The leaves have fallen, the ground is frosty, the air is frigid and redolent of the sound of sneezing far and wide. Yes, this marks the start of The Cold Season. But take heart! A cure for the Common Cold has been found: motherhood.
Mothers do not get sick. We simply don’t have time. My grandmother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 32 and given six months to live. She told the doctor she was the mother of three small children and did not have time to die. And she was right; she lasted another 30 years.
This maxim is especially true if you have young children (older ones do, obviously, still require maternal care, but as they are not quite so dependent, my feeling is that they can fend for themselves for the three days it takes for a person to battle through to the other side of a headcold). No matter how thoroughly rotten you feel, a baby still needs to be changed, fed, burped and played with. No matter how much you would like to down a bottle of nighttime cold and flu syrup and drift into a medicated oblivion, if you have a child (or indeed, children) under the age of five years of age, this is simply not an option. Nightmares and bogeymen under the bed will still need to be fought off with The Power of Mum. There will still be the occasional nocturnal toilet trip that happened just. too. late. Dinners need to be prepared and the eating of said dinners still need to be monitored, despite your sniffles, coughs and sneezes. And if your kids are already in school or in daycare (as is the case with my two eldest), lunch boxes still need to be made and the school runs endured (unless you are lucky enough to have someone who can do this for you).
Mothers take it all in their stride. We moan and complain about it to our friends (or perhaps to the blogosphere…), but The Cold Season is just another one of those things through which we persevere while those around us drop like the preverbial flies. Which is what we would do too, if we had the time…
To a certain extent I can understand anyone thinking, “well, you chose to be a mother, so you should have thought about this before getting pregnant!” But I don’t seriously think that anyone has ever decided against motherhood based on the idea that you would not have enough/any time in which to recover from a cold or even ‘flu. At least I hope not.
I think the thing that irks many a mother is that many a husband will take to their deathbeds at the merest hint of a temperature. The Man ‘Flu Debate is not one I want to get into here…but it is irritating beyond belief to be a paid-up member of The Walking Dead, yet still be expected to take care of the children, hold down a full time job and take care of the housework, when while when sick, your darling spouse nurses a Lemsip and weakly offers his help “should you really need it…”
No, that’s ok dear, I’ve got it all covered (cough, cough, sneeze).*
*Spousal “get out of trouble” clause: my husband is actually fairly wonderful and helps out enormously if I am sick or have a migraine (a near future blog topic…)