What if Mom Needs a Sick Day?

You can call out sick to work - but not to your kids. So what to do when Mom or Dad gets sick? Mighty Mommy shares 6 tips that will help you occupy your children while you recover.

Cheryl Butler
4-minute read
Episode #315

February is here and so is cold and flu season. You can’t go anywhere without hearing someone coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose.  It’s one thing when your kids are sick—you rise to the occasion and push everything else aside to make them feel better.

But what happens when you’re the one fighting off a nasty bug?

I recently had a bout with pneumonia and I had to rely on my experience from raising 8 kids with a traveling husband to get through it. So with that in mind, here are 6 tips for surviving an illness as a parent with no one to help nurse you back to health—other than your own kids.


Tip #1: Be Prepared and Plan Ahead 

Hopefully, you’ll skate right through this year’s cold and flu season without even a sniffle. Should that not be the case, take some time now (before your first "achoo") to inventory the supplies you should have on hand.

First, take inventory of your medicine cabinet. Are you stocked up on ibuprofen, cough medicine, Theraflu (my favorite when the flu hits), antacids, and diarrhea medication (stomach bugs are brutal this time of year)? Make a list of anything you might need and stock up while you’re still feeling well.

Don’t forget about the other remedies in your pantry that you reach for when you need some comfort. Stock up on herbal teas, chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers, and popsicles to help kick the sickness.

Tip #2: Freeze Meals

Take the time to prepare a few meals ahead of time that you can freeze and have ready to heat and serve.

Lasagna, chicken pot pie, meatballs—anything that is easy to prepare and will keep in your freezer for a month or so. That way, you’ll have a meal ready to serve your family when you’re down for the count. And, if you don't get sick, you'll have a few meals ready to serve after a long day!

Tip #3: Set Up Camp

When my kids were younger and I wasn't feeling well, I’d set up camp in the family room for the duration of my sickness. When I had toddlers, I’d simply gate off the area so there was no escape route.

The big draw here is that kids love to make forts. Let them take all the cushions (except for the ones you’re lying on) and create hideaways with blankets and pillows. Get it ready as soon as you wake up in the morning—it’s well worth the effort once you’re in your cozy, gated community. Plus, you’ll be able to see them and they can see you.

Make sure to grab the TV remotes, diapers and wipes, their favorite DVDs, juice boxes, and snacks beforehand. That way you can hang out from early morning until bedtime.

Even though I was feeling rotten, those fort-making days are some of my favorite memories. It was just us and we got to slow down and break out of our usual busy routines.


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!