Moms Who Don't Take Sick Time Aren't Doing Their Families Any Favors

sickDo you take time for yourself when you need it? If you are like me, I am sure you just laughed at the thought. I’m not even referring to "me time" so much as taking time when it is medically necessary.

Working moms are often reluctant to take sick time when they need it. But that resistance might just be making them sicker.

Why is it that we have to be on our deathbeds to take a sick day? Especially when it would be better for everybody if we did? For some reason, we need to give ourselves permission to be human. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our family is take the day off to get well -- because being perpetually miserable is helping no one.


Tis the season when soon everyone in my house will be sick. This makes no difference to me. I have already had sinusitis and double ear infections twice since August and I am sure, those will be joined in the near future by their friend bronchitis and maybe even, for a real treat, walking pneumonia.

Do you know why my sinusitis and bronchitis always turn into walking pneumonia? Because I'm so damn busy being nominated as mom martyr of the year that I don't take time to rest and recuperate.

A couple years ago, I had a particularly bad case of bronchitis and sinusitis, and my doctor had me on antibiotics and cough medicine with narcotics so that I could sleep through my coughing fits. A few days into being on the meds, I decided that I was well enough to run to the local Target for more. Not long after arriving, I noticed that I was getting dizzy, feeling seasick. I called my husband -- sure that it was a bad reaction to either the antibiotics or the cough syrup.

Within five minutes, I was home, but I was so dizzy that I was in cold sweats and could barely sit upright. No sooner had I walked in the door than I had to run to the bathroom and vomit. I stayed there, where I continued to throw up for the next several hours. About five hours into it, when I could finally hold my head up without projectile vomiting and I could go about 20-minute increments without running to the bathroom, my 4-year-old called out to me.

I stumbled slowly toward her like a weak calf and reached her just in time for her to get sick all over my feet. After I got her cleaned up, I then went back to my room and continued throwing up myself, only to have to go back to her bed in between hurls to rub her back and make sure that her vomit bowl was clean. This went on for 24 more hours. I wanted to die, but I couldn’t even do that because then who would have taken care of my daughter?

Being a mom who is sick stinks. Perhaps if I had sent my husband to pick up the medicine in the first place, I would never have gotten so ill. In my defense, my doctor says I had the stomach flu. Who gets the stomach flu on top of bronchitis and sinusitis? The world's unluckiest mom, that’s who.

The moral of the story is that sometimes, even if we feel it is impossible, we have to stop and just be sick. It's better to rest for a day than have bronchitis and the stomach flu simultaneously, which I learned from experience. My body was revolting and I was stopped dead in my tracks.

Do you take time to get well when you are really sick or do you soldier on until nature takes you down?

Image via The Giant Vermin/Flickr

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