I believe I have stumbled across a number of truths to add to any research being done into man flu.
It’s not actually man flu, it’s non-mum flu
Before I was a mum, I would be ill for days. I would lay up in bed with DVDs, books and magazines and a box of tissues. If possible, I would get someone (hubby, parents, housemates) to go and buy lots of soup, fruit juice, coke, ice cream, custard and bananas. If anyone else was around and not ill, they would be called upon to bring me the various food and drinks at regular intervals. Otherwise, I would crawl down the stairs and do it myself. I used to be ill frequently, and for considerable periods of time (often coinciding with a break in work – and conveniently releasing me from any housework duties).
My (single, childless) sister will still do this, though she tends not to ask for others’ help, unless she really has to. But she’ll happily stay in bed all day, watching TV and so on.
My mum (yes, I know, she’s still a mum, but we’ve all flown the nest and she has no-one to look after, other than when she’s looking after R), will also take to her bed quite easily these days.
It’s sort of our fault (don’t hit me!)
Having had some times recently where we have all been ill, and I’ve been the one running around doing absolutely everything, I’ve noticed that, if both hubby and I are ill, I will still do the essential housework tasks (unless I’m writhing around in agony and really cannot move).
One night recently, I’d been feeling like I was coming down with something and thought I was getting what hubby had had a few days before (the days when I did all the childcare, all the shopping (with child in tow), all the cooking and all the cleaning, and even walked the dog, getting my sister round for half an hour to watch R while I did so). When I mentioned this to hubby, he asked whether I would prefer him to tidy the kitchen or put R to bed (of course, he couldn’t possibly bathe her as well as walking the dog, because that would be too much for any human being to cope with in one night). I chose tidying the kitchen, because reading stories isn’t too much hard work, really.
Of course, on returning from the walk, hubby suddenly realised that he was ill too, and would have to go straight to bed. Without tidying the kitchen. Or the living room (which hadn’t been offered, because no-one realises that I tidy it every evening before going to bed; presumably the housework fairies do it. And, of course, I couldn’t leave it undone, because I would only have to deal with it in the morning. So I tidied the living room and the kitchen. And put a load of washing on.
And there is the problem. If we’re well enough to do the washing-up, tidy living rooms, and do whatever other domestic tasks we consider essential (in other households, this might also include preparing packed lunches, getting clothes ready for the morning, etc.), we are clearly not ill (in the eyes of the non-mum). Because they can leave it. They have no guilt.
So… ladies, the only way to prevent the spread of the man-flu virus is to take to your beds when ill and leave all the housework to pile up. Are you up to the challenge?
I really don’t think I am.