The unexpected joy in a kid’s sick day
Many of us can probably recall putting on the occasional ‘sick day’ performance (ahem) to stay home from school. My mom would bring me chicken noodle soup and make me all cozy. It ranks up there as one of my favourite childhood memories.
Now I’m nursing my three kids through the flu. (Isn’t there a law against 3 kids being sick at the same time?) It started at 3 am when they slowly made their way into our bed and thus began the blanket tug o’war drama (which I lost by the way.) By 8 am I had delivered 2 apple juices, 1 cold cloth, 1 box of tissues, 1 slice of toast, and 3 doses of hugs. By noon they magically improved enough to leave our basement in a shambles. They must be feeling better right? NOT. Shortly the fevers returned with a vengeance and I was running around administering home remedies in a pair of striped flannel PJs (where did they come from?)
Mothering sick kids involves wiping your kid’s nose on your sleeve, catching vomit in your hands and picking up a trail of balled tissues that could lead you to Hansel and Gretel’s house. But mothering sick kids when you are a working parent is an even tougher job. Little kids are like walking Petri dishes; they are bound to get sick at least once a year so be kind to yourself and have a survival work plan in place. Save a few personal days to stay home with your kids. Have a “mom-tourage” in place (grandparent, friend, neighbour) to lend you a hand. Alternate sick days with your spouse. Work at home or go into work for a few extra hours on the weekend to catch up. Talking to your supervisor about “sick days solutions” in advance will help reduce your stress and allow you to be an attentive parent and a responsible employee.
Once I had my commitments out of the way, I finally curled up with my lethargic little couch-potatoes. Even though the dishes were piling up, it occurred to me how often do I get the chance to put the world on hold for a day and bond with my kids? Rarely. Perhaps it’s that feeling of being needed and that only Mommy can make their “owies” feel better. In the blink of an eye they will be grown and out in the big bad world and I won’t be able to fix everything with just a cold cloth and a glass of apple juice.
One day when my children are nursing their own kids through the flu, I hope they’ll look back fondly on the sick days we spent together. I also hope it will be one of their favourite childhood memories too…