Being sick is never fun, but being sick when you're a parent is the worst hell imaginable. Not only do parents make the worst patients, parents make the worst sick people in general: We can't rest, we can't give our bodies time to heal, and we can't stop doing all the things a parent has to do. I mean, we can do all of those things (and because we're not idiots, we usually do), but it feels...weird. And we don't like it. How have we not figured out a way for parents to just never get sick at all? It's 2016. Pull it together, Science.
When another human being (especially a small one, who can't take care of themselves) relies on you at all hours of the day, being sick can feel less like a nuisance, and more like a death sentence. Symptoms seem more severe, you're sick for a longer period of time, and it's all because you can't "take it easy" like every doctor on the planet is advising you to do. You're run down and you're stressed out and you just want to spend time with your first love: your bed.
But you can't, because you're a parent now and that means downing DayQuil for breakfast while you try to make it through another day of horrible headaches, high fevers, and a relentless stream of snot. (Just me?) Parents simply don't take care of themselves as often as they should, mostly because society has conditioned us to believe that constantly sacrifice is necessary, but also because we care about someone else, more than ourselves. Even at our most miserable, we still want to make sure that our kids have everything they need, when they need it.
So, here are 10 reasons why being sick when you're a parent is the absolute worst, because misery loves company and hey, at least we're all in this hell together.
They're Are No Sick Days For Parenting
You can't "call in" to motherhood and take a few days off. There are still parental responsibilites that must be dealt with, regardless of how high your temperature is or how miserable you feel. You don't get a break, even and especially when you need one, so you have to power through while convinced you're dying.
Your Kid Doesn't Care That You're Sick
This sounds harsh, but it's pretty true. I'm not saying that your kid — especially when they get older and can understand what's going on — won't be kind and want to help, but they'll also want dinner and their diapers changed and their favorite story read. Kids want what they want when they want it, and while it's true that the older they get, the more they'll be able to understand that mom and/or dad isn't feeling well and can't give them exactly what they need at that exact moment, when they're babies and/or toddlers, patience and understanding are hard to come by.
You Can't Sleep In (Or, At All)
It's a known and documented scientific fact that lack of sleep negatively impacts your immune system. In fact, studies have shown that getting sleep will actually help you fight off infections and colds. Unfortunately, there is no sleeping in or sleeping all day or even sleeping through the night when you're a sick parent. The one thing you need to help your body fight whatever it is you're feeling, is the one thing that's almost impossible to obtain. Whether you're up at night feeding a newborn or you're waking up early in the morning to get your kid ready for school, you can't hide under the covers and sleep the flu away. Not anymore.
You're Reminded That You're Not A Superhero
We parents love to consider ourselves superheroes and honestly, sometimes, I think it's warranted. When you're working and adulting and raising a kid, doing multiple things at once and accomplishing a boatload of goals during a single day, who can blame us? I don't know about you, but when I can work a full day, make my kid breakfast and lunch before his father makes dinner, clean, read and play with my kid, do some laundry and pay some bills, all in 24 hours, I feel like Wonder Woman.
And then reality hits, and with a cold comes the realization that I'm not a superhuman. Not even a little bit. When you're sick, you're definitely humbled, because whether it's a doctor with a prescription or a partner with a bowl of soup, you realize that you need help. You can't do it all by yourself.
You Have To Make Your Own Doctor's Appointment
Oh, how I miss the days when a doctor's appointment would randomly appear, thanks to my mother, and I would just have to go. Now, I have to call and schedule an appointment and fill out a million forms and, usually, I have a kid in tow. Just going to the doctor can be exhausting.
You Can't Take Any "Good Drugs"
Any of the drugs that heavily subdue pain or knock you out so you can sleep or make you dizzy, are drugs most moms find themselves not wanting to take. I mean, sleep and pain relief sound awesome, but when you still have to cook dinner, be present, and be able to wake up when you hear a tiny whimper or a full-on cry, you can't take any of the "good drugs" you used to take when you were single and childless and being incapacitated for a number of hours was no biggie.
Toddler Tantrums Still Happen
Your massive headache won't keep your toddler from throwing a tantrum. Trying to make it through your kid's epic meltdown while you're sick is what I imagine the seventh circle of hell being. Nothing but massive headaches and fit-throwings while you have a fever.
Getting sick can be expensive, whether it's going to the doctor or the emergency room or paying for prescriptions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average amount of money a worker puts towards healthcare coverage is a staggering $4,316. In the United States, it's expensive to get sick, and even more expensive to try and get better.
You Can't Afford To Take Time Off Work
If you're a working parent, you're worried about missing work and thus, a paycheck. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker only has eight sick days available to them per year. If you're a parent, you know you're probably (read: definitely) going to get sick more than eight days out of the year. So when your sick days are up, you know that missing work means missing money, which can mean you're unable to afford to pay for something your kid either needs and/or wants.
You're Afraid Of Getting Your Kid Sick, Too
Easily the biggest fear any parent has when we're sick, isn't that we won't get better (duh, we know we will, eventually, after our spirits are sufficiently broken), but that our kid is going to get sick, too. When you're sharing a home with multiple people, it seems like if one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. The vicious cycle of snot and coughs and high temperatures can seem never-ending. It's the worst.