There’s never a great time to be at home, sick. I hope these tips help you focus on getting well! Feel better soon!
I rang in the New Year with a head cold that turned into fatigue, a body-wracking cough, and hives. My kids had already been sick for a week, and by the time I was feeling better, my daughter came down with a second illness.
Back-to-back-to-back illness isn’t the norm, but having sick kiddos is. And as a stay-at-home mom, I knew there was going to be little rest until everyone was on the mend.
If you are a fellow stay-at-home parent looking for a few things you can do to get through this next illness, here are my top tips. In a perfect world, they would be my top tips for success. But in reality, I hope that these little things simply get you through this illness.
Feel better soon!
How to Survive Sick Days as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Give yourself grace
There’s a lot that isn’t going to go well over the next week or so. Dishes will pile up. The amount of screen time you consume will likely increase. You may feed your kiddos like they’re eating out of a vending machine.
None of those things are inherently bad for small periods! As you rest and recuperate, give yourself grace for the things you let slide.
Cancel any unimportant school activities
Now that you’ve embraced illness, it’s time to let others know. Your focus is rest! Consider canceling any unimportant school activities, like practices, tutoring lessons, or the like.
If you homeschool like we do, consider covering only the bare minimum during class time. Co-ops and field trips can wait.
I know, I know. This is the last thing you’re going to want to do. But hear me out!
None of us need some scientific study to tell us it just feels good to get outside. So listen to your body! Take a half hour to sit in the sunshine and get that fresh air while you’re ill.
If you’re unable to get outside, consider opening the windows and letting your home air out for about an hour or so!
Camp out where your kids are
If you have small children like I do, laying in bed while the kids entertain themselves simply isn’t an option. My toddlers can’t do much by themselves, and still heavily rely on me to help them with trips to the bathroom and snacks.
So my best tip is to choose a room in the house and stick to it. For us, that’s the living room. We will spend all day in front of the TV, playing with toys, reading, napping, and the like. We even eat in the living room!
If for some reason we need to make a move to another room, I’ll bring a blanket with me and camp out on the floor.
Sure, we may get extra TV, but that’s going to be so much help if I’m unable to get off the couch and my husband is gone as the working parent. Remember my first point – give yourself grace!
Rely on your household systems
Every day, my husband and I know that at least one load of laundry and dishes must be done. So even though I’m the stay-at-home mom and I’m responsible for the house chores, my husband knows what keeps the house moving.
So if I’m ill or out of the house, he starts the dishwasher and starts a load of laundry.
A smoothly run household is something we created together, way before we ever needed the systems to begin with. And you can do it too!
Consider similar systems you have in your own home. What are one or two things you could be doing to keep your home running smoothly? Maybe it’s taking out the trash. Maybe it’s walking the dog. Maybe it’s starting dinner in the crock pot.
Whatever it is, don’t skip it even though you’re sick. It’s going to give you the illusion the house is still running smoothly even though everything else is a bit out of balance.
Keep a water bottle full and readily available
There is nothing worse than compounding a cold with something like dehydration. So prevent it before it starts!
At the first sign of illness, assign everyone their water bottle with the challenge to never let it get empty.
Prepare a caddy with everything you may need
As a stay-at-home mom, there always seem to be lots of little noses that need to be wiped. Or midnight strikes and that’s when someone is spiking a fever. There’s never an ideal time to administer medication either. Especially if someone is running a fever or doesn’t want to eat.
So when we get sick, I keep everything centrally located. That way, when it is midnight and someone needs their temperature taken, the thermometer is centrally located and I’m not digging for it. If they do need medication for a fever, the medication is right beside the thermometer.
The same goes for things like tissues, emesis bags, throat lozenges, and water bottles.
Know what proper rest looks like
Proper rest is worrying about everything that I’m missing out on while we’re sick.
Proper rest isn’t keeping a log of things to catch up on in the back of my mind.
Proper rest is taking the time to just be sick. Know that you’ll get back to life as you know it soon. There may be a few things to catch up on, but what’s best is getting through the illness without getting worse.
Embrace lowering your expectations and give yourself grace. Your focus should be getting better!
Things you can do before getting sick
My fellow toddler moms will know what I’m talking about. Your toddler comes home and says “Mommy, I don’t feel good.” Or you wake up with a sore throat and no other symptoms.
It’s time to prepare – illness is on its way!
Here are a few things you can do before getting sick that may make your downtime easier.
Keep a secret stash of toys for sick days
Keeping little ones entertained is a feat when you aren’t feeling well. So keep some things on hand that will keep their attention so you can rest!
Our favorite activities and toys are sticker books, a fresh package of crayons, dolls, and the like.
Instead of TV time or toys, compile some craft supplies
Other activities that will keep children entertained include painting, beads, working with popsicle sticks, tissue paper, and other construction paperwork like crowns and weaving.
Having ideas for these activities prepped ahead of time will give you the jump-start you need when you’re not at your best.
Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet
Since preparation is the name of the game, prepare the most obvious thing! Your medicine cabinet.
While you’re considering what to stock, be sure to check things like expiration dates. There’s nothing worse than needing something but it isn’t effective.
More great tips for surviving a sick day as a stay-at-home mom
Accept outside help
When I am sick, the last thing I am thinking is what’s for dinner. Luckily, we have an incredible friend group who is ready and able to provide a meal when we need one!
Meals aren’t the only things friends can provide. Consider asking friends to fetch medication or pick up your grocery order.
How do you survive sick days as a stay-at-home mom?
My old self would accept no outside help when I got sick. Luckily, I know now that as long as I’m willing to give myself grace on screen time for a couple of days and accept a meal from a friend, any illness I may have will pass very quickly!
Are these things you do, too? Let me know! Comment below and tell me what you do to survive sick days as a stay-at-home mom!
Are you looking for other things to do with your kids? Check out these blog posts!