I was terribly, horribly sick last week. Like rotten-assed-barfy-I-can't-hold-my-head-up-and-I-would-rather-die than-be-awake-for-another-minute-kind-of-sick. With one sick and one healthy child (which let me tell ya, is challenging even when you're healthy). And it was in the throes of these unfortunate circumstances that someone said this to helpful thing to me:
"You're so lucky you're at home!"
Sorry, what? And this is the thought process that went on for me in that moment:
Oh right, because being able to close my office door and put my head down on my desk for five minutes of quiet would really suck right now.
Or alternatively, being around other adults who understand the absolute suck-age of being sick and bring you tea and sympathy - that would also really suck right now.
Or alternatively, alternatively, getting to book off a sick day and sleep and get paid for it, I would certainly turn that kinda crap treatment down.
Because, yes, lying here comatose on my basement floor, in between running to the bathroom every 15 minutes, and trying desperately to stay awake enough to supervise my kids (who don't understand what it means that Mama is sick, and keep jumping on me, and blowing up at each other and me because I'm not paying enough attention to them) - now that's a really lucky and fortunate turn of events.
Now believe me when I say that I get that (despite the lip service about this being 'the hardest and most important job in the all the world') all kinds of folks think my days are a cakewalk involving zero effort and brainpower (and ambition, but that's another story). But let me just tell you for the purposes of clarification - stay-at-homing with a wild-boy nearly 4 year old and fearless-girl nearly 18 month old - this is not the position you feel lucky to have when you're sick.
Sure, I can stay in my pajamas if I need to- but even though paid-workin' folk have to get dressed for work, they can can tell a judge, or a co-worker, or a boss that they need to excuse themselves in order to barf on their loafers. Let me be the first to tell you, if you don't already know, your four year old will not be similarly kind and, unlike your boss, your 18 month old will try to zerbert the top of your exposed ass as you puke your guts out and then demand, like a tyrant, to breast feed. And they will both ride you gleefully like a pony while you are lying prostrate on the basement floor, feeling like you're cracking open (and up.)
So - next time a stay-at-homer (with a house full o' kids under the age of five) tells you they're as sick as a dying dog, I might humbly advise, based on my admittedly limited experience, opting for empathy over envy.
Trust me on this one.