When the parent is sick

When the kids get sick, you look after them. You take them to the doctors. You wipe noses, tuck little ones into bed. You administer medications, pain relief, warm baths. You give clear fluids, you encourage food to keep their strength up, and insist they rest.

When you get sick – who looks after the kids?

This past week has been the first time since my son was born in November last year that we’ve encountered the dreaded ‘Mum is sick – we now have two children -what now” scenario.

At first, I just tried to battle it out. After all, how hard could it be? The older child went to pre-school as always, and my husband went off to work leaving me at home with the baby.

*Deep Breaths*

“It’s ok. I can do this. It’s just one day, I’m not that sick…”


By lunch time I was questioning my lucidity. I felt truly awful. Oliver was being great, but I just could not function. By Tuesday it was clear that my husband was going to have to do some juggling with work and take some time off. Luckily, in his position he is afforded the flexibility to work from home when the occasion arrises. This was such an occasion. So was Wednesday. Thursday, he had to go back to work and I was mostly over the worst of whatever evil had sunk its claws into my immune system.

I shouldn’t have been shocked when Thursday afternoon the baby got sick. After all – Parents don’t have the option of ‘staying away’ from the baby when they are unwell. He has battled through his illness and has finally woken up yesterday feeling back to his usual cheerful self.  I was very excited to see him on the mend.

I’m very lucky that my husband was able to hang around home for a couple of days with me while I got over the worst of it. But what if your husband works away? What if your partner can’t take time off for fear of losing his job, or repercussions at work? What if you’re a single parent? What if there is no local family support?

What do you do when you’re sick?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 10:03:18

    The other thing to think about is what happens when you are a parent with a disability and there are days you can hardly lift your own weight, let alone lift your child up off his playmat.


  2. SM
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 18:04:39

    You know what as a single parent I think when this happens you have to find the “super powers” within, rest when you can but for the most part dose up on medicine, early nights and simply solider on. For sure it would be great to have someone to turn to and say “I dont feel well, take the child” but im my reality it doesnt happy, its just apart of life, and we always get better eventually, we just have to keep going. Winter is the worse and I dread it every year, because no matter how much you “prepare” kids always bring things home from Kindy.


  3. Literary Feline
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 01:17:53

    Very timely post! My daughter just got over her first cold. And now I have it. It’s hit me pretty hard. I am fortunate to have daycare during the week since I work outside of the home, and so if I do need a day off to rest, my husband can still take her to daycare.

    It is hard sometimes to ask for help, at least for me. My husband is more than willing to help, but I need to ask for it directly or else he won’t realize how much I need it.

    I can’t even imagine being single and having to deal with a sick child and then a sick self. Being a parent is already difficult enough. I have friends who have survived through it on their own and my hat’s off to them.

    If you have a partner or relative or close friend, however, who can help, I say don’t be afraid to ask!


  4. stacybuckeye
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 12:33:14

    We had this problem in January. My hubby took one day off, but even with that it. was. awful. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it, but here we we are. My mom’s retiring at the end of the year and you can be sure that she will be my first phone call next time!


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