5 Lessons Learned From Taking Care Of Your Kids When You’re Sick

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Today’s guest post is from Laney at Crash Test Mummy. This year with the guest posts on the blog I have sought to compliment the posts I write, with posts from others who have different experiences to me and expertise in areas that I don’t have.

I have been asked a number of times to write a post on what I do when I am sick, but I am touching wood as I write this, I just really don’t get sick that often and I have felt completely unqualified to write on it. I could have researched it or written something in general terms, but that really isn’t the same as real life experience.

And real life experience is what Laney shares today. Don’t be tempted to just read the headings and scroll through (we all do it at times!), because although you may have read the headline before, Laney takes it much further and gives excellent practical advice – advice that only comes from experience. {Image source: D. H. Parks.}


Looking after your kids is quite a rollercoaster of a ride. There’s the fun stuff like playing and hugs and giggles, and the slightly less fun stuff like scraping food of the floor, nappy explosions and trying to make them feel better when they’re sick.

It energises us, it exhausts us, and it makes us someone we’ve never been before – a parent. But what happens when the tables are turned and it’s you that needs looking after?

Last year I suffered a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I had spent the better part of a year feeling like I was someone else. I was wading through wet concrete as I put forward my best, but often delivering my worst, attempt at looking after my two kids under three years old.

I learned some very hard lessons because I am so bloody stubborn, and discovered some ways of coping, even if it meant lowering my perfectionist standards.

Even though I was unwell over a long period of time, these lessons I learned apply equally as well if you are incapacitated for a short time.

Lesson #1: Drop your standards

Seriously, do the dishes really need to be done and the carpet vacuumed when you’re sick? Does it matter if the kids turn your lounge room into a giant cubby house while you lie on the sofa?

No it doesn’t. But I do have a caveat here if your illness is a longer term one and you are prone to depression (like I was). Sometimes the mess can make things worse. If I let the house get out of hand it would overwhelm me and trigger a spiral downwards into more mess and despair.

I have since put in place some daily and weekly cleaning routines based on short spurts of 15 minutes or less.

Lesson #2: Ask for help

Quite an obvious one really isn’t it? But how often to we stay home sick with kids while our healthy partner goes off to work? Or don’t want to bother our family or friends to help out? We can be martyrs – to our own detriment.

I was really bad at asking for help (or shall we say at admitting I needed it?). Help could be as little as having a friend pick up the kids and taking them to the park for an hour or two. Having your mum drop off something for dinner. Even asking your husband to stay home from work . . .

“Sick leave is now known as personal leave and can be taken when the employee is sick or injured or when the employee needs to care for an immediate family or household member who is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency.”
Learn more.

Lesson #3: Wear the kids out, as best you can

This one can be a bit difficult if you can’t leave the safety of your toilet, for example. But if you can manage, even though it will feel hideous, try and take the kids out and let them blast around the park for a bit.

I used to be so exhausted and the kids would be going beserk in the house, but I would snap at CrashHubby if he suggested I take them out. It took me a while to realise that as tiring as it was to take them out, it was a lot more bearable than trying to peel them off the ceiling.

Lesson #4: TV

Yes, evil, I know. But when needs must, you have to admit it’s a pretty good babysitter. Having used it a bit (too much?) myself, my one tip is this. If you are going to let them watch TV for an extended period, my preference is for them to watch movies. There’s something about the chop-change, frenzied nature of children’s programming that is quite disconcerting, and surely not good for them? If they are watching programs, it’s only ever ABC Kids – no trashy TV with advertisements.

Lesson #5: Be prepared

The last thing I like doing when I’m feeling sick or really low is to whip up a meal. A bit of preparation goes a long way. Now, I know you can’t predict when you’re going to be sick, which is exactly why it’s a good idea to have a bit of a stockpile of meals in the freezer.

Of course, you’re on the right blog for advice on how to do that – Nicole’s meal planning app will practically do it for you 😉

I know these tips are pretty obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many mum’s don’t take the easiest path, rather look for specific games and tactics to keep their kids entertained while they’re sick.

Some days, it just has to be about you.

Take care,

Laney x


Crash Test Mummy - LaneyLaney Galligan is Crash Test Mummy – a mum crash testing her way through motherhood trying to get sorted, take care and have fun along the way. She firmly maintains that when it comes to life as a Stay At Home Mum she is not the expert, she’s the experiment! To help her recover from adrenal fatigue, Laney started a blog to motivate her to crash test solutions to her problems rather than despair about them. Everything from organising the house, improving her health, and fun activities for the kids is fair game for crash testing. Buckle up and join the ride!

You’ll find Laney’s blog at www.crashtestmummy.com.au and you can join the conversations on Facebook and Twitter too.

What have you learned from taking care of your kids when you’re sick?