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On Thursday afternoon I was looking forward to the weekend. I’d spent the day as usual with Elizabeth playing, visiting my Mum and doing our usual Thursday fayre, And then it hit me. Goodness knows what I had eaten, but by Thursday evening my body had erupted from both ends. The worst case of diarrhoea and vomiting I’d had in a long while. But how do you cope with being a mum when you are ill?
Being A Mum when You are Ill
The only thing I wanted to do was sleep. I ached like crazy. Andrew got me a hot water bottle and a pint of water with oral rehydration salts added and I sipped this. I was drifting in and out of conciousness, but at one point I woke up to hear Andrew just saying “Oh God!” over and over. Turns out Elizabeth had been sick too. I couldn’t have helped even if I wanted to. I went back to sleep.
By morning I still wasn’t much better, the sickness had stopped but the diarrhoea continued. Normally Elizabeth goes to nursery on a Friday, but this obviously wasn’t going to happen. She hadn’t had diarrhoea yet but my worry was what if she exploded from that end too? I could hardly deal with my own illness, let alone hers.
Andrew got us both a drink of water and went off to work, closing the child proof gate at the top of the stairs. When Elizabeth woke up, I changed her thankfully moist but poo-free nappy and brought her into our bed. She seemed fine, other than smelling a little of sick from the night before. Out came my iPad, and baby YouTube reigned.
I went back to sleep, and again drifted in and out of sleep. I just needed to rest and get better. Elizabeth did not seem worried, but played with some of her toys and watched her videos. When I woke up and got us some more water and toast at lunchtime she didn’t really want much, but still seemed bright enough. Somebody is obviously looking down on me kindly!
We spent the whole day in bed together. She actually took on a bit of a nurse persona, saying “Mummy sick” and trying to take my temperature. Having been in hospital herself a few times I’m sure has helped her realise how I felt. I was worried that she might be bored, but actually I needn’t have worried. She coped and played her own games and just got on with it. By the time Andrew got home we were both feeling a little better. Though I am now writing this in the middle of Friday night/Saturday morning. How long it will take to get my sleep patterns back to normal is anyone’s guess!
So, my tips for being a Mum when you are ill?
1. Lower those standards
And then lower them some more baby! Do the absolute minimum of housework. Honestly, that laundry can wait!
2. Try not to spread it around.
Good hand washing and not sharing eating utensils or towels is the most important thing. Clean around areas as best you can at the time. With a vow to bleach and disinfect properly when you are back on your feet.
Let your other half sort out making the meals, even if that means pizza and chips.
3. Call in for reinforcements
Now, if you’ve read my post on The Pros and Cons of Being an Older Mother you will know that all our relatives are a fair bit older. The last thing I wanted was to pass this possible infection on, so I declined to do this.
However, I know that they would be there in a heartbeat if it was more of a long term thing. And certainly I would have called if it hadn’t have possibly been infectious.
It can also be hard if you hate delegating. My other half doesn’t do the jobs like I do them (let’s face it, who does?) and so it can be a bit of an annoyance to pass the baton to someone else whilst you languish in your sick cave. But sometimes it is necessary.
4. Forget all about being a perfect parent
Maybe you normally make sure that the children don’t eat too many biscuits or crisps. Or you don’t let them have the tablet/iPad for more than an hour at a time?
Well, now is the time to relax these rules! Just concentrate on getting better, even if it does mean having Peppa Pig videos on loop. Let go of the guilt. Have an all day pyjama party!
And if your child is like mine and usually needs full attention and interaction it may teach a little bit of an important lesson. You can never be bored if you can play on your own, and use your imagination.
5. Encourage your child to be your nurse.
Now, I’m not saying that you train your child to go get your hot water bottles or do the ironing or anything like that. But it can only be a good thing to encourage the empathy in your child. My little girl actually enjoys taking my temperature, putting a blanket over me and saying ‘There, there’. It made her feel like she was helping, which can only be a good thing, right? If your child is old enough, maybe they can go to get things for you.
At the end of the day it would be nice not to get sick in the first place, so look after yourself. But sometimes shit happens. Quite literally in my case.
And so, now I’m feeling so much better it is time to start cleaning the house.
Now, I can stay on top of housework with the minimal of effort when I’m at full charge. But how is it that when I have a day of being ill the house looks like a disaster zone?! It seems to grow exponentially until there is just a huge pile of toys, clothes and half eaten food in a huge monster ball that just bowls me over (That may or may not have been a dream I had whilst I was deliriously ill)
Do you have any tips about being a mum when you are ill? I would love to hear them. Comment below or find me on social media.