After a bizarrely warm early March – during which I optimistically, but foolishly, put away all our cold-weather gear – I’m sitting in my house shivering and looking out at a cold, gray sky. There’s a frost freeze advisory here, and earlier today I saw – gulp – snowflakes. A few days ago, I heard that, possibly because of the early “spring”, flu season started so late that it may not have even peaked yet. And as we speak, my six-year-old is hacking away in the other room…and I’ve been sneezing and feeling vaguely achy all day.
I guess that other shoe is dropping, after all!
Sickness (ours and our kids’) is a big deal for moms. For working moms, it can throw off our entire schedule. If we’re home with the kids, it means the house falls into greater and greater disarray as we try to tend to the sickies or keep ourselves alive. And as great as it sounds to just go to bed and stay there until it all passes over, that’s not too realistic for most of us.
Still, that doesn’t mean we just have to slog through in misery. Here are some of the real-life strategies I use for staying sane in the face of sickness:
My boys’ bedrooms are on the second floor of the house – not nearly close enough for me to respond in haste to a midnight retch or keep an ear out for the sounds of a cough turning from annoying to worrisome. To keep me from lying tensed up with one eye open all night, I usually move sick kids downstairs so they can sleep on the sofa or their little sister’s bed. If it’s one of the youngest two that’s sick, we’ll often move them into our bed for the night. If I’m sick too, we sometimes just pile a whole bunch of kids into the bed and basically live there together until it passes. There’s something strangely comforting about being miserable all together.
The point is that while routine, structure and predictability are great, I’m all about making my life easier when we’re sick. If changing up sleeping arrangements or bending other rules, like bedtimes or meal times, makes illness more manageable, why not?
When I tell friends that I’m sick, so often they ask if I need anything…and my first knee-jerk reaction is usually to say “No.” But I’m trying to get over myself and let people help. I feel like it does the other person a service: not only can they feel like they’re helping, but next time they need my help, they’ll be much more likely to ask.
No matter who the sickie is, illness in the house equals lots of rest and downtime. For one thing, if it’s my husband and kids who are ill, there’s a pretty good chance the virus is working on me too. If I get enough rest, I’ll have a better shot at fighting it off. If it’s me that’s sick, the last thing I want is to prolong it by trying to power through life. I’ve been known to go to bed at 6 PM, skip “important” functions, or even keep my kids home from school if I feel too bad to get up with them. In my opinion fighting off sickness is a great excuse for getting out of almost anything, especially considering that I’m doing other people a favor by keeping my family’s germs away.
It’s also a great time to bust out those paper plates. No eco-guilt allowed when there’s sickness in the house.
I’m sure you’ve got your own tips for surviving sickness as a mom, but first I’m going to sweeten the pot. You might remember that I’ve been taking part in a sponsored campaign with Vick’s Nature Fusion, sharing their Nature’s Kitchen instructional videos starring eye-candy chef Curtis Stone. Now I get to give away a really fun care package including the following products:
- Open to mailing addresses in US and Canada only
- Contest will close at 11 AM EST on Friday, April 13
- Winner will be randomly selected using the WordPress plugin And The Winner Is. Vicks will ship products to winner.
- Winner will be contacted via the email address entered in the comment form by April 17.