Here I am sitting on my bed typing. I’m not usually a type in bed kind of writer. I’m much more I sit at my desk, or a table in a coffee shop writer. But here I am in bed tapping away with heavy eyes, a scratchy throat and a very blocked nose. (This is an official apology to all my friends whom I’ve ignored this week – I’m sick sorry.) So yes I’m feeling under the rainy Johannesburg weather, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get better.

You see there’s no one to submit sick leave to. No one whom I can say, ‘Sorry I’m not being a Mum today.’ If I say it to my kids they look at me like I’m strange and then continue fighting. (I’m sorry to burst the bubble but my Princes do fight.) My husband says, ‘Poor dear’ (or something to that effect) and asks me what I want. ‘A cup of hot water with lemon,’ I say. ‘Of course my love,’ he says. (Or at least I’d love it to sound that way, but in any case he does agree to make me lemon tea.) But he doesn’t come back with tea or anything else for that matter.

What I have tried to institute is a Mummy Sick Leave Scheme. What’s that? Well I’ve just thought it up as I type. You see us mothers don’t have actual sick leave where you can cheerfully book yourself into a hotel that serves you hot, lemon tea all day (although that too is a brilliant idea – I really should try that out next time. If any of you do, please let me know how it goes). So within our important responsibilities we need to see where we can delegate, let go of, fob off any of the duties to make the day lighter than usual. So that you can even lie in bed instead of collapsing at the end of the day with pneumonia.

So for example today my car lifts were sorted out so I didn’t have to leave the house at 7am. The morning madness my husband handled. (Wonderful man I agree.) I stayed in bed until 730am – a real sleep in for me these days. So needed after three nights of blocked nose sleeping, which is like sleeping with a new born baby.

Part of the Mummy Sick Leave Scheme is leaning on the kindness of others. For example my lift scheme partner offered to do my afternoon lift for me today. And I accepted gratefully. Usually I would have shook my head stoicly and said, ‘No I can deal with the two-hour shlepp ahead of me no problem.’ Forgetting of course that even when I’m well I feel quite faint by the time I reach Kensington. So I was given a reprieve which I took. (And I hope she’s reading this. She was my Divine Angel.)

What isn’t part of the scheme is going to Pick n’ Pay. I should certainly not have gone today (although I really needed cleaning supplies otherwise our house which we should have moved into on Sunday will never be ready for us. It’s a dust trap.) If I hadn’t gone maybe I wouldn’t now be coughing. I had to do some lift scheming for the kids and the usual but I didn’t have to go to Woolworths. I should have delegated that, because it wasn’t even for me. It was a favour. So one of the major rules of the Mummy Sick Leave Scheme is no favours. You do not go beyond the letter of the law of what you have to do when you are sick.  Kapish!

Another rule is to sit your husband/partner/support person down and you explain to him/her that they are in charge of the kids in the morning and evening. Everyone knows that’s when you feel your worst. Even if things don’t go perfectly because you are after all the expert. It’s too bad. Your health comes first. And here I must thank my hubbie, who is all too often unappreciated (another blog to write) for pulling his Daddy weight big time. (It’s taken about nine years of sick episodes and tantruming to get there.)

And maybe this is something us mothers forget too easily. Our health is important without our health we cannot function as any kind of mother let alone a good mother. And I know how much we all pride ourselves on being good mothers – okay good enough mothers.

So let’s raise a cup of lemon tea to all mothers everywhere. To taking care of ourselves and enjoying perfect health all of the time. And to those mums who are also underneath the Johannesburg summer shower sky go get that cup of lemon tea. From your husband or if like me you don’t enjoy waiting – make it yourself!