In case you haven’t heard me gripe about being sick on social media 100 times already (sorry, ya’ll), Julian’s fever + cold caught up to me and I’ve been a congested mess the past few days. You would think with Julian and I both under the weather we would be having lots of chill days drinking tea and snuggling under big blankets while listening to lots of Raffi. Instead, when Julian is sick he still gives about 90% and I’m down to about 10%, which just doesn’t work.
Truthfully, that was one of the most shocking things to me when I became a full time mom- no sick days! I remember being sick at home alone for the first time just before last Christmas and how absolutely helpless I felt during that time. I took the lessons from that instance and used it to keep us all sane during this bout of sickness.
Here are my 5 tips to keeping sane while home sick with a toddler:
- Accept reality: You’re sick! Now is not the time to try to be super mom. Don’t try to make every meal perfect, DIY every activity, or keep your home spotless. Girl, please! Accept that for the next few days everything isn’t going to be as neat or clean or organic as they normally are. If you start each day with the mindset that you’re only going to do the absolute necessary then you’ll be starting off on the right foot. I have one word of caution: I am not a fan of breaking my son of bad habits I created in a moment of laziness so try not to go too overboard with the lax mentality because you may end up shooting yourself in the foot later. The way I combat getting way too lazy when I’m sick is having a few tricks up my sleeve, like:
- Cook easy: When I’m sick all I want is a grilled cheese and trashy reality TV, and when my son is down for the night you better believe I’m cueing up Hell’s Kitchen on the tube while my guy is making me one of his famous grilled cheeses. But during the day I know that (a) Julian is watching my every move and I can’t expect him to want to eat the healthy things I make him if I’m not following suit. More importantly (b) I FEEL BETTER WHEN I EAT BETTER! Groundbreaking stuff, right? The day after we got home from L.A. I was feeling all sorts of yuck but eating a huge stuffed sweet potato kept me going. The toughest part about being sick is the spurts of energy followed by the intense desire to lay down for about 2 hours. During those spurts of energy I would prepare some quick and hearty meals that I know will fuel me but can also be shared with the babe. Things like stuffed loaded overnight oats (made in 5 minutes the night before going to bed) for breakfast, loaded sweet potatoes for lunch, and my 5 minute salmon with quickly sautéed veggies. These yummy but healthy meals ensure I’m working at my highest potential while also still eating well. I also snack, all day long, when sick. Green shakes, smoothie and fruit bowls, and PB toast gives me the mini boost to engage with my babe just before snuggling back into the couch. Which brings me to:
- Lots and LOTS of independent activities: Remember all those activities that saved us during that flight? Well it’s the same thing that’s going to save you when sick. I had a handful of these activities left over for the trip so pulling those out throughout my sickest day helped to buy me 20-30 minutes here and there to just sit back and rest. Sticker books, magnetic toys, and that beautiful $10 magna doodle helped to give me plenty of breaks throughout the day- time I would normally use to prep dinner, clean, or respond to emails. Also, never underestimate the simple things, like listening to his fave music on headphones while you two snuggle in bed or on the couch. This is also the reason that I don’t give him all his bday toys on his bday. Being able to pull out a new truck, set of play-dough, or something small like little wooden people, makes such a huge impact.
- Ask for help: I’m the biggest offender here. After each huge party I’ve thrown or each huge life event, family and friends always ask me why I didn’t ask them for help. Well, I’m a ridiculous perfectionist and asking for help means more stress on my part. However, this isn’t one of those times. Call your mom, aunt, uncle, friend, neighbor, or do something really crazy: ask your husband to come home from work an hour early. Shocker, right? Don’t martyr yourself! There’s always someone willing to sit and play with your babe for 30 minutes while you go close your eyes or willing to pick you up some soup from Panera. Heck, using my instructions, my husband put together this soup (well not this one exactly, but forget how it looked, it was damn delicious) which was so sweet and helpful. It’ll make all the difference in the world! On that note:
- Get some rest: I don’t mean the 5-10 minutes you will spend recouping your energy on the couch in between play sessions. I mean legitimate rest! Remember when your babe was a newborn and everybody told you to sleep when your babe sleeps but you couldn’t because you spent that time either staring at him, eating, staring at him some more, taking photos of him while he slept, emailing them daily to every member of your immediate and extended family, loading those to IG, cleaning your already spotless house, and finally, staring at your babe until your stare eventually woke him up? This is not one of those times. I know that when your toddler is sleeping it’s the best time to stuff some food in your mouth or answer a quick email but don’t do it. The emails will be there tomorrow when you have a bit more strength and you can eat when you wake up. Sleep during every nap, go to bed early, and if you can swing it and your spouse or a friend can let you sleep in, grab an extra 30-60 minutes in the morning. I promise getting that extra rest will make the difference between having one really sick day or three.
This past week has been pretty gross, but thanks to implementing some of the above, it hasn’t been unbearable. I still had plenty of “I can’t believe I still have to work while sick” moments but I also had a ton of “soak up these sick snuggles mama- you won’t be getting them for another year” moments
Now tell me, what are your go to tricks when you’re sick?