I’m lying in the bath. The bath that’s heating up around me. I’m the proverbial frog…you know: the one that’s in a pan of water that’s warming up over time until its boiling but he doesn’t realise its boiling until it too late. Those are the kind of baths I like: I am that frog (no idea why its always a male frog….).
I get to the point when the water is perfectly scalding and then suddenly I’m too sweaty and I need to open all the windows and let the cold air in.
I’ve always been like this with baths. No idea why.
I don’t have baths very often. Right now I have a streaming head cold. So, for want of a nearby sweat lodge, I’m attempting to shift it. And hoping that Erica won’t wake up until the water has chilled and I’ve topped it up at least twice.
I’m going to be uncharacteristically stereotypical, but it is based on a huge amount of anecdotal evidence I’ve collected over the years (whilst being in no way scientific!):
I hate being ill as a mum. There are no mum sick days. And even if you are the most hands-on dad ever, unless you are the primary caretaker, its not the same thing. You can stay in bed and recover, drink chicken soup and doze with tissues stuck up your nose. If you’re the mum then the tissues will get pulled out and used as padding for a Pokemon camping arena or something, the dozing will be interrupted by someone realising that they can’t find the prep folder that’s in the same place it’s been every day for that last 6 weeks, and the chicken soup will be stolen by a small person who thinks it actually looks quite tasty (even though if you tried to feed it to them at any other time it would be sneered at for having “bits in”).
There are many tough parts of parenting – many trenches you have to crawl through with Lego under your bare feet and porridge in your hair. But being sick is one of the worst. The defining characteristic of being a parent is that your needs are no longer paramount. You spend each and every day (mostly) putting someone else’s needs first. So, you might be struggling to breathe, or liable to hurl your guts out each time you move your head from a horizontal position, or squinting through one eye because your migraine feels like someone is attacking your forehead with a nail gun; but you still have to make sure your tiny, demanding charge is fed, clean, entertained and comforted. And it sucks. I have played more games of Minecraft whilst trying not to be sick than I care to remember.
Of course we do it – that’s what love is. But a very large (and snuffly) part of me wishes that there was some kind of emergency number you could call, probably from a red desk phone, which was picked up by a friendly but efficient state-funded nanny-type who would come round immediately, tuck you up into bed and take your small people out for a wholesome and educational forest walk, bring them back rosy-cheeked and exhausted, and pop them into their pyjamas, while you had the recovery time you needed without the added sprinkle of guilt.
It’s possible that we should focus on funding the education system properly first…but a girl can dream…..
I’ll be fine again soon, and Nick has brought home chocolate and paracetamol, the twin pillars of support for every poorly mum. But right now…I’m waiting on that Nanny!