It was 3:38 am and I finally crawled out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. Having coughed for over an hour, my throat was raw and my head hurt. I sat down to pee, and had something of a nervous breakdown.
The day before, I had taken a tumble down the stairs and to top it off have a head cold from the pits of somewhere not-at-all fun (also the root cause of my tumble down the stairs). Every part of my body hurt. I felt like I had been hit by a truck, then had wet cotton shoved up my nose, and a flaming Brillo pad shoved down my throat. I contemplated using a sick day to rest, however, I had just used a sick day to stay home with my daughter on the day I fell down the stairs.
This is where the breakdown started. So there I was, pants around my knees, snot probably dripping from my nose, coughing up a lung, my entire body hurting… just sobbing on the toilet at 3:38 am. Here’s how the conversation played out in my head.
“UGH! I feel so sick. This is so stupid.” cough, cough, hack, hack
“Just use a sick day. Stay home. Everyone saw you at work today and knew you were sick.” cough, cough, sniff, hack “They will understand.” cough, cough
“I can’t. I only have a few days left, what if something happens and I am really sick and I am out of days.” cough, sniff, cough, *blows nose.
*Sits down to pee, entire body aches. Hip screams in pain from trip down the steps.
Tears start to flow. Shoulders start to heave.
“Why do my kids have to be sick. Why can’t I just have a sick day for myself. I’ve used almost all of my sick days already this school year, and only 1.5 of those days have been for me.” cough, sniff, sob,
At this point I am in full on breakdown. I sob for a few minutes and then decide that it’s time to pull my panties up (literally and figuratively) and move on with my day. I went back to bed and slept for another hour and a half before dragging myself out of bed to go and shower, still grumpy and feeling sorry for myself.
Sometimes as parents we give every part of ourselves to everyone around us, and at the end of the day (or 3:30 in the morning) there is nothing left for ourselves. Sometimes we run on fumes and it takes all of our energy to simply exist through the day. Parents don’t get sick days. Life isn’t always fair. But the thing to remember in all of this is that it’s okay to ask for a break. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to break down. It’s okay to take a sick day when you need to.
I have figured out that most of the time people won’t ask you if you need to rest when you are sick – you have to make the time to rest for yourself.
Here’s to taking time to recover (and not running yourself ragged until you get dizzy and fall down the stairs),