It’s official. We are in the deep depths of the inferno that is sick season.
I’ve been sick this last half of the week which is why I’ve been MIA from my blog. Every time I went to write something, my head would start pounding from staring at the computer screen & I’d send myself back to the couch aka my containment cell. Being sick is a different ball game when you have kids. B.K.R (before Kai & Rowan) my husband & I actually liked having sick days together. We would spend the day being miserable together, watch movie after movie, take mid-day naps & binge eat chicken noodle soup. Now it feels like if one of us gets a stomach bug or the flu, it takes us out one by one, like a germ sniper in a watch tower. Kai goes to daycare twice a week now and since starting, I’ve never been so sick, SO often in my entire life. I used to get sick maybe once a year, and since daycare started 8 months ago, I’ve been sick a total of 4 time. FOUR TIMES! That’s once every other month vs. once every other year. A large group of kids together make up a dirty, dirty cesspool of yuckies (a term for anything gross in kai’s vocabulary).
Being at home sick with kids means you can’t feel sorry for yourself. When I got sick before having the boys, I would lounge in bed feeling sorry for myself. Close the curtains, turn off the lights, oh woe is me type of sorry. I would bask in the excuse of not being to do anything around the house. And now? Kai and Rowan do not care, or even know if I’m sick. They are little babies who don’t know their own middle names yet. 5 am comes A LOT more quickly when you’re sick. Sometimes, they give me a break and sleep until 8-9 am, but lately my two little roosters have been setting their alarms at 5-6 am & their cock-adoodle-doo’s come in the form of short little screams that pierce my congested head into submission.
The silver lining? Being at home sick with kids also means since they don’t know or care that you’re sick, it makes you forget about it. Or at least, try to sweep it under the rug. If they are going about their day like nothing is different, it makes me try and do the same. Yes, I’m overall less hands on because sometimes I need to just sit against the couch on the floor with them, while they play in front of me, instead of building skyscraper legos along with them. And yes, there may be an extra movie or two in their schedule because snuggling on the couch with them gives me one hell of a break. (& who doesn’t want the excuse of getting more snuggles with their babies??) To give you a mental image; I’ve spent the last 48 hours in the same greasy ponytail with a headband hiding the mess of my untamed lion’s mane, in the same old lady, baggy, and equally comfy pajamas I wore while I was recovering from Rowan’s birth in the hospital.
I try not to compare my situation with anyone else’s because that doesn’t get you anywhere. I’ve heard moms say “My husband doesn’t have the luxury of taking work off to help me with the kids while I’m sick” or “I don’t have the convenience of having family close by to help”. #1 I don’t ask Chris to take off work when I’m sick. (Unless I’m crazy sick aka in the bathroom voiding my stomach all day and NEED someone to look after the kids) #2 I don’t have family close by. Do I complain or demand either of those things? No. Do I subtly bash or make Mama’s who have those things feel bad for having them? No. I think it’s amazing! That’s one thing about motherhood that really gets under my skin. The inability to be happy for someone else’s situation just because you don’t have it. Why is it that some mothers feel the need to be so competitive with one another? It’s not a competition. It’s a beautiful experience & it’s different in so many ways for each & every new mother. I feel like by a small tweak, a scene from Mean Girls would be incredibly relevant right now. “By a show of hands how many of you have been personally victimized by another mother?” Ok. Well this sick post has turned into a motherhood post, and I’m going to end it before I get too long-winded & off topic.
I’m not going to leave you without some hard-hitting journalistic information, so I’ve made up a list of things that have helped me cope with being sick at home with kids, and how to make life easier and guilt-free.
- Don’t be hard on yourself! You’re not at your best, and you shouldn’t expect to do everything that you usually do on a regular basis. Leave the dishes in the sink until the end of the day. Leave the chore list on the counter to start conquering when you feel better. The more time you give yourself to recoup and recover, the more quickly you’ll start to feel better. If you demand too much of yourself, you might extend the period of feeling yuckies. (Again, Kai’s vocab rubs off on me)
- Let the TV be your babysitter. If you don’t have family or friends close by do not feel bad about letting your kids watch a little extra TV. Being sick is a temporary thing, just like letting them watch a little more TV than usual is a temporary thing. No one is going to come over and present you with the “worst mother of the year” award for giving them a little extra screen time, so stop looking out your window for the TV police.
- Trick your kids into playing more games that require less energy. I invite Kai and Rowan to join me in my containment cell, whether that be the couch or my bed to play games there with me. This means I’m not being dragged around the house by Kai & I get to be hands on without exerting the energy that I don’t have. I will bring the fishy game (costing a whopping $8.99 aka the best $8.99 I’ve spent in my life) into bed with us and this provides endless entertainment. And by endless, I mean a total of about 10-15 minutes until Kai is onto the next game. Thus, is the attention span of a toddler.Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This can be in the form of your significant other, family or friends. When my husband gets home from work, I will go to sleep a little earlier than usual or pass on dinner duties to him to get a little more rest. The more rest you get, the more quickly you’ll be back to better health.
And now, a flashback to some photos I haven’t posted yet, taken before sick season swept across our home. Let me take you back to a time when looking for acorns in Central Park, & spotting airplanes in the sky with Kai took priority over stuffy noses, and pounding headaches.
Photos by Evgenia