How to Take a Sick Day for SAHMS

On days like today I long for the good old days where I could muster my sickest voice to call into work (even when you really are sick you still feel compelled to sound it), and then I could curl up in blankets of down and self-pity for the rest of the day. These days are long gone.

I learned as I advanced in my career that the preferred method for professionals is to replace this by going in in the morning without makeup or hair done, looking pathetic and coughing on people, until your boss sends you home. To which you are to respond, “Are you sure? I (hack hack) don’t want to bail out on you.” Then he’ll insist and you are off to Jamba Juice scott free, without appearing the flake.

As those days are over, I pine for the genteel era of old when the slightest sneeze would earn me a full day in bed, with the housemaid mopping my fevered brow, while the nursemaid attended to any children, as she did everyday anyway.

A sick modern mother is expected to suck it up, and thereby draws out the illness past its natural life if she were able to rest. I’m sick of this method, so I decided I would actually I take a “sick day.”

Based on my results, here’s my advice:

1. On the way out of bed, before the feet hit the floor, kneel and desperately mutter, “Dear Lord, help me get through this day.” (If you don’t know God or if there is one, simply insert, “if you’re there” right after “Lord.”)

2. Take your great-granny’s advice and squeeze two lemons into a tablespoon of honey, add 1c hot water, and drink. A spoonful of raw honey has been shown to be as effective as cough syrup (see Penn State study) It bought me a few hours of cough-free sleep last night.

3. Cancel your guilt subscription for the day and cancel everything, call moms of kids going to the same school to prevent ever having to leave the house.

4. Say yes to all the relatively educational TV and videogames you have or can find on the net.

5. Go back to bed. If you have toddlers, camp out on the couch.

6. Let your kids feed themselves and you. My kids love the independence of adult drudgery. The menu: Toast and bananas for breakfast, cold cereal and apples for lunch, pasta for dinner (w/mini carrots as token veggie). Yesterday morning I begged my eight-year-old to get everyone toast, and ended up being brought up a tray with toast, juice and an array of get-well letters.

7. Don’t freak about the mess that surely will ensue. Right before bedtime, which just extra-special for today will be 7 p.m., pull out the best treat to be found in the house and explain that all people in jammies who have cleaned both their own room and another assigned room can come get their share.

8. Do a nice long storytime and go to bed as soon as the last kid nods off (still working on this one myself, but it’s a goal).

Get well soon!

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