I’m fortunate enough that in my almost 3 years of being a mom, I can count on one hand the times I’ve been really sick. Once with mastitis, once with bronchitis, once with the world’s worse stomach bug, and once last week with a week long cold of some sort. While I’ve had many a cold and lived through morning sickness with a 1.5 year old, nothing has been so bad that I felt unable to care for my kids.
That being said, no one’s luck lasts forever. My first illness with two nuggets was last December (my birthday, if you recall..) when I caught a nasty stomach bug and was basically a useless human being for the next 2 days. Right before Easter, Ryan and I came down with a nasty cold. While Ryan got over his by the next day, both Alex and I felt like death for a week plus. Any parent will tell you – there is nothing worse than being sick and having kids to take care of. Maybe also taking care of sick kid
Tips for When You’re Sick with Kids
Containment. (of illnesses and children)
If your kids don’t have it yet, make a solid attempt at keeping it from them. This means lots of hand washing, sanitizing, vitamin C, etc. To be honest, my kids usually get me sick so it’s not my biggest concern, and if they didn’t get me sick, the chances of my convincing a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old to leave me alone for their own sake are slim to none. So this leaves you with the containment of your children. Find an entertaining room and totally baby-proof the heck outta that place. Block of the exits and keep them in there. This is for a few reasons – 1, you don’t want to be chasing kids from room to room when you’re sick. 2, since they’re contained, you can entertain multiple kids easier. 3, being a realist here, if you’re super sick and start drifting off, your kids are in a room that is safe and they are basically barricaded in at a close proximity. Your momma senses will tingle at any kind of issue, jolting you awake the second something happens. If they stealthily crept into the bathroom, you might not be as lucky.
Grab a stack of their favorite movies and have a marathon. Break out some toys they haven’t seen in a while. Do some arts and crafts, stream their favorite Youtube videos, dump the entire bin of toys on the ground and let them make snow angels out of toy cars. (uhmm, not speaking from experience or anything.) Pick some low-key ways to entertain your kids – most preferably, something you don’t always use- and let them have at it. The longer they are happily entertaining themselves, the better.
This is not the time to abide by all of your perfect parenting rules. I don’t suggest bribery in children because I personally feel like it creates bad habits, but if you’re sick and the only one who can watch your kids, it’s kind of sink or swim. So if that means snacks that are usually for when they’re good, extra screen time, or promising a new toy – seriously, just go for it. You can go cold turkey after and get them back on track, but when you’re truly sick with kids, it’s survival mode.
When possible, recruit someone to come over and watch your kids or take them somewhere. Even if it’s just for an hour or two so you can sleep in peace, do it. Your mind and body will thank you and you’ll probably recover a bit faster. This is not the time to play SuperMom and do be a martyr. Accept help that is offered. Sometimes being a parent means putting your first so you can better take care of your kids. This is one of those situations.
So there you have it – my 4 tips for surviving being sick with kids. It’s not pretty, and it probably won’t be your best parenting but you’ll make it through, I promise. Here’s hoping you’ll never have to use them, but at least if you feel something coming on you’ll be prepared!
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