Moms Can’t Get Sick (…yeah, right)

posted in: Parenting | 19

Being sick stinks. And when you’re a mom and business owner, you can’t just call in sick and expect things to keep on running smoothly. On the home front, there are kids to take care of, meals needing fixing, and the minimal household chores that keep a home from falling into complete sloth. On the business front, there are meetings and appointments with clients — clients who expect to meet with you. And they don’t want your sick germs any more than your husband does.

So, what’s a sick mom to do? Besides grit your teeth and try to do it all?

Moms can't get sick (yeah right)

Well, I have had the pleasure of being sick twice this winter — while pregnant. And the fun thing about being sick during pregnancy is that most “sick drugs” that help us adults plod through and carry on… those drugs are off limits. So I’ve had to resort to natural remedies, old wives’ tales, and those overrated concepts of sleep and rest.

The first time I was sick, I felt it coming on. But the holidays were coming too — and I wanted everything to be ready, to be done right. I didn’t want to drop the ball. So I didn’t slow down, I didn’t rest, I didn’t take a break or even ask for help. I attempted “mind over matter.” But it didn’t work. All it did was help my poor immune system get more stressed out, more run down, and less able to fight off the sick bug. I was probably sick for a good month. And my immune system was so worn out that that as soon as I started to feel better, the sick bug would get another wind.

Hint taken. Next time, slow down. Take it easy. Make sure you don’t get this sick again.

So, when my son came down with a nasty cold this month, I did my best to stay healthy — but caught the bug anyways. I was a sick mom again. But this time, I didn’t want to a repeat. I took naps. Lots of naps. I tried to sleep in. I tried (tried!) to go to bed early. Healthy, immune boosting foods were a focus of my diet. I drank lots of liquids, plenty of a specialized herbal tea blend, and performed daily sinus rinses. I had a few terrible days. But not nearly as many as last time. I was tempted to plow through now once it felt like I was on the mend. But as I knew… as soon as I started pushing myself, I start to feel the sick bug attacking in full force.

Lessons Learned

This has been a lesson in asking for help, for admitting I can’t do it all, for letting others step in and take care of me. Yes, I’m a mom and a business owner. But I don’t have to be in charge all the time. Sometimes I need to be taken care of too. Sometimes, I have to tell my clients we’ll reschedule — because I don’t want anyone else getting sick. But, I still feel like I should be stronger, able to pull through and keep going. I have the utmost respect for those parents and adults who can make that happen.

This winter, I had to be realistic about what would work best for me — instead of trying to live up to what someone else is able to do.

It feels selfish and wishy washy to rest and “take it easy” instead of plowing through like the rest of the normal world. But with the added factor of being pregnant, you lose the option of relying on those sick drugs to help mom function normally. I have to take steps to prevent a body-wracking cough from hanging around. It’s ok to let my husband take care of me, make me meals, and ask him to come home early so I can rest. It’s ok to have my toddler entertain himself with his toys, or ask him to bring me a kleenex and refill my drink. My family is always willing to help — I only need to stop being stubborn, listen to my body saying I need help…and ask.

And the astounding thing, to me? No one was annoyed or frustrated about having to reschedule. I love my clients and friends! They are all so sweet.

I don’t really want to share any “sick mom” snapshots with you, so a sleeping toddler one will have to suffice. I think I napped as much as (if not more than) my son when I was sick. Go figure.

sleeping toddler on couch

Some Resources For Staying Healthy (Not Sick!)

As I plodded through my sick mom experience, I pinned herbal and natural remedies to my “Health” board on Pinterest. You may find some of these pins equally useful 🙂

Follow Betsy @’s board Health – Natural on Pinterest.

What About You?

What do you have trouble asking for help with? Are you stuck on trying to “do it all” like me? Does it drive you nuts when you can’t follow through with what you said you were going to do? Any go-to remedies you can share to cut short a cold?

sick remedies for moms

19 Responses

  1. Liz Lewis

    Betsy, I’m not a mom, but I definitely know about pushing myself to the point of no return, then getting kicked in the bootay for it! I had mono in college, and due to some extremely stressful circumstances, it came back this past fall. I’m better now, but I still have to be careful. I get tired much more easily. I’ve finally learned what my limits are and that there are times when I must say no.

  2. Betsy Finn

    Oh, yeah, that is rough Liz. And it’s so hard to set limits, isn’t it…. interesting how we’ve been conditioned by society to feel guilty for knowing our limits and setting aside time for ourselves!

  3. Heather@ To Sow a Seed

    Sick *and* pregnant? Ugh. Lots of water, Vits C & D, or maybe an EmergenC packet. Feel better!

  4. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Heather 🙂 — fortunately I’m mostly out of the woods at this point (hooray for the return of fully-functional!). Only remnant is really my very sore ribs from all the coughing. Those take a bit longer to recover, sigh.

  5. Ramblingwoods

    I think all Moms struggle with this or maybe women in general. I’m glad you took care of yourself. It is hard to ask for help I know… Stay well… Michelle

  6. Dawn at Momsanity

    Oh, can I relate! I was super sick for the entire last month of my pregnancy—to the point that I gave birth completely silently because I had lost my voice for more than three weeks! And as I’m typing this, I have the flu and a sinus infection…and now that baby is a very active 2yo. No one has time to get sick, but especially a mom! I have a really hard time asking for help, too, even from my husband sometimes. But this time, I had to, and he’s been SuperDad this weekend. Glad that you’re feeling better, asking for help and taking care of yourself. All great lessons to teach and good behavior to model for your kids!

    Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy, btw. When are you due?

    Also, a few months ago, when I was in the throes of yet another sickness, I wrote a post about “bad parenting” while sick…which might not be that bad, after all. Thought you might enjoy:

  7. Thea

    This is such practical and doable advice. I really felt for you being ill while pregnant and still having to be a ‘Mom’. Sounds like you took the what can we do rather than the I feel sorry for myself approach. Good for you and I am glad things are OK now.

  8. Tammy @ creativekkids

    Some people would say it probably doesn’t work, but it seems to help me: I take a ton of chewable vitamin C. I also try to beef up on good probiotics or drink Kefir. And yes, I try to rest more and drink more water.

  9. Carie Spence

    Always putting ourselves last until it’s too late. I love natural remedies so I will be sure to check out your pinterest board!

  10. Betsy Finn

    Great ideas, Tammy. Definitely with you on the good probiotics, I’ve found that helpful too.

  11. Betsy Finn

    Agreed. Thanks Carie. (btw, that Fruit Tart recipe sounds great…and I love that it’s grain free too)

  12. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Thea. I think I definitely had some “woe is me” moments, especially in the middle of those coughing spasms. But overall, it was definitely an opportunity to practice thankfulness (isn’t everything, I guess?).

  13. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Michelle. 🙂

  14. Betsy Finn

    Oh, that is terrible, Dawn! I hope you are on the mend and feeling better soon. Taking it easy is so hard for us moms. Thanks for sharing your post about “bad parenting” while sick, I totally relate. And agree that it’s not really all that bad.

    This next little one should be along in June sometime 🙂

  15. I used to be guilty about not taking care of myself and not asking for help. Then I got sick with my first newborn, ignored the illness and ended up with Rheumatoid Arthritis which is now incurable. My immune system launched an attack on my joints when I ignored my sore throat. I learned my lesson the very hard way. And now, I’m so hypervigilant about germs and treating sickness before they flare because of the RA. RA has also forced me to suck it up and ask for help, another lesson learned the hard way.

    Thanks for sharing with #smallvictoriessunday!

  16. Betsy Finn

    Oh, I’m so sorry, Tanya. 🙁 That’s a tough price to pay ((hugs)). I’m so glad you shared though, maybe your story can help other moms trying to do it all on their own. It takes a village, they say….

  17. Farah

    Sometimes realizing that you have to stop and recover is all you need, but for others that just doesn’t work! I know for me i just have to get in a shower and get all that nastiness out!

  18. Betsy Finn

    Yeah, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach, Farah. A nice shower, though, almost always helps… I agree.