When It Comes to Sickness, Take It Like a Woman

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, when I throw out a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. Today’s title is exactly what my mother told me growing up.

Sick Woman Blowing NoseShe said that the usual phrase “take it like a man” needed to be altered when it came to illness. You see, many tough and formidable men sink into the pit of pitiful when they become sick. Whereas, many women–juggling 5 roles and 12 tasks at all times–don’t feel like they can afford to be down, even when they would like to be down.

Now I’m not saying that “men are bad, women are good.” I don’t believe that at all. I think God gave each sex some fabulous traits and a few weaknesses. I just think this happens to be a weakness for plenty of men out there.

And I am not alone. Check out this video that I happened to catch recently:

Now my own husband gets sympathy sickness–as in, whenever I’m sick, he’s sure that he has or is coming down with whatever I have. To be fair, we breathe the same air a lot, and sometimes he does indeed catch my illness. But other times, I think it’s, well, “man-cold.”

Whether this is your experience, or some other, I bet that your partner doesn’t treat illness the same way you do. Maybe they like you to wait on them hand-and-foot. Or perhaps they want to be left alone (me). Maybe they want the bed to themselves, or the living room couch, or every blanket in the house, or a cowbell to call you when they need something.

Whatever it is, it may not to be what you would want. I have a tendency to want my husband to treat me the way my mother did when I was sick: Check on me now and then, otherwise leave me alone, and let me have total control of the TV and computer…oh, and say a few lovey-dovey, you’ll-be-okay, reassuring words.

My husband is not my mother.

When he’s sick, I’m great for maybe 48 hours and then I want to say, “Take it like a woman!”

I am not his mother.

So these things must be negotiated a bit, so you can be there for your loved ones the way they need when they feel bad. Thankfully, my hubby and I are much better at caring for one another during sickness than we were in the first years of our marriage.

Which is good because there may be a day when one of us spends a lot of time caring for the other. There’s no telling what we’ll face in the future.

But I do know this: I’ll take it the way I take it, and he’ll take it the way he takes it. And that’s okay.

ROW80 Update

Time to check-in on “the writing challenge that knows you have a life.” All ten goals for this round are listed below, but the progress I made this past week appears in red type.



  • Finish writing GOOD & GUILTY, YA mystery. My previous working title was BREAKING THE COMMANDMENTS, which polled badly with teens I know. So I’m trying out GOOD & GUILTY. Anyway, I added 14,509 words. I’m so close to finishing the first draft!
  • Complete first round of edits of GOOD & GUILTY.
  • Write one short story.
  • Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit.

Additional Goals

  • Exercise twice a week. Nursing a knee injury. *sigh*
  • Prepare for and attend DFW Conference in May. I started sorting through the schedule for which classes I want to attend, registered for a limited-seating workshop on making an ebook, and ordered updated business cards.
  • Prepare for and attend Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson in June.

How has your week gone? How do you like to be taken care of when you’re sick? How about your partner, your child, or other loved ones in your life?

16 thoughts on “When It Comes to Sickness, Take It Like a Woman

  1. There is definitely something different about how men and women deal with illness. Fortunately, my husband doesn’t get sick often, and he’s rarely sick for long when he does catch something. I’m generally of the “give me the tv remote and leave me alone” persuasion, though I do get whiny with protracted illness – particularly last fall when I was on crutches and it was really hard to do anything for myself.

  2. Your comment, “When he’s sick, I’m good for about 48 hours,” made me laugh out loud (as did the video). This week I was pretty sick, that is sick enough to lay on the sofa and watch endless golf (truly). My hubby even covered me up from time to time. Re ROW80, I thought it was pretty interesting you previewed the title with your audience. Neat. May next week go well for you!

    1. I’ve watched that video 3-4 times, and I laugh each time. And endless golf? LOL.

      The great thing about writing for kids/teens is that they really will tell you what they think. “Would you buy a book called ____?” *squished up faces and head-shaking* “Okay, I’m changing the title.” 🙂

  3. Hope your knee feels better! Nothing worse than actually wanting to exercise and not being able to because you’re injured.

    That video was hilarious! That woman looks so incredibly familiar. Do you watch Doctor Who? She seriously looks like Craig’s girlfriend, and it’s driving me bonkers!

    1. Enjoy your youth, Karen! I don’t remember hurting my joints so easily in my 20s. :p

      I don’t watch Dr. Who, but maybe. I wish you could search commercial actors like you can TV and movie actors.

  4. LOL you and your DH are pretty much like me and mine when sick! Mine is a big, tough guy – injuries? No problem! Wrap it up and keep going! But sickness makes him the world’s biggest whiner! He wants to be waited on hand and foot – tough to do when I’m at work and have tons to do when I get home. Hope you’re feeling better now! Oh, and Curse of the Double Digits had to be one of the most hysterical, LOL books I’ve read all year!

    1. You are so right, Jennette! My husband once tore his ACL in a softball game, dropped to the ground, and still managed to roll over a few times and touch base so that he’d be called safe. LOL! But a sore throat? Let the world stop turning! LOL.

  5. House of boys…heaven help me when one or more are sick, LOL. However, I will say That Man does better than me with physical injuries, though my pain tolerance is much higher than his…go figure.

    Great check in Julie. I like the new title better as well. And I share your nursing of a knee injury…hope you’re back up to speed soon! Have a great week.

  6. Congrats on the progress.

    Re: sickness. I don’t know if it’s necessarily male/female (okay, I’m trying to give the illusion of consideration to men) — but I can attest that Moms are simply NOT allowed to be sick. My girls can be sick, but Moms have to push through. It’s in the dictionary under Mom. 🙂

  7. Hi Julie! Great post. In our house, it’s the opposite. I’m the weepy, whiny one and he’s the stoic. I will continue working through pretty much any illness BUT with lots of complaining. I guess it’s a good thing I’m rarely sick. Great ROW80 goals. Now that my honey’s medical treatments are finished, I have to get back into the groove. Sorry about the knee injury. Feel better quickly! 🙂

  8. a cold – leave me alone – I”ll get better – don’t fuss or I will get narky:) cold is a cold – in my opinion get on with it – it’s unpleasant, out of all proportion to how serious it isn’t , but still – we all get them – loved the video.

    Serious ill now, you’ll get my sympathy just! Me serious ill -Just don’t fuss me – I am such a bad, impateint, ungrateful patient, hate being confined. Everyone knows when I’m really ill – I don’t get up, sleep all day, talk to no-one. My siter says nowt and brings me endless cups of tea:) Best way

    Good work on ROW80 and all the best for this week:)

  9. “Poor little bunny.” LOL funny video because it’s kind of true. I feel like I have to remind my family if I’m sick. They kind of have the mentality that moms just don’t get sick. 🙂

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