Friday, March 12, 2010

When Mom Is Sick

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I love being a mom. There are so many wonderful things about it. There are so many great lessons learned and many great rewards. It is great to be a mom!

Unless you are sick.

Then it is about the worst job in the world.

These days, whenever I am sick I day dream of the days I was the child and my mom took care of me when I was sick. I remember being in bed or on the couch. Sometimes I slept the whole day. Sometimes I watched TV. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I stared at the ceiling. I did whatever it was that I deemed good for sick me at the moment.

My mom watched over me. She kept me comfortable. I had plenty of fresh water and crackers if I needed them. I had a nice clean bowl to throw up in if I couldn't make it in time to the bathroom. She made sure everyone who entered the house was quiet and respectful of poor, sick me.

Flash forward to being sick as a mom.

I don't need to tell you. Moms don't really have the "luxury" most of the time of being sick.

Even if your husband is great like mine and tries his best to take care of everything so you can rest, it isn't the same. You still have two year old Kaitlyn who is beside herself with grief because she just wants to cuddle with Mama and doesn't understand why she can't. Your nap will be disrupted by not only by ringing doorbells, but by little faces too close to yours asking why you are sleeping. You have four year old Brayden who also wants to cuddle with Mama, and is mature enough to understand that he can't and why he can't to a point, but is visibly disappointed and you feel guilty.

Aaahh! The guilt! The guilt of life continuing on without you.

Back to the kids. You have your husband asking you, just as you fall asleep, what order McKenna's creams and such go on after a bath. He asks about meals and are sure to remind him that if you die some day, all information about the children's day can be found on your blog :)

Okay, yeah, I get it. I understand being lots of degrees of sick as a mom. I know colds. Those are annoying. You aren't sick to call it a sick day, but you feel crummy and that always leads to less patience.

I know pregnant-sick. Oh boy do I know pregnant sick. That is a bad one. That requires lots of give from all members of the family, including sick mom.

I know vomit-every-20-minutes-and-start-fainting-and-land-in-the-ER sick. Yep. Been there twice in the last two years. Last week was one of them. The other was March 7, 2008.

So as I write this, about two days ago I was in the ER. I am fine now. No big deal.

My husband was great. We were -- uh -- luckily? Are you lucky to be in the ER? I guess from some perspectives you are. We were luckily in the ER overnight, so the kids all slept right through it (we had my Dad come over with the kids). But because of that (along with the vomiting), I got about 1-1.5 hours of sleep all night. The next day, I basically slept all day long. I woke up to answer children's questions, husband questions, doorbells, and to nurse McKenna, but that is about it. I also have a totally awesome friend who found out I was sick and brought us dinner that night, which just helped the extra stress on the family.

So how do you handle being sick as a mom? Here are some tips:
  • Accept Help: When your friend calls to ask if she can help, tell her yes! Accept the help the people around you are offering you. Don't say, "Oh, I'm fine." Okay, confession, I am not great at this. I turned down dinner from another friend and I turned down the offer of my kids being watched by another friend and I didn't accept the offer from my mom to come over for the day...But I still think it is a great tip.
    And to be positive, I did accept my husband's offer to take the day off of work, I did accept one dinner, and my parents did take Brayden and Kaitlyn for most of a day. If you know me, you know this is improvement :)
  • Ask For Help: Umm...yeah. I don't really EVER do this unless I am asking my husband. So do as I say and not as I do and ask for help if you need it ;)
  • Take it Easy: Take it easy as you get over this sickness. If you have a hard time sitting still like me, find some things you can do sitting down and still feel good about your day. Read. Sleep. Take a bath. Take up crochet :) At least cut back on your normal to-do list.
  • Take Time to Recover: I have learned, through trial and error, that if you just give your body the chance to recover, it will do so much faster than if you try to bulldoze your way back into life.
  • Ignore Schedule If Needed: Sometimes when you are sick, you will be really happy for your schedule. You will need those nap times and independent play times to make it through the day in one piece. Other times, you won't want to worry about it so much. I personally would still keep naptime, but other than that, you can let it be a "free" day where you all do whatever.
  • Nap When Kids Nap: When your kids are all asleep, you sleep too if you need it.
  • Rest When Kids Occupied: When your kids are in independent play or something, don't run around like a tornado. Rest. Remember to take time to recover. Do only what is necessary at the moment. You will be more efficient much sooner if you rest now, clean later. Now, I know this is hard while pregnant. You don't feel good for a long time and you want things done before the baby comes. All I can say is I get it. I empathize. Do what you must. Leave the rest.
  • Embrace the TV: If you have read my post on Television, you know I don't like lots of TV in the day. We try to limit TV to 30 minutes a day. Sometimes 60. But if mom is sick, I don't think there is a problem with watching more TV for a day or two. Cut yourself some slack and allow some time to relax. Let the kids watch some extra TV if you need to.
  • Guilt-Free: Don't feel guilty! You didn't go out and get sick on purpose. You are alive on this planet, and therefore you will get sick sometimes. That is life. You don't need to feel guilty that you are sick.
  • Laugh and Move On: Being sick can be awful. Try to just laugh about it and move forward. Wallowing in self-pity won't make you feel better.
Those are some of my tips. Please feel free to share yours!



Mollie Energy said...

Thanks for writing this - I've been sick for the first time this week since my daughter was born 18 months ago - it's awful! Way different than when I could lay around all day sleeping or watching bad TV...hope you feel better soon too!

The Cleary Family said...

I am an Army Wife and my husband is gone on deployments or away at trainings frequently. I have learned to ask for help and rely on others when I am sick! One time I was so sick and my husband refused to come home and help because he was so busy and I had to have a neighbor come to care for my daughter because I physically couldn't get out of bed. Sometime there are times that you do what you need in order to get through the day!! So I agree with you Val! Rest and ask for help and cut yourself some slack when it comes to getting things done.

McMel said...

boy, i needed this. i am sick for the 2nd time in 4 weeks with a 7 week old. i swear giving birth weakened my immune system! luckily my little guy is on a schedule, so it's made things a little easier, but babies have a
6th sense and this one has napped less than usual on a day where i really need it. it's hard to be so selfless when you don't feel good, but it makes it easier seeing who's number 1 instead of you. i know i have many more of these days to come, but thanks for seeminly reading my mind. this post lifted my spirits!

DoItAsIDoIt said...

I have often wondered how to survive when I get sick. Thankfully, I don't become ill very often but with this pregnancy I was knocked down! We spent a lot of time at Grandpa's house so I could rest while they played. I also upped the tv time, since there were days when I could do nothing but lay on the couch while our little guy played around me. When my husband or child is sick I love to take care of them and their every need. So it's tough and I often say when I'm sick that I wonder who will pamper me. :)

Penny said...

I'm glad you're feeling better now Val, but really - 'no big deal'?!? In ER? Hmmm... I wonder what would be a big deal for you? :-)

I've got another tip for your list (which I'm sure you do already, but might help someone else):
be a friend to others when they are sick. They will be much more willing to help you out in return!

Great post.

Mama of two said...

This entry was so good. I really got the best laugh about your husband being able to find all information regarding the children on your blog. So true. My husband is so hands-on, but has a job that if I'm sick, he can't just call in. It makes it extremely difficult to be sick. I really enjoyed this post, it really hit home. So sorry to hear you were in the ER and so sick. Glad you are on the mend. Thanks for the good laugh (not about you being sick, of course).

Amanda said...

Good timing, you must be psychic I am sure ;)

So I am pregnant and really really really sick. Like I had to sit down in the grocery store today because all the food smells made me nauseous and I felt faint. I sat in the laundry detergent aisle comparing prices while my husband finished the rest of the shopping, lol! I probably looked ridiculous, but my skin tone quickly turns pale and greenish when I'm ill so most people probably guessed what was going on!

For me, my trick the past few days has been to work in short spurts when I can. If that means the house stays a mess until 9pm when I manage to wash the dishes and do a load of laundry then that's okay. And yes the TV has unfortunately become a main event around here in the mornings. I don't like it but I'm trying not to beat myself up over it. I watched hours of tv as a kid and I turned out okay.

Kina said...

So true, so true! Last June I ended up in the ER with my 2 month old baby. I am so glad my hubby made me go. It ended up being a HORRIBLE kidney stone and my poor baby wasn't on a bottle so I was in bed in the ER and trying to nurse her before they gave me pain meds and then when I felt a little better I convinced my hubby to go to the vending machine to get a snack and I got sick again as soon as he left and it was all I could do to hold my baby by the leg so she wouldn't fall while I dialed my hubby's cell and told him to come back! It was just awful!

Becca said...

:) perfect timing. I'm reading this while sick, sitting on the couch, watching Bob and Larry with Caleb for the second time today(and reading your blog at the same time). I was feeling a little guilty about 2 TV times today, but not anymore :)

Plowmanators said...

Thanks everyone! I am glad it was helpful!

Amanda, I knew you would say that ;)


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