This past weekend was supposed to be a bit of a vacation for my family. My husband had taken off Friday and Monday, so we had some fun things planned for the weekend. I also had a couple articles due on Monday, so I hoped to take Friday afternoon to plow through my articles so that I could enjoy the rest of my weekend with my family. If I’m being honest, I really needed the relaxing weekend because I was exhausted from the week of writing articles and taking care of the kids.
But, as is typical of life, even the best-laid plans fall through. Jarrett came home from work early on Thursday saying he was exhausted and needed a nap because he wasn’t feeling well. An hour later, I go upstairs to check on him and he is shivering uncontrollably with a fever. I’d like to say I had a relaxing weekend, but what actually happened was that I spent the entire weekend taking care of the kids and Jarrett all day, and then once everyone was in bed I would sit down and cross another article off my list. I ended up being more exhausted than when I started the weekend.
Since I was exhausting myself in order to take care of everyone else and meet my writing deadlines on time, I did not have time to take care of myself and get the sleep I needed. So, of course, I have also gotten sick. On Monday night. Just before Jarrett goes back to work.
One thing I really struggle with as a stay at home mom is my inability to have a sick day. Jarrett spent the entire weekend in bed while I brought him food, drugs, tea, and hot packs to make him feel better. To be fair, Jarrett did take over on Monday evening to let me have a nap and finish my articles. But, now it is Tuesday, and I’m at home by myself with three kids. I am congested, achy, and would love a nap but instead, I am up being Mom. And writing this blog post.
So, who takes care of mom? I was thinking about it this weekend, and the only answer I could come up with is Mom. I am the only person who can take care of myself when I am at home with the kids. I wish there were another answer, but ultimately, we need to take care of ourselves as a stay at home parent without official government-sanctioned sick time.
How do we do this?
I’m still trying to figure this one out, but I think a good place to start is really working towards being cognizant of what my body needs. I knew I was wearing myself down this weekend, but I kept pushing myself because I had to. Maybe if I would have taken a night off and then worked twice as hard the next night things would have been better? It’s hard to say.
Once we are sick, it’s a matter of survival. Movies are useful and explaining to your kids that you are sick and need some quiet time. My kids are pretty good at playing nicely together when they know I’m sick. It might be worth it to have some frozen dinners in your freezer to pull out on days when you do not have the energy to cook.
There is no great solution to being sick when you are a stay at home parent. We just have to push through the pain and continue to be parents to the best of our abilities. If that means lying on the couch while our children run wild through the house, then that is what we have to do. A small consolation is that we can get cuddles from our kids. So, if you are sick at home, don’t feel bad if you have to lie on the couch and yell at your kids from there. And you are strong enough that you can get up to make tea or heat up a hot pack.
Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor. I’m going to go make some tea and cuddle on the couch with my kids.