Last week, my husband got knocked out for four days by a virus. He spent most of that time asleep or wanting to go to sleep.
Now it looks like it's my turn. I feel completely drained and wiped out.
However, I suspect there will be a difference in how our illnesses go, one that I suspect is common in most households. The one responsible for running the household and dealing with the children pushes themselves through the illness (usually the mom but I know a few dads who are in this category and their experiences match mine).
It's not a control thing and it's not a "the world will collapse if I'm not doing this" thing. It's a simple recognition that if I take a sick day, a lot of stuff doesn't happen. Stuff which I will then have to deal with when I recover. Thus I push myself to try and keep things running as best I can. Is it critical, can't be missed stuff? No. If it didn't happen, it would be inconvenient and difficult, but the world would go on, CAS wouldn't come after the kids and the Board of Health wouldn't condemn the house.
I find it a little patronizing when people push me to just let things go. They assume a martyr complex or that I am somehow exaggerating. This isn't me overthinking my own importance. It's a simple recognition of the fact that it's just not possible for anyone to jump into a complex job (any job) for a few days and not miss things. Running a household and managing a family is a complex job requiring coordination of multiple schedules and tasks.
Maybe that's why I get frustrated. To assume that anyone can walk in and do just as good a job as I do is to dismiss the level of skill and experience required to do what I do every day. It assumes that my work isn't really that hard, falling more into the "trained monkey" category than "skilled executive". Anyone who's done the parenting/household gig knows how difficult it is, with or without a paid job to manage on top of it.
So perhaps it's time to stop pretending it isn't a real challenge.
Or maybe it's just time to curl up with some soup.