How to Survive Being Sick with Kids
Whether it’s a summer cold, a sinus infection, or something chronic like migraines, being sick when you have children to take care of us is pretty tough. It feels almost impossible to care for a child when you are at your worst, in pain, nauseous, or whatever the case may be. Yet, at the same time you feel guilty that you aren’t able to take care of your child like you normally do. It’s a catch 22, really. When you’re sick, you need rest so that you can get better and back to being the mom you want to be, but getting rest means not being the mom you want to be for a bit. It’s so hard!
This summer has been tough for me health-wise. Earlier this summer, I had a bout with walking pneumonia. This was after three of my children and my husband had all had it. Then, just as I was getting better, I had an ovarian cyst rupture that sent my body into a tailspin. I spent a lot of time in bed for about three weeks. With my husband having to go to work, and my mother living hundreds of miles away, I had to figure out how to survive those days when I was in pain, feeling bad, and still needing to take care of my four kids. Here’s a few things I learned during those days.
T.V. is not so bad. Normally, I try to limit my children’s T.V. time, but when you’re a mom that is sick, T.V. can be your best friend. During the time when I was feeling bad, one of my friends brought over a couple movies for the kids, a few they hadn’t seen yet. We were all so excited, because they wanted to watch the new movies, and my friend and I knew that the movies would give me some time to get some much needed rest!
Get some rest! You won’t get better till you get rest. It’s a proven fact. I know it’s hard to find time to get rest, but it’s a must. Whether it’s paying a neighborhood teen to babysit so you can take a nap, or asking a friend or family member to watch the children for you, you’ve got to make time to rest. Remember the movie and T.V. watching I just told you about? Those were my times to get rest. I would “watch’ the movies with the kids, while laying on the couch and getting some much needed shut eye. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves permission to stop for a moment and focus on us. But giving yourself permission to worry about you for a bit is the first step to feeling better!
Ask for help. I’m lucky enough to have an older child who helped cook a few meals and do a bit of housework for me while I was down. She also was able to keep an eye on her little brother for me too, which was a lifesaver at moments. But what if you don’t have an older child to help out? Ask your friends and family for help! I know, most moms don’t really like to ask for help, but this is one of those times you need to! You will probably be surprised how many people might offer to cook a few meals for you, or watch the children for a few hours. Even if all they can do is run by the store for you and pick up a few things, that’s one less thing on your To Do list, and more time for you to rest.
Be honest. With yourself and with your kids. When I had my issues earlier this summer, there came a moment when I realized that I wasn’t going to get better unless I slowed down and got some rest. I had to be honest with myself, recognizing that I was sick, that I needed help/rest/etc., and that it was time to work on getting myself better. I also sat down with all four of my children, and explained that I was sick and that I needed rest. We talked about ways they could help me get rest, and things they could do to help out. Even my three-year-old understood the situation and was so sweet bringing me blankets and cuddling with me.
Utilize your husband. He’s your teammate, so ask him for help. As moms, we’re so used to doing it all by ourselves. Ask your husband to get together some fun items for the kids all in one area of the house before he leaves for work. This way you can have items to help keep the kids busy readily accessible for the day. Does he cook? Ask him to take over dinner duties for a few days. My husband does pretty well with laundry, so he pitched in with that quite a bit when I was sick . Just remember, he can’t help you if he doesn’t know what you need. Most men don’t pick up on those small cues, so be specific when you need help.
Have a pajama party. I know, it’s silly. But when I have a day where I don’t feel good, everyone at my house stays in our jammies all day. We watch movies, play board games, and do other activities that allow me to rest and stay down. We eat easy-to-prepare or pre-made foods. The kids love having a day to just lay around, and I spend my day trying to save my energy so my body can feel better quick!
Hope this helps you get through your next sick day!