You know what’s worse than managing a sick baby? Being sick yourself! Trust me, it’s the most miserable state if mommy gets unwell (well I am talking about regular flu & cold kind of sickness; terminal illness is certainly a deeper subject and needs several other factors to manage home & kids).
The first winters with our twins went by taking extra care of them, ensuring they were safeguarded of the cold, weather changes etc. And in the whole process one dark evening (oh i felt really gloomy) I realised I had 102 C fever! With 2 babies who were totally dependent on me for breast milk, with a husband who was a new father and with so much action that the babies had brought in our lives, it was a terrible situation to be in.
Even when I was lying in a corner, too sick to even keep my eyes open, my mind was busy churning out things to do and tasks to be completed.
It was then that I realised that it’s especially difficult for moms to be sick. Actually, it’s an unwritten rule – Moms can’t fall sick – it’s not in the plan after all! Ha ha, no, don’t take this literally. It’s just that the society conditions us in such a way that if you are a mom or any parent, you got to be sacrificing all out ! But after all we are also human beings, so falling sick is just a part of it, isn’t it?
So basis my first rendezvous with virus as a mommy, and several other such instances in past 2 years, here’s a survival guide for those days when you are ” low on energy” and have “high-on-energy” babies/ kids around.
7 steps for Crisis Management
Ask for help
There’s certainly no harm in checking on for a back-up. Don’t shy at calling out to your neighbourhood friend to handle the baby for a while. Most of the times we refrain from making husband take a leave so that there is sufficient leaves available for real emergencies- like when he falls sick or baby is unwell. Please don’t do so. You need to be up and running. Call out for any help desired.
In my situation I called up my mom and she took no time to be around and made me feel better (you know how moms are!).
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Accept the situation
There is no point worrying about something you have no control on. It’s simple – if you are sick, you ARE sick! So let go of all those households errands and take a step back.
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Visit a doctor
Well, this is a no-brainer. But most of the times we Indians have a habit of self-medication especially for our own self ( honest comfession- I belong to this group). Avoid this especially now because you won’t have time for hit-and-trials. Just visit a doctor, pop in those pills and get going.
Let go of any limits/ restrictions
It’s totally fine if you have to feed formula milk to the baby or give Cerelac or packaged cereal thrice a day. It is also totally acceptable if screen time / television time goes beyond set limits. Exceptions are always there, you see!
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Okay, we all know moms are super Heroes. You can do anything! But avoid straining yourself for a while and arrange food delivery. There are several options nowadays where home- cooked food can be delivered. Besides, keep quick fix snacks in your grocery like peanut butter, crackers , Insta noodles, pasta, yogurts, fruits etc. If you are sick atleast others should get a chance to relish ‘different from the routine’ feast. Toddlers and older kids can very well manage on such food options temporarily.
Go Mommy Tip: for a 1 year old it’s a very tricky situation – the baby is neither fully dependent on milk nor completely adept with eating regular food. I keep the recipe of quick & simple food options handy in our kitchen. It makes it easy for any caretaker to prepare food for the baby what he is used to having everyday for those times when I am not around.
Keep the kids engaged
If nothing else helps, just lie down on a couch and get the little one occupied with toys or books. Our babies have loved books since they were not even a month old ( Read babies & books) . It is better to stack a few books & toys separately for emergencies. Take them out on rotation basis.
Anything new will keep your child engaged for longer time. Just keep a check around and rest.
Go Mommy recommends:
For infants, as was the case with me , Fisher Price Kick & Play Piano gym and a Fisher Price Rocker were saviours. These help entertain the baby while you can just lie down around to keep the baby feel snuggled.
Priddy Books are wonderful and keep the babies engaged with soft padded covers and colourful pictures.
For toddlers, Mega blocks give limitless fun with easy grip and bright colours.
As for books, lift the flap books like Where’s Spot or Brown bear Brown bear keep the baby engaged with interactive content.
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Oh, and did I mention : Rest Rest Rest. Don’t feel guilty and take some time off.
Truthfully, how much so ever you prepare yourself to handle such a crisis situation, your little one would come crawling over and give you sloppy kisses just to reassure himself that you are just fine. So be prepared to have lots more of cuddles and more & more of kisses from these ‘smartypants’ because they somehow sense what’s going on with you Mommies.
My Tweenies now keep banging on the door if I try to give 5 minutes to myself. It’s just not possible to look for that “me” time anymore!
And how I cruise through such situations now? Well, I keep myself hydrated; take help from my husband and mom to handle the Tweenies, avoid exerting myself by doing the extras ; give babies’ massage a skip; see the doctor on day 1 itself and take it easy – just sleep – after all super moms also need rest!
What do you do when you are sick?
Share your experiences/thoughts in comments below.