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December 7, 2010

Last week our younger son was sick, and stayed home from school one day. Then on Friday, right after drop-off, LOD told me, “I have a 102 degree fever. Could you pick up the kids?”

(This is notable, fer shur, because in the 13 or so years I’ve known him, I can remember only one other time LOD has ever been sick enough to miss work, and that was with cocksackie. The man has an immune system of titanium, which he seems to have passed down to our older son, who was bitterly jealous that the little one got to stay home from school.)

So I left work, picked them up, brought them back to my office, and attempted halfway successfully to get work done until I finally gave up and hauled them home to run around rambunctiously on my own time.

Then I started feeling that tell-tale hot-gravel-in-the-throat feeling. This morning I called LOD and asked him if he could take the kids to school so I could go to the doctor. He did, and I’m now on antibiotics.

This could be any family’s story, except that we’re two families now and that makes it easier (in this one instance). If we’d been together, we’d be way more interdependent, so his being sick last week could have screwed all kinds of things up, and my needing to see the doctor today instead of waiting for Thursday (when he had them) could have screwed things up. Instead, since we’re each set up to operate independently, it’s just a shift instead of a Big Deal.

Although maybe people in healthy marriages just see it as a shift, too? I don’t know, never having been in one. That’s the thing–it’s hard to compare against what you never lived. At any rate, it is so much easier to deal with illness now that our eggs are in two separate baskets.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. famousamy permalink
    December 7, 2010 2:59 pm

    I think healthily married couples would see it as a shift as well, rather than a big deal. At least me and my husband do.

    The nice thing in your case is that you could rely on the other to take the kids fully away from the sick parent if needed – giving each of you a chance to heal more completely. In the same household that’s not always easy or possible.

    As a side note – I so appreciate this blog. I’m a child of divorce and it’s nice to see that some people are capable of being rational about things. My parents struggled at first but now – 26 years later – my dad, step-mom and mother all get along very well. And I have 3 extra siblings because of it.

    • Coley permalink
      December 9, 2010 1:57 pm

      The whole time I was reading, I thought the same thing. I’m in a healthy marriage, but sick days just suck, since even when I’m sick, I’m in the same space as the kids. They know I’m home, so I never really am “off the clock” and able to rest.

      Way to nail it head on!

  2. December 7, 2010 5:23 pm

    In my marriage, certainly, it’s just a shift, but we also have the luxury of both working near where we live.

    My parents never ever shifted except for weeks where one set or the other was actually gone for longer than our half-week.

  3. Beth permalink
    December 7, 2010 5:36 pm

    I think that my husband and I see it as a shift. The thing that actually complicates it most is the tendency to also feel like one must take care of the sick spouse, in addition to doing the parenting duties essentially solo. Once we got over the idea of having to care totally for the other while caring for the child, it functions very similarly to how you describe. It is nice to have someone willing to take on that burden.

  4. anne permalink
    December 7, 2010 7:54 pm

    Previous to my current life of coparenting/two homes,this would have been a Big Deal. Two years into the new life, it still continues to be a bit of a Big Deal. For example, my son’s dad called an hour before drop off the other Sunday night to say that he was really tired and could our son just stay on with me? In my opinion, if one of us is really ill, ie fever/unwell, vomiting, etc. that constitutes a reason for asking for a scheduling change. Being tired is life and is unfair to the child and the other parent’s time. It did give me another 24 hrs with my son which is great – but it also continues a pattern prevelant pre-divorce of choosing to “opt out” when it’s convenient. Sorry for the rant. I hope we get to a place where we can accomodate one another respectfully and considerately. Moxie and LOD, you are my role models.

  5. Anne permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:48 pm

    Huh. I have never heard of cocksackie, and totally thought you were talking about a vasectomy. Thank you Google.

    I would say in my marriage covering for illness is a shift, but maybe a big shift. I guess it sort of depends. I’m more bitter when I silently soldier through pain for days, only to listen to endless whining about my husband’s emerging sore throat.

  6. lolismum permalink
    December 9, 2010 1:36 pm

    I think even in healthy marriages it can be both a shift and Big Deal, but not always a Big Deal. It depends on everyone’s work schedules, stress levels, energy levels. Even in healthy marriages, one occasionally wonders whether the other parent could just take a tylenol and get on with it or is milking that sore throat for all its worth. I have soldiered on when I shouldn’t have (shingles, holly hell) and my husband has soldiered on when he shouldn’t have (severe fatigue due to yet to be diagnosed colon cancer, a much bigger hell) and there has been frustrations. Just this week I spent two days solo with a very sick child and got no sleep and fell behind at work while he was away for work. I know that as soon as he gets home, he’ll try to take over so I can have a break. And I won’t begrudge him if he doesn’t as he wasn’t exactly on vacation either. So no big deal, just a shift.

  7. Eliza permalink
    February 6, 2011 1:14 pm

    Moxie, I love this blog. It’s great fodder for those of us trying to embrace the challenge of co-parenting with a sense of potential and optimism.

    Intrigued by your tag-team parenting. I’m wondering if the two of you have an outright understanding that you call the other as back-up when you are sick. Is this simply the expectation and is happily agreed to by both parties?

    And if so, what happens if one of you can’t be (/doesn’t want to be) back-up in a particular situation? You simply say, “Sorry, I can’t help out right now. Call ______[a mother -in-law, friend, babysitter]”?

    • askmoxie permalink*
      February 7, 2011 11:17 am

      Eliza, we have no support system here. No family. The babysitter we used last year lives 70-80 minutes away by subway. We don’t have a babysitter up by where we live anymore, as one moved away from the city and the other moved to a different neighborhood and vanished. I have a friend a few blocks away, but she works full-time and has her own child, so it would have to be a pretty serious emergency before I’d ask her to cover for us.

      So we’re kind of forced to work together. I’ve missed work events. I’m sure LOD has missed things, too. It’s just the way things are, I guess.

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