How I parent when my kids are sick


when my kids are sickLike most (okay, all) moms, there is not one day that goes by when I’m not doubting at least one decision I’ve made. Did I use the right tone? Did I make my kids feel special enough? Am I allowing too many electronics? Should we stay home more? Should we go out more?

There is one area though, where I feel like some super powers come into play. When my kids are sick (the achy, throw up, miserable kind of sick), I sort of rock this parenting thing. There is something about seeing your baby ache that makes you put aside everything else and go into ultra-mom mode.

Checking temperatures, doling out fluids, keeping track of meds. Got it.

Setting up an area (within arm’s reach, of course) with tissues, blankets, a bucket, comfort items, etc. Yep, took care of that too.

Washing and re-washing sheets, and towels, and blankets, and undies. Endless, but under control.

I have held my daughter all night, sleeping upright so she could breathe a little better and actually get some rest. I have let her throw up in a bowl I made out of my shirt, for lack of anywhere else for the puke to go. I’ve read a dozen stories and watched an endless loop of Doc McStuffins when that is all she had energy to do.

I’ve also asked myself – why can’t I parent like this all the time? Or at least more often. For once, I don’t see the mess. The housecleaning can wait. I don’t pay attention to the time, except to make sure we are all eating and taking whatever medication is needed. I’m not stressed over a deadline-I delegate. And I am not oogling over social media, but instead studying my child’s face. Making sure that I notice if her fever is inching higher, or her stomach is still bothering her. I slow down. I let everything else go.

Minus the fact that the kids are sick, I really should try this more often. How much would my family benefit from a day of cuddles, blankets, movies, and nothing for me to do but study their faces? How much would I benefit?

And so, when my toddler’s tantrum sobbing is coming to an end, and she wants to be held, I will take a deep breath, squeeze her tight, and sit a little bit longer.

When the dishes have piled up, but my kids are giggling and playing, I’ll do my best to join in and seize the moment. There are always paper plates or late night kitchen-cleaning parties with my husband.

When my two year old asks for breakfast for dinner after a tough, napless afternoon, I‘ll wrap up the roast I cooked all day, toss it in the fridge. and whip up some pancakes.

I want my kids to be well. But I also want them to feel good. About themselves, about their home, about being loved. So I will rock my teething baby just a little bit longer. Listen more closely to the story my toddler is telling (even if it is the longest story in the history of stories). And watch their faces grow before me, as much, and as often as I can.

I just need a little reminding, a healthy dose of patience, and some super-momma powers.


  1. This is so me!!!! When my daughter is sick I focus on getting her something to drink, eat, watch cartoons, etc. It is so easy when she is sick but when she is healthy it is so hard to multi – task and do everything, take care of her, the house, and work full time. I feel guilty that I need to give her my full attention more often then just when she is sick.

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