“My tummy hurts.” Stomach viruses. Every parent’s nightmare. One kid brings home the dreaded stomach virus and soon the whole house is quarantined and on lockdown. It’s hard to save our sanity when our kids are sick but is there an up side to the throw up?
I’m happy to bring you Jennie from Crazy to Clear. Jennie reached out to me to be a guest blogger and I love that she focuses on putting the craziness of parenthood into perspective. Instead of just surviving parenthood, Jennie helps parents wade through the crazy to be clear to enjoy their family to their fullest. Give Jennie a warm welcome and let us know what helps you get through the craziness when your kids are sick.
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The Up Side of Throw-Up
By Jennie from Crazy to Clear
Having kids in your life is a wonderful thing. Children are fun, free-spirited, entertaining, exhausting, innocent, loving. They truly make your life better every day.
That is, until they get sick.
For the past week I have had two very sick little ones in my house. I love my kids with all of my being and I consider myself lucky that I am able to be a stay at home mom. But oh boy, when they get sick I just want to curl up into a ball and hide until it is over.
There is nothing quite like having a sick kiddo in your house. Whether it is a sick baby (watch out, they know nothing about aiming) to a sick older child (their messes are much bigger), having a sick kid is stressful and frankly, not fun at all.
Sure, there are some nice moments. The day your child learns to throw up in the toilet (a milestone I never realized I would look forward to). The cuddles are endless. The extra naps and quiet time are a nice break too.
But along with those sweet precious moments come disaster. Sad, cranky kids. Throw up in places it doesn’t belong. Way too many wardrobe changes for everyone. Piles of laundry. Stinky bottoms roaming the house. And not nearly enough sleep at night.
It is easy to become cranky and a “negative-nancy” when your child is sick. Why not? I mean, they are already cranky, if you can’t beat them, join them, right? That is exactly how I felt at the beginning of the week. But after the moment I started yelling at my sick 4 year old boy for being whiny, I realized my crankiness just wasn’t helping the situation and I was not liking the mom I was becoming. I knew then that I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate my actions. I needed to find a way to turn my cranky attitude into a positive one.
I know, I know! Where is the positivity in a sick kid! It’s difficult, but you can find it. First though, I want you to remember that in order to help your little one, you must take care of yourself. As long as you keep yourself positive, you can handle anything!
Still, as a parent it is easy to forget about yourself when your child seems so helpless. The problem, however, is that if you forget to take care of yourself, there is a good chance you are going to get sick too (or just super cranky like I did). Then who will help your child? Who will nurture and comfort them? As a parent, you are used to not putting yourself first, but if you don’t take care of you, who will?
Here are ten tips I learned this week on how to take care of yourself, stay positive and not completely lose your sanity when you have a sick, sad little creature at home.
Dedicate the day to be a pajama day, for the kids and for you.
No one wants to put on real clothes when they feel lousy. And no one would bat an eye if your child stays in his or her pajamas when they aren’t feeling well. But what about you? If you are home with a sick kid, give yourself a break. Enjoy those comfy clothes, chances are you’ll have to change at least once during the day anyways. This will help keep you from getting frustrated when last nights dinner ends up all over you.
Remember, there is always tomorrow.
Everyone has their “to-do” lists each day. And that is great. But when you have a child who is under the weather, throw away that “to-do” list. Do not set yourself up for frustration by expecting to complete a task and then just not getting to it. If you still get some things done during the day, maybe when your little one is sleeping or feeling well enough to play for a little bit of time on his own, then great! Celebrate those little achievements! But remember, having a sick child is stressful all on its own, make the day as easy for yourself as possible.
And I know, especially if you have other children, that the world does not just shut down because one kid is sick. So if you have to make a lunch for another child or get them ready for school in the middle of another child throwing up (been there, done that about 3 times this week) you are going to have to rally and just go for it. But forget about the other things. Don’t stress yourself out over cleaning the kitchen or the bathrooms. Let the toys clutter the house a bit. Your house can wait, it is okay. You do not have to be super mom or dad. You are caring for a sick child, that is super enough. Just remember, you will always have tomorrow to get things done.
Keep some healthy snacks around for you.
Eating at all, never mind healthy eating, while you are taking care of someone else can be difficult. When you are tired and stressed, it is easy to reach for foods that are not great for your body or mind. Chips and chocolate, which are typically quick and easy to grab, sound much better to a tired parent than fruit or vegetables for a snack. But keeping healthy snacks on hand, like hard boiled eggs, fruit, nuts, or raw vegetables (my go to this week was cheese and raisins, yum!) that you can grab when you are able to, can make the decision to eat something good for your body easier. If you treat your body well, even when your child is sick, and put a little care into yourself, there is a good chance you may just fight off the sickness before it even impacts you.
Go to bed early.
Part of taking care of yourself is letting your body rest so that it can fight off your kid’s germs before they take hold of you. The problem is that there is no way to know how much sleep your child is going to let you have when she is sick. Some times you luck out and she will sleep all night. Great! Other times, however, you may be kept awake with a child who is throwing up in their bed (or even worse, in yours. Ugh!).
You have no control over if you will sleep through the night or be up for most of it. What you do have control over, however, is when you get to bed, so you can at least get a little bit of sleep in before the night’s events begin. And boy oh boy, what a difference some sleep can make in your ability to keep a positive attitude during the day.
Let the germs be.
You can not possibly kill every germ that your child will leave behind while she is sick. And trying to will only stressful and exhausting. Washing hands often and wiping doorknobs, tables and chairs down at the end of the day is enough to keep the germs at bay. Save the big clean up of the bathroom until after the sickness is gone. There is no point in doing that more than once.
And don’t forget, that with all the hand washing you and your little one will be doing, hands are bound to become raw (ouch!). Be sure to have plenty of hand lotion (or even better, soap with lotion in it) around the house.
Have dinner be an old standby.
Getting anything done when your child is sick is very difficult and frustrating. So much so that you may want to just not do much that day. And that’s great, enjoy the calmness that comes with no chores…except…you do need to eat. Keeping dinner simple can make that task seem less daunting. Make a meal that you are very comfortable with and that you are able to whip together quickly. Never try a new recipe on a sick-kid day.
Also, consider making dinner early. If your sick little one is taking an afternoon (or even a morning) nap, take that opportunity to chop and prepare dinner, or even cook the entire thing. Imagine not having to stress during the evening trying to get dinner to the table! Just reheat, eat, and enjoy!
Keep up with the laundry.
This is a gift to future you! It never fails, with a sick child comes a great deal of extra laundry. Whether it be bedding, clothing, or towels used to clean up messes, it all needs to be washed. And better to just keep moving it along rather than letting it pile up. The last thing you’re going to want to do at the end of a sick week is play around with stinky, sickly laundry, especially if you end up getting sick yourself.
Mother Nature is a miraculous thing! She feeds us, bathes us, warms us, and heals us, body and soul! For your kiddo, fresh air can do wonders. Sometimes all kids need is to get out of the germy house for a bit and breath in the freshness. Fresh air can also be healing for the poor person stuck inside tending to a sick child, you! Just getting out of your house can help clear your head, keep you from getting sick (hello fresh air and vitamin D), stop you from having cabin fever (I have only left my house twice in seven days!) and help you use your body enough so that you’ll be able to sleep better at night (remember number 4?).
Take your little one for a walk. If she is young enough to still be in a stroller then the walk can be nice and long (bring some supplies along with you though, in case something goes amiss). If your child is too old for a stroller, just have her walk around a little bit in the yard or driveway. If she is too tired and weak for that, set up a chair for her to sit in and soak in some sunshine.
Depending on how sick your child is and the weather, sometimes taking her out of the house is absolutely not an option. If that is the case, then at least let yourself stand on the porch or in the doorway for a few minutes. Give yourself the time to breath in the clean air and regroup. This is especially important if you are feeling trapped and overwhelmed with all the sickness. Your child will be ok for a few minutes without you – invest in yourself!
Accept help when it is offered.
If you are someone who has others in their lives who will offer help, consider yourself lucky! Be grateful and accept help when it is offered to you. If you are stuck home and need groceries and a friend offers to stop and pick a few things up for you, say “yes!” Don’t say “no” just because you are embarrassed or don’t want to be a nuisance. It takes a village, folks! Your friends and family want to help you, if they didn’t they wouldn’t have offered. Just be sure to pay it forward someday when they are in need.
Snuggle those babies!
This is where I got the most enjoyment this past week and what helped me keep my head clear and hang onto my sanity. Be sure to enjoy those special moments that having a sick child can bring. Read to them. Cuddle them. Love them. Comfort them. Once all is said and done, that is what you and they will remember from your sick day.
There you have it. Next time your child is sick,remember to try and take the positive out of any situation, even the gross ones. You are now, even if it is just slightly, a tougher person because of this experience (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
And don’t forget to do a little cheer (maybe even a happy dance) the first time you see the sparkle come back to your child’s eyes. No matter how positive you try to stay during it all, that sparkle is when you know you have made it through the storm and your child is finally feeling better. You can now breath a sigh of relief. Congratulations!
One final thought, throughout your child’s sickness, remember to be grateful. Grateful that it isn’t something worse. Grateful that you are getting some extra cuddles and hugs. Grateful that your child’s immunity will now be stronger. And grateful when it is finally over.
Jennie is a stay at home mom of 3 who’s goal is to help other parents remember what is truly important on this road called parenthood. She wants to share with others how she keeps her mind clear in the face of the craziness that parenting brings. She hopes to help people find their way to enjoying their families to the fullest. You can follow her at crazytoclear.com.
When my kids are sick, all I want is to cuddle their sicknesses away. In the back of my mind though, I know it is just a matter of time before I catch their germs. The Remicade I take for my Rheumatoid Arthritis suppresses my immune system so that my immune system does not attack my joints. Remicade works great for my RA but I catch every sickness and it takes me longer than an average person to recover.
I think Jennie brings up some great points about keeping your sanity and helping your child feel better faster. The toughest thing about when my boys are sick is not having a way to get their boundless energy out. If they are really sick, they will cuddle with me. But as they start to feel better or have that low grade fever where they feel fine but cannot go to school, they need a way to get their wigglies out. I agree that a quick walk around the block helps them (and I) feel not so cooped up. On cold days, they play Kinect Adventures* or we turn on the music and have a dance party to help get their energy out. And staying in pajamas? Well that’s a must for the kids and I!
How do you save your sanity when your kids are sick? Start the discussion and tell us! Get some great tips from each other here.
About Be Our Guest Fridays!
Be Our Guest Fridays is a weekly feature where I feature guest posts by my favorite bloggers and authors. I started this feature to encourage and support the bloggers I love and the authors I want you to know. I am excited to share with you these creative and inspiring individuals. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, leave me a comment on this post and I’ll be in touch.
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