A Womb of One’s Own: Ch-ch-ch-changes

I wish someone would have rather graphically explained to me what happens when you’re a parent and you’re sick. You know the sweet relief of crawling into bed in the middle of the day, hopped up on cold medicine, and ready to doze the afternoon away? Kiss it goodbye, because you won’t see it for a long, long time.

I’m speaking from the middle of the experience. I woke up this morning with the beginning of a wicked cold. A year ago, I would have slept until 10, drank gallons of tea, and watched Netflix until my eyes dried out. Today, I changed diapers, cleaned the kitchen, and played endless rounds of “jump on Mama’s lap until her biceps burn.” Pre-parenting, when I was sick, I wanted to be alone (except for someone who would quietly bring me soup and tea and then leave me alone). Now, I drove 40 miles to my mom’s house, where she watched Gabe so I could at least take a break.

Your sick day experience is only one of the small things you don’t consider when you decide to have a kid. Our dinner used to involve hunching over our plates on the couch while catching up on the DVR. Now it’s at the table, where we trade off attempting to sneak puree into the baby’s mouth as he swats at his spoon, our food, and the dog’s head. My pre-baby living room had a stack of my homework on the floor by the couch. Now, it’s bisected by a baby fence, separating Gabe from his new infatuations, namely the dog, the recycling basket, and the cat’s water dish. We used to come home and have a glass of wine while talking as dinner was prepared. Now, one of us cooks while the other lays on the floor and is assigned the role of human jungle gym.

When you have a kid, you know things will change. Some of it’s good change (let’s model responsible eating habits!), and some of it’s bad change (goodbye, last-minute party invites). But I cannot state enough how much you end up underestimating the change that comes along with a baby.

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Jessica Werner

Free-range librarian in Seattle. A sucker for happy endings, teen angst, and books that make me want to sell my possessions and travel the world. Incurable homebody and type A. Send love letters and readers advisory requests to jessica.werner@gmail.com

10 thoughts on “A Womb of One’s Own: Ch-ch-ch-changes”

  1. I think I got a taste of this once in high school. I was babysitting for a couple who went out of town for their anniversary and I was dog sick. The kids were good but I was so physically drained that I couldn’t play with them like they wanted (I accidentally fell asleep while they watched a movie!). Then, that night, I was up all night puking when one came to my room to tell me he wet the bed and wanted to sleep with me. I tried my hardest not to breath on him all night but the next morning, poor kid was sick as well. When the parents returned two days later, all three of us were disgustingly sick. It was the craziest weekend. Honestly, if I was sick, I think I would just pay the money to send my kids to daycare so I could rest. Thankfully, children are at least about 5 years off from now.

  2. Egads, thankfully I am far far away from motherhood.

    I have dim recollections of my mum falling off a horse and breaking her ribs when I was little – this has happened twice – and the second time she HAD to stay in bed for a couple weeks. But even so, she probably got back into things before she was supposed to, since she and my dad both work and had my brother and I to take care of. Not fun.

  3. Oh so true, so true. Ipo, I hope you feel better soon.

    I was sick on Monday- Mr. Sally J ran the kids to school, and it was awesome to be able to sleep for a morning. I remember a time when he’d already left for work (across town), and I got hit with a stomach bug. I couldn’t take the kids to school, so I just parked it on the couch, and spent the day refereeing and puking. Worst day ever.

    There are so many things that are different- give it a few years and your pre-parent life will just sort of fade away….

  4. Being sick with a kid at home is the worst. I had some sort of awful bug last year and thankfully managed to get my husband to take one day off work because for 24 hours I could barely even crawl out of bed to make it to the bathroom (which I was doing a lot). The next day he had meetings and had to go back to work, and since Lexie had thrown up a couple times the day before I got sick (and then went back to feeling totally fine, brat) I had to take her to the pediatrician. Which was a 20 minute walk away. I really don’t know how I made it there and back.

    Sending you virtual soup and hugs!

  5. I hate not earning sick days at home! At work, my sick days are for staying home with my sick son. Moms do not get sick, we just go to bed earlier :)

    Hang in there, eventually Gabe will be old enough to tell you to drink plenty of fluids and remind you when its time to take your medicine.

  6. I’m trying to remember whenever my mother was sick. I can only remember one time, when she had cryptosperidium, and was violently ill for 2 weeks, only leaving the couch for poos and spews. The rest of the time she just must have sucked it up and looked after her wee ones. That has got to suck. My father wouldn’t have been much help, for most of the time we were little he worked stupid hours as a farm manager then doing something that involved pea viners. I’m pretty sure for most summers, Mum didn’t have much support from Dad for her 3 demanding children.

    Ipo, can I say how glad I am that you state the reality of parenting in such a great way? From you I’m learning it has its up and downs, but it is what it is and and you just have to deal. I think that’s a really good lesson, so thanks for being the best Mommy Blogger out there.

  7. Thank you for sharing this!

    I have never forgotten my mother telling me, “When you’re a parent, you’re not allowed to get sick!” And dear goodness it’s true. By the way: commiserations! Mild cold turned into a horror overnight and ungh, I feel horrible. Another point, the colds will get worse when nursery and school come along. We have now resigned ourselves to the colds that come around with the start of each term (Juniper Junior’s nursery is attached to a primary school). Personal worst came with having shingles; Mr. Juniper was away and I was exhausted beyond belief with a toddler to deal with. Eep.

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