Here’s your opportunity to learn more about the parenting styles of each Maturing Mama. No Mama is exactly the same in her parenting skills. This is our opportunity to highlight our differences in parenting in a means to help you find a method that works for you.
How do you rest when you’re ill, but have to stay home with the kids?
Especially with the global pandemic happening, we moms need to take rest when sick. No if ands or buts about it.
So for me, after I’ve begged my husband with tears in my eyes to stay home from work so I can rest. If the answer is no, my plan B is as follows:
All electronics are at the kids disposal. iPad, computer and TV. Everyone stays in the livingroom. No nap times will be enforced. No cleaning will be done by anyone.
The kids can eat what ever is easiest to get into their bodies with as little effort from me. That can be noodle soup, toast, granola bars, bananas. Basically, anything my kids can make themselves is especially helpful.
I’ll leave the pantry unlocked so they can grab any snacks they want. I’ll try to enforce healthy choices, but won’t fight them on it. The key is to make the day as calm and relaxed as possible. Very little opportunity for fighting.
If fighting does happen on a day like this, I would call my husband on the phone and hand it over to the kids so he can give them a strict talking to.
When my husband comes home, the house will likely be trashed. But that’s a sacrifice that will have to be made. And the moment he walks through the doors I will beg him to have a nap behind locked doors. No begging is typically necessary though. He usually feels bad for leaving me at home with the kids while sick.
Whatever “bad parenting” moments happen that day, will be fixed when I’m better. We’ll reinforce nap times, following the rules, eating healthy and educational programs when I’m feeling better.
I guess my perspective on this topic is probably going to be quite different from a lot of other mamas. My kids are 9, 11, 13, and 16.
Having older kids makes everything so different.
I used to have to just power through whenever I was sick. That usually meant sucking it up and going about business as usual. I didn’t have help most days with my husband at work. My kids couldn’t feed themselves, so there was still so much I had to force myself to do no matter how bad I felt.
As often as I could, I would try to make my being sick into some kind of fun family movie day. At least that way we could all lay down together and the kids may not be quite as crazy bouncing off the walls.
Nowadays, I have so much help! My three oldest boys all know how to cook and are becoming quite responsible. It’s crazy to see the tides turning. As sad as it is that I no longer have my little baby boys, it is so wonderful to watch them growing into amazing young men.
When I get sick now, they really step up to help out and take care of their mama.
One thing I find interesting about motherhood (in my experience) is that even when feeling unwell, I know my children need me (especially when they are so little and pretty much completely dependent on me) so in the moments of their needs, I just push through. My children are quite little (21 months and 8 months) and I have been very lucky to have not fallen ill to the point where I can’t function and need complete rest much at all.
But I can recall one time when I came down with a severe migraine when my youngest was only 4 months old, so she was still very much on the ‘eat, sleep, play, nappy change repeat’ routine, so on this occasion, I went to bed with her asleep beside me in her bassinet and slept as she slept whilst my husband took care of our son. I was very lucky to have him home at the time! I have had mild illness here and there (like a sore throat, headache etc), but have been able to push through and funnily enough, it’s like adrenalin kicks in and I’m able to care for the children whilst they were awake, and took the time to rest when they were.
In the case where the children are older, hopefully they would be able to occupy themselves whilst I rested nearby ensuring supervision was still possible and ensuring I had an early night putting myself to bed at night not long after them. Now obviously I’m not there yet, so we’ll see if my theory is able to be put into practice when the time comes.
One thing I think is very important is to build your community. In some cases like mine, you have family close by that you are able to call for support and to come around to help look after both the children and the house whilst you rest, but I know that isn’t always possible. But what is possible is to create that circle of people that you know and trust, whom also know you and your children well and are willing and feel confident to look after them and assist you in any way you need. You wouldn’t be leaving the house, so would still be present if absolutely needed.
I know many find it hard to ask for help, and I am one of those people! But I have come to know that I can’t do everything on my own, that looking after yourself is important too and getting help doesn’t make you any less of a person. Not only that, I want the best for my children, for them to be given the love, care and attention they need and deserve, so if I was so unwell, I wouldn’t be able to give them
that. And you need to be honest if someone was to check in on you, ask if you are ok and if you needed anything. I would do the same for any one of my friends.
Things have been a little different and more difficult through Covid, not allowing any visitors to our home, so my husband and I have had to lean on each other more than ever before and ensure we maintain communication. Well actually, communication is always important and another area of mine that I struggle with, but I’ve always worked on it and hey, there’s a whole other story there!
In the case of absolute need, there is an allowance for caregiving, so the option is still there should we require it.
I guess in summary, I can say that in the situation that you are ill and need to rest, but have to stay home with the kids, my biggest encouragement and suggestion is to ask for help and try not to push yourself to the limit, your children need you to be happy and healthy so please look after yourself.
On Zoe’s first birthday I planned an elaborate day, you know because one year olds care about birthday celebrations. I packed Zoe up and we headed downtown to see a children’s (toddler) musical. While there, an hour or so away from home, I came down with a headache that quickly changed into a migraine.
This my friends was the worst migraine I had ever had and here I am driving my baby home during rush hour traffic. We had the windows down, air conditioner on full blast (Zoe had a blanket, don’t worry) and my focus was on getting home safely. At one point me driving was no longer an option and I had to pull over, I was no longer “super mom” and needed help. I sent my husband my pinned location, thank goodness for technology, and he came to the rescue.
It was at this point that I realized that when I am sick I really need to take care of myself and that sometimes means I am not able to care for Zoe. Thank goodness my husband is quick to step up and keep her safe, clean, fed and entertained.
There have been times when my husband was at work, or away and I’ve been ill or had a migraine and in those moments I have had to be creative and figure out a way to get Zoe and I both through the day alive. And you know what? We have spent a day in bed where I am relaxing and she is watching shows on the iPad with food available on the bedside table. You do what you need to do to survive right?
Now that she is older she is somewhat more independent and understands what feeling and being sick is. She will cuddle into me, make sure I take my meds and we watch movies.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go, even if you are sick, but I know that when I’m unwell, I am also unpleasant to be around and if possible it’s better for me to rest and Zoe and my husband fend for themselves.
TV, TV, TV.. I’ll say it again. TV. When I’m sick and need rest I give myself grace and try not to feel guilty for letting the kids watch endless TV. I plunk their little butts in front of that screen and I nap when my baby naps. When I’m not able to nap, I binge watch tv shows on my phone while the girls watch the big screen. That way I don’t have to worry about there being any scary scenes.
I play it up when I’m sick. I don’t do anything, because I have learned that when I continue to do all the things, it prolongs my illness. But if I slow down and become one with the couch, I get better in a couple days. I won’t touch the dishes, I order in food for everyone and I let the toys stay on the ground overnight (normally I reset the house every night so it’s fresh and clean for the next day).
When I first became a mom, I would pretend that I didn’t need help when I was sick so as to prove that I was an awesome mom. But after I had my second kid, I started thinking about it. Who was I trying to prove to that I’m an awesome mom? My husband thinks I am, he doesn’t need proof. I realized that I was trying to prove it to myself. Once I started believing it myself, that is when I could truly start to rest and heal if I was sick.
How do you rest when you are ill but have to stay home with kids?
First of all, I am not allowed to get sick. Being a single mom of two boys, ages 13 and 7, just doesn’t leave any time for that! Also, it’s honestly easier if I get sick instead of one or both of them because, as I think we all know, men can be ridiculous when they are not feeling well.
I lost my job in the middle of March due to COVID-19, 2 days before the boys’ schools shut down. Pretty much overnight, it went from all of us living independent, busy, and productive lives, to being stuck home together in a tiny apartment 24/7 living in stress and fear. It has been intense to say the least, and while I thank the Lord we didn’t get physically ill, I would say my mental health took a hit.
We are still all home together and I have had to get creative about ways I can rest, recharge, and take care of my mental health. Carving out time to pray, chat with family and friends, or read my book (during those precious hours late at night after the boys have gone to sleep or before they wake up in the morning).
We have leaned into each other and learned to laugh and play. We have worked together to try our very best to keep the mood lighthearted and positive. Even if that means sleeping in late and entire days of binge watching the same silly shows we have watched a million times and know every single word to. I don’t hesitate to ask the boys for their help and for them to contribute. They know they are active participants in keeping our home sane.
I can think of two times ever since my son was born (he is now 2 years old) where I was sick. I rarely get colds and if I do, they are very mild and they don’t affect my day, so I’ll talk about a couple different times where I was really sick.
The first time was when my son was 3 months old. I got a stomach virus and I pretty much could not move my body off the bed. Luckily my mother in law lived upstairs at the time, so she took my son for 3 days straight, only bringing him down for me to nurse him. It was rough. I don’t know how I would have done it without her but sometimes we don’t have a choice and we always seem to get through those hard times because we are boss mom’s like that!
The other time was for a longer period. It was during my first trimester with my second pregnancy. I experienced severe nausea all day long, as well as perinatal depression to top it off. My son was 14-17 months old during my first trimester. TV quickly became a life saver and I remember laying on the floor with blankets and pillows for most of the day because he played much better that way. His meals were basically just a bunch of snacks thrown onto a plate. I felt so guilty that I wasn’t taking him out to play, doing more activities with him, or giving him proper meals. I kept reminding myself that this is such a short season of his life and he will forget it so quickly (which is so true). But honestly, the kid was probably having a blast. Like TV and snacks all day? He was seriously living his best life and I felt guilty about it!
Now my son is 2 and my daughter is 3 months old and I have yet to get sick since she arrived. Crossing my fingers it doesn’t happen now that I said that haha!
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