7 Reasons Moms Really Need To Arm Themselves Against The Flu This Winter

by Christine Burke
Originally Published: 

Recently, a friend and I were commiserating about our hectic schedules. With carpooling, extracurricular sports, and activities dominating our lives, we both lamented how exhausted we are every minute of the day. All the remembering, transporting, and organizing got us wishing we could take a solo vacation. It doesn’t have to be anything special. Frankly, just a day in bed with Netflix and my pajamas sounds like the best vacation ever.

My friend even jokingly commented, “Man, I’d love a week off with the flu.”

Sure, what’s not to love about being forced to lie in bed, sleeping all day and shirking carpool duties? There really isn’t a more perfect excuse to hide under the covers and let our partners manage all the things.

But the reality is, while getting infected with the influenza virus seems like the ideal antidote to a mom’s chaotic routine, there’s a little-known side effect that only they experience when they succumb to the flu. It’s a very specific, very targeted side effect that endangers moms everywhere, and its repercussions can manifest months after you’ve crawled out of the warm cocoon of your bed.

You’ve heard of FOMO, right? The Fear of Missing Out? Well, when moms get the flu, they also get a differential diagnosis of FluFOMO — the fear of missing out on every single thing that happens in their life while their body fights off the dangerous flu infection. Even worse, moms are at risk of FluFOMO when their kids get sick too. It’s insidious, and the only known cure is to avoid getting the influenza virus at all costs. Let’s examine the evidence:

1. When your kid is sick, you can forget about girls’ night out.

Sorry, ladies. A kid with the flu means Mommy has to stay home and monitor temperature spikes, apply wet washcloths to feverish foreheads, and watch Caillou on permaloop. FluFOMO, big time.

2. If you get the flu, underwear drawers suffer.

Let’s face it: When Mom is down for the count, laundry doesn’t get done — at all. Do you really want your kindergartner announcing to the whole class that he’s going commando because his mom couldn’t drag herself out of bed to wash the tighty-whities? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

3. Having a kid with the flu means cleaning the house from top to bottom, and who has time for that?

We moms know that if one kid gets sick, the other kids will probably go down too. That’s why we go into full-on germ attack mode when the flu strikes. And while Clorox has an army of products to help us keep germs at bay, scrubbing counters means we have to skip spin class. Our thighs can’t handle FluFOMO, ladies.

4. If you have the flu, chances are you’ll embarrass yourself at a PTA meeting.

Oh, wait, you had to bake 96 brownies for the bake sale, but now you’re shivering under the covers with a high fever? Those PTA moms are totally going to talk about how you dropped the ball. Best not to get the flu so you can keep the rumor mill off your baking queen back.

5. Your kid will miss out on a field trip because you were too sick to sign the permission slip.

While you were lying near death in your bed with laundry piles closing in around you, your kid came home with a permission slip for the coolest field trip ever. Too bad you weren’t there to see him spill juice on it and accidentally throw it away. Now he has to stay home on the big day because you didn’t grant him permission to go. And now you have an angry second-grader home with you all day long. Way to go, Mom.

6. If you aren’t around to man the ship, the captain becomes the 3-year-old.

My husband and I came down with the flu at the same time a few years ago. We could barely get off the couch, and without family nearby to jump in, our son was left to his own devices when it came to snacks and TV consumption. The kid survived on Goldfish crackers and watched Sesame Street until his brain fell out. It wasn’t pretty, people.

7. When Mom gets the flu, even the family pet gets FluFOMO.

Little Fido loves taking his daily walk to sniff the grass and cruise by the hydrants. Barking at squirrels and chasing birds is his favorite pastime, and if Mom isn’t there to take him out for his daily jaunt, Fido gets a heavy dose of FluFOMO too. Don’t do that to poor Fido.

You’re filled with dread right now, I’m sure, because we all know this isn’t a comprehensive list of what FluFOMO will take from you. Thankfully, your risk of contracting FluFOMO is dramatically reduced by simply taking the time to care for yourself during flu season. I know, I know, easier said than done, but if you don’t make the effort, you can’t take care of the kids when they get sick. Be kind to yourself, skip making those lunches, and get to bed a little bit early. Buy some pretty smelling soaps in fancy bottles to remind yourself to wash your hands. Stock up on Clorox disinfecting products and take five minutes a day to disinfect frequently touched surfaces so you can help prevent the spread of germs and FluFOMO.

And if you hear that kids are dropping like flies from a virus, it’s completely okay to skip that class party. I mean, honestly, who wants to be around 20 screaming kids on roller skates anyway? Well, guess what, we’ve got your back: Clorox is partnering with Sickweather, an app that can tell you where the flu is in real time so that you can avoid cities and areas where flu outbreaks are on the rise. You can even check out what’s going around at school or at the gym by joining Sickweather groups.

So, take a few minutes out of your day, wipe those countertops down, remind the kids to wash their hands, and then give your friend a call. You’ve got a girls’ night out to plan.

Clorox provides the disinfecting products you need to help prevent the spread of germs and FluFOMO — fear of missing out because you are sick. For more information on protecting your family from FluFOMO, visit

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