How Is My Husband Acting Like He’s Dying from the Same Cold I Just Had?


man cold season

It’s September. School has started again, which means the amount of illness-producing germs circulating around my house have multiplied tenfold. With a daughter in second grade and a son in preschool, it’s not my first rodeo with the back to school bugs. I’m stocked with kid’s cold medicine, humidifiers, hand sanitizer, and Vick’s Vaporub. 

Despite my preparation, this year our family got sick before school even started. And it wasn’t the kids who got hit, it was the parents. I contracted a virus that ended up causing asthma symptoms. After three weeks of not being able to take a deep breath, a round of antibiotics, and a round of steroids, I’m finally on the mend.

Inevitably, just as I began to turn the corner, my husband started coughing and complaining of a sore throat. When my husband gets sick, it’s epic. One would think he is literally dying from the way he shuffles around the house in his underwear and complains about his aches and pains. While I waited a week to see a doctor, he made a doctor’s appointment on the first day of his illness and was promptly sent home with instructions to take Advil and a nap. 

 I know he’s not the only one. My mom has long complained that whenever she got sick, my dad would, without fail, become sicker a few days later. Friends have also confirmed this phenomenon. 

I understand that we live together and will share illnesses. That’s not my issue. My issue is that I usually get sick first (and worse), yet I never fully get to recover. My issue is that my husband has no problem at all plunking down in the bed for an entire day with a cold, without ever worrying about what to make for dinner, the homework that needs to be done, etc. 

When I’m sick, I still force myself go on trips, work, plan and make dinners. Basically, I do as much as I humanly can without keeling over. Me, lay in bed for an entire day with a cold? Laughable. 

There’s something that happens to women after we have children that only other moms can understand. It’s no longer about you. When you had the flu before having kids, you could call off work and stay in bed, order food, and watch movies. You didn’t have the huge responsibility of nurturing (and feeding) helpless little people. Every. Damn. Day. 

I know I sound bitter, and that’s because sometimes I am. I am jealous that my husband gets to check out when he gets sick and that I have to pick up the pieces even when I’m still feeling bad because motherhood is a 24-hour job.

I must remind myself that it’s not his fault that I don’t rest enough when I’m sick. My husband is very supportive when I am sick and will do anything I ask him to do—but I still need to ask. The reason I don’t recover is because, if I don’t ask for the help I need, it still falls on me to do it. I am responsible for speaking up for myself, but it’s one more thing to do when I’m already feeling pretty bad.

Instead of speaking up, I let my daily responsibilities sit on my shoulders like an overactive conscience, guilting me into doing more than I should. They whisper in my ear, “You need to get up. The kids need a real dinner. You can’t order pizza twice in one week. It’s been three days since they took a bath. Surely they will be in therapy when they grow up because you don’t have the energy to read three books tonight.” 

This annoying mom voice is probably why I get sick worse and longer than my husband. 

I don’t have the answer to making this voice go away, but now that I’ve named it, I am hoping I will create some awareness the next time I get sick, and maybe you will, too.

 You know what else? It’s actually okay for the kids to know mommy is sick and resting. They will probably be excited that they are going to eat pizza in front of the TV for the second time this week. 

So, to all the moms out there who feel that first tickle of a back to school bug settling in, try to relax. Order the food, ask for help from your friends and partner, and please, lay the eff down! 


Previous articleWhat Should Your Kids Call Other Adults? 
Next article10 Signs I Am Human
Laura is the founder of Merry Styling, a mom of two, and a former teacher who lives in San Francisco. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and relished the changing of seasons because it meant revamping her wardrobe! After completing graduate school at The Ohio State University, Laura relocated to San Francisco, where she taught elementary school for nine years before having her two children Noelle (6) and Lucas (2). When her youngest was six months old, Laura started working as a stylist with jewelry and accessories company Stella and Dot. Since then, she has earned a Fashion Merchandising degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, styled with nonprofit Dress for Success, and done various merchandising projects for different retail organizations. Laura knows that style is more than clothing and accessories. She has found it to be an amazing confidence booster. Finding the perfect outfit on a bad day can turn it into a great one. She is especially passionate about working with moms Laura started Merry Styling because she wants to help other moms and anyone else who feels "left behind by fashion" to feel confident, empowered, and beautiful through personal styling, closet detox, and personal shopping sessions. Follow her at @merrystylingsf on Facebook, @merrystyling on Instagram and check out for more!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here