This post is sponsored by healthdirect
We mothers like to consider ourselves as tough, we can open the jar of vegemite for the kids, help kids through difficult situations, whip up dinner within 10 minutes if needed, balance children on our hips while vacuuming. We are busy, there is always something to do, we are the:
cook, cleaner, taxi driver, listener, negotiator, cheerleader, shopper, teacher, nurse, handyman, supervisor, event planner, personal assistant, life coach, bookkeeper, motivator
The list is endless. But with a list like this, it’s no wonder we think we must be super mums, unstoppable. However, we are not invincible, and in the blink of an eye we can become run down and exhausted.
Earlier this year I was unwell, but had a super-mum “nobody get in my way I have so much to do” moment and didn’t realise how sick I really was. I was juggling so many tasks at once: I had kids home on school holidays, had to take my daughter to get her braces and prep meals for her, organise a trip away. We moved house a few weeks prior and I had just started back working on the blog after taking a month break to move and for Christmas, all amongst the other general day to day duties of running a household cooking, cleaning, being taxi driver etc. I started to get the sniffles and had a cough; I persevered through it thinking it was a common cold and that I didn’t have time to be sick. A few days later I became really tired. I was having trouble breathing after reaching the top of the stairs, but I didn’t think much of it and continued with everything I needed to do. Another day passed, I had an excruciating headache, I was in a terrible mood, my cold was well and truly set in with no sign of going away, I felt physically exhausted, walking up the stairs was an effort and I struggled to get my breath back. I was home alone with the kids at the time, I didn’t want to walk back down the stairs, so I jumped into bed, but the mild pain in my chest wouldn’t go away, and I could hear myself wheezing. I started to worry that perhaps it wasn’t just a common cold. I called the doctor, booked myself an appointment and called hubby to come home and take me. It turns out I had Bronchial Asthma, the doctor prescribed me some medication, a good talking to that I should have been in sooner and he told me I needed to rest, no if’s, but’s or maybe’s. I had been so caught up in my busy life that I failed to feel how sick I was.
Moral of my story is, we think we can do it all, but it is in our best interest for our health that when we start to feel unwell, we listen to our bodies and take some time out to rest and recover.
I have since learnt about the heathdirect website, which would have been incredibly helpful in my situation. I could have searched for my symptoms, and it would have suggested I sought medical advice sooner than I did. Healthdirect Australia provides all Australians with access to health information and guidance. You can talk to a health professional over the phone or use the online services to easily find the closest health service (which is very handy if you are on holidays). What I find the most beneficial and have used many times now is the Symptom Checker, I used it just recently for my son who hasn’t been well.
The healthdirect Symptom Checker takes you through a series of questions, the answers to which can help you understand your sumptons, identify possible signs of illness, and explore the causes and complications. I have found the questions a good guide for me to check over the kids. When my son had a sore throat and running nose, he wasn’t complaining about anything else, but when I asked him about headache or sore ears (as prompted from the checker) he said yes he did have a headache and sore ears, but his throat was worse and didn’t think to tell me about the others… he’s 13, tough! Once you answer all the questions, the Symptom Checker helps to determine the next step for appropriate health care action, whether it’s self-care, visiting a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000). In my case I booked my son to see Dr later that afternoon and upon the suggestion from the symptom checker, I ensured he stayed well hydrated and sucking on ice to soothe his sore throat.
I’m a mum and at times find it hard to determine if our symptoms are just a common cold (which I don’t need to take them to the doctors for) or something more severe. I have found the Symptom Checker to be:
- convenient – easy to access via phone or computer or tablet
- user-friendly – it asks simple questions to take you through to the next step, I have found all the terms used on the site easy to understand and comprehend.
- time-friendly – children love to get sick in the middle of the night, no matter where you live, or what time of the day or night it is, you can talk to a health professional, find trusted advice online about the appropriate care for their health issue and find the closest local services that are open when they need them (this is handy at 2am in the morning).
- reliable – healthdirect keep their information on the site current. It gives you inks to further information about the symptoms, and possible causes, from trusted Australian healthcare organisations.
Ways for mum to rest when feeling sick
With the tips I am sharing below, I am presuming that you may have little kids at home, which does make it harder to take some time to rest.
1. Ask for help
Push pride aside and ask for help. Rest is the best medicine and if you have somebody, mum or a friend that can help you with the kids use them. More than likely that person may be overjoyed you have asked and that they can spend some time alone with your little ones, or that they can fuss over you.
- they can take the kids out
- occupy the kids at home
- pick up kids from school
- get up to the kids during the night
Most importantly, remember your partner is a co-parent not a babysitter, therefore should help out without being asked as the responsibility of caring for your children and contributing to maintain the home is both of your responsibility. Sometimes our partner may not know what to do, if this is the case this is where you need to give direction, tell them: take the kids to the park, empty the dishwasher etc.
2. Spend some time on the couch
Spend the day in your PJs, each of you get your pillow and a blanket and lay on the couch. Reading a book, magazine, watching movies or catching up on the latest TV show. If you usually have restrictions on how much screen time the kids have, be a little more lenient while your needing to rest.
3. Remember to stay hydrated
You need to keep hydrated to refill your body with fluids you lose while you’re feeling unwell. Keep a water bottle by your side at all times and sip throughout the day.
4. Take a nap
When the kids are sleeping you should sleep too, this may give you some more energy after you all wake up.
5. Leave the housework for tomorrow
Leave the washing, step over the crumbs on the floor and rest. Yes, you may have more work to do tomorrow but you will also have more energy because you rested today.
6. Play games
Don’t play board games or card games as you don’t want to share the germs with the remainder of the family, however you can be creative while you are trying to rest give the kids some challenges:
- Go find me 5 red items from around the house (provide them with a colour each)
- Go draw me a picture of the beach
- Go build a cubby house
- Go read a book to yourself
- Play dress ups and create a show
- Your dollies sound hungry you may need to feed them!
or as reader Chantal suggested “I’m the patient/customer, and the kids look after me! And when they get bored of that – movies!”
7. Easy dinner
Don’t even consider making a gourmet meal for the family, toast or reheated leftovers is good enough. The fewer dishes the better.
What others do when they are sick
I recently asked the community on Facebook if they rest or keep going when they are sick. Some them said:
- My kids don’t really have a day sleep – sometimes my youngest does but not every day. When I get sick or don’t feel up too much, I put a movie on for the kids and lay down until it’s finished. I make sure they have food and drinks so they don’t come asking and I make sure they have used the toilet. Sometimes I even cancel their swimming or karate lessons to reduce the amount of effort that is required from me. There’s no point in trying to continue through sickness without taking care of yourself. I find that if I put off resting I usually become more irritable with the kids, lethargic and it takes me longer to recover which all impact on the children in the long run so you may as well look after yourself and find a way that works for you to rest. ~ Alysia
- Depends on the age of your child(ren)….mines 3 months old, so I rest when he does, might only get a few hours through the day but at least it helps recharge the batteries, and making sure you drink plenty of liquids..rehydrate can sometimes give you that extra boost of energy ~ Nic
- Movies are my friend, I can snuggle up on the couch with the babies and everyone is happy. ! Nerida
- Work through it, going to feel crap either way and I’d rather not have an overwhelming amount of stuff to do when I recover. ~ Nicole
- When I’m not feeling well I’m not much good to anyone so I just sleep. But in that respect, I’m lucky to not have kids to keep me awake – Sarah
- If I’m at work I just keep going. If I’m at home, I try to just keep going but some illnesses make that difficult. Those are the days the kids get reign over the tv and I prepare the days snacks or meals in the morning and put them in a lunch box like for school so she can help herself to that. I have a baby who I muddle through while shes awake and during her naps I lie down also. My almost 4yo either lies down with me or plays quietly with blocks puzzles play kitchen with the tv on in the background on her kids movies/shows on. That way I know everyone is safe if my lie down turns into a 5 minute catnap. If I’m feeling really bad and I can barely get up, I pray its a preschool/day care day so I can rest or I call on my parents to take them for a couple of hours… ~ Lorraine