When Moms Are Sick vs. When Dads Are Sick

moms sick vs. dads sick









For four days I’ve been sick.  Nothing crazy — just the usual sore throat, coughing, fatigue kind of thing, maybe a fever … but since not one of our thermometers says the same temperature I can only guesstimate that I’m somewhere between 97.1 and 108.2. 

What’s most amazing is that in those four days, the world miraculously kept spinning. My children’s schedules did not disappear, nor did mine.  They made it to camp, and to baseball, to the orthodontist. They didn’t suffer from starvation because I decided to forgo grocery shopping, or making them breakfast, or packing their lunches; so that I could lie around and do something totally trivial, like recuperate. No, life as we know it, went on.

Last night, I gleefully turned out the lights at around 11PM, hoping to make up for the 4 hours of sleep I’d gotten the night before.  At midnight my dog Buddy, pacing and panting like a sex caller, sent me out like a shot for his first pee break of the evening.  At 1AM my son ran in soaking wet, exclaiming, “I think I sweated too much.”  Unable to peel myself up, I let his little naked tush into my bed where he continued to whine for about an hour straight. 

“Mommy, I neeeeeeeeeed pants.” 

“I’ll get you pants,” I said, dragging myself up and letting our heavy breather out for the 2nd time, on the way.  As soon as my babe was “pantsed” and I was cozily re-blanketed: “Mommy, I neeeed my favorite pillow.”

“I’ll get your favorite pillow and give our letchy dog a bowl of water.”

By 3AM J had tried to sleep in 15 different positions.  Including the one where you go all the way under the covers to the end of the bed and push until you fall to the floor taking the comforter with you.  Awesome!  He complained about 20 different things, from being upset that I had to remake the bed after he fell out of it, to having an actual dislike for color of my sheets. 

“They’re white.”

In the midst of this shuffling chaos, my husband was snoring away, completely oblivious.  Some could argue that this has been the case for the last decade.

He had approximately three pillows under is head and 2 more over his head, 1 shoved between his legs (better the pillow than me) — and was taking up 73% of the bed.  He lay soundly in hisIron clad barricade which my son could not penetrate or budge.  Yes, J and I were so smooshed I had to rebirth him to get him out of the bed. 

Finally, I gave up on trying to carve out room for us and wooed J back into his room by promising to make him a fort, “just like Daddy’s.”  Of course I had to remake his bed first, as the sweat had an uncanny resemblance to pee.  I got back into bed around 4AM and by 4:45 my son was back in the womb.  “Mom, can I be your snuggle bunny?” How do you say no to that one? I mean in just a decade he’ll be asking me to drop him off two blocks from the mall.

At 5AM my daughter was squeezing in on the other side of me and we laid there like a hermetically sealed package of sausages.  Just as I dozed off she started complaining (well, it was her turn).  “Its too hot with this blanket.”  “Mom my PJ’s hurt.”  “Mom I hate the color of your sheets.” 

“They’re WHITE!”

Somehow, 6:30 managed to roll around.

I banged on  my husbands fort with the door knocker he had installed at some point during the night.  Bang…Bang…Bang. 

“I was up all night. PLEASSSSSSEE get the kids ready for camp.” 

Mark is a morning person so I imagined it would be no big deal.  “Grumble grumble… no.” 

“What do you mean you won’t help me?” 

“Grunt, I’m sick, my throat is killing me.  Besides, I was up too.” 

“What kept you up?  Was it the sound of your snoring?  Or maybe the pillow over your head was mildly suffocating you.” 

“I just can’t, I’m too sick.” 

AND here is the difference between moms and dads: My husband’s cold might as well have been Anthrax … and the Earth literally halted on it’s axis.

Mind you, it would take a hemorrhaging artery to get him to the Doctor, excuse me, the clinic, as he has never officially acquired a Doctor.  But, why go?  It’s easier to lay around and tease my children with his untouchable presence. 

No, he will not seek help in fact, he’ll spend his day creating an impressive mound of snotty tissues, large enough to pitch off of.

He’ll refuse to use sanitizer, and sluggishly mosey around the house, putting his grubby, germy hands in every bag of chips, touching every door knob and remote, and talking on every phone.  He may even lick the straws on the juice boxes – for good measure. 

In what I think may be an effort to ensure that as soon as he gets better, both my children will surely contract his illness and I will have no shot at personal recovery.

Now, as a good wife am I supposed to “Mommy” him? Really? Frankly, in my bitter, exhausted, and sick state — I cannot even feign an attempt. 

I know, I sound awful, “I don’t ask that my sickness or lack of sleep take precedence over yours. I just wish that you’d stay somewhere else until yours passes.”

Go Ahead Give it a Like it’s Applause for a Blogger

(Originally published in like 2008 or something like that… still one of my faves!)

13 thoughts on “When Moms Are Sick vs. When Dads Are Sick

  1. ReadyOrNotMom

    Same issues at our house. I believe carrying around that Y chromosome must be somewhat debilitating to begin with….add on a sore throat and the world may as well come to an end.
    Plus, moms are basically superheroes. Am I right?

  2. Ribena Tina @ ribenamusings

    I hated Beautiful B getting in our bed when she was young. Even when I was single and she had half a bed to herself I would wake up with bruises where she had hit me with her hand or arm during the night. I lost count of the number of times she smacked me in the head and woke me up.
    Ribena Tina @ ribenamusings recently posted…All ChangeMy Profile

  3. Swati Chauhan

    Hey Jenny,

    I totally agree with you, especially the part about husbands not visiting doctors and making tissue piles instead. Love your writing even your rants. keep writing .


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  5. Sam

    I find this article extremely sexist. While I understand what you are saying the truth is you have an issue with your husband…not all husbands. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful husband and loving father of our children. He is very active in there life, so much that it feels like we have reverse rolls. In fact, I know many men who are stay at home dads and take care of the household and their children. What you wrote was no different than saying all black people steal. Not all husbands act like infants when their sick. Not trying to bash you but you really need to be more open minded. It is the 21st century…

  6. Cole

    Not the way it goes at my house. I have to still function when sick. My wife need to sleep for 4 or 5 days. ” it hits her harder”.

  7. Finbar

    Frankly, your husband sounds like an ass. Why did you marry such an inconsiderate lout? Was this behavior you couldn’t have seen coming? Usually people don’t change much. Inconsiderate boyfriends become inconsiderate husbands. Is he beyond reason? In that case, you’ve got bigger problems than when he’s sick.

  8. Dad

    My house is clearly located in another dimension because it’s the exact opposite of what’s described here. When my wife gets sick she won’t get out of bed for a week. When I get sick I don’t get on extra second of rest.
    Just goes to show, there are exceptions to every stereotype/generalization.

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  10. lenzi

    Yet another frustrated woman ranting about her man who has such high expectations when he is sick but does nothing for his wife when she is sick…instead asks her to go to the store! Seriously?

  11. Jocelyn johnson

    I’ve read some of the comments and they truly hurt me as I am someone in somewhat of the same position as this blogger. She isn’t being sexist she is telling her side of the story! I have been in and out of sickness multiple times a month because I have a horrible immune system but on the other hand my kids are the opposite thank goodness!! And I know I’m a stay at home mom but I still have a toddler and baby to look after and my husband works full time in the military, when he gets sick he goes to work then to medical then bam! He’s sleeping for the next 2 days. For me I have no options but to wake up with my son every morning and stay up with my daughter all night it’s been a never ending process. but my husband is loving and caring and does what he can I just think it’s more hard wired for him to sleep at certain times and work at certain times than it is for my schedule ( which is all over the place!) and I never get the same amount of sleep. I’m used to that I just think that it wouldn’t hurt for him to want to help every once in awhile in the middle of the night when I’m so sick I can barely pick our kids up and maybe get some sleep. I mean what’s one day (a week maybe) that you go to work tired when I take care of the kids every day tired..just my opinion.

  12. Mariette

    When my husband ever gets super sick he will rest and recuperate. When I’m too sick I don’t get to lay around in bed. I have 5 kids that I have still got to run to 3 different schools in morning and mouths to feed. After a long night of puking and diarrhea I have 4 kids home sick with me. I realized today life is not fair and being a mom can suck.


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