Today I woke with a light headache, did my relaxation exercises and felt much better. Got going on the day, admiring our huge heavy snowfall today. The vet called - he was ready for the two kitties we were taking to him to get fixed (no more inundation with kittens). The girls wanted to ride with me, so off we went. Felt fine, got the kitties there, made arrangements for picking them up tomorrow (spayed and all), and ran to the post office to send off more adoption paperwork, as well as get more stamps since the kids have decided that letter writing is a great hobby (this mom has no complaints, by the way).
By the time we got back in the van, the headache returned. With a vengeance. Thankfully, we were two miles from home so I knew I could get to medication and rest very quickly. Ugh. Walked in, got the kids settled, explained the situation - mommy's head seems to think it wants to explode and I need to get myself better. Set them up for lunch (very grateful that we keep a ready supply of easy to assemble lunches - and that we had sloppy joe leftovers from last night!), gave them a few things to do, and a school video assignment while I would be laying down. Thankfully, the kids are all very kind hearted and they kept asking me if they could get me anything - over and over. I finally pretended to be sound asleep even though I really wasn't. Kindness is great, but mommy needed to concentrate! Hee, hee. They then tiptoed in and out checking on me, eventually tapering off to sending someone in to check on me every 15 minutes to see if they could get me anything!
Anyway, I have had this kind of thing happen at various times, it has basically been lifelong - at least since I was seven. Weather sometimes plays a role too. I have many times dealt this while raising children. The job as a mommy doesn't have sick days - unless it is truly horrible and I have to call my husband home from work - that hasn't happened in years. Only once. But, it is a reality. And I am not the only mom who deals with something like this. Whether it is a headache or an illness, it happens.
So, how do we as moms handle this so our kids are well cared for while we are not well?
Honestly, with some forethought and common sense.
No matter what, we will get ill at some point, and at some point will be the only parent home while we manage.
So, here we go.
Think ahead. Right now, we have older children and they are wonderfully self sufficient. It certainly does change how our day goes, and changes what we had planned. I personally love having things set up for meals, something that I know they can assemble without too much fuss. Then even though I am not the one getting lunch ready, I know that their bellies are full, they are well fed, basic needs are met. I also try to have some simple activities ready for them that I can pull out, that they can do themselves. Honestly, they can read, watch something educational (or even just acceptable), play ping pong, practice music - quietly if the headache is so bad that I am sensitive to sound - which is also rare. Art projects are good, writing letters, reading ahead on lessons, and general creative play. We will end up making up schoolwork later - either evening or over the weekend if "mommy teacher" cannot instruct due to illness. On the other hand, it is also a great time for educational games - math games, phonics games, etc. The older kids are wonderful for helping to correct the younger and it reinforces the older kids' learning too!
But, soon we hope to have little ones in the house.
We did seriously think about how we would handle this - as every family must, because it WILL happen. I will do the same things I did when the other kids were little. I will manage.
Ideas on the practicality, from experience:
Put in a Disney movie that is a favorite or a new one, and cuddle down on the couch with little ones to enjoy together. Gets in the laying down time as well as time for medication to help.
Easy snacks - Cheerios, crackers, raisins, other easy snacks to put in bowls along with sippy cups, so little ones' bellies are full while mom might not be able to stand over the stove. Honestly, they won't care, it will be a fun change, and it is only temporary.
Hold it together until naptime (and hope it is soon) and then lay down with the littles. That is prime time for mom getting better. Read books together on a large bed complete with blankies or other snugglies. Or bring coloring books and crayons to the floor or the large bed where you can lay down and do it together.
Pick simple activities that you can sort of limp along with while you get better. You aren't likely to be able to go out for a snowball fight while you feel horrible. But, there are lots of things you can do, even though you are under the weather. I honestly remember the littles tucking a blanket around me on the floor once while they played house with baby dolls when they were around two and three. I had put the gate across the living room door, so they were in with me, I laid down, complete with their dollies, their dollie clothes and accessories. They were thrilled to use me as a doll, stroking my head, baby talking, and generally including me in their play. I will never forget my littlest grabbing one of her favorite storybooks and sitting down next to me, to "read Mommy a story" while I rested. It was so very sweet.
And honestly, everyone pitches in when stuff in life happens. We tend to view living life as a team sport - and it is! We all work together to get things done. I have seen the kids thrilled to sit and play with littles when they get the chance, and I don't imagine it will be any different when their little sisters get home. Can you imagine the reaction of a child being asked to forgo schoolwork for a short while to play with a toddler? LOL! I vividly remember Alex playing xbox with our one year old foster daughter - he gave her an unconnected controller, she sat in his lap and they both "played". They had an absolute blast!
So, anyway, as moms, we need to think ahead to sick days. They will happen. The bottom line is that everyone must be safe and cared for. It may mean you need to call in help, but most likely it means that you need to modify your day and what you had planned. It also will mean that you won't be able to take care of yourself like you might wish. You might want to pull the covers over your head for two days - that is unlikely to be possible without some serious assistance (neighbor, friend, grandparent, etc). While that might not be really what can happen, it is very possible to take care of yourself and get better while you care for your kids. Honestly, I was thrilled to see my kids' attentiveness (though it was a bit much) while I was under the weather for a couple hours. To me it meant not only that they cared about me and my well-being, but also that I had modeled caring and nurturing to them when they weren't feeling well, so they had a pattern to follow. A very good skill for anyone to have.
So, think ahead to sick times and what you might do to survive it. With forethought, it is very possible to nurture yourself and your kids at the same time. After all, they need you well!
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11