Caring for a Sick Child When You Are Sick Yourself: You Were Asking
It's an unwritten rule of motherhood: mothers aren't supposed to get sick. But we do. And so do dads. That leaves us parents in a bit of a mess. We have to figure out how to care for our kids when we're sick ourselves.
These days, a lot of parents are grappling with this situation, as H1N1 hits their families.
Here are some tips on caring for kids when you're sick yourself.
Call in any and all favors from extended family members and friends. This is no time to try to tough things out on your own. You need all the help you can get. When other people ask what they can do, assign them specific tasks.
- - Ask people who have built up H1N1 immunity (either from having had the disease themselves or because they were immunized at least ten days ago) if they would be willing to help with laundry or dishes while you catch up on your sleep.
- - Ask people who haven't built up H1N1 immunity if they would be willing to pick up groceries, to make you a super-healthy meal, or to run other errands on your behalf.
Take the best possible care of yourself. It's easy to forget about your own needs when you're taking care of other people who are sick. Remind yourself that you won't be able to take care of them at all if you get sick, too, and that you really need to
- Seize every opportunity for sleep. Sleep plays an important role in keeping the immune system functioning as it should. If you become sleep-deprived, you become more susceptible to illness.
- Eat well. Don't neglect your own nutritional needs. Your body, including your immune system, functions at its best when you consume a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
- Minimize stress. Caring for sick family members is stressful in and of itself. You don't need added stress. So put as many of your other commitments and worries on hold, as possible for now.
Find little ways to make a very difficult situation more bearable. Listen to relaxing music while you're changing sheets. Have a visit with a friend by phone. And promise to treat yourself to a night on the town as soon as life gets back to something resembling normal.
Note: @bweikle: Thank you for asking this question: "Any survival tips for parents who are under the weather but still need to take care of their kids?"
Are you currently caring for sick family members? Have you dealt with this situation recently? Do you have some suggestions of your own to pass along on how to weather this storm without coming completely unglued? If so, I'd love to hear them and I'm sure that other parents who are feeling frustrated and exhausted would love to hear them, too. I think this would make a great topic for our next resource swap. If you've blogged about this topic, please post your link in the comments section below so I can include it in the roundup I'm preparing on this topic. If you haven't had a chance to blog about this yet, why not jot down a few thoughts when you have a moment. If you're a health-care provider or someone else who has insights to share, you're welcome to contribute, too. (The more perspectives, the merrier.)