Mothers can't call in sick
by Shauna Struessel
When I became a mother, I was exposed to a few truths about motherhood that I accepted without question. I consented to the uncomfortable truth that sleep is a rare commodity, I recognized my body would never again be the flat-tummied, perky specimen of my youth, and I made peace with the reality that every item of clothing I own would be covered in spit-up and PB&J. The one detail I was unprepared for, was that there is no illness burly enough to give me a break from my assigned duties. I could be suffering from bird flu, typhoid and the plague and still be expected to vacuum and scrub toilets.
When my husband has the feeling that he might be getting a cold, he takes to his bed hoping Florence Nightingale will whisk through the door, bathe his forehead with cool rags and hold his hand while he bravely battles his life threatening case of the would-be sniffles. When my sweet Sloan gets sick, she cuddles up on the couch with her favorite pillow and blankie while mommy caters to her every whim and wish. She recovers in luxury drinking clear soda and watching every inane cartoon that suits her feverish desire.
In 2003, I got the mumps. I could barely fit my cheeks through the bedroom door. The good news was that with a surgical mask, I could still make dinner; I couldn't eat it, but I could still cook it. In 2004, I had major surgery, as I was wheeled into my room, still loopy on anesthesia and pain medicine, I was greeted with “Shauna, Sloan has a fever, what do I do?” I am convinced I never need to worry about being struck down in a coma, as soon as my family gets hungry or runs out of clean clothes they will awaken me so I can perform my maternal duties.
Last June I had to have a foot surgery due to a slipcover related injury, bless my husband's heart, he stayed home for two days to help take care of Sloan so I could recover. By the end of day two, I found Scott drinking a beer and crying in the kitchen. “What is wrong with you?” He was pitiful.
“I hate this, all you do all day is clean and change poopy diapers. I want to go back to work!”
So day three, Scott went back to work, and so did I. The thing is, he tried, and I was left feeling pretty confident that I am wanted and needed. I have decided knowing that my family depends on me is alright. I make a difference, I keep this bunch of heathens clothed, fed and loved. Don't get me wrong, I could still use an occasional day off, but until then, full tummies and a house full of laughter remind me that I have the best job ever; of course, I could still use a dental plan.
Boise City News