Few things are more difficult than the daunting task of parenting while sick. Thankfully, if you have a parenting partner, there's someone there to pick up the slack. One of you can quarantine yourself, eat soup to your heart's content, and down meds as prescribed, while the other keeps the house in order. But when both parents are sick, tensions run high. No matter how hard you try, there are just some fights parents can’t escape when they’re both sick.
How do I know this undeniable fact, you ask? Well, as it turns out, I’m currently not on speaking terms with my husband. This isn't a serious rift in our marriage, to be sure, but it's the end result of my entire family turning into garbage human beings, thanks to the flu. To say that tensions in my household have been high is an understatement of epic proportions. The flu turns you into a zombie, and zombies aren't the best at keeping lines of communication open.
Of course, these rifts are really just a bi-product of multiple misunderstandings. It’s hard to be in the best of moods when you feel like you have the plague. It’s even harder when your kid is also struggling with the same symptoms, and is exceptionally cranky and needy. So yeah, many couples will end up fighting when they're both battling the hell that is the flu. Fight like, well, these:
Granted, this is a fairly typical fight most if not all couples have on a regular basis. But it’s made exponentially worse when you’re both much too exhausted to cook, much less pick up groceries or take-out. Your last resort tends to be delivery, but even then, one of you might be feeling chicken soup and the other might be craving pizza and it’s hard to compromise when you’re both searching for comfort.
My husband literally woke up every two hours during the first week of our flu nightmare, shivering. Then he’d open the (noisy) bathroom door and proceed to turn the shower on to steam the entire room up, leaving me hot, sweaty, and horrifically uncomfortable. You think I was happy about it? No. He also didn’t appreciate me blowing my nose while I was laying in bed every three seconds. But too bad so sad, because there was no way in hell I was going to get out of bed every two seconds to empty out some snot rockets.
When you’re the default parent, you never feel like every single parenting responsibility inevitably falls to you more than when you and your partner are sick. It made me extra-resentful having to pick up most of the childcare slack while my husband slept during the day. Like, suck it up, dude. Everyone is miserable here.
It’s hard to establish a comfortable room temperature when two human beings are both feverish. One of you might be freezing and the other might be burning up. I tend to err on the side of colder, so as not to accidentally raise fevers, but my husband didn't always agree. Go figure.
There’s always one partner who wants to go to the doctor immediately, and another who hates all things medical and would rather suffer at home, alone, than drive to the nearest medically trained professional. So of course you and your partner are going to disagree as to when the right time to go to the doctor or hospital is. And, yes, it's annoying.
In my experience, there's one parent who believes eliminating potential flue bugs is only possible if you spend countless hours wiping the entire house down with Clorox disinfecting wipes. And then there’s the other parent, who simply doesn’t feel like cleaning at all and is too miserable to care if they're living in a petri dish of bacteria. Granted, you can’t blame anyone for not wanting to clean while they're sick, but it is nice when both grown-ass adults pull their weight.
At some point, morale will dip exceptionally low and you’ll wonder if you’re ever going to be healthy again. Odds are you are, but you’ll both take turns being the Debbie Downer of the bunch, driving the other up the wall in the process. But hey, there is good news. This isn’t going to go on forever. Hopefully.
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