This week I'm in the thick of motherhood...dealing with sick kids! My youngest coughing all night, broken sleep (for him AND me!), cranky moods (theirs and mine), worry (mine), everyone at home all day long getting on each other's last nerve. Can you relate? Ahhh, the joys of cold and flu season as a mother!
And everything is on hold. Work, life, self-care (fortunately/unfortunately my husband is home sick too which is why I'm able to write this to you!) I'm having to remind myself of some important mindset tips and tools to get myself through this time, and I thought I'd share them with you for when the inevitable "everything is on hold while I deal with sick kids" week hits your house.
1. Self-compassion. These can be tough times, especially if you're sick too while looking after sick little ones. Be gentle with yourself. Go lighter on expectations for yourself. Let the housework go for a bit.
2. Ask for help if at all possible. Is there someone willing to take your children even when they're sick so you can have a break and/or work? Calling all friendly people with strong immune systems! Grandparents? Willing babysitters?
3. Do what you need to do. I don't love my kids having screen time, but I use screen time with a purpose. MY purpose, not theirs. If the only way for you to get a break is to allow some screen time, that's ok in my books. Or if there's another activity they can completely absorb themselves in so you can have a rest that's even better! But in my house, nothing keeps their attention quite like screen time.
4. Manage your own worry. If your kids are quite sick (beyond a little sniffle), many parents, (especially of babies and young children) start worrying. It can be so hard to see our little ones suffer! On the practical side, a trip to the doctor to rule out anything more serious always helps. When my kids got sick on the weekend and our family doctor's office was closed, I called the nurse's line (811 in my area) which was SO helpful to rule out a trip to the emergency room.
5. If you're still worrying... If you've taken the practical steps and you still feel worried, it can be really helpful to talk it out with a supportive person or do some journaling. One of my favourite journaling tools is called release writing where you just let 'er rip with all your wild thoughts and big feelings. It's very cathartic! Then destroy what you've written. After that you can start a new page with all the positive stuff you can now see more easily since you've worked through all your worry and negativity. (He's fine, this will pass! She's looking so much better than she was yesterday. I'm not alone, ALL moms go through tough times like this., etc.)
5. ENJOY that extra snuggle time. Especially with older kids who don't snuggle as much as they used to! Let it in, mama.
6. Gratitude. Always, all the time, whatever is going on, practice gratitude. It's been shown to boost mood, counteract anxiety and depression (by boosting those feel-good neurotransmitters). It shifts your attention to noticing what IS positive. And there is ALWAYS something positive, even during the toughest of times! (I am grateful for the sun shining. I am grateful for my warm bed. I am grateful for the fact that my children are generally healthy. I am grateful for my supportive partner). ❤
If motherhood is feeling really tough sometimes (or all the time!), I can help. I offer individual and group counselling services as well as workshops for moms. Check out my services here.
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