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The Difference Between a Man Cold and a Mom Cold

Photograph by Twenty20

If you had been a fly on the wall at my house over the past week, you would have seen what thousands of Americans suffer from every winter: THE COMMON COLD. It went through my house like a hurricane, with plenty of snot hitting my children first, and then moving on to myself and my husband.

Since we all shared the same exact cold, one might think that we had similar experiences with this annoying illness, but one would be wrong. Because, unfortunately, my husband didn’t catch the common cold.

He caught the MAN COLD.

In case you've never heard of this extremely selective illness, Urban Dictionary defines the Man Cold like this:

The name "man cold" disguises the true terrible, debilitating disease that is the man cold. Nearly all men will die from man colds unless they are administered immediately with large amounts of mindless TV such as daytime TV, or children's cartoons. It is essential that they not move from bed or a comfy sofa to allow for rehabilitation, and must have tissues and man cold medicine (such as chocolate biscuits, McDonalds, or a nice cup of tea) brought to them constantly by a nearby female.

Let's see how the Man Cold stacks up to the Mom Cold, which I was also battling that same week:

Man Cold, Day 1: Upon waking, announces to wife that he’s getting a cold. When asked by his wife how he knows he’s getting a cold, his response is, “I have a weird taste in my mouth and feel a little stuffed up. Ugh! These are the first signs of a cold and my colds are THE WORST! Luckily, it’s Sunday, so I can rest up.”

Mom Cold, Day 1: Wakes up with a bit of a scratchy throat and takes a double dose of vitamin C, ups her water intake for the day and goes about her life, telling no one.


Man Cold, Day 2: Announces first thing that he was right and this cold is following the progression that he prophesied 24 hours ago. He grumbles at the fact that his wife has not fully stocked the medicine cabinet in anticipation of this illness with decongestant, cough syrup, nasal spray, sleep aids, anti-inflammatories and medicated throat lozenges. He scoffs at the suggestion that he might stop on his way to work and mentions that he shouldn’t even be going to work in his condition, but begrudgingly lugs his snotty self out of the house.

Mom Cold, Day 2: After packing school lunches, getting the kids dressed and driving them to school, she realizes that she’s definitely feeling stuffed up. She grabs a couple tissues, stuffs them in her pocket and proceeds with her to-do list for the day.


Man Cold, Day 3: He is unable to depart from his bed due to the severe sickness that has attacked his very being. His throat burns “every single time” he swallows and he speaks only to share this information with his wife when she walks through the bedroom to fold laundry. He requests more cold medicine (he didn’t have the strength to stop at the store yesterday) and chicken noodle soup, along with something cold—“maybe a popsicle or sherbet, if you’re going to the store.”

Mom Cold, Day 3: Wakes up feeling icky and makes sure she downs her coffee and headache meds pronto to help improve her current predicament. Vacuums the house, unloads the dishwasher and does another load of laundry. Does school pickup and chauffeurs her offspring to soccer practice and Girl Scouts while brainstorming what to make for dinner.


He spends his day mouth-breathing and begging for liquids and drugs to be brought to his bedside.

Man Cold, Day 4: He survived the night with massive doses of Nyquil but claims to have hardly slept at all (though his wife vividly recalls constant snoring and drooling). He now has been fully sequestered to his bed for 36 hours under the ruse of not infecting the children and the fact the standing up would surely result in a near-death experience. He spends his day mouth-breathing and begging for liquids and drugs to be brought to his bedside.

Mom Cold, Day 4: Her sleep was rough due to her extremely noisy bed partner, not to mention her own cold. She makes a mental note to try to set aside a bit of time to rest and gets her troops ready for their day, heading out to run a few errands with a travel tissue packet in one pocket and some cough drops in the other. She feels like she’s dragging a bit but still manages to grocery shop, pay the bills and take the cat to the vet. She never does get a chance to rest, but she’ll live.


Man Cold, Day 5: He wakes up on the other side of his personal hell of a cold and finally feels like he just might survive. His head doesn’t hurt and his throat feels nearly normal. His nose is now running, so it’s still wisest for him to stay home from work for another day and try to recoup his energy. After all, after nearly a week at death's door, he is weak and exhausted.

Mom Cold, Day 5: FINALLY, she wakes up feeling almost back to normal! She’s ecstatic to have most of her energy back and only be dealing with a bit of a runny nose.


Man Cold, Day 6: He decides (with his wife’s urging) to give work a go but only makes it a half day and is home by lunch. He requests some chicken noodle soup upon his return and spends the rest of the day on the couch watching ESPN, regaining his strength after a strenuous morning back in the game.

Mom Cold, Day 6: She is completely better. After her morning mothering/wifely duties are complete, she decides to head to yoga to do something for herself. After a week of feeling under the weather it’s amazing how good she feels now that she’s healthy again.


Man Cold, Day 7: Even he cannot deny that any trace of a cold has left his body and with it any excuse to not go about his life as usual. Luckily, it’s Saturday and he has the whole weekend to relax before another long week at the office.

Mom Cold, Day 7: Wow! Finally the weekend! This was a busy week and having that touch of the sniffles didn’t make things any easier. There’s still so much left to do. After all, life doesn't stop for a cold.