How To Survive Your Kids Being Sick When You’re Sick Too

You’re darting from kid to kid, catching puke in any bucket that you can find, dishing out popsicles and ice packs and Ibuprofen for their aches and pains, hoping against hope that they will all be magically cured from whatever horrible virus is currently lurking in their bodies, when it hits you.

That first rumbling in your stomach, that horrible dawning of realization that oh no, it’s coming for you too.

And before you know it, you’re darting for the bathroom with the baby still in your arms, because #momlife.

Is there any more helpless feeling as a mom? To know that not only are you responsible for caring for sick little ones, but also to try to fight through the sickness yourself? I am breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it, because it’s honestly one of my worst nightmares.

I’d like to say it has never happened to me, but I would be lying. Last winter especially was extremely hard on my family and our four young kids, who were seven, five, three, and one at the time, seemed to be hit with one horrible bug after another. I kept telling myself I couldn’t possibly get through another week with sick kids and that surely, relief was right around the corner — and then the next bug would hit and I would start the process all over again.

Someone please tell me I’m not the only mother who sometimes can’t stand the sound of her kids’ sniffling and whining when they are sick?

But getting back to the topic at hand here, let’s just take a moment to join virtual hands as mothers who are going into this season of sickness knowing that there will be days and nights and weeks and maybe even months when we will like we are hanging by a thread to get through being sick ourselves, when our kids are sick too. And if we’re lucky, we might just rely on a few of these tips to make it through:


  1. Don’t be ashamed to beg for supplies. Seriously. I have done this and I have no shame. During one particularly desperate week, I texted my neighbor to leave some essential supplies on my porch for me and I did pay her back (and then some!) later. When you’re stuck at home with sick kids and can’t risk infecting anyone else, but also are a little out of the line of delivery from one of those new Amazon drones, don’t be ashamed to beg for supplies if you have to. I can almost guarantee that someone will be willing to help you out.
  2. Don’t be a martyr. I say this only because I am so, so guilty of this. Even though I am a working mother, I have to admit that I still fall guilty into thinking of the children of my primary responsibility. I never thought that I could ask my husband to take a day off of work to “help” me when the children were sick, because it was my job to take care of them, even if I was sick myself. I had a lot of fear that he would lose his job or that I’d be a bad mom if I admitted that I just couldn’t do it. And although not every mom will have the option to ask for help from a partner or a family member, if you can, please, please do it — without any guilt on your part.
  3. Ask your kids for help. I have never been so shocked in my life as I was when I got horrible mastitis after my fourth baby was born. My husband couldn’t take the day off, due to his job, and no one was available to help me. I had a raging fever, horrible pain, and I was so weak I could barely lift my own head, let alone take care of a newborn and three other kids under the age of six. If I had the strength, I would have cried. But my husband gave my kids a pep talk for the day that they would need to help me out and although I honest-to-goodness didn’t think they would ever listen in a million years, they did. Kids are capable of helping you out in a crisis more than you think, so if you’re all sick, rally your troops and remind them that you’re all in this together. You may just be surprised at how willing they are to help out.
  4. Embrace all the screens. This should probably go without saying, but if you can’t fight `em, join `em. When you’re all sick, it’s about all the screens, all the time. I’m talking phones, tablets, TVs — the whole works. There is only one silver lining to being sick as a mom with sick kids and that’s the fact that there is just no such thing as too much screen time during sickness. So embrace it while it lasts, mama friends and hang in there — it might seem like the sickness will never end, but I promise it will.

Until the next stomach virus hits, of course.