Ladies, I would like to explore a severely undervalued skill that mothers have been secretly-not-so-secretly toting since babies were a thing, so basically, forever: working the mom cold.  

Having been fully immersed in said phenomena for approximately 3 glorious weeks, I thought, ‘hmmm, this pattern looks awfully familiar….perhaps mom colds are actually a thing!’

Let me explain the process.  

One morning, no special morning in particular, you wake up and think, “FUCK, I think I’m sick.”

Before you have time to digest what that means, one or all of your children awaken, screaming for diaper changes, bottles of milk, homework from last night, and you soon forget – aside from that annoying tingle in your throat – that you are actually getting sick.

Your partner lazily gets out of bed, and says “shit, are you okay?  I mean, you look….” To which you quickly retort, “I’m fine, we’re late, I’m tired.”

You make everyone breakfast, and while the kids and you are scarfing down the most important meal of the day, you feel the beginnings of a fever. Shit.

Now, see, here is the pivotal moment between a mom cold and any other.  In other circumstances you would quickly grab a thermometer, Advil, and Google MD.  But you don’t have time for that – these things don’t even cross your mind. Instead, you will the fever away so that you can get everyone the fuck out and make it to work on time.

You land at work, miraculously on time, with a hot coffee, only to realize that you can’t actually enjoy said coffee ’cause you feel like utter shit.  So you start scavenging your bag, desk, other people’s desks, for any signs of Halls, tea bags, and medicine.  Alas, nothing to be found but a half eaten Kinder Surprise, and an unwrapped piece of gum.  

You stuff the chocolate in your mouth and immediately regret the calories because you honestly couldn’t even taste the damn thing.

As the day continues, you find it harder and harder to swallow and as you turn varying shades of yellow and green, people now look at you and say, “uhh, are you alright, you don’t look well”, and you are like, “nah, I’m good.”  They urge you to go home and stay home until well.

You ponder that for a moment.  What does this staying at home sick look like???

It looks like: laundry, dishes, stupid errands, catch up, finally cooking a proper meal, and still working… but from home.

Instead, you will yourself to stay and continue, because: MOM COLDS DON’T EXIST.

You last the day, feel like shit, and order pizza for dinner.  You do homework, do laundry, do everything you would have done anyway when you dreamed of staying home, and then you pass out with some drowsy-ass cold medicine in one hand and an iPad playing Paw Patrol in the other.

You awake to the same symptoms but worse, so hooray!  You are now in the throws of a true mom cold.

Much of the same will happen over the next few days/weeks, until at some point you will ‘cave’ and go to the walk-in clinic to discover that you have strep throat, perhaps pneumonia, and need a week’s worth of penicillin.  You finally go home to actualize the rest you’ve been dreaming of, to further learn that you daughter fractured her arm at dance and you now have someone to play nurse to.  

You put on three pairs of socks to match your track pants / hoodie combo, and head out to the clinic for a second time that day.  You will yourself to be better, so you can deal with the possibilities of broken bones, and casts, and your little baby hurting.  

The doctor will ask who she’s to see, because even though you are at a pediatric clinic, you look like the depths of the abyss.  She sees your kid, and off to x-rays you go.  

By 7pm you feel the second dose of drugs working and you think, “See? I’m fine.  What was everyone thinking?”

Two days into your glorious round of penicillin and people are asking you “Did you lose weight?  You are glowing?  Honestly, what’s different?”  You chuckle, smile and say, “drugs, obviously!”

And there you have it.  That’s the mom cold.  Nothing changes.  You look like shit.  You feel like shit.  Then one day, you get drugs and all is right with the world again.  

…And they say moms don’t get sick.


Featured image by Gibson Fox, “Do Me Doctor”  via VICE.

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