…5 Tips that Helped Me While I had the Flu and Cared for My Young Kids.
Oh my gosh, for one whole day I was in denial. My throat felt spiky during the day. I was freezing cold. I went out with my husband and dad for a lovely dinner in Boulder (only an absolute emergency would cause me to cancel a nice adults-only dinner date!), but I wore my coat the first half of the meal. Luckily, I enjoyed the food, but, in the back of my mind, I was getting more concerned about my health. And, as I hauled myself into bed that night, there was no more denying it. I was getting sick.
When I awoke the next day, I felt awful. Chills, sweats, exhaustion, aches and pains. All I could do was cry. In addition to my physical condition, the main concern I had was: HOW AM I GOING TO TAKE CARE OF MY 2 YEAR-OLD AND MY 4 YEAR-OLD? Because my dad was in town visiting from far away, I tried to play it off…but couldn’t even maintain my composure on the short walk from my bedroom to the kitchen.
The boys had swimming, and then we’d be home all day with my dad. There were parks to visit. Bikes to ride. Food to cook. My dad saw me, suggested we stay home and skip swimming, and pretty much took care of the boys all day. I felt guilty and bad that I wasn’t helping, but the room was spinning, I was shivering, and I had very little to give.
My dad left the next day, but I had childcare for the boys. All I could do was lie in bed and hope time would speed up so that this illness would be over. I also wanted it to slow down because I had to pick up my oldest from school, and I couldn’t imagine doing it. But, of course, I did.
On the third day, I was still feeling bad, and on this day I had both boys. I did some sobbing. How could I possibly take care of two lively and demanding children when I had nothing to give?
Keep reading below to read tips on how to survive being sick with young kids.
How to Survive Being Sick When Caring for Young Kids
1. Let the kids entertain themselves.
This certainly isn’t easy, especially with younger children. But when the going goes tough, the tough go for iPads and iPhones and any other entertaining treats you use around your home. Yes, I hate screen time for any prolonged period of time. But when the ceiling seems to be spinning around out of control, something has got to give.
2. When you muster the energy to get up, get things for your kiddos then too.
I had no appetite, but I tried to eat smoothies, English muffins, apples, oranges…when I was hobbling around in the kitchen getting stuff for me, I made sure to get snacks or meals for my boys. And I filled their water bottle then. And I found my son’s missing firefighter hat then.
3. Take that hot shower, and your meds too.
Just do it. The shower will help you breathe. It will clean off the night sweats. It will (hopefully) give you a few moments of some comfort and care and privacy.
Stay up on your meds too. I don’t normally take medicine unless I really need it, and that ibuprofen made somewhat of a difference with the fevers. Don’t go too long without a dose.
4. Two words: grocery run.
My husband had no more vacation or sick time, but he was able to run to the grocery store before work the morning I had both boys and load up on special requests like oranges, tea, and more Advil. He got a few snacks for the boys that are unusual in our house (pickles!), which helped me be able to grab things for them as I slowly pace through our kitchen. This was a saving grace for me, and I think if my husband hadn’t been able to, I would have enlisted a close friend to pick up the items.
5. Succumb to the sickness and to your children.
I am not quite sure what I mean by that, but I’ll try to explain. I was sick. I was very sick. But the thought of not being able to take care of my kids was the most upsetting part of the whole sickness. I just started crying. I didn’t have any energy. I didn’t have patience or not have patience for them and their antics. I had nothing, and it felt debilitating.
But when my youngest started jumping all over my bed…up and down, back and forth…landing right on my poor legs several times…all I could do was smile at the craziness of it. I have nothing to give, but all this child wanted was to be seen and to laugh. I found I could give him that.
And then I realized I was still giving to the boys. The food. The snuggles. The charging of the devices. It may not be at the level I prefer, but I could still be sick and take care of these kids. That realization was a turning point in the sickness, and made everything (somewhat) easier.