I think one of the most difficult times for us moms is when we get sick. So many times there’s no one we can call to take care of our children so we can rest. We have to push through the day, despite how horrible we feel. For this reason, I think every mother should receive a gold metal. Or at least a gift certificate to a movie and dinner. Every single month. I’ll lobby for it.
In this excerpt from Confessions of a Cereal Mother, the mother has painstakingly taken care of each member of the family as the stomach flu hops from one person to another. Finally it lands on her.
Grant’s poured himself a bowl of cold cereal. Next to him, the sugar container is empty. “How much sugar did you use?”
“Uh-huh.” I get a bowl and spoon for Sydney and hand it to her. My body aches so much I imagine myself peeling the skin from my bones just so I can massage the soreness from
“Aren’t you going to talk to Grant?” Sydney asks.
Leaning against the counter, I look at him. “Don’t call your sister a lush.”
“She doesn’t even know what that is!” he says.
“Neither do you.” My stomach rolls, over taking my intestines with it.
“I do too!” Grant says, Rice Krispies spraying from his mouth.
I don’t argue; I’m running for the nearest bathroom instead.
“What’s wrong?” Grant calls.
I sit on the toilet, my stomach exploding out my backside. The chills and sweat start all over again, but what really has me worried is a familiar tightening in my throat. “Sydney!” I yell. “Bring me something quick! I’m going to throw up!” I hear a scurrying of feet, crashing of dishes, and fighting voices. “Hurry!” I say.
Sydney comes running into the bathroom holding a shallow, rectangular cookie sheet.
I shake my head, tears welling in my eyes. “This isn’t going to—” But it’s too late. I snatch the pan and let the brown cow out. Vomit splatters back into my face.
When I’m finished, I’m wasted. I slump into the back of the toilet seat, balancing the full sheet cake on my lap. I have to wait several minutes before I have enough energy to finally
It’s then I employ my split personality, someone named Fragancia (I stole the name off the tampon box next to my toilet). I let Fragancia figure out how to deal with the sheet cake of barf while getting off the toilet. I also let her deal with the rest of the day: getting kids dressed, breakfast, and driving them to school. Fragancia is super mom, and I let her
do all the work until Baby takes his nap, giving me time to rest.
When the afternoon comes and my strength returns, I wonder how I managed. I had no one to cook my meals, help me get dressed, or hold my hair back while I downloaded dinner. I was alone and yet I managed. And I know I’m not the only one. Mothers all over the world have to do what I just did. I wonder for the millionth time why mothers are not ruling the world. It’s basically doing the same things we accomplish everyday: cleaning house, laundry, budgeting, multi-tasking, just on a much larger scale.
I throw open the windows and let the cool, fresh air rush in, destroying any remains of the toxic bug. I take a shower, shake off the last of my illness, and wait patiently at the door.
When my husband comes home from work, I give him a quick kiss on the cheek and say good-bye.
“Where you going?” he asks.
“Movie and dinner.”
“Are you feeling better?”
“Good enough. Dinner is in the oven.”
He stares after me, still confused. “Are you having an affair?” he calls after me.
I turn around and smile. “Not anymore. John and I split ways this morning.”