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slides: Mum’s the Word: Parenting in Sickness and in Health

Friday, April 17, 2015


Life doesn’t stop when we get sick, or sad, or disappointed. Photo Credit: (Heather Terry Photography, Briauna and Lia McKizzie)

Whether we like it or not, eventually Mom or Dad is going to get sick. 

While you can take a "sick day" at work, at home you’ll still have to make sure your kids are fed and dressed, clean the house, take out the dog, etc... 

In the midst of all this everyday parenting and housekeeping, you’re also trying to cure what you are sure is the bubonic plague. 

Life doesn’t stop when we get sick or depressed.

And while I’d like for my daughter to respond to my illnesses with, “Aw, my mother’s on the brink of death. I’m going to be sweet and quiet for the rest of time.” She usually doesn’t seem to understand that I’m not just ignoring her, and she can sometimes become frustrated with me.

So over the years, I’ve come up with some ways to deal with being sick, whether physically or emotionally, while parenting.

See slideshow below.


Related Slideshow: Mum’s the Word: Parenting in Sickness and in Health

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Do your best to explain to your child what’s going on with you.  This applies to whether you’re sick physically or emotionally. I recently went through a pretty low time emotionally. I couldn’t hold back the tears in front of my daughter. Instead of being ashamed, though, I decided it’d be a good time to talk about emotions with Lia. 

As she patted me on the back saying, “Poor poor, Cinderella,” (yes, my daughter is a little odd sometimes) I explained to her that I wasn’t mad or sad at her. She immediately smiled, saying, “You’re not?” 

I’m sure she still didn’t totally understand the situation. However, she did understand the most important part of what I was trying to convey: she had absolutely nothing to do with my unhappiness. 

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Let them “nurse” you. Kids love to be involved. So when you’re sick, tell them they can help you by rubbing your back or bringing you a blanket. The “responsibility” reminds them that they are important. Additionally, who doesn’t want a free a back rub?

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Ask for help. There’s not a lot of exposition needed here. If you have friends or family near by, don’t hesitate to ask…or even beg for help.

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Rest. It’s hard to take a break from things when you know that you’ll have to get around to finishing them sooner or later. But when your body is sick, it’s time to stop being heroic. Go to bed with your little one and get the sleep that your body is literally aching for. For the sake of your little one and yourself, put away the vacuum or whatever it is that your holding onto, and get some sleep. 


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