It’s a bit of a cliché — kids get sick and Mom takes care of them. Dad gets sick — and Mom takes care of him. Gramma and Grampa get sick — Mom takes care of them, too. Even TV commercials capitalize on the concept.
But when Mom gets sick, who takes care of her?
And when Mom gets sick, who takes care of everything else that needs caretaking — because Mom is too sick to handle it?
One day a year, we recognize Mother’s Day. Year after year, Hallmark and American Greetings hang their hopes for huge income on the number of cards and other, mostly sentimental doo-dads (maybe they should be called doo-moms?) — and we buy them, wrap them, sign them, seal them, mail them or hand them over….
And that’s how we respect Mom. One day a year. Mom gets to be queen.
But what about those other 364 days of the year? Does mom get the same respect?
For too many moms — no, they don’t. Thus that cliché. Mom doesn’t get enough respect, and therefore she’s never “allowed” to be sick.
I can hear the protests now! I hear all those husbands and kids saying, “Wait! When my wife (or mother) is sick, we leave her alone! We make her soup! We try not to bother her!
And, OK. That’s a start. But here’s what I’m talking about….
When mom gets sick, who’s really taking care of her? Is anyone else taking her temperature? Does someone else drive her to the doctor, or does she drive herself? Is anyone else cleaning up the house so she won’t have to deal with it when she’s finally back on her feet? Is the laundry getting done or will it still be piled up waiting for her when she’s got an ounce of strength back?
Granted, I know that families are often more participatory than they used to be. This isn’t 1955.
But I challenge you on this Mother’s Day…. if your mom or wife gets sick during the next 12 months, whether it’s a lousy cold, or a chronic illness or even if she breaks a toe…. show her that extra effort of respect. You know the extent she’s there to take care of you, so be there for her, too! Spoil her, or just let her sleep. When she’s finally on her feet, make sure the house is cleaned up, the dog is fed, and the laundry is done.
Kids — don’t argue with your siblings! Keep things quiet and on an even keel. Do your homework, too.
The real point is to treat Mom the way you want to be treated when you get sick. With love and respect.
365 days of the year.