Surviving a Sick Day with Your Kid

By Tracy Lane

It’s 2 am. Little feet tiptoe into your bedroom. “Mommy, my tummy needs a Band-Aid. It doesn’t feel good.”

Just as you’re about to swing your feet out onto the wood floor, your dear one heaves and gags. And yes, pukes all over your bedroom. You pull your sweet one close. Wipe mushy hair off her cheeks and pull off splattered pajamas. Comfort first, clean later, as any good mother would do.

It’s going to be a long night.

If it hasn’t happened yet, get your throw up bowl ready. Sick season is here. So what’s a mom to do when the sickness hits her household?

I hate to admit it, but on more than one occasion I’ve been the annoyed mom in the middle of the night. Second only to my husband who, on more than one occasion of midnight vomit, declared, “This is terrible timing!”  But when really would be the right time for our daughters to puke?

I’m absolutely convinced there are much more empathetic parents out there. My mother is one of them.

It was almost an honor to be sick in our home growing up. I mean, my siblings and I weren’t aching for our heads to burn and stomachs to churn, but we definitely wanted to stay perched on the living room couch all day binge watching The Price is Right and sipping lemon lime Gatorade. It was tricky though because we never wanted to be sick along with one (or more) of the 6 other siblings. Then our mother’s loving attention would be divided. And that ruined all the sick day fun.

My mother brought blankets to tuck tightly around us. She delivered, emptied, and sanitized the designated Tupperware bowl for hours on end. She slept reclined in a rocking chair so that she could be present at the first new twinge of stomach pain. She cuddled and sang us back to sleep. And she never looked tired doing it.

For your sick children’s benefit, I suggest you follow my mother’s Dr. Mom bedside manner.

Forego your usual screen time limitations on sick days. If another episode of Peppa Pig or Odd Squad can relax your child for you to put the next laundry load in, don’t feel guilty.

Keep yourself healthy. Remember to eat. Choose healthy foods, like fruits and veggies, that will boost your immune system. Take extra vitamin C.

I know a sick child seems inconvenient and always poorly planned. Try to remember that your home is the most important place you run. You might be missing a big work meeting. Or maybe you can’t get to your cycling class that gets you through the week. Try to take it in stride. Worrying and stressing over it, won’t change it anyway.

Enjoy the extra snuggles. Somehow, we never felt like we were a burden on our busy mom. That’s a gut check to me, the mother who sighs and rolls my eyes, when I hear about a sick classmate in my daughter’s first grade class. I want to change that. I want my kids to know that even on a sick day, when I’m serving them with Sprite and sanitizer, I savor the days I have with them.