You can’t call in sick when you’re a mum

Family life
can't call in sick when you're a mum

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself today. I’m completely full up with a cold, my eyes and nose are streaming, I have a sore throat and a pounding headache that won’t shift.

As I said to Cardiff Daddy this morning as I dragged myself reluctantly out of bed, if I had a job to go to, I’d call in sick and spend the day under the duvet, alternating sleeping it off with watching trash TV.  And, as I also pointed out, if he was feeling as rough as I was, he’d call in sick and spend the day in bed.

But that’s just not an option for me because I have three children to look after full-time – and we all know you can’t call in sick when you’re a mum (or, let’s not be sexist, dads who are the primary carer too).

And so, I took a couple of paracetamol and added a good dose of Echinacea to my cold-busting apple, pear, carrot and ginger smoothie, and did my best to get three children ready so we could get Little Miss E, my 5¾ -year-old daughter, to school. It was a struggle and I was probably operating at about half my usual speed, but we just about made it on time.

I contemplated coming straight back home and having a quiet day in the house with my two boys, Little Man O, who has just turned four, and Baby Boy I, now 18 months. But I figured going to their usual gymnastics class would be way easier than having two energetic boys going stir crazy at home. Sometimes it’s easier to just keep on going and distract yourself from feeling crap. I made sure to keep my distance from everyone else for fear of passing it on – although as I discovered when we arrived back at school for Little Man’s afternoon pre-school nursery session, it seems bugs are everywhere at the moment anyway, children and mums alike. One mum of four told me she’d just recovered from flu and now has tonsillitis. Another is very heavily pregnant with her second child and seems to have similar to what I have.  Although at least I can take something for my symptoms; it’s so tough being poorly when not only are you pregnant but you also have another child/children to look after.

I guess it could be a lot worse though. I remember around three years ago having flu. Now flu is one of those words that people bandy about to describe even the slightest sniffle, and it drives me mad. Full-on flu is horrendous. I went from being cold and shivery one moment to burning up and shivery the next. Every muscle ached like I had never ached before. My nose and eyes streamed continually and I could barely keep my eyes open.

Except I had to, because I had a toddler and a baby to look after. Cardiff Daddy managed to wangle one day working from home to take the pressure off me, and the other days he made everyone lunch before leaving the house for the day and kept on top of the housework in the evenings, but other than that, it was one of my most difficult weeks of parenting. It left me wiped out for about three weeks. I’ve had the flu injection every year since.

On the plus side, once the worst few days had passed, I was fully mobile. I’ve had several friends who have broken or sprained a limb and been in plaster or bandaged up for several weeks or even months. It’s not so bad if you have family on your doorstep who can help out, or even friends who can help with the school run or taking your children off your hands for the odd hour so you can rest. As one of my friends who sprained her ankle and couldn’t walk on it for about a month told me, you have to make sure to ask for help.

Because we mums are the worst at feeling we have to do everything and stay in control. And so, when Cardiff Daddy asked me what he could do when he got home from work (late) tonight, I gave him a big list of things that would make my life easier. I sat down for half an hour, had a burst of energy and wrote this (because you can’t call in sick when you’re self-employed either). But now I’m off to bed. Because I feel like crap and I need all the energy I can get for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

I’m sure lots of you reading this can relate. Do come have a moan on my Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, or in the comments below, or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy


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31 Comments to You can’t call in sick when you’re a mum

  1. I certainly can relate! Have been unwell lately, and it’s much harder now there’s a toddler running around! A few times I’ve called for help…Mr Tumble I love you! Hope you feel better soon xx

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Aw, it’s tough, isn’t it? My youngest two had a morning of CBeebies today. I could barely function I felt so bad. Hope you’re feeling okay now x

  2. I’m not a mom just yet (though one is percolating as we speak!) but I feel I have to comment because I just posted today about how miserable being sick was for the last three weeks. But I have no kids yet. I can only imagine what it’ll be like to care for kids while sick, so I commend you for sticking it out and will be looking to bloggers like you for advice and inspiration when I’m ready to pull my hair out! 🙂 Hope you feel better soon!

  3. Hope you’re feeling better – you’re quite right, there’s no days off for illness as a mum. I think I have had about two days in bed just wiped out when I absolutely couldn’t get up but the rest of the time, you just have to struggle through.

  4. Oh bless you! I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    I certainly can relate to this. Parenting is so hard when you’re poorly. You never realise before kids what a luxury a sick day was.

  5. I have to say, I truly admire mothers. One of my real-life idols is my sister in law and she is unstoppable; always working and being a kick-ass mother. I hope you’re feeling better.

  6. I hear you! You just have to keep going no matter what… I recently tore some tendons in my ankle and I was so fortunate that my husband had two days off in a row to help but once he went back to work I was left to it… the doctor said it would take 6 weeks to heal 🙁 but you know what, it’s us super parents that make the world go around and teach our kiddies to be strong even in the face of flu! 😉 x

  7. I can so relate!x I have three children and my youngest two both have Autism and SPD and neither can sleep nor speak! Somedays I just want to hide away and have a good sleep, it doesn’t happen but you just have to keep going as they would be lost with out youxx

  8. You Baby Me Mummy

    You are so right huni. It sucks when you are ill. Remember those heady days of being ill in peace! Ahhhhh those were the good times 🙂 x

  9. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    You are right, it is so rough being sick as a mom! Echinacea is great – so is manuka honey. But at the end of the day you just have to get on with it when you are dying to lay in bed. x

  10. I can totally relate to this. I have 3 children also and it’s just a pain when I’m ill as I still have to do everything as usual but in a drowsy, snotty way. I think stay-at-home parents are so undervalued

  11. Get well soon, it’s so true, being sick as a parent sucks. Gone are the days of laying in bed, cwtched up. Now it’s up and out continuing what needs to be done. Hope it’s a speedy recovery.

  12. Ok, so it was self inflicted…But….Sunday, after my ‘Mums night out’ Mr G had to get me up from my pre-agreed lay in as he had a stomach bug. It was pretty grim for all of us! I actually felt jealous of his ‘real illness’ because I wanted a day in bed, everyone to rally around me for once! I’m still secretly hoping I catch it so bad I have to call in resources to help with the kids, just for a whole day laying under the duvet, it’d be heaven! I’m sure I’ll regret saying that though! x MMT #brilliantblogposts

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Aw, that is such bad timing him being ill when you had a hangover and a pre-arranged lie-in. Kids and hangovers are awful! A day under the duvet…. does sound amazing!! Funny what constitutes as a luxury when you are a mum! x

  13. newmummyblogcom

    Oh being ill and a mummy is the worst thing, it takes unwell to a new level, I hope you’re feeling in the mend soon! You’ve actually reminded me I got a text about the flu jag… I need to phone them! I dread to imagine flu with a crawling standing shirking monster! #brilliantblogposts

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      It’s so tough, isn’t it? I need to book my flu jab too. It was such hard work having fly with two kids. Definitely don’t want to do that again! x

  14. The school run is so hard when you’re ill! Awful when pregnant too and can’t take anything. You’ve reminded me to book flu jabs! Glad better now x

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Much better now, thank you. Yes, I need to book flu jabs too. Definitely don’t want to come down with that again! x

    • Cardiff Mummy Says

      Absolutely! It’s tough when you are the primary parent (I did mention dads in the post, as well as mums!!)

  15. Aw bless you I hope that you feel better soon especially when you have got to be at your families beck and call. It is tough being a mother but you have to be strong for them and show that mummy is okay. Unfortunately children do not understand sick days.

  16. morganprincecom

    I’ve just recovered from a cold too, but I’m lucky in that both my boys are at school all day so I got a little rest. Hope you’re feeling better hun. xx

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