Parenting while sick

I’ve just spent the last five days or so sick. On Monday I thought I had a head cold so took the day off work to rest. It continued on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I went to the doctor and he gave me the rest of the week off. This is great if you don’t have to worry about other stuff.

Of course in my case, the other stuff is a five-year-old who still needs to be fed, washed and have school lunches prepared. On the Tuesday I felt so miserable – I’d had a headache all day that just wouldn’t go away – that I had to get my sister to pick JJ up from after school care. Luckily she was around to ask and was able to do this. Unfortunately she just dropped him off so while I gave him some leftovers I just sat at the table with my throbbing head in my hands. I went through the motions of whatever else I did that night and got him to bed and was in bed not much later myself. Luckily I’ve trained him such that he will go to bed and stay in bed without hassles.

Luckily JJ is at school and I have utilised after school care this week but my place is in the throes of being painted so I couldn’t even have quiet time at home. On Wednesday it was okay because I hung out at my sister’s place for the day but that option wasn’t open to me yesterday so I laid on the couch all day watching the painter hard at work.

Today wasn’t so bad. I’m almost back to normal but it does confirm that sole parenting is even bloody harder when you are sick. When JJ has been sick, that’s bearable, because so long as I’m well, I can manage. But when I’m physically incabable of functioning for myself, it’s ten times worse trying to look after another person as well.

The first time I really got sick as a parent was when JJ was just shy of two years old. I woke up about 3am and made it to the toilet in time to throw up. When JJ got up about 6.30, it was all I could do to get him breakfast inbetween me vomiting. I knew I wouldn’t function throughout the day tending to him and I racked my brains trying to think of who could have him. This was before I had any family at all in the area. I called upon a good friend who took him for the day with her new boyfriend in tow. I said to her afterwards, you’ve got to keep a hold of him because he was so understanding of you having JJ for the day. They are now married with their own child so she heeded my advice.

In situations like I’ve had this week I try and stay positive by thinking that the cold will be over in a few days and then I will be back to normal. Both of us are usually healthy and that’s what matters as things could be a whole lot worse. I will be glad when I get my sense of taste back though. It’s awful eating food and it tasting like cardboard.

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