When Mom is sick, the whole family feels uncomfortable. Although she tries her best to keep up with everyone’s needs, the flu or stomach bug will eventually drain her resources to do so. Then what? How do kiddos get fed, get to school, and keep up with their own scheduled activities?
In this post, we’ll take a comprehensive and practical look at how to manage life when Mom is sick.
A wise woman anticipates her family’s needs, including her own. She needs to keep on hand the things she’ll need to care for herself.
I recommend that every Fall, Mom takes an inventory of the medicine cabinet and pantry. Throw away expired symptom relievers and restock with fresh. Don’t forget Kleenex. And in the corner of the pantry keep a designated supply including
- 2-liter bottle of ginger ale
- Box of Saltine crackers
- Jar of applesauce
- 2 or 3 jars of pureed bananas (baby food)
- Large bottle of Gatorade
If Mom gets a stomach bug, she’ll be glad to have these things already in the house should she have to manage on her own for a bit.
If help from another adult is available, ask for it. Dad is the obvious candidate to recruit. Though it often seems to work out that Mom gets sick when he’s away on business or incapacitated himself with a man-cold.
In these instances, Mom can look to her network. Is Grandma available and willing? How about nearby siblings or friends who love you and will take your kids to their house or bring a meal to yours?
If you’re truly desperate for help and able to afford it, you can hire babysitting and housekeeping help through agencies.
Evey family has its own situational dynamic. Kids are little or grown, help is available or not, Mom’s type A or type B disposition determines her capacity to not stress over what doesn’t get done while she’s down.
With these variables in mind, here are three key principles and strategies necessary to manage the household when Mom is sick:Here are three key principles and strategies necessary to manage the household when Mom is sick. Click To Tweet
1. The safety of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers is of paramount concern when Mom is on her own and unable to provide the level of supervision and care she normally does. Therefore, in this temporary situation, confine the littles in a crib or playpen while Mom rests and let them play with toys or watch television. Preschoolers too big for a playpen should be in the same room as Mom with the door locked to prevent wandering should she fall asleep. Is this ideal? No. Not for Mom or child. But both are safe.
2. When Mom is sick, non-essential activities should be suspended if adult help is unavailable to pick up the slack. Non-essential activities include housework, kid transportation, and cooking.
While kids still need to eat during the day, young ones can eat simple foods from the pantry and fridge that don’t require much, if any, preparation.
And it’s better for kids to miss school (if Mom drives them) and activities than to risk a car accident because Mom is impaired by illness.
3. Older children should be enlisted to help Mom. Grammar school-aged kids can do plenty for themselves. They can get their own food, bathe and dress, and largely entertain themselves while Mom rests. But they can also be a great help to her by doing small jobs.
These jobs may include taking care of the pet’s needs, doing dishes, tidying the house, entertain younger siblings, and bringing Mom drinks and snacks.
Once Mom has at least one child in junior high school, she’s got it made. Although they won’t be taking the car to run errands, they can do pretty much anything in the house that Mom can: wash and dry a load of laundry, make dinner, be responsible to care for younger siblings.
Once Mom has recovered from her sickness, she should evaluate how it went. Did she have the meds and food she needed? If she had no help, what could she do to ensure she did for the next time? Were her small children kept safe and essential needs provided? Did older children exhibit a helpful disposition and have the skills necessary to step up?
The answers to these questions will help to be better prepared for the next time. And in the case where there are older children, they will show Mom what areas she needs to apply additional attention to their character or skill development. So the next time when Mom is sick, they will be unselfish and capable.