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A Stay at Home Mom's Sick Day

Feb 27, 2008
Blerg. It's a drag being sick when you're a stay at home mom. There's really not such a thing as a day off, after all. Even if your husband is home, the kids are used to asking YOU for everything.

And of course, odds are they're sick, about to become sick, or just getting over being sick. Most of the usual bugs do love to run through the entire household.

How do sick days go? Let's see...

Kids get out of bed bright and early for school. Mine get themselves up, which has good and bad points, especially when I need to sleep more because I'm not well.

"Moooooom! I'm hungry!"

I tell them to get dressed first, to get a few precious minutes to get myself organized. Is it a day my husband can help out? Would I really manage to be sick on that kind of a day? Come on! Too easy!

Then I go check on the kids.

Yep, they're most often playing in one bedroom or another. I have a standard response to this... I get to pick out their clothes for the day. My daughter is young enough that she thinks having to wear pants instead of a skirt is no fun.

Off I go to change my son's diaper and get him dressed. About 50/50 odds right now that he will have overflowed it and wet the bed. So odd are I'll have to change his sheets.

Where is that Tylenol/Sudafed/whatever will help with this bug anyhow? Please don't be out!

A rattle in the kitchen, followed by an "oh no!" Yes, my daughter has decided to get her own cereal, with about half of what she poured now on the floor. She cleans it up as I try to decode what it is my son will eat. After repeated denials that he wants cereal, that's what he demands. The unopened box. The open box of the exact same stuff is not what he's after. Too bad.

I consider just having my daughter buy lunch at school. But I decide a cheese sandwich stands a fair chance of being eaten. Why do I have to have that rare kid who loathes peanut butter?

Somehow we pull it all together and stumble out the door with barely enough time to get to school on time. First bell rings when we're about a block away. Being sick means no way will I help out in class today. Just a dump and run so I can get home and rest.

Sure. Rest. With a 3 year old still at home. And sick.

Well, maybe just a little. We snuggle up on the couch to watch a few television shows. I try to doze, but he's not one to sit around and stare at the television for too long. "Me hungry. Me no like. Mama no rest," and so on.

All too soon it's time to get my daughter from school. By this point my son is getting just a bit cranky and in need of a nap, but he wants, nay, demands that he be allowed to walk to the school, rather than ride in the stroller. I bring it anyhow, as insurance. This proves to be important in the first block. In he goes for a ride.

Returning home unusually drained from the walk, I remind myself that there's one advantage to having both kids at... "Honey, please put your things away now. No you can't have candy. That's not where your backpack goes. Etc."

As I was saying, there's one advantage to having both kids at home. They do play together, and my son is temporarily energized by the presence of his sister. Lasts 10-15 minutes, at least. Then the crash.

Despite his protests that he's not tired, off he goes for a nap. Down to one kid to deal with again. She's hungry. And she has homework to do. She has that gift for forgetting how to do each step of the homework, and little interest in using her new reading skills to read the instructions herself, at least not without being told to do so repeatedly.

With her homework done, I can dare to go to my room to rest, giving her some TV time... until my son decides that he's done napping. "All better," as he says.

The kids go play while I continue trying to rest. Hard to do with all their giggles, noisy toys and arguments. But for a short time they don't absolutely need me.

Whoops! So much for that!

And so it goes until it's time to make a really simple dinner, and finally time to get the kids into bed. Some of it with my husband's help, of course.

This is a really short version of how it goes when a stay at home mom gets sick, but I wouldn't trade staying at home even on those days. It's exhausting, sometimes thankless work, but when the kids are grateful it's really wonderful, and even the bad days have their highlights.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.homewiththekids.com/ as a resource for stay at home moms. She shares more of her thoughts on being a stay at home mom on her blog.
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