Mama Flu Symptoms: Fever, Chills & Guilt!

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Manic:  Me, the mom…keeper of the kids, cats, home, plants, etc….going down with the full-blown flu!

Managed:  Forcing myself to reflect from my sick bed about how to cope, what to do next, what future changes to make to boost my immune system and you know what else….what guilt to let go of!

If you are a busy Mama who has been taken down by an illness, then you know what I’m talking about, so read on and then let me know in the comments section what your Mama thoughts are, when it comes to a manic managed mom getting sick!

I truly can’t believe how fast this came on last Wednesday night!  That is how I knew it had to be the flu.  At 9pm I felt great and was busy putting clothes away with my hands and making next-day get organized plans with my head.  But by 10pm, my head was throbbing and my throat was hurting and I knew that my body was fighting something fierce.

My busy Mama mind began to panic because, as usual, we had a lot on the calendar this upcoming weekend.  I reminded myself that stress is the enemy and sleep is the answer, so I popped an Advil and went right to bed.

The next morning was worse.  After dropping my son off at school, I headed to my doctor’s office because the strange metallic-like taste in my mouth, that accompanied my cough, and the fact I felt like I had a brick on my chest scared me a little.  Since I went to see the doc so early in the virus’ progression, I did not yet have fever, my lungs sounded clear and my glands weren’t swollen, so she told me that it was likely the flu and that the only treatment was good ol’ bed rest.  Easier said than done when you are a busy Mama!

Oh and the metallic taste was acid reflux from the fish oil supplements I had taken right before I went to sleep.  Note to self:  take fish oil in the morning!

The only family members allowed into my sick room...the cats...and Tucker has stayed by my side the entire time. He is here with me now as I type this.

Of course by the time I got home, the glands were swelling and the fever had arrived and by that night, I was quite ill.  Time to find the energy to make a backup plan for the busy family.  When you have the flu, you truly don’t have the energy to even watch TV.  You just want to sleep, take your temperature and force down fluids.  Truly the pits!

First, I graciously accepted offers of help from my lovely gal pals.  My friend, Bridget whisked my daughter out of the house and kept her for 2 1/2 days that were filled with Easter egg decorating, kite-flying, swimming, volleyball and more! I greatly appreciated that because my girl is prone to Bronchitis, so having a safe Mama-germ-free place for her to go while I was the most contagious, was priceless!

And my long-time friend, Jill, kept me calm on my cell phone on my drive to the doctor and offered to come and drive me home because she could feel how bad I was feeling by my trembling voice, which the flu was taking over pretty quickly!

And my good pal, Julie went to my favorite healthy restaurant, Pomegranate Cafe to get me their amazing Immunity Booster drink and some very wholesome soup!

I had so many good friends send their well wishes and prayers for a quick recovery and that means the world to me.

The men in my family rose to the occasion and got a taste of just how much a Mama has to do to keep food in fridge, plants from dying, mail from being sent back to the post office, cats fed, dishes done, laundry washed, bills paid, etc!  And they also made a trip to Pomegranate for me, too!

So I am thankful for all of the support and help!  I can’t put into words how thankful I feel.  Especially because the other painful symptom that accompanies the flu is a fierce amount of Mama guilt!  Have you busy Mamas felt this before?

As I lay here shivering with chills and riding the fever, my mind kept replaying the last few weeks.  What could I have done differently I asked myself over and over again?  How did I let myself get this terrible virus?  I took my vitamins and probiotics, but when I ran out of the probiotics two weeks ago, I put off driving to Whole Foods to replace them.  Could that be it?

Or perhaps it was that I stopped exercising after I was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis to heal my feet.  However, my podiatrist had cleared me several weeks before to work out again and I hadn’t resumed exercising.  So that was probably it!

And the last week I had several stressful events occur and I only slept about 6 hours a night that week, so darn me….I should have gotten more sleep!

Or was it the 3 hours I spent in Urgent Care with my daughter’s sprained thumb as we waited for Xrays, just two days before the evil flu struck? Didn’t I wash my hands that last time before we finally got to leave and rush off to pick my son up from school?  Oh, I must have forgotten to double-up on that hand santizier I keep in my car.  Mad at myself about that one, too!

And then there is the big flu shot debate.  Half of my friends swear by it and half of my friends swear it off and tell me not to dare get it.  Well, I did have it, but that was last August and that was a long time ago now.  So that is another question I got to juggle in my pounding head.

And some folks will say to you when you are ill that you need to slow down.  So did I bring this on myself because I’m a busy mom?  I laid in bed feeling that way.

And then I had another good friend, Julie, talk with me on the phone and she told me that people get the flu.  It just happens.  You can get it from a shopping cart handle in an instant.  She reminded me that although we are super Mamas, we are not superhuman and sometimes you just get the cruddy flu, no rhyme or reason to it.

In fact, there was a big article in our newspaper two weeks ago with a blaring headline about how the end of this flu season was an especially bad one and that loads of people were getting sick.  So maybe this bug isn’t my fault after all.

Now that is not to say that I won’t make some changes when I’m finally well.  Believe me, I lay here planning my new and improved exercise plans and my next trip to Whole Foods to get more probiotics.  The jury is still out on my flu shot plans next year.  This is the first time that I have contracted the flu with the shot.  It has usually worked for me in the past.

So as I forced myself to fire off apologetic emails canceling weekend plans that included teaching Sunday school and volunteering at my son’s hockey event plus several other cancellations, I told myself to let that guilt go, too.  Because guilt contributes to stress and stress weakens our immune system.  And just thinking about that makes me feel…well…stressed!

And life has been interesting around here with my girl shifting from longing for a hug from me that has to wait until the flu makes it welcome exit to being quite frustrated that her big Easter plans were sidelined by the virus.  The family has really risen to the occasion and purchased groceries, done laundry and dishes, but the house is still a mess and my plants are dying.

So hurry up flu bug, finish your Mama torture and move on!  Be done with you!  And in the meantime, I made a promise to my family to cancel my many planned activites this week to continue to stay home so that this tedious flu doesn’t decide to become Pneumonia.

To all of my manic managed mom pals out there, let go of the guilt and know that you are doing the best you can, especially when you receive the unwelcome surprise of illness.  But do exercise and do get your sleep and if you have to take your kid to Urgent Care, wash your hands 10 times!

Wishing all of you good health.  Be well friends!





  1. Sorry to hear about the severity of your flu. Mine was strep throat a month ago, and my sinuses still are not
    clear. As far as the flu shot, I gave it up when the nurse at Costco told me there are several strains of flu, and the shot only helps with the one medical experts say poses the biggest threat to the community that season.

    Feel Better, oh Manic One!!

    • managedmom says:

      Thank you, Jodie! Encouraging words from my friends help so much. Us gal pals have to stick together…in sickness and in health! I hope your sinuses clear up soon, my friend.

  2. Liz O'Neall says:

    I hope you are feeling better Rachel! You are still so charming and funny even when you are sick! Yes, take care so this doesn’t turn into pneumonia,…that’s a monkey you don’t want on your back (cause it’s been on mine for 4 plus months!…agh!) You said it…sleep and exercise are key. Take good care….Liz

    • managedmom says:

      Thanks Lizzy! You take good care of your special self, too! I never thought I would say this in Phoenix….but bring on the summer, so we can say goodbye to the cold and flu season!