When I woke this morning, not only were my nostrils crusted shut, but my eyes were as well. After almost pulling out my eyelashes trying to pry my lids open, I sat up and looked around. Sometime during the night, I put on both sweat pants and socks. But I know I was still chilled because a fuzzy, alien-green blanket had wrapped and knotted itself around my head.
Even though it was 30 C. outside, I froze all night. I know I had a fever, but I didn’t have the energy to take my temperature. I know I was feeling sorry for myself because, as a man, I felt entitled to pampering by my wife. But she was sick as well, and as much as I wanted comfort, I wasn’t about to be selfish about it.
Fever and chills, body aches, sinus headache — and every time I coughed, my chest burned like fire. Every part of me thought I’d developed pneumonia, but I refused to be “that guy” and make everything about me.
Even though I woke up late, I did wake. I made coffee and rambled around the house willing myself to feel better.
This is not a time in my life where I can afford to be sick. My mind has played along and not given me any mental episodes since Joey was born four months ago. But this cold! I thought I would just have a few sniffles and some coughing, but it kept getting worse.
There is too much to do around here. In the morning, both children wake up, and Zoey has to be fed and sent to school. Joey wants to eat and likes for his father to carry him around all morning.
Soon enough, while my mind is still firing on all cylinders, I must start my writing. Flora will watch the baby for an hour or so, but she has work as well, and I am left to tend to this fussy little one and try to finish what I’ve started. It’s very difficult and frustrating to write when you are interrupted every few minutes, or you have a baby sitting on your lap drooling on the keyboard.
But I manage.
The baby does sleep eventually, and I have time to write, edit, and publish my stories.
It’s stressful, but it’s my life.
I was able to write about 200 words this morning before the body aches got the best of me. Once I was sure the baby would sleep, I closed my eyes and hoped a little nap would cure my ills.
A short nap turned into 3 hours, but when I woke, only the headache was bothering me.
So here I sit, typing.
Working from home and being a full-time father and husband has its challenges. I have to work around the interruptions because if I don’t help keep this house running, it will fall apart.
It’s quite a change from my life before when I spent my working time outside the house. I never did anything to help my first wife because I worked over 12 hours a day and had a 2-hour commute each way. By the time I got home, I had nothing left.
I didn’t spend time with my kids or my wife and it is one of the reasons my life fell apart so spectacularly.
I made a promise that the second time around would be different.
So, here I am at fifty-one, washing dishes, changing poopy diapers, helping with homework, and being an all-around cook, housekeeper, nanny, and chauffeur. I still spend quite a few hours in the day writing and doing everything that goes along with writing like reading and promoting on social media. But, my main focus is on being a father, and a husband, and the lifeblood of a very busy family.
Some days I get frustrated and don’t want to be bothered. Sometimes I get upset when the baby doesn’t calm down. But I wouldn’t want it any other way because all this activity makes me a very happy man.
But, there is very little time for anything else — like being sick. As much as I want to be a big baby and lay in bed, it’s not possible. Not only is Flora sick, but she is even busier than I am. There is no time to be weak. Everybody is counting on us.
But, seriously, there is no time for man-flu. There is no time for anything. Now, if you’ll excuse me, that dirty diaper won’t change itself!
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