Recently my husband and I both had the flu. If this was a few years ago, before my daughter was born then it wouldn’t have been as big of an ordeal but having a four year old who is not sick while you are can pose a bit a problem. I could barely lift my head and all my daughter kept asking was “Do you want to play with me?” Trying to entertain your kids and keep them busy even when you’re not sick can be very difficult, but add a migraine, congestion, fever, aches and pains, well then you have a recipe for a pretty bad situation. Being a parent and being sick is like mixing oil and water. It just does not work.
Luckily, I did have a few tricks up my sleeve. I learned to always keep a little stash a few craft sets that she can do on her own. Also, things like jars of Play Doh, construction paper, new coloring books and sticker pads can work. I was sick for about a week and didn’t have stuff to keep her busy all the time, but slowly introducing something new once or twice a day really helped. The other times she would just play with her toys, watched a little tv with us, and sometimes just lay down and relax with us.
Another thing that really worked was I gave her some pieces of construction paper and told her to draw pictures for different family members, friends and whoever else she wants to draw for. This kept her busy for close to two hours. I was desperate for any sort of peace and quiet. I even offered up the IPad. Not my favorite thing to do, but this situation called for it.
Getting sick and adding the stress of trying to take care of your child is one of the most challenging things because you always want to feel like you are there for your kids. You protect them, feed them, bathe them, but when you are sick, you are weak and sometimes not able to be the normal Super Mom that you are. I got so down on myself for not being able to play with or spend time with her and wanted her to at least have some fun. I thought maybe we can send her off for a play date, but then realized that is not a good idea because we don’t want to spread whatever bug and germs we have to someone else’s household. So, she was stuck in the house with us. Whenever I did have some relief and felt a little better she would bring her Legos into my bed and sit next to me while we built something. We also did the same with a few crayons and coloring book.
The night before my first day back to work, after this whole debacle I was sitting in my daughter’s room reading her a book. I told her that mommy will be going back to work the next day and her sitter will be back to watch her. She told me that she is so happy that I am feeling better and loved spending the past few days with mommy and daddy. Her exact words were:
It was so fun mommy!
In that moment I realized I don’t need to be so tough on myself. I did the best I could in that situation and what I thought was horrible and felt so badly about, my daughter thought was “so fun”.