My daughter is 8-years old, which means I’ve probably been sick at least sixteen to twenty times since she was born. When she was about 4-years old, I finally accepted the fact that there are rules to disengagement when you’re a mom with a knock-out virus. Don’t try to ignore them or convince yourself that your A-Type and OCD impulses will beat the germs that are bringing you down. Instead, take a deep breath (well, as deep as you can) and surrender to the upside of being a sick mom and bring on relief that will help you stay in the game and ease your aches, chills and annoying cough that are getting in the way of your daily status quo.
Take advantage of the magic hours. During that mid-morning energy surge that lulls you into thinking your virus is a momentary hiccup (hardy-har-har), prep afterschool snacks and lay out the pizza menu with cash so it’s ready for dinner. Also, finish up those emails and phone-calls that need immediate attention and leave the rest for when you’re feeling 100 (or at least 75 per cent) again.
Make meal-planning really easy. Text your significant other (your SO) and ask them to pick up groceries and snacks that the kids can pretty much make themselves (or with very little help) to last for the few days during which you’re in a full-on symptomatic hell. Now is not the time to sweat it over nitrites or hidden sugars. Now is the time to just sweat it out.
Type this in: OOO. Or you could say KOOOO (Kind-Of-Out-Of-Office). And only respond to urgent emails and let the lost invoice and HR reminders wait. If there’s a gazillion dollar presentation and there’s absolutely no way to reschedule it, hand it over to someone you trust because the last thing you want to give a client or a colleague is a fever. If it’s worth that much, there’s gotta be a Plan B—and if there isn’t, remember to make one for next time.
Pretend you’re livin’ like the original Real Housewife (that’s Joan Collins-slash-Alexis-Carrington). Hire a pick-up laundry service, order your groceries online and have them delivered, call that dog walker and if you don’t have a nanny or babysitter, ask that nice neighbour to bring your kids to and from school or daycare, then spoil them with a gift card to say thanks. And remember, you’re not just delegating for your own sanity. Your hard-workin’ SO needs the extra help, too.
Puh-leeze. Lose. The. Guilt. The thing about being sick is that it’s a licence to chill. Read that book you keep meaning to finish, watch that show you don’t know want anyone to know about (hullo, anything on the E! Network) or even go online shopping. Something you’re lusting that’s luxe and lovely has got to be on sale…now is the time to find it.
Stop counting their screen time, your steps, your expenses or the hours of work that you’re missing, at least for those first two days that are notoriously the worst. Stop counting anything except sheep and let your kids see that you’re human and deserve the time and space to get better, just like they do.
My Cold & Flu Self-Care Routine
Something OTC when it feels like just too much. In the thick of feeling like garbage and facing a to-do list that really can’t wait, Vicks DayQuil Complete is an all-in-one formula that quiets an annoying cough, relieves chest & nasal congestion, eases any headaches and lessens those full body aches without zapping what’s left of necessary brain power. NyQuil Complete relieves nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and aches so I can get some rest at night when it’s often hard to get the winks I need. Since both already have acetaminophen, I don’t have to worry about taking another pain reliever.
Tea and lots of it. I nix coffee so it doesn’t interrupt the sleep I’m desperate for. My preferred liquids include green tea with bits of toasted brown rice; it has a hint of nuttiness that makes me happier than drinking green tea all on its own. And I use store bought lemon and ginger tea bags because I have to save my energy for taking phone calls and parenting, not chopping, slicing and steeping fresh ingredients.
Fresh squeezed anything. And I never squeeze it myself. This is what I’ll order online or ask my SO to pick up on the way home. It could be a green elixir or orange juice with pomegranate or it could be the cold-pressed flu buster that I recently tried with ginger, turmeric, lemon and hot pepper. Yes, it tasted blech and sure the jury’s out on whether or not any extra Vitamin C or antioxidants really work but I’ll try anything to help my body bounce back faster.
Show me the steam. I take a hot shower before bed, the humidifier’s on while I’m asleep and I kick it old school and hold my head over a bowl of hot water and breathe in the warm steam. I do it all to help me breathe easier and thin out all that extra mucous (and hopefully prevent a sinus infection).
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