The Disgusting reality of
Being a
Working Mum With
Sick Kids

Guest Post By Vanessa Thiele

A disappointingly alcohol-free night, that was supposed to be dedicated to my business projects, was cut short because  Master three-and-a-half was doing an impersonation of an angry seal with this horrible chesty lurgy he had. Poor pet. I’d given him Panadol, rubbed him with a witchy brew of oils and had minty eucalyptus diffusions filling the air. All that he needed now was the comfort of his mummy.

Sounds all sweet and lovely. But the reality is, trying to sleep next to a hacking, thrashing, kicking bag of pathogens is no picnic.  Let me paint you a picture. It’s 1 am, I’ve been lying in bed for three hours waiting for the exhaustion to finally win, but approximately every 23 seconds, I jolt awake with a loud bark issuing projectile pus-laden microbes directly into my orifices.

Fucking fabulous.


I try to remain compassionate by focusing on his poor little wheezing lungs and the discomfort my little man is experiencing right now. But my mind keeps wandering to calculate how long my immune system can withstand this constant viral onslaught before it relents and gives in to the lurgy. I’m a tough one though. With a boosted immunity (that can only be attributed to working in childcare and nursing homes, as well as the consumption of enough vino to preserve me till the year 2125) my white blood cells and killer T’s are on roids, baby. I can imagine them now, patrolling their territory, defending me from the germ invasion like Ripley from Aliens…. (“Get away from her, you BITCH!”)

So here I am, a haggard and broken version of my former self, living on 4 hours of broken sleep, and the realization that it’s probs not kosher to take my germ bag to the gym crèche today to infect all the other children. Double fuck. There goes my one outlet, exercise therapy.

My mind flashes to Crazy Homer in that classic scene: “No wine and no gym make mummy go something something…”

So I battle on, substituting my gym class and a few moments to sneak in some work time for a doctor’s appointment and a date with the chicken soup recipe. In the words of my childhood idol Anne of Green Gables. After all, tomorrow IS a new day with no mistakes in it.

Actually I’d settle for a new day with no pus-breathing toddlers in it thanks Anne, but what evs. Sometimes you just need to be brave enough to admit it, there is no useful work getting done today, and move on.

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