The man flu

We’ve been plagued with sickness in our house. Since around the beginning of December it’s been one after another. First, Ricklan caught the flu, which we discovered when we went to a friends birthday party and she vomited all over me. That was a long night. My heart broke for my baby as she tried to sleep but woke up ever 20 minutes or so to be sick. Thankfully it was a quick bug and within 24 hours she was so much better….just in time for Mom to go down for the count. I woke up around 4 one morning and quickly realized I was the next victim. When the baby woke for the day I occupied her best I could while making frequent bathroom visits. When my husband woke up I asked if he could handle the house while I caught a little more sleep. He answered me by running to the bathroom himself. And just like that, the third victim was claimed.

It was an ugly 48 hours in this house. I hadn’t quite finished soaking all the baby’s toys in disinfectant when it was time to add the remote, door handles and sinks and toilets. As I pulled her sheets out of the dryer only to add ours I had to stop myself and use my kitchen trash can. I remember being concerned about passing out. I was so tired from being up with the baby two nights in a row and then up myself the night before. I was really worried I would fall asleep or just plain pass out from dehydration and something would happen. After the baby had lunch I purposely gave her a kitchen sink bath. Our sink is divided. One large side is normal and one small side has a garbage disposal in it. I clung to her making sure she didn’t slip anywhere while I used the garbage disposal side for my own use….

I’m sure so many of us have been there. It is ugly, but it’s life. I remember walking up the stairs after I had already put the baby down for a nap bringing the clean sheets with me. Just bringing the basket up I lost my breath and was afraid to be sick again. As I set it down in my bedroom and glanced at my husband, curled under a blanket, snoring…as he had been since he went up the stairs all those hours ago…it was then I had some sort of fantasy about hitting him with a pillow…that was filled with…not so soft stuffing….and I understood fully the meaning of the man flu.

It was even made worse later when he woke up and I asked if he was feeling better and he replied “yea, you’re just lucky you didn’t get it as bad as me”……


I’ll let you fill in what went through my head.

But to be honest I’ve reflected on that a hundred times since. And it seems like it’s happened even more lately with the politics of the women’s rights, the march of vagina heads down Washington…it’s everywhere you look. And the quote I love and keep going back to is one about women who need to stop trying to do everything a man can do because that is not what we were created for….we were created to do everything a man can’t. Or something like that.

Mama’s have supernatural powers when it comes to their babies. Sometimes we have intuition about going home suddenly when we know our teen is having a party. Or checking on our infant just because, only to find the blanket over their head. Or putting a pillow against a corner because you just see it and do it, only seconds before you baby waddles over and lands face first in it.

Sometimes when I watch my husband take charge I have to stop myself from stepping in. He is learning and getting better every day. (He was not around kids hardly at all where I was all the time). But he still has a hard time thinking ahead. Anticipating the next move, and most importantly, rallying and putting himself last. That’s all very new to him. But I feel like it’s pre-programmed in women. (Do I really still have to point out that there are always exceptions? Dead beat moms and awesome do-it-all dads?)

You see, I believe God designed a man and a woman for just this purpose. Because we are so good at doing different things. A ying and a yang. (And I’ll stop you right there and say I can see the opposites in same sex couples too but I’m not here to be politically correct for you or to make everyone happy so I’ll just continue on). So here we are, two different species really. One usually requiring more love and affection while another requires respect and affirmation. That’s what makes a good team. And it has worked well in the past. Divorce rates are higher than they ever were years ago. People understood the differences in each other and tried to respect them. And you could go ahead and say that is when women were getting paid less for doing the same work as a man….but that is also when a cruise ship sank and there weren’t enough life boats and the rule was “WOMEN and children first…”

I remember growing up my parents were never concerned with fair. There were three of us girls and we just got what we needed, when we needed it. When I was student teaching I used to tell my kids who complained about one getting more or less work than another, or one getting more one on one time or one getting more free time (etc. etc.)…”fair does not mean everyone gets the same thing. Fair means everyone gets what they need”. Women want to be treated just like men in the workforce but then they argue they want more maternity leave and when they come back to work they want longer breaks and private rooms to pump breast milk. This is not the same. And what about the women choosing to not have children. She undoubtedly fights for some of that same “free time” because she shouldn’t just be punished for not having children. It’s never going to be “fair” in the sense that everyone gets the same thing. Because each individual needs and wants different things!

So I’ve been trying to keep all of this in mind lately. Trying to really focus on how my husband and I are different and how I can use that to better myself and my marriage. What can I learn from him? What does he do better than I? And of course…what can I help him with? This post is about gender but the list could go on and on (learning different things from different people). So instead of pointing the finger and saying “so and so gets this and I don’t it’s not fair” why don’t we try to look at why they may need it and EVEN look into our own lives and think “but I’m blessed to have this, this and this”. I think when we all stop worrying about what’s fair we can start focusing on learning from each other and even *gasp* helping each other.

So the next time someone gets after you about things being fair, just remember to ask them if they would have given up their seat in the life boat…..and the next time your husband is sleeping off his man flu while you keep the house running, just remember…he doesn’t get to go to girls night, I mean, ahem, book club.


My poor sick baby…


Article by Brenna Cudzilo

Wife and world record holder of wing-sauce ordered with food not comprised of the words "wings, boneless, buffalo, et al.".


  1. Thank you, Brenna. Another great read-written from the heart of a very fine young Mom. It is a joy to follow along with you, watch your journey and see you grow in wisdom with each new post.

    1. Mary,
      I always look forward to your comments. Thank you for always being so positive and uplifting! Miss you very much and so glad we have social media to keep up with!

  2. Amen, sister. Well described. I am so thankful after years we have, carl spoto, and I take care of each other. He knows when I have reached a limit, usually on the couch. Or we trade who does what for our needs. With a disorder things are even more challenging. We try and make things work. Thanks to Carl, my parents and people I can reach out too. I understand

  3. Right on Bren. I liked your reference to “fair”. Life’s not fair 🙂

    Well written as usual and incredibly insightful. Thanks for sharing.

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