My baby is sick and it’s THE WORST. No one talks about this much but it’s hands down the toughest thing about parenting. I hadn’t considered it before I had kids. How it would feel or what it would entail but it’s brutal! What makes it hard?
The worrying: You’ve seen the viral Facebook posts about the kid with a fever who died of meningitis a couple of hours later, what if THAT’S what she has? What if it’s serious. Every time my kids get a fever or a rash I’m constantly checking, doing the glass test.
Questioning yourself: You learn on the job with parenting. It’s easier for me second time round distinguishing between what’s worrying and what’s not but each time they are ill it definitely has me wishing I studied medicine at uni instead of history! You wonder if you are being too anxious and the doctor will laugh at you or maybe you aren’t taking it seriously enough?! Yesterday I had my baby at urgent care and was wracked with guilt over taking the appointment. On the way there we were still discussing whether she really needed it (she did) but the alternative is worrying about it all night. Sometimes even if all you get is peace of mind it’s worth taking them in. Side note – why when they get seriously sick is it always when it’s out of hours?!
The patience required: I’ve always said the one job I could never do is be a doctor or nurse. I’ve no patience for sick people. I’m not a natural nurse. It’s easier to be patient with my kids of course (say, than their dad with the man flu, *rolls eyes*) but a few days of a kid whining or crying will wear you down.
The mess: Poop, pee, sick, snot, medicine spat out. So much cleaning and washing, it can take weeks to catch up.
The exhaustion: I just spent a night where my baby scream cried for 5.5 continuous hours. Those nights are the worst. The stress of it, combined with sheer exhaustion because your body is screaming to sleep is definitely the darkest side of parenting. You would do ANYTHING to get them to stop crying and sleep. Generally though I just make desperate posts about how hard it is on social media that seem somewhat cringeworthy in the light of the day but usually other mam’s will post sympathetic messages to me because THEY KNOW.
Uncertainty: How long will it last? When will this nightmare end? Do I need to take time off work to care for them? I’m starting to think we need to be like those doomsday planners and stock up for occasions like this. Except that it’s more of our norm now and not the exception!
How to survive?
Have a couple of healthy wholesome meals in your freezer for times like this that you can just whack in the crock pot or oven. Get takeaways. Get a cleaner in, an hour for £10 can be an enormous help and make you feel much better about the house. I don’t know about you but when it’s a mess in my home I feel even worse. Ask for help from friends and family – if you’ve other kids who aren’t sick maybe someone could take them to the park or have them for a sleepover. If you can get out and get fresh air, it will even help the sick one. Early nights and naps when you can will help you through it. Lastly, speak to your tribe (if you don’t have one then get one!), your mother, sister, aunts, other mothers. They get it and will be oracles of advice and support.
If all that fails – cake, wine, coffee…