Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Seven Stages of a Mum Cold

I've been relatively lucky on the illness front in this family, because no matter which diseases the small people bring home, I've never been unfortunate enough to catch anything from them.  I think I must have built up a terrific parental immunity over the past few years. I've even avoided all the tummy bugs over the last term - watching as the whole family, bar me, were struck down one by one.

Then, just as everyone else is finally fit and healthy I get a mum cold.  Not just any sort of cold, a mum cold, which is different to the usual sort, because it's only me that has it.

The differences don't end there.  *Insert Facebook style meme about how mum colds are the same as man flu only nobody cares, etc, etc* which of course is true, except with a mum cold you have to carry on as normal too.  Which is tough, especially when nobody gives you any credit.

Have you ever had a mum cold?  If you have then I sympathise.  If you haven't, then the stages go something like this...

1.  Inevitably 

It's Friday afternoon.  Only one school run to go and then, the weekend.  Will it be full of gin and frolics? Ah, no, you've got a kids party to go to (standard).  It's only for a couple of hours and then the weekend is yours baby!  Your throat feels a bit achy on one side and your ear hurts when you swallow. Neck a couple of paracetamol, it'll be fine...

Sympathy Points: 0
Carrying on as normal: 9

2.  Realisation 

Come home from school run with a banging headache.  That paracetamol hasn't even touched the sides. It feels like you've swallowed a million tiny razor blades. Drink copious cups of searing hot tea in the hope that will make it better and curl up on the sofa hoping someone else will go and sort out dinner.  They don't. Arse.  This mum cold has taken hold.  There is nothing you can do now, you'll just have to deal with it.

Sympathy Points: -1
Carrying on as normal: 8


3.  Powering on through 

Saturday.  Children's birthday party time.  Ibuprofen it is and then power on through.  People might not even notice?  After the first 45 minutes your nose starts to drip, the ibuprofen is wearing off and you feel like death.  Dab your nose with a tissue while tactfully ignoring everyone by sitting in a corner of the hall with your phone.  Snarl at your children occasionally and mutter a snippy FFS under your breath when the DJ suggests that the mums and dads might like to get up and join in with the party games.  Two hours is a ridiculously long time.  Eventually, after watching some parents smack the hell out of a piƱata that refuses to die for what feels like forever, the party is over.  Well done, you hero, you. Gold star for carrying on as normal.

Sympathy Points: 2 (someone asks you if you are OK on the way out)
Carrying on as normal: 25 (yes out of 10, you are a bloody hero, remember?)

4.  False Hope

Sunday comes and you don't feel so bad.  You don't even need any pain relief in order to function.  Could you be getting better?  Suggest a nice brisk walk before lunch to blow the cobwebs away.  After an hour you feel fabulous again, apart from the chill across your shoulders.  Go to Tesco, feed people and stay up late, iron and then go to bed.  Not too bad, not too bad at all...

Sympathy Points: N/A
Carrying on as normal: 10

5.  Pestilence 

Monday.  Wake up and realise that you are almost certainly dying (probably). Why the f*ck is Darth Vader in your bedroom?  No wait, that's the sound you now make when breathing.  Close your eyes for a second... for god's sake, you've overslept.  Haul yourself out of bed and make lunch boxes.  After two cups of coffee feel more human and go and put on your exercise gear.  Well, why not?  After the school run go for a real run, made slightly more interesting by the fact that you can only breathe through your mouth.  Will you pass out on the pavement?  Who knows?  On your return marvel at the 72 pints of mucus produced by your own nostrils. There can't possibly be any more in there now.

Sympathy Points: -5 (you are an idiot for going running)
Carrying on as normal: 7 (lose three for the ridiculous noisy breathing)

Pass me a tissue, will you?

6.  Dispair

The rest of the day passes by in a hot/cold/hot/cold blur until teatime when you are now in full on Darth Vader mode.  As a treat your children decide to start a fight (not name calling, actual hand to hand combat natch) and you suddenly wish you had a proper job.  If you had a proper job then someone else would have to deal with this crap while you?  Had the day off.  Plus you'd get sick pay.  Ah well.

Try to eat a meal while having a totally blocked up nose.  It isn't easy.  Ask husband what it tastes like while exasperatingly blowing into a tissue for the 47th time that evening.  Watch as husband rolls eyes at you. Wonder what it's like to be able to breathe properly and go in search of some more medical relief.  You find a surprisingly still in date tub of Vicks and smear it under your nose.  You still can't breathe. It burns.  Then, just when you think things can't get any worse, your husband mentions that he might have a bit of a cold starting and is going to have an early night.  *sigh*

Go to bed yourself.  Vertically (propped up by lots of pillows) to allow the tiniest bit of air to pass through one nostril.  Horizontal sleep is overrated anyway...

Sympathy Points: -10
Carrying on as normal: 2 (you consider shutting yourself in a cupboard while the kids are fighting)

7.  The worst is yet to come

The next day go to the chemists and buy your own private stash of all of the cold and flu killing drugs you can lay your hands on. Feel all better again.  

Husband is still ill/complaining.   These men and their man flu eh?  Laugh/roll eyes at husband's inability to deal with a simple cold.  The fool.

Teen appears in doorway, coughs, sniffs and announces, "I just want to diiiieeeeee..."

Brilliant.  Welcome to the 72 hour hell that is the teen cold.

Sympathy Points:  Oh who cares, you get the picture.  Until the rest of the family comes down with the same cold you are basically a being a drama queen who can't handle any illness whatsoever.  You will have the last laugh.
Carrying on as normal:  Yes, all the frigging time... *sigh*


  1. I can so relate! Currently have a cold, caught from husband. If I had £1 for every time my husband told me it couldn't be the same cold because it's not as bad as his, I'd be a rich woman. How does he know it's not as bad as his? I just don't have the option of fling asleep on the settee at 7!

    1. Argh, Sarah! This is me! Nope, mine isn't half the cold his is either. And don't even get me started on the teens...

  2. This is me now. I'm currently on the sofa hoping for a OK ish day with the toddler.


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