I’m too busy to get man flu

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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.





10 thoughts on “I’m too busy to get man flu”

  1. You have so much in common with my hubby John! Every now and then he’ll start coming down with something looking like man-flu and he’s the same: doesn’t have time for all that nonesense, so he pushes through! My #1 tip is Pukka Herbs Organic Vitamin C – I take 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening when I feel a bit crap and it sorts me right out, it worked for hubby this weekend too. and no they aren’t paying me to say that 😉


    1. Huge quantities of vitamin C hey? That’s what my mother swears by too. And you’ve certainly had a lot of illness in your house recently.

  2. The whole “manflu” joke really aggravates the hell out of me. Most of the guys I know will fall over before they admit they are sick. My “real job” is at a hospital and I can tell you that most guys are dragged there by their wives

    1. Sounds about right Jeremy. I wish more guys would take their health seriously. It’s not macho to play roulette with your health.

  3. My hubs gets so annoyed by the term. Man flu and you’re right it is sexist. He actually hardly ever has time at home when he is ill… though mainly because he recognises that home with 2 small children running around is not a restful place to be! As for when I am ill, yeah I have to get on and look after the kids. Like you the standards will inevitably slip but the kids still need to be fed etc. There’s generally a lot of.lying on the floor letting them use me.as a.climbing frame going on. As at least then I am lying down hehe ?

    1. Oh my word, you let the kids use you as a climbing frame when you’re ill? You’re very brave. I admire that. I try to keep them off me at such times.

  4. Hm, this really made me think about the origin of “manflu” as a concept and I believe it is completely tied up with “traditional” gender roles (woman at home in charge of kids, family, smooth running of household, man full time paid employee). Just like the discussion that happened at Blogfest where male stereotypes were perpetuated, man flu is the same thing. Men not taking their health seriously is a completely separate issue. Not having access to paid sick leave from your role has led to a feeling of resentment I guess which has created the term manflu to be a jibe born of a little bit of envy!

  5. Yes, you do have to try to ignore illness when you are home with the kids. I do dread getting ill enough that I can’t get by, as my partner would be allowed time off but he would not be paid, so hardly ideal. Keep thinking I should really go to pharmacy & get a flu jab on exactly that basis, in fact! I have had HG with both pregnancies, and was pregnant from when my eldest was 6 months old, looking after her alone during the days, with no family near by. That was fun, but we got by! #MMWBH

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