Those who have been around a man with a cold know what Sydney Waters is talking about. The mom of three and person behind Strollin With My Homies wrote a post recently about her husband's "man flu," and it's so relatable other moms can't help but chime in with their own stories.
If you haven't yet been exposed, the "man flu" is when a man exaggerates the severity of a minor ailment and is so helpless he relies heavily on the woman in his life to help him recover. Some researchers have tried to prove that the "man flu" is real and say men are more susceptible to certain health complications than women, while others argue there's too little evidence to say it exists.
Whatever the case, Waters knows "man flu" season is coming and she's dreading it.
"It might not even be the flu, it could just be a cold, but (my husband will) treat it like the plague because it happens every year like clockwork. Just as sure as the sun rises and sets, I can count on him to be completely useless for a solid week if he so much as sneezes," she wrote in a post that got picked up by Love What Matters.
The mom covered seven stages of one particularly harrowing experience with the "man flu" a few years ago, when she was nine weeks pregnant and caring for a 6-month-old.
Where is this dude’s mom?
She was "violently puking" all day, miserable and nauseous, but worked through it because a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. She thought it might have been some extreme morning sickness-stomach bug combo, but then realized later that evening that she was wrong.
Because at 6 p.m., "I watched my husband transform right before my eyes, stumbling around saying he’s going to puke," she wrote.
Waters tried to offer some sympathy (stage 1), but her husband ended up puking everywhere. First, it went all over a week's worth of dirty dishes, even though the trash can was right there, and he was vomiting so loudly the next town over probably heard, too. Then, he barfed everywhere else in the bathroom but in the toilet, so Waters started to get furious (stage 2).
The symptoms escalated—real quick (stage 3). At this point, her husband was so committed to his suffering, he was on the floor with his eyes closed and started moaning, "Syd. Syyydd. I can't. I can’t see."
"So now he can’t see? Is this a joke?" Waters wondered. "He has a flu symptom that doesn’t even exist. Actually, I can’t. I should probably leave. Where is this dude’s mom?"
She told him to get up, but he played "dead like a possum." And as she attempted to keep her own barf down, he started whispering for her to call 911 (stage 4).
Waters couldn't believe her husband, who had been sick for no more than an hour, was requesting emergency services for an upset stomach, but she decided to call her husband's bluff. (P.S. He's also a first responder and a combat vet.)
After she called and told him help is on the way, her husband somehow pooped himself, lying there right next to the toilet, and Waters started panicking at the embarrassing situation before her (stage 5).
"I start trying to pull down his pants while he lays like a corpse. No luck. Then a lightbulb clicks in his head," she wrote. "He realizes there’s a really good chance he’ll know one of these paramedics."
All of a sudden, by some miracle, he was able to change himself, talk and walk again.
When the paramedics arrived, they told Waters her husband would go to the hospital via the ambulance and she would have to follow them.
"For the flu. That I gave him," she reminded her readers. "I drive my pregnant butt alone to the hospital while puking in a plastic bag with my husband in front of me on a stretcher being doted on. It’s the first and last time I’ve ever considered divorce."
The cool thing is Waters was able to find some solidarity at the hospital (stage 6), where one of the nurses "spotted the man flu shit from a mile away" and told him to get it together. When the staff found out Waters was pregnant (because pregnant women are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications), the mom had to be admitted as well.
"The nurses keep coming in to give me the ‘I’m so sorry’ look. The nod all women know. When someone says their man is sick, we take a moment of silence for each other. United we stand," the mom wrote.
And finally, they were sent home after they got their IVs. The exhausted Waters went to get her baby from her parents' the next morning, but came home to, well, a fresh batch of puke and poop from her dear husband, just to remind her how sick he was (stage 7).
Yup. That, folks, is the difference between a man flu and a mom flu.