Preparing for a Sick Day as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Germs. Ugh. As moms, we can power through a lot, but, despite our best efforts, sometimes they take us down. As a stay-at-home mom, this provides a new set of challenges. When you’re the 24/7 primary caretaker of one/two/three+ small needy people, taking a sick day is a lot more complicated than calling in to your boss.

There are tons of articles on what to do when your kid is sick, but what about when mom is the one out for the count?

It’s awesome when a spouse or grandma can step in for an extra set of hands, but sometimes this isn’t an option. So here are some survival tips to be prepared in advance.

Be OK with loosening the screen time
We have a set routine of screen time at our house, but if I’m down we add some bonus time. Time to break out the Netflix movies. Or there might be an unwatched DVD gift in the back of the shelf from the last birthday or Christmas that will seem new and exciting. Anything to give mom some extra rest time! If you’re up for throwing a bag in a microwave, get some popcorn going and voila, it’s a movie party.

Kid food stash
The small people still want to eat all.day.long. Doesn’t matter if mom can barely breathe or stomach food herself. A steady supply of Goldfish and applesauce pouches is easy to dole out without much trouble. And keep an easy lunch option on hand – microwaveable mac and cheese or Uncrustables are kid-friendly convenient options for times like this.

Mom food stash 
You don’t want to be running to the store for Gatorade, tea, and crackers when you only feel like running to the bathroom, so plan ahead and keep a little stash in your pantry. You will thank yourself later.

Medicine stash 
The middle of your sinuses exploding is the wrong time to realize you’re out of drugs. Or to find something that expired in 2014. So check your medicine cabinet ahead of time to refresh your stash. Going to Target is usually fantastic, but loading up the kids and making a run for DayQuil when you feel like death is not. Meds not your thing? Make sure you’re stocked with all the essential oils and apple cider vinegar you might want to get through a nasty germ battle.

Encourage helpfulness 
After they saw the Daniel Tiger episode when Mom Tiger was sick, my kids wanted me to lay in bed and “be sick” while they brought me water and Kleenexes and more blankets than a human could ever use. When this scenario is reality instead of playtime, call on their sympathy! Most likely, they’ll feel so proud to help mommy; don’t be afraid to give them little jobs and encourage their care-taking skills.

Think ahead when filling out paperwork 
Remember the preschool admission paper that had you list approved pick-up people? This is the time to give yourself some options. If your kid is at school, and you can’t get out of bed, call on one of your approved chauffeurs. As a SAHM, sometimes it’s easy to skip those things and say, “I’ll be able to do it all, every day. That’s my job, right?” Think of options ahead of time and prep your kiddo on possible scenarios.

It’s easy to sing to our kids that “when you’re sick, rest is best, rest is best” thanks to Daniel Tiger, but moms need to take that advice as well and be prepared to embrace rest when needed. It’s hard for stay-at-home moms to take sick days, but preparing your home and your kids for a mom take-down is taking a step toward recovery before disaster even strikes.

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