Parenting: it’s guaranteed to make you sick

When my kids get sick my gut reaction is always the same: a wave of annoyance and then an overwhelming feeling of mom guilt.

Of course, I know what I should be feeling: concern for my child’s health, empathy over their current situation, even a little sadness that they aren’t feeling well.

Instead, though, I seem to always fall short. Take the other night for example. My youngest was in my room having stolen both my phone and my bed. It was a quiet night until I heard it. The sound no parent wants to hear, but can immediately recognize.

The sound of puke hitting the floor.

Instead of being the good mother who runs to be by their child’s side, I find myself muttering ‘for fuck’s sake’ under my breath and cursing our lack of paper towels.

I hate when my kids get sick.  It’s not only the fact that instead of becoming snuggly, tired and sweet my kids become whiny snot monsters wrecking havoc on the household; it’s because they are determined to take me down with them.

My kids are amazing at timing their sneezes to land directly in my face, and they also manage to insist on sleeping their sickness off as close to me as possible just to up the ante.

During this particular sickness, I was fortunate enough to have the stomach flu hit just as we had run out of laundry soap. With a serious concern with the state of both of her ends, I finally attempted to venture out a few days after the start of ‘shitmageddon’ only to have my little one fall asleep in the car. My need for a home that didn’t smell like sewage was overthrown by my daughter’s sheer need for rest.

After a few days of insanity, I found myself desensitized. My little one would find her usual spot in the kitchen (in case you were planning on eating that day), let me know she wasn’t feeling well and then proceed to puke all over herself.

I guess after shitting her pants while sleeping in my bed a little puke on the tile floor was a welcome change.

And now, with a family party on the horizon and plenty to do, she has managed to pass her stomach flu to me. So after days of cleaning up bodily fluids, I now get to experience it first hand. It could be worse though.

She could have given it to my husband.

 

 

Why I let my kids skip school

While most employers want you to take the day off if you are physically ill, mental health days aren’t always looked at the same way.

With my kids I often encourage them to go to school with a case of the sniffles or a nagging cough. I use the old, ‘tell your teacher if you are feeling sick and they will call me to get you’ schtick knowing full well that they will forget about wanting to stay home once they are surrounded by their friends and the fun of school.

Yet when it comes to mental health I tend to take a different approach. In my opinion and my personal experience, when your mental health is suffering you are not going to be productive or receptive to learning new information.

While weekends may be the ideal time to recharge your batteries, with birthday parties, errands and three busy little girls I find the weekends busier than ever.

Taking time to reconnect

So when I notice one of my kids needing a little boost, I will usually take a day just for the two of us. This past week I noticed a need in my middle daughter. She had been especially crabby after school and I could just tell she was exhausted. The demands of full-day senior kindergarten coupled with after-school activities and a lingering cough had taken her toll and she needed a break.

So when it came time to get ready for school the next morning I gave her a free pass. One of the things my kids like the best about days off, whether it is the weekend or one of their special ‘bonus days’, is the ability to spend their entire day in their pajamas. Even if we go out I will still let them rock a princess nightgown and mismatched bottoms. After all, they are only kids once.Before I know it they will be embarrassed to be seen with me.

Our day off

Our days off usually follow the same sort of formula. We spend part of the day cleaning up the house and striking items off of my to-do list and then we get to do something fun together.

Our latest adventure consisted of cleaning a new to us couch, getting a happy meal (and a very large coffee) and going on the hunt for an out of season winter jacket.

Some days we spend alone at home snuggling on the couch and watching some terrible shows on Netflix. We spend time cuddling, unwinding, and de-stressing.

We get to spend some much needed one-on-one time together and they are able to face the next day of school energized and refreshed.

Mental health breaks benefit everyone

Taking care of my kid’s mental health is a great reminder to also take time for myself. As much as I am needed to take care of my family, if I am not also taking care of myself everything will fall apart. So, as I sip my wine and soak in the tub I am not wasting away my Friday night, but instead taking a great step towards better mental health.