Can We Talk About The Mom Cold, Please?

I know it’s a popular topic: The man cold and how pathetic and ridiculous men act when they have the sniffles and need a whole day (or a week) of lying on the sofa being taken care of, all because of a cold.

Moms of the world are kind of over the fact that while we are limping around barely alive, our husbands or partners are oblivious and wonder why the house is a mess and why we are heating up a frozen lasagna for dinner or telling them to fend for themselves and while they are at it, could they please feed the kids too because our temperature has spiked to 102. We’ve put in a full day and there’s simply nothing left in us except for copious amount of mucus.

For the past week I’ve felt weak, groggy, and my nose is dripping. I don’t have my usual energy but every day when the alarm goes off I get up; I carry on; I get done what I need to get done with a side of congestion and fatigue. And my family doesn’t notice—not even a little bit but here I am carrying a load (mental and physical) that’s just as heavy as when I’m healthy.

Here's what a mom cold is like.
Mom’s sick but who’s taking care of her? (PR Image Factory/Shutterstock)

Moms are never allowed to be sick

And we all know why.

Because that’s what moms do– they don’t have a choice and they know it. It doesn’t matter if their throat is on fire, there are groceries to buy.

It doesn’t matter if they have a cough that won’t quit, they have kids who need to be at band practice, driving lessons, and orthodontist appointments.

It doesn’t matter if a mom’s head feels like a helium-inflated balloon, they are still the keeper of their castle and know that if they skip a beat all the blocks are likely to come down like a Jenga game. And then guess who has to pick up the pieces of said game? The Mom, that’s who.

A mom cold doesn’t allow time on the sofa with a blanket and chicken soup unless everything else is done, everyone else is taken care of, and there’s nothing important left waiting in the wings to haunt their dreams.

A mom cold doesn’t give us energy to complain or speak up about how we’re dragging and not feeling well–we have appointments to plow through because rescheduling them is a nightmare. Also, there is laundry to do.

A mom cold doesn’t give us permission to take a day off, rest up and get better. Instead, the mom-cold screams in our ears reminding us that if we don’t plow through our to-do list, it will just be waiting for us on the other side of getting better, times 100. So, we’ve learned we better keep up because it we leave it for later, it’s going to knock us on our ass again.

The mom-cold knows how to hide; make herself unknown. The mom-cold knows how to wear a mask of “I’m feeling fine, I’ll just take some Tylenol and sip broth all day.” Moms of the world have become experts at this technique. We’ve watched our mothers get more done on a day when they had the flu then we’d see our fathers complete on a regular day when they were feeling healthy.

And she’s told us she learned it from her mom who’d be sick yet still make dinner, clean up, keep up with the housework, feed the hogs, and sew an outfit for Junior.

The only reason my family knows I’m not feeling well at the moment is because I told them the other day. And after I let them know my throat was sore and I felt like I was losing my voice, they were silently clapping, dancing, and giving each other high fives celebrating the fact their mother would be talking a lot less.

My back was to them but I could see their reflection in the sliding glass doors as I was stumbling to the kitchen to get some hot water and lemon.

They didn’t notice my grayish hue or the fact I’ve shooting NyQuil at night and airborne throughout the day. The scent of vapor rub does nothing to alert them that their mother is sick.

The only thing they smell is dinner not in the oven.

The mom-cold goes unnoticed. We’ve made it that way because we just don’t have to let something so tiny get in the way of a job that’s as big as being a mom.


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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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