Recently, my husband and I both came down with a terrible stomach virus. You know the kind of illness that debilitates and leaves you lying on the bathroom floor. The kind of illness that brings you to thank God that you bought the cushier and softer bathroom rug from Target. The kind that puts life on pause.
When it was just the two of us, being sick was not an issue. We could retreat to our individual corners of the house moaning, groaning, and napping in peace. However, that all changes when you have children. No one prepares you for how close you come to the apocalypse. And so, that is where we found ourselves – on the verge of the world ending, hiding in the bathroom, as our invading toddler ran and played.
Now a proud survivor, I realize that though these times are difficult – they are also workable.
The Day after Tomorrow
Gatorade. Crackers. Chicken Noodle and Creamy Tomato Soup. Hot Tea. These are the essentials that are used the most often when my family is sick. With a stroke of luck, I had actually stocked the pantry with most of these a couple of days before we got sick. Having the essentials on hand versus having to run out and buy them was a lifesaver. What does your family like to eat, drink, and use a lot of when they are sick? Create an Emergency Sick Kit for your pantry that includes all those things – including YOUR favorite things. The next time someone, or everyone, falls ill -your emergency sick kit will save you both time and energy.
The Dark Netflix Rises
While we were sick, my husband and I put up the baby gate, turned on some Netflix and moved as little as possible. This was our reality. But, this was also absolutely necessary in being able to heal. As a mother – the guilt has to be put away in order to invest in a little self-care. For me, that means not feeling bad that my son is confined to being in one room or that we haven’t spent good quality time with him. It also means we do a lot of rule breaking. The heater gets turned on. The child runs wild. I wear leggings every day. Do what you have to do to survive. And in my opinion, do it with style. No guilt trips and no expectations – the first priority is to get better.
My husband and I deal with our illnesses quite differently. I find myself tending to his needs far more than I take care of my own. So when we are both sick with an active toddler on the loose – the only way we can each survive is by honest communication, taking turns, and lots of grace. Maybe some boundaries have to be set in place at the beginning of the day or maybe this comes naturally to your relationship- either way, have a plan that sets you BOTH up for success. If you are on your own, be willing to ask for help. I know it can be hard to reach out to others in times of need, but that is what community is for. Be specific in what you need assistance with as others won’t be able to read your mind. Perhaps you need a couple of hours without your children, or help in making dinner that night, or maybe just someone who can help around the house. Many people want to give, but often don’t wan’t to step on toes. Give them the permission they need, and get the recovery you need.
Clorox Wipes are a woman’s best friend. I like to have a huge pack on hand for special occasions like these. After a sickness has swept over our home, my husband and I clean everything from the door handles to the bed sheets. Not only does this have the obvious impact of ridding your house of lingering viruses, but it also starts the family off fresh. To not just physically freshen the house, but also clear the mood, I will diffuse my essential oils, light some candles, and get some music playing. After such traumatic events, it’s important for the house to get some care too.