The absence of Mom
There are a lot of things I love about having four kids- how different each one is, how they all have special relationships with their siblings, and how I have greatly improved my odds of getting grandkids.
I am majorly looking forward to hiking my shorts up to my armpits to show off my black socks.
One of the few things I don’t love is that
There is an urgent care facility near us where I am on a first name basis with all of the receptionists. One of the exam rooms has a sign on it that says “Reserved for the Nostrikethat family.”
Your oldest son threw up on the carpet.
Your daughter has a stomach ache.
The baby has a temperature of 103.5, if it goes up another half a degree I am going to the ER.
I am starting to get sick.
I hate you so much right now.
Baby has flu and pneumonia. Round the clock nebulizer treatments. Shoot me now.
One $300 change fee later, and I’m heading home early.
I managed to make it back in time to watch my wife completely give in and crawl back into bed and die for a few days. Fortunately for the invalids, of the two of us I have the better bedside manner.
A few years ago, I managed to throw my back out for no good reason and ended up lying on the floor the better part of one Saturday. I had just managed to pull myself up to the couch when my lovely and charming wife enters the room carrying fast food.
Her: I got you some FRENCH FRIES. Throws french fries at my prone, broken body. Stomps off angrily.
We laugh about it now. Sympathy for the Sick is officially my job in the relationship, though.
So I got to be Mr. Mom all weekend, and just when I thought everything was going to be all right my oldest son gets my wife’s flu and my daughter gets the stomach bug. I work from home most days, so when the kids don’t go to school my productivity takes a hit. I ended up burning some vacation days this week to take care of everyone because I haven’t yet succumbed to whatever plague(s) is/are consuming my family.
Somewhere around the eleventh time I picked up after the children, I got just a glimpse of why Motherhood is such a literally thankless job. Mothers are omnipresent. Mothers are the air our children breathe, the food they eat, the juice boxes they suck until they collapse. No one notices Mom, because remarking on Mom is like getting up and noticing you are still alive. I mean, you clearly notice it on some level, but no one devotes a lot of time to thinking about the proper functioning of their own endocrine system, do they? No one notices Mom, because Mom is the entire world.
The absence of Mom? That gets noticed.
Mom can’t leave the room. Mom can’t talk to someone else on the phone. Mom can’t go to the bathroom without someone kicking down the door. I wonder what it feels like from the Mom’s side? There are plenty of dads out there who are the Mom in their house, in the same encompassing, universal fashion. I wonder if they feel the same way?
I thought about all of this as I scrubbed down the kitchen for the fourth time that day, and then I said a little prayer that everyone gets better soon.
As for me, I am already plotting my next trip as I dodge heat-seeking chicken sandwiches. Sorry dear, duty calls. 🙂