It's been over 20 years since I held any kind of normal job with sick leave, and while I relish the flexibility and freedom of being a self-employed freelancer, there are definite disadvantages, many of which crop up when I'm sick. In particular - If I don't work, I don't get paid! Plus many of the things I do can't be cancelled or subbed out (a rehearsal with 25 people needing me to teach them music, or an early-morning choral program where I'd have to notify the kids' parents 2 days in advance). As I was sipping hot tea, blowing my nose and feeling sorry for myself, it occurred to me that all moms have the same problem - at least those of us without full-time nannies who will also take care of us!
Moms can't call in sick and have a temp worker drive the carpool, find the missing ballet shoes, or figure out something new to do with chicken for dinner. I hope that many of us have supportive spouses who will pitch in, occasionally helpful older kids, or a good pizzeria on speed-dial, but there are always times when only mom will do. In our house, that tends to be right before bedtime, when I'm already half-asleep, but David HAS to talk to me about something critical or Ben can't find something he was supposed to bring to school 3 days ago.
My girlfriend and I fantasize about having a backup clone of ourselves, a version of "Anne B. Davis as Alice" from The Brady Bunch, a briskly efficient, wry, uniformed gofer who will clean house, lovingly reprimand the kids, and compete with us as to who makes the best strawberry jam. And that dream is never more tantalizing than when I really wish someone else could declutter my family room, make Ben clean out the stray papers in his backpack and go pick up David after rehearsal tonight, naturally on a night my husband has to work late. Oh well - the best I can do is to 'call in sick' to myself and give myself permission to order takeout. while I watch "Real Housewives of Manhattan" and feel smugly superior by comparison!