Flu. My least favourite season.


Is there anything worse than having sick children?

I just want to smother Millie and Ziggy with kisses and fill them with flat 7up until they’re back fighting with each other/fit!

I’ve learned to be thankful for one thing during these bouts of sickness – my health. Being able to take care of them; sit with them, listen to them when they’re ill – it’s all part of the parenting deal.

The last 2 days have reminded me that the only thing worse than having sick children in the house – is being sick in the same house, at the same time.

Recently, our house was overrun with some strain of cold and flu. It started with Baybear’s cold and cough symptoms, manifested in Millie as strep throat, Ziggy complained of stomach pains until finally, I ended up floored with a hybrid version of everything going.

My eyes hurt. It took effort to walk around and when I did, I felt every step reverberate in the back of my head. Similar to the worst hangover imaginable, but with none of the party time precedence.

The big, silver lining however, is Babybear never caught the full blown sickness swirling around our house. High five breastmilk and its awesome antibodies!

I found myself regularly asking Millie to use her ‘indoor voice’. Turns out, her indoor voice is the same as her outdoor voice, just with less gesticulating. I didn’t have the energy to point this out.

When I’m ill, Ziggy likes to ask me the percentage of unwell-ness I feel; as in, “Mam are you feeling 76% today?” Then, he continues to ask me until I’m in the 95th percentile.

Ziggy sure loves maths, but I think I’ve a lot to do with this particular quirk. It all began with me, trying to lessen the impact of my colds and flu to the kids by saying, “I’m not 100% today”, instead of “I feel so awful, if I don’t survive the next hour, remember I love you”. (When I feel sick, I do have a tendency for melodrama!)

So, I chose the lesser of two evils – the mathematical health summation. During my time of least energy, and at Ziggy’s request, i somehow summon the will to calculate my health in percentages, at intervals throughout the day.

Come to think of it, I also urged my partner in crime to turn down the TV on many occasions. He couldn’t, it was at volume 9 of 100. He tells me – of all his gifts, super sonic hearing is not one of them. He can however take the bass guitar on a wicked walk.

Parenting- It’s a delicate balance, especially when you feel under par. You want to let your children know you’re sick, so they can be considerate of you, have empathy, and maybe pull back on all the excessive noise making. But, you don’t want them unnecessarily worried about you, either. And, ultimately i know i’m leading by example, so whatever way i deal with being under the weather, little eyes are always watching and learning.

Regardless, I know my children pick up on how I am feeling, even when i think I’m putting on an Oscar worthy performance. And actually, it’s the pretending and martyrdom that’s so confusing to them. After all, if they’re unwell- I’m all about telling them to relax, sit down, lie down, take their medicine and get some rest.

But in the past, when I’ve been unwell- I’ve put my foot on the gas, and kept going until i fell over! Literally. When, the one thing I needed to do was the only thing I was resisting – to stop.

So, for future reference. I’ve written a memo to myself. Here goes –

  • Help! (I need somebody) – Ask for help Jennie Pennie; with school drop offs, shopping. Every little bit counts. (P.s remember to heartily thank family and friends afterwards. You may have to write this on your fridge door as a reminder!)
  • Stop! (in the name of love) – Rest your bones and shut your eyes. (However, I must warn you Jennie Pennie – shutting your eyes in public, while standing up, is widely regarded as strange behaviour. Remember when you closed your eyes for longer than socially acceptable, waiting in line at the til in Aldi. The cashier didn’t know what was going on.)
    Jennie Pennie, You’ve tried to barrel through colds and flu before, but as far as I can remember, no one ever gave you a badge of bravery because you just.kept.going. Or a medal, come to think of it! So, remember to fight this urge for gold stars (they don’t actually give them to adults) and kick back, forget about the baskets of washing and handprint stained windows! It can all wait…
  • Thank you! (for the music) – Be thankful that the cold and flu passes. Reject the urge to host a pity party. You know you love them, Jennie Pennie! And remember, count your blessings. Sure, aren’t you lucky to deal with everyday illnesses- it could be a whole lot worse.

And so, time has passed and we’re all coming round! My strategy worked well this time. Mainly because I had nothing to do most days, other than keep myself and the kids fed and watered. It’s putting this into practice when I’m back off maternity leave, into the swing of juggling work and life. I tend to drop to the bottom of the priority list. Even though I make the list! I am getting better at this, though. But, I’m going to try to remember, self care is vital – a happy mama, is a happy home afterall.

So, here’s to a Spring of good health and remembering to treat ourselves as we would treat a good friend – with bundles of compassion and (self) care.

No doubt, there’ll be more ‘strains’ coming our way, but it’s nothing that regular hand washing, extra soft tissue’s and boxes of paracetamol can’t help. Plus, there’s always Netflix to binge on and ice cream to ease the pain. Or, is that the other way around?

Oh and I called in the reserves this time too, family and friends support made a big difference!

And finally, cheers to my partner in crime; for putting the TV on mute, taking Babybear on a walk and sending me to bed so I could gain some shut eye in a horizontal, socially acceptable position.

Sometimes, it takes a village! Onwards we go…

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Thanks a bajillion for reading.

I’m lo-hov-ing this blog experiment and hearing all of the lovely feedback is the icing on the lemon drizzled cake!

Keep in touch…

Jen x

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