Parenting When You’re Sick
When I was a little girl, my mother told me, “Mommies don't get sick.”
And I believed her.
My sister and I got sick. My father got sick. But my mother never did. At least that's what she led me to believe.
Little did I know, my mother did get sick, but she just kept going…cleaning, cooking, carpooling, and care-taking…
A lot of mothers are like mine. They just keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter how miserable they feel. And a lot of them feel guilty when they do stop to take care of themselves.
One Wednesday afternoon in 2014, I came down with the flu.
I didn't know it was the flu at first. It started as a bad sore throat, chills, and a low-grade fever.
Thursday, I went to the doctor and he confirmed that I didn't have strep, and told me to just rest and drink lots of fluids.
Over the next few days, I felt exhausted, my head ached, my throat hurt, I lost my voice, and my fever lingered around 101°F.
All I wanted to do was sleep.
Usually, I would call on my mother (the one who “never” gets sick) to help me take care of the girls. But this time she was sick, too. (Apparently, Grandmas do get sick.)
I learned that it really does take a village. When you're sick, you've got to learn to ask for help. Don't hesitate to call on your neighbors, your kids' teachers, and other parents. What's the best that can happen? They say “yes!”
If you're healthy now, pay it forward. Be the one to reach out and offer your support.
Here are some things that helped me get through that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday:
♦ Help before school. Gavin usually took Marissa to school at 7:45 and I took Dalia at 9. By putting Dalia in early care, Gavin was able to take them both on his way to work.
♦ Help during school. I was supposed to volunteer at a school function and be there with Dalia. I told the school I couldn't help, and called a friend to make sure Dalia had a “surrogate” mom to be with her during the event.
♦ Help after school. Friday happened to be a half-day for Marissa, so I arranged for her to have a play date until 4pm, when I could pick up both girls around the same time.
♦ TV. I'm all for limits on TV-watching, but when I'm sick, all bets are off. The kids had a My Little Pony marathon.
♦ Crafts. The girls had fun painting pictures and beading necklaces (see below).
♦ Routines. Remember those bedtime routines I wrote about? Boy, did those come in handy! For TWO nights, Marissa read stories to Dalia and they did their entire bedtime routine themselves. Both in bed by 7:45. No joke.
♦ Self-care. I slept. I drank tea with honey and lemon, and lots of water. I stayed away from the girls as much as possible and washed my hands often.
My fever broke on Sunday morning and by Monday, I was feeling almost 100% better.
1. Don't feel guilty for taking sick days.
2. Ask for help and you just might get it.
3. Let go of TV rules, messes, and Martha Stewart meals.
The kids will be fine and so will you.
Here are a few resources for hiring help if/when you need it (I personally haven't used these services, but they might be helpful):
- www.sittercity.com (for babysitters)
- www.taskrabbit.com (for errand services)
- www.wegoshop.com and www.instacart.com (for grocery delivery)
What's been the most helpful to you when you've been sick with kids? Leave a comment below!
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