I’ve been a bit ill over the past few days. Nothing major, just a bit of a cold and something I’d rather get out of the way this week before the mad Christmas rush consumes me. Even so, it’s made me feel totally rubbish.
You know what though, I’m going to say something that is so going to put me at odds with much of the working population. As the main carer for my kids, illness is different. By different, I mean I simply have to take huge amounts of Lemsip and carry on pretty much as if nothing is bugging me.
This, I believe, is where the mythical man flu comes from. When I say mythical, I mean it is a deeply unhelpful and somewhat sexist phrase. In my experience men are notoriously stubborn when it comes to admitting they have health problems.
That said, if I think back to my days as an employee, falling ill was a genuinely grim experience. Spending the day among colleagues you barely tolerate at the best of times was made worse by a thumping headache, sore throat and blocked nose. Travelling on a packed commuter train with a heavy cold or some other ailment was not an enjoyable way to spend time.
It was tiring and I would often return from work, collapse on the sofa and use my legal entitlement to paid sick leave to take the following day off to recharge my batteries. After a day of rest, I’d head back to the office feeling considerably better.
Oh to have paid sick leave! Looking after kids when ill is about as much fun as riding that packed commuter train. There is, however, no alternative.
Mrs Adams can’t do it. She has to get to work and provide for the family. The children can only do so much to get themselves ready for the day ahead and they certainly can’t handle the school run without me.
No, it all comes down to me. I simply can’t be ill. Man flu, to me, is a foreign concept.
Sure, I ask the kids to go easy on me and to behave. I get a little more liberal about screen time. Standards slip when it comes to keeping the house tidy.
As far as possible, however, family life continues as before. It has to; if I fell ill the wheels would fall off the bus completely.