Disclaimer: This article is a satire. My husband challenged me to write about the man flu. It is not about him, per se. You may find some truth written here, you may not.
The man flu.
You know you’ve heard of it, and maybe your significant other has even miraculously survived the “mutated” version of the same bug that hit the rest of the family. The kids were really only sick for a day, though were definitely “off” and whiney for 2-3 additional days. You, mama, mustered through without skipping a beat. Kids got to school and activities on time, dinner was made and items checked off the to-do list. You did what needed to be done with tissues shoved up your nose and a puke bucket at your side. Your best friends were ibuprofen and hot tea. Wait, let me rephrase that. It was cold tea because Johnny got breakfast syrup in his hair and needed a last-minute shower 5 minutes before the bus was due to arrive.
Let’s not forget to mention, you and the kids were sick during the week while your husband was at work. The in-laws, who are usually incredibly helpful, went to the Cape for the week. Why would they go to the Cape in February? It’s cold and snowy. Hubby does what he can to help out after work but he’ll vomit the second a child starts dry heaving so he’s hiding out in the office working. And by working, I mean his work laptop is open but he’s watching funny cat videos on his phone and cackling like he’s at a comedy show.
Then the weekend hits. The kids are making up for the lost time. You’re still under the weather but you are relieved the worst is over. Or so you think.
“Honey! Come here! I think I’m dying… *Cough*… *sniffle*…*hack*”
There he is. Lying in bed on Saturday morning with the same virus that you and the children had just a few days prior. His symptoms don’t seem any more severe than what you experienced but he says he’s in agony, maybe even dying.
“Can you keep the kids quiet? I need to sleep.”
What? Did he really just say that? But you love him and want him to feel better so you schlep the kids out of the house even though you’re still not feeling 100%. Let’s not forget they’re making up for lost time so they are loud, crazy, and a little bit feral.
You decide to take the kids to the trampoline park to get all their energy out while your partner is home all alone. Sleeping. Uninterrupted. Fifteen minutes after the kids start their jump session you get an S.O.S. text. He needs you to come home now. You schlep the kids back to the car kicking and screaming so you can rush home because the text sounded rather urgent.
You walk in the door, head upstairs to find your spouse sleeping soundly in bed. You wake him up to make sure he’s okay and, to your surprise, he just needed more medicine. The medicine that is 10 feet away in the bathroom. He didn’t think you would get home fast enough so he got up and got it himself but now is crabby because you woke him up.
*Insert blank stare*
The rest of the day is spent shh-ing the kids, letting them watch far too much Disney+, bribing them to be quiet because you need to lay down and let’s not forget, Daddy needs his rest.
Now it is Sunday and he must be feeling better by this point as he was able to spend an entire day in bed resting, virtually uninterrupted. However, his symptoms are subjectively worse. He needs more medicine. He needs soup. He needs toast. He needs a cold cloth. Never at the same time but you love him and dote on him while bribes for the kids continue.
“Can you go to the hippie store and get me some of that stuff that tastes bad? It worked great last time.”
He means the local herbal apothecary’s Immune Support tea. Once again, you schlep the kids into the car and use every, “If you touch anything in this store I swear I will…” you have in your pocket because this store is filled with fragile items and you purposely never bring them here. You pull up your big girl panties and march into the shop filled with confidence that the kids will heed the warnings you gave in the car.
Let’s just say that the checkout process for the tea was rushed and included a comment from the store owner along the lines of, “Please reconsider your next visit.”
Sigh. On your drive home, you lose your temper. The kids fall into silence and you spend the last few minutes of the drive home practicing the Hypnobirthing breathing you used during labor. Oh, and those two root canals.
You steep the tea and bring it up to your husband with a loving smile. He has a sip. Tries another. “This is nasty. I can’t drink this.”
In through your nose, out through your mouth.
The rest of the day was spent shh-ing kids again, feeding them all the snacks you can find and running up and down the stairs to refill water, bring a fresh cool compress and listen to the moans of a lumberjack taken down by the man flu.
Monday morning comes around. The alarm goes off and POP! he’s out of bed like its a rare triple star morning at Starbucks. He gets ready for work like any other day with no signs of having the deadly, mutated man flu just a mere 8 hours prior. What the…
And you are still shoving tissues up your nose.