A number of my fellow moms and I have started this year off with being sick. Ugh. While my kids are old enough to fend for themselves at this point, it reminded me of when they were little and being sick was just not an option. Let’s face it, sick moms aren’t really allowed to be sick. We are expected to look after the kids, feed people, etc. even when it feels like we’re on death’s doorstep. That being said, you don’t have to do it all. Taking it easy when you aren’t feeling great is okay . . . and encouraged even. Speaking from experience here!
Of course, if you have small children, just collapsing in bed and sleeping probably isn’t an option, so I’ve put together some hacks to help you out.
1. Confine the Kids
I obviously don’t mean lock them in a closet, but pick a room that you can close off relatively well and make sure you have what you need, then shut the door or barricade the space. Ideally, it will be a room that has somewhere to lie down so you can rest a bit. Keeping kids in a smaller space with you means they’ll have less opportunity to get into mischief and if you drift off for a minute or have to puke, they won’t be getting into something dangerous.
2. Break Out the Surprises
Do you have some toys that you’ve stashed away because your little one just has too much stuff? If not, it’s a good idea to start doing this. When you’re not feeling great, break out the “new” toys and they’ll stay occupied a little longer. I actually like to keep a few fun items from the dollar store on hand for such situations.
3. Get Organized
It’s tough, but get everything set up for the day so you don’t need to move more than necessary. Put all the diaper supplies in a basket, make sure your meds are all in within easy reach (for you, not the kids!), and plan ahead for meals, with the food already set up so you can just grab and go. When my kids were still using bottles, I would pre-measure the formula into the bottles and have a thermos and a bottle of cold water so I could just mix right where I was.
4. Keep Food Basic
Sick moms shouldn’t have to worry about balanced meals, so don’t. It really won’t hurt your kids to eat crackers and cheese sticks for the whole day. They’ll be thrilled and you won’t have to deal with any actual food prep. You can even prep it all by dumping some goldfish into separate containers or zipper bags and having them handy to just hand off to the hungry kiddo. Other good, no-prep foods include:
- Yogurt (preferably for kids who can wipe their own faces)
- Raisins or other dried fruit
- Fruit (it’s even healthy!)
- Ham, cut into small pieces
- Bread, cut into fingers
If you know you’re coming down with something, you may even make up some pasta, boiled eggs, etc. to keep in the fridge for when that cold really hits you.
5. Forget the Limits
Sick moms are totally exempt from screen time limits. Seriously, I’m not judging you if you let your tot watch Paw Patrol on repeat for the entire day or your preschooler plays on their tablet for eight hours straight. Any mom who does judge you should be ignored. This is an emergency. Explain to your child that this isn’t the norm, but mommy needs to rest.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Unfortunately, sick moms don’t really get any time off, but do your best to rest up. Take any medications you are supposed to and basically focus on getting well. The more you’re running around and ignoring your own needs, the longer you’ll be sick and that is never a good thing.
7. Let the Housework Slide
I get it, I really do. If you don’t do the dishes and sweep the floor for a couple of days, the house is basically going to be buried in filth. It happens in my home, too. BUT, you don’t have to do everything. If standing at the sink and scrubbing dishes is too much, just wash a couple at a time. Or toss them in the dishwasher and leave them there. Sweep up the worst messes, leave the rest. Restart the dryer if you need to, so you don’t have to fold anything. It won’t kill the family to dig through the clean laundry to find a shirt!
8. Grab Some Hand Sanitizer
Germs are everywhere and while it’s not generally a good idea to use hand sanitizer all the time, this is a good example of when you want it. That or disinfectant wipes. Use them frequently on things you touch and your hands. Washing your hands is best, but that’s not always an option when you’re too sick to move. This will help lessen the chances of your kiddos getting the same thing.
9. Ask for Help
As moms, we don’t get a lot of help most of the time, but if you’re going to ask for some, when you’re sick is a good time! Swing a deal with a friend for a play date, ask grandparents to take the kids for a couple of hours or convince your husband to get up with the kids in the night. Which brings us to the final and possibly the most important hack for sick moms.
10. Get Some Sleep
You’re likely laughing at this one. Sick moms don’t get to sleep! I know this, but if you have a chance, take it. Sleep when the kids nap. Go to bed early with them. Sleep if someone else is available to look after your little ones. It’s a way to help your body recover faster, so as wasteful as it may seem, it really is the best way to get better.
Sick moms have a lot going on, but you are amazing and you will get through this! Do you have any hacks for sick moms?