The recent below-zero temperatures may not be the only thing keeping us indoors this winter, as we are in the middle of a particularly aggressive cold and flu season. If you’re almost maxed out on PTO or at your wits’ end with the never-ending parade of germs in your house, I’m with you, Mama! Getting through the sick season isn’t just about preventative measures and pushing the liquids – it’s about caring for your well-being, giving yourself grace, and doing what you do best as a mother – loving those precious kiddos.
Sipping From a Full Cup
Taking care of sick kids is exhausting, I know, I’ve been there (last week!). Time to relax is encouraged and necessary for your well-being and ability to show up for your family.
Mothers are fantastic problem solvers, healers, and multitaskers. Still, we often do so at the expense of our own physical and emotional well-being. While it may feel impossible, we must squeeze in some small self-care acts between thermometer checks and snuggles to maintain our sanity. Here are some of my favorite small self-care rituals that do wonders for resetting your mindset:
- Get some fresh air! If you’re feeling up for it (and weather permits), get outside and take a quick walk around the block. Pop in your headphones, binge your favorite podcast, or catch up on that audiobook you haven’t had time to finish.
- Hop on the “everything” shower trend! Pull out all the products, lock the door, and turn on the music. You’ll feel refreshed, clean, and pampered, guaranteed!
- Take a nap. Honestly, sometimes you need rest more than anything. There’s nothing better than a cozy cat nap when you’re feeling worn down.
- Meditate, journal, or find a quiet corner to read. Silence is a rare gift in motherhood, and I often find the most peace and comfort when I can sit quietly.
Grace Under Pressure
Many parenting experts have said that standard rules and routines go out the window when everyone’s sick. So, if you’re a rule follower like me, here’s your permission!
It’s OK to:
turn on the TV and let Blippi and the Paw Patrol take over for a few days. Screentime becomes your temporary ally in the battle against boredom, providing you and your little ones with a break from the monotony of sick days.
let the dirty dishes and laundry pile up. It will get done, but not today. The chores can wait. In the grand scheme, a temporary mess is a small price for limiting overwhelm and burnout when you are at your max.
outsource your duties. Door Dash dinner, order grocery delivery, and ask a neighbor to shovel your sidewalk this weekend. Your plate is already overflowing, and there’s no shame in seeking help. Let the support of others and modern conveniences alleviate some of your burdens, allowing you to focus on what’s most important – caring for yourself and your children.
call the pediatrician as many times as you need to. I called our pediatrician and the Children’s Hospital Nurse Line no less than three times last week, and I have no regrets. The uncertainty that comes with sick days can be so overwhelming. Let your care team and the trained professionals reassure you and guide your decision making so that you can confidently navigate the task of caretaking.
You are not failing as a mother by giving yourself grace and deviating from the norm. It’s the exact opposite: it’s a testament to your adaptability and resilience. So, take a deep breath, disregard the playroom madness, and embrace the temporary deviations. Remember that this, too, shall pass; it’s just a temporary hurdle, and your unwavering commitment to caring for your kiddos comes first.
There’s Only One You
I remember the first time I got sick in college. I called my parents, who drove two hours to pick me up for the weekend so my mom could take care of me. To this day, she’s the first person I call when I’m sick, and she still hasn’t stopped taking care of me. Like many of us, our children have the same longing and desire to be safe, comforted, and cared for when they are most vulnerable.
There’s something magical about the moments in motherhood that unfold as we care for our children. Administering medicine, keeping them comfortable, and serving soothing meals are more than parental duties; we create a sanctuary of love and safety our children can depend on. Remember, on the most basic level, they need safety, security, love, and belonging. You provide all that and more as you soothe, snuggle, and care for your children.
It can be challenging to slow down and sink into these moments with our kids when it feels like the house is on fire. We are sleep-deprived, on the verge of sickness (or full-on sick), and still in charge. I know the profound exhaustion of maintaining household duties, caring for sick kids, and making time for yourself. I urge you to seek out the little pockets of magic present when you become the maker of everything right in their little world.
Remember that embracing grace, exercising patience, and showering love upon yourself and your little ones can help transform the challenging moments into manageable ones this sick season. We may not thrive in these moments, but we do more than survive as we dole out some of that unique Mama Magic. Here’s to conquering the sick season with snuggles and emerging healthy and empowered in our ability to care for our kids.