It’s been an extraordinarily busy weekend – the good kind of busy, filled with family and friends and good times – but I haven’t had much time for reading. However, I didn’t want the weekend to pass by without sharing this great piece from my talented friend Christine Koh: Hello, Plague. Goodbye, Martyr.
Since becoming a parent, I have heard — probably a million and one times — about a dynamic in which when the mom gets sick, she puts her head down and powers through, and when the dad gets sick, he crawls into his cave and rests. And admittedly, this has been my reality. When I get sick, I don’t see rest as an option. How else will the children get fed, the house tidied, my clients satisfied? I never take naps unless my body shuts down and I collapse. Jon, on the other hand, will retreat to his man cave to rest when ill….
And then I had a realization. I was a key player in this annoying dynamic –- unfortunately, in the role of enabler and martyr. I wondered whether men are more realistic about self-preservation and simply take care of themselves when needed because that seems the quickest route to repair. I wondered whether women –- in their wiring as caregivers –- are primed to be martyrs, to put themselves second (or third, or fourth…) and not ask for or state what they need.
Can you relate to Christine’s revelation? As we move into cold and flu season around here, I’m definitely reminded that it doesn’t serve anyone when I go, go, go until I collapse. I deserve – and need – to care for myself as well as I care for everyone else around me.
And maybe the “mom cold” should start looking a little more like a “man cold.”