Moms, what do you do if you get sick? If you are a stay-at-home mom with no family nearby to help and a partner who is unable to take time off work or is out of town, you may think you simply have to power through it. Here are 14 ways to plan for and manage those cursed days when you can barely move, much less care for your kids.
Plan ahead to keep 'em entertained and fed.
1. Creation Station. Create a container with crafts like age-appropriate art supplies (pipe cleaners, construction paper, beads, stickers, watercolors, etc.), small toys, coloring books, and new crayons.
2. Game time. Purchase building sets, blocks, puzzles, and small electronic games when they go on sale. Hide them away until you need them. Even if you never get sick, you can always give games away as birthday gifts.
3. Swap babysitting duties. Talk to a friend about taking turns babysitting each other's kids once a week for a couple of hours, or start a babysitting co-op. Discuss how you can help care for each other's kids if one of you gets sick. Meanwhile, your children will enjoy regular play dates and you can take turns running errands or simply taking a break.
4. Convenience meals. Store simple meals in the pantry and freezer that you or your spouse can prepare quickly. Whenever possible, double recipes to freeze for days when you are unable to make dinner.
5. Drop-in childcare options. Ask your friends for references for licensed childcare franchises like KidsPark, which offers hourly childcare and provides meals. Your child will have the opportunity to play and participate in organized activities while you go home to rest for a couple of hours or head to the doctor. Call ahead to ensure availability before driving over.
6. Get your flu shot. Although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary season to season, the flu shot is still one of the best ways to protect yourself.
7. Eat nutritious foods and exercise. Eat well and fit in daily exercise (walks, DVD workout videos, etc.) to stay healthy and help ward off illness.
Caught unprepared? Try these last-minute sick-day solutions.
8. Play dough rocks! Kids love play dough, rolling pins, and plastic cookie cutters. Put a vinyl tablecloth over your table or on the floor for easy clean-up. Better yet, worry about clean-up when you've recovered or ask your spouse to help when he gets home.
9. Station yourself. Avoid the need to run from room-to-room retrieving things like diaper changing supplies, pacifiers, extra onesies, etc. Put everything you need in one spot near the couch.
10. Books basket. Pull together a basket of your child's favorite books or coloring books and crayons.
11. Movie day! Don't have movies or your child's favorite shows on DVR? Ask a friend to pick up a few kids' movies and books from the library. Have sippy cups and small snacks available for your child and fluids for yourself, too.
12. Order take-out. Ask your spouse to bring home take-out, a rotisserie chicken from the deli, or arrange delivery.
13. Hire a mother's helper. Neighborhood pre-teens, training to become babysitters, are often more than happy to make a little extra money entertaining your kids while you rest.
14. Nurture yourself. Sleep when your child sleeps and drink plenty of fluids to help your body heal.