In her latest blog, Marissa Jaret Winokur takes her first trip without her son, Zev – and learns that as a mother, you never get to call in sick.


Marissa Jaret Winokur co-hosts the new CBS daytime chat show, The Talk, and is mom to 2-year-old Zev Isaac with her husband Judah Miller. Winokur, 37, was diagnosed with cervical cancer 10 years ago, had a hysterectomy and later welcomed her son with the help of a surrogate. Though her road to motherhood had a few twists and turns, she faces the same joys — and challenges — as any working mom.

In her latest blog, Winokur takes her first trip without her son – and learns that as a mother, you never get to call in sick.


OMG, I’m SO SICK you guys. I’m sooooo sick!! But I won’t start there — who wants to read about someone who is sick? I’ll start with Happy Thanksgiving!! I did it! I actually got on a plane and went away from my son Zev for the first time!

I have to admit the plane ride was heaven. Well not the first hour — the first hour I stressed that the plane was going to go down and I was going to leave Zev motherless. But after I got over that, I had a great time.

I forgot how nice and calm it can be traveling without all the baggage –- and I’m not calling Zev baggage. I really mean all the stuff that comes with traveling with kids. I actually got through security in 10 minutes. I saw people with kids and I felt bad for them, but stayed clear of their line.

When I got to my hotel I didn’t have to check for dangerous corners or open wires. I just enjoyed the SILENCE … crazy, eerie silence. There was nothing to worry about — except what was going on at home! So of course, I began texting: What was Zev eating? Did he have a good day? Did he poop? I need to know everything! Finally, I went to bed.

So, what’s more scary than flying and feeling like you might crash and leave your child motherless? It’s having your child fly and fearing something could happen to him! I mean THEM … I said them, RIGHT?! My husband Judah and Zev had to fly to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. I never thought something would happen to Judah, but I totally panicked until Zev (again, I mean they) landed there.

I hosted the Thanksgiving Day Parade for CBS and had the time of my life! I can honestly say that as a New Yorker it was a total dream to be part of the tradition. I was glad Zev didn’t come because I totally focused on my job, and to be 100 percent honest I haven’t done that in a long time. I have gone to work, but I’m always racing around to make sure I am doing everything with and for Zev. But during this job, I just worked. Sure, throughout the entire telecast I was constantly saying, “Oh my God, Zev would love this!” on the air, but still…

After the show, my nieces and my brother and a few friends all ordered room service for Thanksgiving dinner. We didn’t have turkey, but man, having burgers and no dirty dishes was so the way to go!


On the Zev front, he had a great time with my husband’s family and he got to fly! He loves flying. He loves airplanes. And when I was in the airport I bought him a little pilot’s hat!

Oh my God, I forgot to tell you — this was the first time I spoke to Zev on the phone and understood what he was saying! I told him I bought him a hat and he understood. He also said, “I love you too, Mommy!” and melted my heart!! Nothing will ever sound so sweet. I can tell you when my husband first told me he loved me — I won’t, but I could! — and mark my words I will never forget Zev’s little voice saying, “I love you Mommy” on the phone during Thanksgiving 2010.

When we finally all got back together, I met them at the airport with the pilot hat in hand. I ran up to them with tears in my eyes because I was sooooo excited to reunite with my family. My son saw me and … sat on the ground and started crying because he wanted to go back on the plane!

Seriously, all my stressing and anxiety was for nothing. He didn’t come running to hug me. He just wanted back on the plane. I will so remember that the next time I go away! Actually no I won’t, so please remind me!

Now, back to how sick I am! I am so sick and have been for two days. I woke up the other day and said to my husband, “I am si…” Before I could even say the word “sick,” Judah said, “I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m so sick.” Ugh, he’s sicker than me so he wins! I love him, but come on — I was so close to being the sick one, but my man was sicker! SCREW HIM!! But that’s a whole other blog.

Now we are BOTH sick, but Zev just doesn’t care: He still wants to play while I need to sleep and eat soup. He screams, “Chase me, Momma.” I can’t, I am so tired. He doesn’t understand how sick I feel. I am also scared he’ll get sick. I know I can’t prevent him from catching anything, but what can I do? And how can I make him understand that I can’t play as hard?

Mind you, Zev says to me, “Poor Daddy is sick.” I say, “Momma is, too.” He then looks me straight in the eye and says, “Oh, Momma sick? Daddy really sick, poor Daddy!” What happened to “I love you, Momma!” Mothers can never be sick!

This is the first time I’ve been really sick since Zev has been in my life, so I don’t know quite what to do. I know how to be sick as a woman, but as a mother, I don’t think we can be sick. There are no sick days. You can’t call in. We are now somebody’s MOTHER — now and forever.

The word forever used to scare me and make me feel overwhelmed and helpless. Now the word makes me feel hopeful, strong and powerful. But most of all being Zev’s mom (even when I’m sick) makes me feel content and finally at peace.


— Marissa Jaret Winokur