Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Benefits of Motherhood

This is not what you think. I'm not going to preach on and on about how fulfilling and wonderful and heartwarming raising children is. Everybody knows about that part. What they don't tell you about before you embark on this blissful journey called motherhood is the complete LACK of the other kind of benefit package. This is all prompted of course by my recent job interview in which I was handed a 4 page leaflet of information about sick days, vacation days, life insurance, health insurance, vision, dental, disability insurance, free cultural institution passes, etc., etc., etc. With any job comes the benefit package. So here's my question. If being a mom is my current occupation, where's my benefit package?

"Nicky", my youngest, has recently come down with the mystery virus du jour and lovingly passed it on to me. What this boils down to of course is that despite my feeling just as crappy as he is at 4am, when he wakes up screaming with a temp. of 104, I still have to drag my butt out of bed and bathe him, medicate him, and console him. Don't get me wrong, I love him, I would do ANYTHING for either of my kids, and I don't mind taking care of them when they're sick. But what about when I'm sick. Where's my sick day? Who do I call to say that I'm not coming in?

It would go something like this, "Hi. Emma, Nicholas? This is mommy. I have a fever, and I'm not feeling well today, so I won't be getting out of bed. You'll have to make do without me. The cereal's in the cabinet, and you'll need to get some new wipes to fill the wipe containers. Oh, and don't forget to pay the mortgage, vacuum the living room, and take out the trash. And can you bring me some water and motrin? I love you. Have a good day."

Yeah....I wish.

I don't remember my mother ever being sick when I was a little kid, at least not until I was about 10 or 11 and more or less self-sufficient in the house. Of course now I realize that it wasn't that she was never sick, it was that she got up and did what she had to do to take care of us DESPITE feeling awful. And not until I was old enough to pour my own cereal, get myself up and ready for school, do my own hair, etc. did she give herself the privilege of staying in bed when she was sick. At those times, I remember coming home from school and shuttling water and snacks upstairs to her while she recouped.

Those are fond memories, taking care of my mom...perhaps because I felt so grown up taking care of her for a change. Or perhaps it's because lately, at 4am, when Nicky is burning like fire and I'm bathing, medicating, and rocking him while struggling with my own feverish aches, it is my memories that comfort and reassure me....that someday soon, I too can call in sick.

Incidentally, I won't even get started on the lack of vacation time in this job! (wink, wink)

P.S. Thanks mom.

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