Like all mothers, I hate to see my children sick. Every year I dread flu season and do everything I can to help my kids avoid the awful sickies that seem to be lurking around every corner. Obsessive hand-washing, vitamins, essential oils…you name it, we probably do it. Yet we still manage to get the bug at least once a year. And while caring for my sick littles just about breaks my heart, there’s one person I pray, wish, and hope does not get it above anyone else. My oldest child…also known as my husband. (Chris, if you’re reading this–I love you!)
Recently my daughter and I both had pretty nasty sore throats–but it didn’t knock us off our feet. Just as we had started to recover, I got the dreaded text from my husband: “I feel terrible. Coming home.” When he got back he dropped his stuff and marched sadly up to bed, declaring that he was dealing with “throat ulcers” in addition to what we had. Let’s just say I was tempted to ask for a doctor’s note.
A couple of years ago I was chatting with a group of moms when the subject of husbands over-exaggerating illnesses came up. It was the first time I’d ever heard someone use the term “man flu” and I thought, “Yes! It is a thing!” And a quick Google search led me to this quote, which I believe hits the nail on the head.
Man flu: an illness that causes the male to be helpless and sicker than any other member of the family.
In females: a cold.
If a man in your life has fallen victim to the man flu, don’t fret. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone and you too can survive this terrible phenomenon. Just follow these 5 easy steps…
- Show your concern. Make sure he knows that you care and that you understand how bad he feels. After all, you did have the same bug last week (the only difference is that you went on with your life). Be careful though – too much sympathy can often prolong the illness.
- Put him into quarantine. Sure, this will help to keep his germs contained, but more importantly, it keeps the whimpering, coughing, and dramatic heaving out of earshot.
- Be prepared. If you don’t already have a man flu survival kit, get one NOW. It should include Costco-sized packs of cold medicine, gatorade, saltines, house slippers, and the remote to the nearest television. Because a man is never too sick for sports.
- Remind him that you’ve birthed a child. If the man flu goes on for more than a couple of days, I give you permission to break out the big guns. My most recent birth story is my secret weapon for combating husband whininess…and it works every time. I mean, isn’t it our job to put things into perspective for them?!
- If all else fails, call his mom. There’s no shame in calling for backup. Chances are your mother-in-law would love the chance to take care of her baby boy. Plus, she’s probably had plenty of experience in dealing with his father’s bouts with male influenza anyway.
So there you have it: man flu survival in a nutshell. Hang in there, mama…you will get through this. And with any luck, so will he.
This article originally appeared at the Kansas City Moms Blog.