To Hell With That 'Brighten Up Your Day' Crap When My Kid Is Sick

by Sarah Cottrell
Originally Published: 
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The only way for him to come home from school—or miss school entirely—when he’s sick is if he is throwing up or has a fever. While at home, he has two options: lie on the couch and zone out to the television, or go to bed and sleep. That’s it.

You know what he won’t be doing? He won’t be getting a “get better” present that I bought at a freaking dollar store and saved just for this occasion. He won’t be doing art projects or drinking special character-themed teas or hot chocolate. I will not be creating peek-a-boo hideouts for when the bed and couch become too boring for him. There will be no scavenger hunt or charades or fun poker-party-themed afternoon mom-and-me date. There will be no hair braiding or faux tattoos or epic bath time fun.

There will be no fun.

Since when did having a sick child at home become an event for moms? This is not a time to celebrate the common cold or seek innovative ways to bond with a child. No, when a kid is sick, they should go to bed and rest. They should eat soup and have their temperature taken. They should be told to chill out and watch television or read a book if they feel restless. Or better, they should be told, “If you are well enough to run around this house driving me nuts, then you are well enough to get your butt back to school.”

You can bet your bottom dollar that my kids hate sick days. My house is not a Shangri-La for them to sit around and create finger-paint mosaics for the fridge while I dress up as Mary Poppins and reenact “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Nope. Because, guess what, kids do not in fact need to be entertained 100 percent of the time. Being sick with the flu or a cold or stomach bug or whatever it is, is not an occasion to entertain them.

Things have gotten out of control, and it drives me absolutely bonkers to see parents treating their kids like little prima donnas in need of over-the-top events in order to be happy. From the ridiculous birthday parties that require door prizes and party favors to the stupid participation awards and graduating-every-year parties to the multiple school-photo shoots in a year.

You know what all of this does? It creates entitled kids with zero work ethic or appreciation for simplicity. In other words, it creates brats.

So, no Internet magazine is going to make me lose my freaking mind in order to create whimsy for my sick child. I will not cut out crepe paper dolls to decorate the windows. I will not bake a fucking “get well” cake. And I will not make sure my closet has a shelf filled with an assortment of toys, games and small “I love you” presents so that my child can survive the common cold knowing his parents are wimps.

I will heat up soup, hand my kid the TV remote, and then go back to getting shit done. If my kid is sick, then he can be sick without all the fabricated Pinterest-inspired bullshit to make him better.

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