Well, I’m finally back at the top of my game, after over two weeks of being on-and-off sick as a dog, following a flu shot, which turned into what I called the “fake flu”. As if that weren’t enough, as I was recovering from that, I got a nasty cold that ended up derailing everyone in my household along with me. Fortunately, the kiddo got the least of it, and her reaction to the flu shot was not nearly as bad as mine. While I was barely able to keep up with my regular work, much less my writing, I did have plenty of time to reflect on illness and training.
Back in my single days, I remember getting ill with a flu that knocked me down for 4 days – VERY long, considering that I don’t usually get that sick, flu shots notwithstanding. On the third day, as I was lying on the couch wishing for the fever to finally break, my border collie, Claire, decided that she needed to play. When dancing her front feet on the couch next to my head proved ineffective, she took to dropping a Kong toy on my head. I’d like to say that was also ineffective, but I’d be lying, as it did serve to get me up and start a ball-throwing game in the yard with her despite myself.
While children may not be quite as bad – and mine does show sympathy for other people’s “owies” – most still don’t have a complete appreciation for Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) illness. On the day after our flu shots, our 2-year-old was feeling as down and out as I was, so we spent the day on the couch together, sleeping off the mild fever. Recovering quickly, she was raring to go the next day. Unfortunately for me, I came down with the bad cold several days later, and needed to spend another day off resting (which those who know me understand to be a rarity.) I am convinced that if it had not been for my husband’s intervention, our kid would have been dancing on my head to get me to play with her, too.
The fact is that parents – and particularly parents with additional jobs outside the home – don’t get the luxury of taking a lot of sick days. I have made meals, cleaned the house, fed the dogs and other beasts, responded to emails, and even taught dog training classes while feeling under the weather. It’s just something that I assume as my responsibility, and so I take it. I have a hard time explaining to people that I am a full-time mom during the weekdays and full-time business owner during evenings and weekends. Add dogs to the mix, and the schedule does not get any easier.
The upside is that I love all that I do; I love being Mom to our little girl, I love being a “dog-mom“, and I love the work that I do as a professional dog trainer and behavior counselor. So I suck it up and power through at times, with the trade-off being that I seldom feel like complaining about having to go to work, or having to clean up after a messy youngster. Life, overall, is good, and I am, for the most part, happy for the paths that I have chosen.