I am sure at some stage during your mothering adventure, you have had a day or two where instead of getting out of bed and fixing everyone’s breakfasts and getting everyone organized for the day, you have just wanted to crawl under the duvet and die. Well not die but be left in peace so you can be sick and miserable for as long as need be.

Yes, I have had a couple of those days this week. Started off with a bit of earache over the weekend, nothing too bad. By Tuesday my head felt like it was going to explode, it felt like someone was sticking hot pokers in my ears and I was running a fever. Not fun.

I am lucky to the extent that my son is out of the house from 7.30am – 3.30pm, so I could go and crawl back into bed for a while. I am unlucky that I work for myself and if I don’t do the work, no bugger else is going to! So, I put on my best face, had a skype call first thing, dealt with any urgent emails etc. THEN collapsed on the sofa. Dinner was already planned, so it was just a matter of chopping and chucking everything into a pan and because I was feeling rough, I doubled the ingredients so I wouldn’t have to cook the following day either!

I think, like most moms, I usually just suck it up and carry on, when you have little ones underfoot, you have no choice. Only once have I had to call my husband and ask him to come home from work, I had a really high fever and a really active toddler who was into everything, I just couldn’t keep an eye on him. Calling in reinforcements is necessary sometimes but some of us don’t have families, friends or neighbours that we can ask if we are in that situation. Single moms or moms whose partners work away have it extra tough. But what can you do?

For starters, you can be prepared – you never know when the lurgy might hit so…

They have gotta be fed!

Make sure that you have an emergency meal or two in the freezer, could be something homemade or a TV dinner, even if you don’t go for the TV dinner usually, it is not going to kill anyone to have one once in a while. Make sure, whatever it is, needs minimal preparation, just throw it in the pot or the oven and be done. Ordering take out can also be a good back up plan, keep an envelope with some spare cash in it to cover 2 emergency delivery meals, then you don’t need to worry about not having the cash on hand, some places will take your order with a card these days, handy to know which ones.

To save yourself umpteen trips to the kitchen for drink refills, take a pitcher into the living room with you refill from there.

Snacks – have something handy that the kids can prepare themselves, remind them that it is their job to clean up too!

Entertain them!

When you are dying of flu or whatever, the last thing you want is to be playing so help them make their own entertainment. Of course, the TV or iPad can be used as a babysitter but probably not ideal for the whole day. So, what else? Much depends on the age of your child and what they are into but here is a list of ideas to get you going…

  • Play doctors and nurses, of course, sick mom is the patient!
  • Reading books, get the kids to read to you, even non-readers can use a picture book and ‘tell’ you a story
  • Playdoh – used to keep my son quiet for hours
  • Paper play – paper dolls and the such
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Mealtimes, play ‘cafes’ if you kids are not old enough to cook, then they are assigned as waiters to set the table, and clear up, even wash up afterwards!
  • Pretend to be… a rabbit, a wizard, a snake, good for getting their wiggles out!
  • Board games
  • Lego
  • Teddy bears picnic
  • Drawing and colouring
  • What can you make? dump the recycle box out and see what they can make with it.

With little babies, just go with their cycle and rest as much as possible when they do. Forget the housework and laundry and all the other things on your growing to-do list, it is like the inflight videos and the air mask situation, you have to take care of you first before you can help others.

Whatever you end up doing, tell the kids that you are sick and you need their help and that after each activity they have to tidy up. Most kids want to help mama so with some gentle reminders you should get them onside.


If you are sick and not up to the job then delegate as much as possible. You partner might not know all the ins and outs of what you do each day, don’t expect him to be a mind reader, tell him what needs doing – in a nice way of course. Same with the kids, get them doing some running around for you, give them some responsibility and watch them rise to the occasion – even toddlers can be helpful!


Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t feel guilty. So, your kids miss out on a play at the park or they watch too much TV in a day and you fed them a TV dinner, so what? They will not be scarred for life and you are doing a great job for the rest of the time. We should all be allowed to get sick occasionally.


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