Parenting may feel like an Olympic sport on its best days. You may feel on top of the world for a little moment. The following may have you sweating and pleading with yourself to make it to bedtime. When you add an illness to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for a day that will turn your world upside down. Your delicate house of cards appears to be on the verge of collapsing on top of you.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! It’s true that being unwell on top of being a parent is challenging. Nothing beats lounging on the couch, binge-watching a show or ten, and stuffing your face with chicken soup. Having small children around makes this nearly impossible. There are, however, ways to make sick days more manageable. Grab your Kleenex and your cosiest blanket, and keep reading to learn how!
Parenting When You’re Sick or Injured
Embrace your tribe.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to tap into your network of family and friends and accept their offer to “let them know if you need anything.” I understand how difficult it is to accept aid. It’s difficult to let go of the reins and allow others to help you. People, on the other hand, often want to help and love taking something off your plate, especially when they realise how much it can help you!
My spouse and I were both diagnosed with Covid in November of 2020. We were quite fortunate to have made it out the other side. We, on the other hand, were down for the count for weeks. To top things off, we were at home with our six-month-old boy and I was 11 weeks pregnant with our second child. It was terrifying, so we retreated to our homes to rest and recover.
We were really fortunate to have our family and friends rally around us and assist us from afar. Meals were sent to us by my sister and her family. Our closest friends surprised us with a Cold Stone Creamery delivery on our porch. Other friends arranged for all of the necessities to be delivered to our house. The generosity of others left us speechless. We realised how much it hurt our family not to be able to assist us in taking a break from the baby and allowing us to rest and unwind.
Parenting at that time tested us in ways we didn’t realise were possible. But we’ve emerged stronger than ever, and we’re grateful for our health and support system of family and friends. It was critical for us to accept the assistance offered in order to keep our household operating and have the necessities for ourselves and the kid.
Obtain those applications!
Downloading apps that make your life easier is another approach to handle parenting during times of hurt or illness. Food delivery services like DoorDash and GrubHub can relieve the stress of preparing meals for your family. They can help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time recuperating on your couch. Grocery shopping applications like Instacart are lifesavers when it comes to getting your groceries delivered at the touch of a button. You’re not only sleeping and checking off your to-do list from your bed, but you’re also remaining at home to avoid spreading viruses.
Take advantage of all that contemporary technology has to offer and enjoy the convenience of being able to complete tasks from the comfort of your own home and phone. You can save your limited energy by doing so. Instead, devote your time and energy to improving yourself while still being an excellent parent.
Choose your battles carefully.
This is a difficult one for me. Every night, I want to have the house picked up and the dishwasher running like clockwork. When you’re unwell and have to be a parent, however, it’s a different storey. Choose your conflicts wisely to keep your sanity.
Is it common for children to spend the entire day in their pyjamas? Do your kids need a bath now and then? All week long, you’ll be eating leftovers? Is your laundry piling up? When you’re unwell and attempting to keep your household afloat, anything goes. Concentrate solely on the tasks that must be completed. Wait till you’re feeling better before continuing. Don’t worry, I promise that laundry pile will still be there after a few days.
It might be stressful to go to bed with an untidy house. I understand! However, throwing your hands up and saying, “Who cares?!?” can be liberating. “I’m tired.”
Work smarter, not harder, and be realistic.
Try to keep in mind that this is only a brief point in time. If everything seems out of control (which it probably is), tell yourself that it will all be back to normal in a week or two. Your network will re-emerge around you, you will regain your energy, and the house will once again run like clockwork. Give yourself a break, use the resources at your disposal, and concentrate on getting better.
It’s easy to feel terrible about wanting nothing more than to be left alone to wallow in your sickness and lie around for hours. However, if your children refuse to cooperate, you can make the best of what you have and put systems in place to keep the household running smoothly.
Remember these quick reminders:
• Reduce your expectations for how you operate your home and your to-do list.
• Let go of your guilt over what you haven’t completed or for allowing your children extra screen time.
• Inform your children that “Mommy is feeling a little under the weather today.” Many of them aspire to be your main supporter. This also aids in the development of empathy.
• It’s totally acceptable to parent horizontally. Have your children:
• You can play doctor and be the patient.
• For you, draw or colour an image.
• You should have someone read to you. If kids can’t read, have them make up a narrative based on a picture book.
• Make a tower for yourself out of blocks, Magna-tiles, or Legos.
• Do jumping jacks in the kitchen, crawl around the coffee table, hop along the hall, spin in the playroom, hop on one foot in the living room, and so on as an obstacle course around the house.
• Go on a scavenger hunt around the house – it’ll be even more fun if you make them look for things you need, such as your slippers, chicken noodle soup, or kleenex box.
It’s never enjoyable to be sick, no matter what. Being a parent when your child is sick is a whole new level of difficulty. I understand that your patience is frayed since you are already weary and cranky, but taking a step back and getting some quiet time to yourself can help you feel restored and ready to face the chaos of the day. In the year 2022, I wish you everyone good health and joyful parenting!