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What’s really wrong with men

My head is cloudy. My body aches. I’m a drippy, stuffy mess, but as mom, there’s no time for that, no time at all. Children must be corralled, lunches made, activities organized. So even though I’d like to lie down, close my eyes and nap, I’m moving and shaking, although the shaking might just be from the chills.

My husband comes downstairs, a look of exhaustion fixed on his face.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, busy doing what needs to be done.

“I can’t breathe,” he says. Can you hand me a tissue?” He looks at me pleadingly, like a little boy.

“Here,” I say annoyed and hand him the tissue box. Can’t I have this sick day? Can’t being sick even be about me?  “Would you like a sticker now?” I ask sarcastically.

“Maybe some juice?” He makes puppy eyes, but at the moment, I just think he’s a dog.

I try to take a deep calming breath but my nose is stuffed, so I just swallow a little mucus and choke, but no one notices. If I wasn’t so weary, I might have something snarky to say. Instead I just hand him a cup of juice, but I do it with a scowl.

Because if he has a cold it seems like pneumonia.

If he’s nauseous, he’s hacking in the bathroom some inhuman sound reserved for dying animals.

If he’s under the weather, it’s a blizzard in Minnesota.

So  while there’s definitely something wrong with my husband, mainly he just sucks at being sick. And if I’m not feeling well, his symptoms somehow worsen. Not that I think he does it consciously, but…

Me- I don’t feel so well.

Him – Me either.

Me – My head hurts.

Him – Mine too. And my throat.

Me – That’s weird.

Him – Yeah, I’m really achy.

Me – Really?

Him – Yeah, In fact, I think I need to lie down. Could you make me soup?”

Apparently, women aren’t allowed to be sick. Ever.

And it’s not just my husband. I’m prepared to throw all men under the bus here. According to women everywhere, men just can’t handle the pain. They wheeze and whine, they moan and complain, they need lollipops and cool compresses, while the wives nurse the baby while standing up, cooking dinner and overseeing homework, all with a 103 temperature, a broken leg and three broken arms. Yeah, three.

It makes me re-think some of the turns of phrase I randomly use without thinking, like “Take it like a man” or “Man up.”

How did these become part of the vernacular? I think ‘Take it like woman’ is more appropriate and from now on I’m telling my boys to ‘Mom up’, because if there’s something we know how to do, it’s suffer.

Don’t bother passing me the tissues, I’ll just get them myself.


Marital Disclaimer: Just to be clear and not because he’s reading this, my husband is very manly. He’s the coach of everything, he kills spiders, climbs ladders, fixes stuff and likes nothing more than chips on the couch and sports on the TV. In fact, my husband can beat up your husband, unless of course he’s sick.

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

72 responses »

  1. Very funny and very true. This also leads to the problem of when they are really ill, you no longer believe them.

    Now going off to start using the phrase ‘woman up’ 🙂

  2. Generally this is true. My hubs however never stops even if he is dying. He never complains. Drives me nuts.

  3. I hear ya sister. I hear ya. Hang in there (not that you have a choice.)

  4. I wholeheartedly admit that I suck at being sick too. Thankfully, it happens rarely. As to why men are this way, perhaps you should ponder how you treat your boys when they are sick. We grow up expecting our wives to be the same way maybe. In other words, it’s a woman’s fault somehow or other.

  5. you must have spoiled him (ha ha).
    love ya

  6. Sounds like my marriage. When I’m sick, I’ll admit, I like to milk it and be pampered. My wife complains at how whiny and pathetic I become.

  7. Hilarious. I do think your handing him a tissue with a scowl is not as effective as a: “Hey, you’re closer and get me one, too!”

  8. I have to say that my Dad is the exception to this rule.

  9. This was hysterical. And OH-SO-MY-HUSBAND! I have learned to ignore the attempts at “one upping me” because as I like to say, “soldier up!”.

  10. I have never been this way. Leave me the hell alone when I’m sick, I don’t want you to see me this way.

  11. I agree – at least in view of all the men I know.

  12. Your husband seems perfectly normal to me; a man’s pain is always worse than a woman’s. It’s probably genetic. Maybe I should do some research on this issue to determine the underlying cause.

  13. Women get sick. Men go into complete collapse. Too weak to stand up. Bearly able to lift a tissue to a dribbling nose. I had pneumonia, but I made chicken soup because he was clearly at the end of his ability to enure the wracking pain, the utter misery, the mucous.. He made that same weird choking sound you describe. Don’t they know how to cough? What’s with the strangling thing? I explained to the nurse when they told me I had pneumonia that she had to give HUB a prescription too. She looked at me questioningly. I said: “He’s a guy.” She nodded. He got a prescription.

  14. This reminds me of the Betty White quote…something like…” Why do we say get a set of balls when we want people to toughen up? We should tell them to get a vagina…now those things take a beating!”

  15. This is funny because it is so true. Ugh. “Mom up” is a fantastic twist to the over-used saying that is, clearly, inaccurate! When we were done having children (always accidentally because conceiving seemed to occur by the mere proximity of our clothes in the closet), I had my tubes tied (because he was too scared to have a vasectomy). The first day home from the hospital, he had the gall to ask me what I was making for supper. Man up, indeed! Great post 🙂

  16. Hahaha!! I thought you were writing about my husband!! And I too love him dearly but miraculously he’s always sick when I am! Imagine if they got their period or even better…gave birth??

  17. Ha! This is so true. It also made me think of the Man Cold skit from the British comedy Man Stroke Woman. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!

  18. Um, yes. And this is why the women have the babies. Seriously, if they had to go through what we have to go through, first with the actually getting pregnant, and everything that comes after that, the human race would have been extinct long, long ago. I’m only using “woman up” from here on out 🙂

  19. Amen to that! I dated a guy who ate organic food and would only use all this natural stuff. He was sick all the time. Me, I eat crap and the other thing natural in my house is the dog hair on the floor. I use to tell him to take some nyquil, all that meds stuff will just knock him out and he won’t feel the pain.

  20. Minnesota blizzard. You are a riot. I think you have a good point. Mom up totally needs to catch on. Hope you feel better!

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  22. Sing it, sister. My husband, (the Army officer) just got over the flu. Hard to believe he’s the same person as the guy who’s trained to kill a man with his bare hands.

  23. Love it Alisa! This definitely describes my husband too.

  24. Yeah, my husband does the same thing. It’s downright annoying! You have heard, of course, Betty White’s observation regarding vaginas?

  25. This is pretty universal. I would love to raise my son differently and spare his poor spouse, but I doubt it would work.

  26. “Would you like a sticker now? Hilarious!

  27. Ah yes, the infamous man death cold. Wherein, he is just a living, breathing cough away from death’s door. Oh, but you’re sick you say? Eh, suck it up, there’s dinner to be made and laundry to be done. Moms don’t get a sick day, don’t you know.

    Mom up. Yes, this seems about right.

    Hope you feel better soon! Just tell your hubs to go die somewhere else and leave you in peace. Afterall, you’ve got work to do!

  28. This is awesomely true! I was also thinking the having babies/future of humanity thing too. At my bridal shower over 20 years ago everyone had to give advice to the bride. I only remember 2 – one that you should let the man take care of car repairs (even if he’s wrong) and two, No matter how sick you are, the man is always sicker. I laughed at the time, but have since learned how true that is. I am convinced it is genetic. I see it in my kids too. My daughters, when sick either go to bed and want to be left alone, or inquire as to how to make themselves get better. My son goes to wherever the most people are – making sure to share his germs – and moans and groans and complains, generally doing the opposite of what would help him get better. I think maybe they actually like being sick?


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