house this weekend, a walk on the beach. It was lovely. Thx for sharing your story. 🙂

  4. I'm glad for you guys. Usually we're pretty functional. This just came at a bad time, when he was swamped & his mind was elsewhere. Ultimately, family comes first. 🙂

  5. warner permalink

    Having been a single mother for almost 4 years (do not tell a 2 year old you are Daddy not Mommy, they don't want to know) I do understand this. I've never been sure how I talked my wife into moving in but we seem to have been sucessful.

  6. totsymae permalink

    Men are equipped to deal with stresses unrelated to domesticity. I'm sure there are those out there who may do a bang up job at household duties, but in the bigger realm of it all, I'm okay with it. If he can maneuver his way from the kitchen to the stove, that's worth a pot of gold to me since I've never had a particular interest in cooking. But yes, I can relate to the stress of trying to get well and there's so little order outside of the sick room 🙂

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