Inspiration for childless and childfree women

Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice


Today and yesterday I’ve been sick. Not desperately, horribly sick, just sneezy and shivery and achey and, unusually for me, incredibly tired. So I have cancelled a few things, bought myself a big bag of organic fruit, berry juices and other nice foods that I think are good cold-and-flu-remedies. And I’ve been wrapped up warm in bed ever since, sleeping, writing a little bit, drinking lemongrass tea and listening to Ted Talks. Mostly just sleeping though.

I’ve heard this asked in a few different childfree groups and I have been wondering just the same thing – how do parents, especially of babies and young children, cope when they get sick? How does that even work? I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to try to meet even the barest minimum of parental obligation while feeling like this.

In doing so, I’m also making a mental note to drop round with lots of soups and juices this winter whenever I find out that one of my parent friends is sick, or worse, that terrible thing that seems to happen where an entire family all gets sick at the same time.

However, thinking about it has completely exhausted me again, so for now I am going back to sleep. Gratefully.

If you sometimes wonder about what life would be like as a parent you might enjoy this post about parenting in a parallel universe and if a restful lifestyle is something you particularly value about your own experience of non-motherhood, you might like this post about deep sleep.

But in the meantime, what about you? Do you ever find yourself reflecting gratefully on your lack of dependents when you are sick?

[The lovely image above of the sleeping angel is by Starry Diadem.
You can find more of her beautiful photography here.]


15 comments on “flu

  1. CiCi
    March 25, 2012

    Happy you found me … and happy I then found you in return. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. As for now, with this post, I couldn’t agree more! Great perspective! I shall make rounds to my mother friends more this season 🙂

    • olivia
      March 25, 2012

      We shall be regular Florence Nightingales, CiCi 🙂

  2. Maybe Lady Liz
    March 25, 2012

    I used to ask myself a similar question when coming home from a particularly rough day at the office, where it felt like it required more energy than I possessed just to feed myself and get to bed. I don’t know how anyone puts in a full day of work, and then comes home to a full night of feeding other people, helping with homework, settling sibling disputes, dealing with crazy teenagers, etc. And doing it all while sick? Yeesh, I can’t even think about that!

    • olivia
      March 25, 2012

      Neither can I, Lady Liz. I feel frazzled just thinking about it!

  3. Megan
    March 26, 2012


    I’ve definitely had that exact same reaction – no idea how they do it, especially when sick, since I don’t imagine the demands get any less just because “Mom” is unwell. I also just wanted to say that I hope you feel better soon – it’s terrible being sick, even if it’s just a cold/flu!

    Take care.

    • olivia
      March 26, 2012

      Thanks Megan, that’s so kind of you 🙂

  4. rantywoman
    March 26, 2012

    I just had what you had and wondered the exact same thing. Also, a few months ago I had a terrible stomach virus– was vomiting for 24 hours straight and could barely get out of bed. I simply don’t know how I would have coped if I’d been a single mom.

    As far as having a long day at work and then needing to come home and care for a child– not sure how I would do that either, or how I would ever fit in reading! I can barely fit it in now.

    • olivia
      March 26, 2012

      “I can barely fit it in now.” <- this!! That's how I feel about so many of the things I love to do most.

      And that stomach virus sounds just awful. There. You've made me feel a bit luckier about my own mere cold/flu bug 🙂

  5. Nicole
    March 26, 2012

    Last week my husband and I both had colds… and it sucked b/c I was less sick than him, so I took care of him while being sick. I actually did think in that moment “man, what if we had a little one to deal with too?” And it sounded very unappealing. I agree though, it does make me want to help out my friends who do have kids when they are ill or the dreaded everyone is sick at once.

    • olivia
      March 26, 2012

      Nicole, that must have been a miserable week at your place! I hope you’re both much better now.

  6. dinkschildfree
    March 27, 2012

    I had never thought about a sick mother, but I have often times thought how mothers do many other things. Do they ever just watch TV for an hour? Do they ever finish a book? Do they have time to paint a room in their house? Do they even have time to do things that need to get done, like mow the lawn or do the dishes? I know many of them have husbands to help, but if they work full time and have kids, I just can’t see how they get anything at all done. Now, add being sick on to all of that? I’m so thankful that, like you, when I am sick I can eat some soup and lie in bed all day.

    • olivia
      March 27, 2012

      I must admit, I often feel I have trouble fitting everything in as it is, dinkschildfree! I sometimes wonder if some of the mothers I know are secretly a pair of identical twins 🙂

  7. sharon
    April 1, 2012

    When my son was young and I worked full time I would feel really afraid
    if I had a feeling “of coming down with something”. Sick leave was simply
    not an option. I needed my sick leave at work in case my son got sick and
    a small child must be cared for regardless of how one feel in my particular
    way of looking at life.
    It was a living hell really dragging one’s self through one’s chores.
    My dear husband (who I later divorced) was useless and unsympathetic.

    • olivia reading
      April 1, 2012

      That sounds as though it must have been so difficult, Sharon. I hope very much that things have become easier with time. It’s lovely to have your point of view added here.

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This entry was posted on March 25, 2012 by in peace and quiet and tagged , , .

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