19 January 2013, by Mandy Loh
It’s been a long and trying week for me.
I managed to catch the flu bug, right at the tail end of flu season, and it’s a really fierce one this time round. In fact, I don’t even recall having been so sick before, with the full works: runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever and even body aches! On Monday, I was so ill that I just had to lie in bed for most of the day. Thankfully, I managed to get someone to babysit Cristan, and could sleep most of the afternoon away. (A rare luxury for a mom!)
Although I took steps to prevent the germs from spreading (by wearing face masks, and not sharing food/ cutlery, etc), Cristan also fell sick by Wednesday, much to our dismay. For the first time in his life, he had a really bad fever, with temperatures spiking up close to 40 degrees at times. Tim and I were so worried, we took turns to wake up at night and monitor his temperature, as well as feed him fever medication. Thankfully, the fever broke today, and he seems pretty well already.
Taking care of a sick toddler, while ill yourself, has got to be one of the most challenging parts of parenthood! I felt totally sapped of energy, and was struggling just to get through each day. Tim tried to work from home for some of the days, but even though he was physically present, he had to be on teleconferences which meant that he could not take care of Cristan much. So we were back to square one!
Anyway, after getting through this week, I â€ hought I’d list some tips on how to survive when both kiddo and mom are down with the flu.
1) Forget about preparing meals. Although it would definitely be good to get some wholesome, nutritious home-cooked food into your little one to nurse him back to health, cooking while labouring under the flu would be tantamount to running a marathon in winter, at night, in shorts. Ok, I might be a little overly dramatic, but honestly, you have to take care of yourself as well! It’s better to have a few days of rest and get well fast, so that life can get back to normal as quickly as possible. In our case, Tim packed food home for most of the evenings, and even cooked some dishes when he got home from work. 10 points for being a supportive spouse!
2) Ask for help from anyone you can! Family, friends, neighbours, or even acquaintances from your mother’s group. Now’s the time to call for any reinforcements that might be available. Don’t be bashful about it, because you will NEED help. It could be babysitting for a couple of hours so you can rest, or bringing over some lunch for you and tot (see point 1 above), or even some friendly conversation to banish the blues that comes from being holed up at home. We got some babysitting help from my parents, as well as an invitation to dinner, which was really appreciated.
3) Take it easy. When your body is fighting the flu, the only thing you can do is slow down and rest. Everything else should be put on hold (especially household chores – the world will not collapse because of the burgeoning pile of laundry at the corner). Teach your tot to do the same, if that is possible. Most likely, the medication will knock him or her out as well, which provides the perfect opportunity to take a nice, long nap together.
I’m glad the worst is over, as both Cristan and I are on the mend. I suppose repeat episodes of the family flu would be inevitable (especially when Cristan starts playschool in a few months’ time) but I certainly hope that they will be few and far between! Meanwhile, if you have some good tips on surviving the family flu, do share them with us as well!