It’s that time of year again. Someone is always sick. Colds. Fever. Flu. Sinus Infections. Strep. More flu.
It’s a vicious cycle, and if you’re a working mom or juggle a busy schedule, it can feel like Spring will never arrive. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way (and, yes, I’ve learned most of them the hard way).
Tip #1 Expect the unexpected.
Murphy’s Law rules. Your kids will get sick at the worst possible time. For me, it’s usually when I’m headed out of town, have a presentation the next morning, or have a household of guests about to arrive. I’ve learned just to roll with the punches and never be surprised.
Tip #2 Get over it.
I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t get sick. You have kids. Your kids will get sick. This is your life, so get used to it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t vent to your girlfriends (or fellow bloggers) for some good old-fashioned empathy. But once you vent, it’s time to get over it!
Tip #3 Have a back-up plan.
If you expect the unexpected, you can also be prepared with a back-up plan. A flexible spouse. A trusty neighbor. A portable office. A willing stranger (just kidding). The possibilities are limited, so you need to plan in advance. I don’t have immediate family in town, so I try to be prepared to work at home at a moment’s notice.
Tip #4 Be creative.
Who says you can’t be two places at once? With modern technology, you can be just about anywhere online. (For those of you who teach or work in the medical professional, I’m a bit stumped, but I’m sure you have some creative solutions of your own.) The bottom line is you need to think outside the box. Be flexible.
Tip #5 Keep your professional life professional.
My clients don’t want to hear about how I was up cleaning vomit all night when they call me for legal advice. Similarly, your co-workers and professional colleagues don’t necessarily want to hear about how you are wigged out, germ infested, and sleep deprived. Now, I realize I’m the queen of TMI and probably have no business telling others to be discreet (after all, my whole life is posted on a blog and in my book), but hear me out on this. There’s a time and place for everything.
Tip #6 Don’t blame your kids.
It’s not your kids’ fault they are sick. In fact, it’s nobody’s fault. Sick happens. So resist the urge to say things like, “It’s too bad we have to cancel the party tonight” or “Everyone at the office is going to be mad I’m not at the meeting.” After all, you don’t want them to feel any worse.
Tip #7 Spend quality time together.
If you’re going to be at home with your kids, count the time as a blessing. Read books together. Watch old movies. Rent a movie. Sit and talk. Take a nap together. Set up a nursing station with water and a thermometer. The bottom line is let them know you care. It’s time together, so take advantage of it.
Tip #8 Break the rules.
You’re in survival mode. The rules are out the door. This is no time to ban junk food or TV. Your kids need to be hydrated, and they need to be comfortable. So if they want to eat popsicles for breakfast and watch TV all day, I let them. And don’t deprive yourself in the process. Get that extra shot in your latte, have a little chocolate, and don’t count calories. You can all resume to normal (whatever that is) when the kids are well.
Tip #9 Recognize when (and why) they’re faking it.
If you’ve had sick kids, you’ve also seen them fake it. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch TV all day, skip homework, and have quality time with Mom? (My kids always start to feel better when I tell them that they can’t have a friend over or go to that special event until they are well.) But I’ve also come to learn that sometimes when they’re playing “sick” they just need my attention. So I ask myself, “Do we just need some quality time together?”
Tip #10 Be thankful for your healthy kids.
When my kids are sick, I recognize just how fragile they are. If you are lucky enough to have children who only get sick occasionally (with the usual colds and flu), count your blessings. All of us have friends and family who have battled a serious childhood injury or illness. Put your own situation in perspective, and thank God for your healthy children.
What are some lessons you’ve learned when your kids are sick? Yes, when our kids are ill, it can bring out the worst in us, but it can also bring out the best!