It is awful when you get sick, it is terrible when you get sick and you have kids. Whether you are a SAHM (stay at home mother), WAHM (work at home mother), WAFHM (work away from home mother) or some other acronym for a mother then having a sick day is not as easy as turning off the alarm, silencing the phone and pulling the covers over your head as you drift back to sleep … if only!
At best you have someone close by who can look after your darlings (maybe daycare, kindy, or a relative or friend) so that you can get a couple of hours extra sleep to tide you over. At worst you will be stuck having to continue with your daily tasks and the harsh but true words will be your mantra for the day … “suck it up sunshine”.
Even if you have someone who can look after the kids to give you a rest, having a SAHM sick day means you will still need to get the kids up, dressed, fed, and parent them just as any other day, and even perhaps drive them to school/kindy/grandma’s house etc. If you are lucky you will have a wonderful Angel of a person who will tell you to stay in bed whilst they do everything to take care of the children whilst your body has a rest. This is the dream!
My youngest is 4 and honestly I cannot even remember what it was like to be sick with a really little baby, I hazard a guess that the sleep deprivation helps to erase the memories of attempting to function whilst caring for a newborn and dealing with being sick. Now, I am just so very grateful for the advances in technology (and the ages of my kids) mean the children can be semi occupied whilst I lay in pain and feeling like I’m on my death bed on the lounge. Having 3 kids, a husband who works long hours most days of the week and the closest family over 1000km away means I often have to tell myself to “suck it up sunshine”.
But I have learnt over the years that having a SAHM sick day doesn’t mean not doing anything at all (if only), it means minimising what you need to do, taking the easy options, and refusing to feel any guilt about any of it. Throw the ‘rule’ books out the window and get yourself better as soon as possible – if that means the entire day consists of the kids watching tv, playing video games, eating what ever they want, then do it!
One day of “yes” may be what you need to not feel this bad tomorrow. And if you do have school age children there is nothing wrong with keeping them home for the day if it means you do not have to spend hours making lunches, ironing clothes, packing bags, getting them to school, picking them up from school and generally using up any tiny amount of energy you may have had left in your tank. The older kids will actually be quite helpful if you have younger children because they can step in when a small task needs doing.
I have only once kept my older kids home from school and only for a day. I was so very ill that it was simply not safe for me to be driving them to school anyway – and it turned out to be the best decision as my oldest son who is 8 was able to do most things for his younger brothers meaning I was able to have a serious rest that day. We took the easy option and ordered pizza for dinner. Everyone was happy and I got a SAHM sick day as best as I could.
What do you do when you need to have a sick day? Do you have any tips for mothers who need to take the day off but still have to look after their kids? Comment below or join in the conversation on Facebook.