we just want care

Moms Are So Burned Out We Fantasize About Being Hospitalized

Nothing too serious, maybe appendicitis or a gallbladder removal would be great.

A woman gets served a meal at the hospital. Many women think about how nice it would be to have a mi...

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. And one of the reasons it is so tough is that there are no sick days, no PTO, and no “going home” to rest after you put in a hard day. It’s 24/7, it’s totally relentless, and moms are so often the default parent. There is no second shift, there is no retirement, and on most vacations, the kids come with.

It’s no surprise, then, that many moms have a pretty weird fantasy that other people find incomprehensible. They want to get juuuust sick enough to need a short hospital stay.

You know, like a touch of appendicitis, a gall bladder removal, maybe a broken bone? Just a few days to be forced to stay in bed, getting three cooked meals delivered each day, while people take care of you for a change. And yes, you can see your kids, but only during visiting hours. A break from being constantly on. A break from middle-of-the-night wake-ups. A break from your life.

Why is it happening now? Some people chalk it up to the fact that the lack of a “village” in our generation leaves moms feeling isolated, overworked, and totally burned out. Earlier in the year, stay-at-home mom Emily May said what everyone else was thinking out loud on Twitter, now known as X.

“Idk if the lack of community care in our culture is more evident than when moms casually say they daydream about being hospitalized for something only moderately serious so that they are forced to not have any responsibilities for like 3 days.”

She followed up with, “And other moms are like ‘yeah totally’ while childfree gen z girls’ mouths hang open in horror.”

Down in the comments, many women agreed about their deep, dark secret of wishing for a nice, temporary hospitalization.

“I'm looking forward to next baby so I can just have a night of sleep by myself with my new baby,” one woman wrote.

“I’ve been looking forward to my first colonoscopy since I was 35 because I heard they can sedate you. To sleep without the possibility of interruption,” another said.

Other women had similarly drastic daydreams about how they could get a break from the relentlessness of modern-day parenting.

“My daydream was a divorce, because only then would husband take care of children 50:50,” one woman admitted.

“When mine were babies I would watch the show Intervention, & day dream about 28 day rehab,” another wrote. “I mentioned it in therapy once & I’ll never forget the look on my therapist’s face. I told her I wasn’t going to get addicted to meth just to go to rehab. IDK that she believed me.”

“When I was working a FT job, my 40min commute felt like a legit vacation,” another shared. “Windows down. Music blasting. Coffee in my hand. It’s really the only thing I miss about that job.”

“I was just invited to a 4 day silent Catholic retreat in Missouri, and I accepted because all I could think about was, ‘4 days of silence, 4 nights of sleeping.’ I had meals prepared for me, slept in a single bed, and took long walks. It was heaven, regardless of the praying,” another said.

And several women confirmed that a hospital getaway was not the worst thing to ever happen to them.

“I got mastitis when my first was 4 months old. I had to have surgery, but my hospital room had a nice view, my mom came to see me, the baby was with me but other people mostly took care of her, bliss,” one woman wrote.

“And can confirm: I have the fondest memories of my appendicitis that almost burst 3 weeks after my third was born bc I emergency had to go get it taken out and. I mean I let my neighbor take my toddlers and I let my husband give the baby formula, and I slept until I was actually rested. Under the knife, but still. It was really nice,” another wrote a bit jokingly, but a bit not.

One woman reminded everyone that it’s not exactly a new phenomenon. In fact, Sylvia Plath wrote her famous poem “Tulips” about being a mother with young children and hospitalized in 1962: “I only wanted / To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty,” she wrote.

While many of the moms above have a good sense of humor about their dark fantasies, this should also be a wake-up call to their partners and their families — and to the government and the community — that many, many moms are not getting nearly enough support and care from others. In fact, many of us are hanging by a thread on even the best days. If many of us have to suffer a medical emergency just to have a meal cooked for us, or to take a nap, or to experience some peace, there’s something very bad going on in our culture and society.