Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seven things for mummy's sick days

Having the flu is awful at any time, right? Having the flu when you're responsible for young children, and a baby, is really tough.

No one has escaped being sick in our family this winter and I'm in my third week of feeling horrible at the moment, I think, with sinusitis and conjuctivitis - secondary infections after the flu.

Man it's making it a challenge to choose happiness this winter!

I thought I'd share a few things I'm doing this time to manage the kids and the housework when all I really want to do was crawl back into bed for the day.

I give myself permission to take it easy

I've been going to bed when the children do. Even if it's 7.30 or 8pm. It's hard to give up that 'to myself time' in the evenings but it's worth it if it means getting better in a week instead of dragging this out for another month.

There's a lot of stuff I want to do at the moment but I'm  consoling yourself with the thought that I'll do a much better job of it when I'm feeling my energetic self again.

I figure if nothing else this is a good time to reflect on where I get my feeling sense of self-worth. Is it from doing all the things I usually do - being the supermum - or is it more about being a certain type of person in easy times and hard times?

Personally I think it's more important who you are, rather than what you do. So when I'm sick and I can't do stuff I don't panic too much about feeling like a useless person.

Do the essential jobs only

I'm over just popping painkillers or flu tablets from the supermarket and soldiering on. That's the way to get more run down, not the way to get better as quickly as possible.

Feeding and bathing myself and the kids, washing the dishes at least in the evening and doing a load of laundry only if absolutely necessary - that's all I've been keeping on top of.

The rest I've let slide.  Also, young children and babies don't need a bath every day. When my energy's low every second day is fine, with a little wipe of their bottoms with a clean soapy cloth on in-between days.

I figure if the kids eat cheese sandwiches or reheated frozen meals for dinner for a week, and my friend's baby daughter gets her birthday present late because I didn't hit the shops while I was sick, it isn't the end of the world.

I also put off as much paid work as I could, only meeting essential deadlines.

Accept help

I let my husband take carer's week for a few days in the second week so I could go to bed when I wanted.

Yesterday I took all the children to my dad's place and had a nap while they were entertained by my 12-year-old sister. It helped me a lot in getting through the day.

Sometimes I give the kids new toys from the cupboard where I hoard excess presents from last Christmas or birthdays. And I usually put a movie on, or episodes of their current favourite show, for them as well. At the moment it's Inspector Gadget.

Step up my own personal hygiene

I feel like a germ-making factory so I'm keeping some antibacterial gel on the kitchen counter and using it liberally, when preparing food, every time I blow my nose etc. I find it's impossible sometimes with four small children to take the time to go and wash and thorougly dry my hands every time I need to. Using the gel is much faster.

Increase my fluid intake

I'm drinking a glass of water or herbal tea every hour or so. Our lemon tree got raided for the sake of comforting hot lemon and honey drinks I'm enjoying.

Chicken soup is said to have anti-inflammatory properties but we can't be bothered making it. My standby is the local Vietamese takeaway for their truly awesome beef Pho, fragrant with fresh herbs and lemon - it's almost worth being sick for the amazing lift it gives me when I really need it!

Use whatever medicines or natural remedies I can to make myself feel better

I don't know why but I have a bad habit of just toughing it out when I'm sick, and not taking anything unless I feel really, really bad. But I've decided this time that that's just silly. All it does is make me an unpleasant person to live with.

This time I've used saline nasal spray for my blocked nose, an antihistamine when it was dripping, an asthma inhaler for a tight chest, over the counter eye drops and paracetamol. Only today I've started a course of antibiotics which is safe for use while breastfeeding.

Appreciate feeling well

When I feel better again, I'm going to make the most of it!

I'm determined to fully appreciate feeling well again, eating healthily and getting some exercise in every day, to bump up my immune system a bit. And put it in my calendar to go and get the flu shot next year -  something I neglected to do this year.

This time of being sick hasn't been a complete write-off for me. I had some lovely thoughts about spiritual aspects of feeling unwell. I wrote about them here.

That's all for today, I'm off to make another cup of tea.

What do you do to help yourself through sick days? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


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  1. Hope you get to feeling better soon! I too try to take it easy when I'm sick and be kind to myself for not getting everything done.

  2. Thank you both! I'm sure I will feel better soon.

  3. Since the beginning of last week, I have been fighting a slight cold. It is school holidays so I have just taken it easy and got the older children to do extra chores. Steve has been home too. Over the weekend, I went to bed before 8.00 pm.

    I hope you are better soon too Marilyn.


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