The Mom Cold Vs. The Man Cold

tissuesThere is a bug racing through the immunity at my house this week. My husband was struck down first. His eyes watered up, his nose started running like a leaky faucet. He got fevery and lazy and rented some movies to watch while he chugged orange juice and soup.

We have been together for a decade now and so I am used to his turning into a bit of a whiner when he gets sick. But this time he didn’t. This time he kept his complaints to a near non-existent. He did all the things one ought to do to get back to the land of health like resting and eating well, staying hydrated, and humored. He is getting over his cold and is pitching in to get the rest of us on the mend.

Meanwhile, I am sick. And I am a miserable sap about it. My complaining is definitely not at a near non-existent. I am whiney. I am complainy. I am also chugging orange juice and soup while lazing on the couch. My face hurts. My head hurts. Even my little toe hurts. I hate being sick.

I dare say that a Mom Cold stinks far worse than a Man Cold. With the Man Cold, an otherwise functional adult is reduced to the sniveling antics of a child while someone else dotes on his (or sometimes her) every symptom. With a Mom Cold, the Mom gets to dote on everyone else’s symptoms while hers go relatively ignored.

The recipient of the Mom Cold gets to be solely responsible for wiping noses and rear ends, cleaning up vomit, administering doses of medicine, spooning out soup, listening to complaints, fluffing pillows, dimming lights, putting movies on repeat, making bland dinners, testing foreheads for fever, staying up late at night to make sure everyone is OK. The Mom does the dirty work of being sick, and generally, that work is thankless, difficult, worrisome, and icky.

This week my husband was plagued with a Mom Cold. He tirelessly took care of all of us while his symptoms went relatively ignored by me. I was plaguing him with my Man Cold. And while I did not become totally afflicted with the exaggerated whining that is comically associated with a Man Cold, I did get lazy and a bit ungrateful. The poor man stayed up with me for the midnight shift of worrying over our children. He made me breakfast in bed and checked my forehead for a fever. He listened to my complaints and bit his tongue when I got carried away.

So, while the used tissues pile up, and the croaky voices creek through my house, I am rolling up my sleeves and taking over as the Mom so my poor husband can catch the break that he deserves. The Man Cold is a real pain in the derriere, but the Mom Cold wins in the race for sympathy.

Every family has recipes and routines for getting well when a cold strikes. We use a few homemade all natural recipes to help us get back on the mend quickly. I am sharing two of these here with you in hopes that you don’t get the dreaded Man Cold at your house.  Stay healthy!


Take a pint sized glass jar and stuff it with fresh sage leaves then fill with apple cider vinegar and seal tight with a lid. Shake vigorously and store in a dark cool place for two weeks. Every three or four days give it a light shake. After two weeks, strain the vinegar and set aside, discard the leaves. Reseal the vinegar solution in a jar and store in your medicine cabinet.

To USE: When you feel a tickle in your throat at the beginning of a cold, take one tablespoon and gargle for a minute. Repeat three times a day for a couple of days.


In a pan over medium heat, cover 3 ounces of dried black elderberries with 1 quart of water and bring to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the liquid is reduced to roughly 1 pint of liquid. Strain and reserve the liquid but discard the berries. Next, return the liquid to a very low heat and add 1 ¾ cups raw honey until thoroughly dissolved. Pour into a clean glass jar and let cool with no lid. Once the liquid is cooled to room temperature seal on a lid and refrigerate. This syrup will keep safely for up to one year.

To USE: Take a teaspoon of syrup twice a day. If you are already sick or are around folks who are sick and you need to boost your immunity then take a teaspoon every few hours until you feel better.

*Elderberry trees grow in Maine. During the late summer when the berries are black you can easily gather and dry your own berries to make this recipe…that is, if you can beat the birds! You can also purchase black elderberries at your local health food store for fairly cheap.

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.