Caring for Little Ones When Mommy Is Sick

Updated on December 07, 2009
A.C. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
8 answers

I know there are moms out there who do this all the time (like those whose husbands are deployed), but never having been one of those moms, I am in a near panic about how I can take care of my children if I get sick. I have taken care of them while I had colds and even during a week of constant trips to the bathroom due to tummy trouble, but I am worried about the kind of sick that puts you in bed, not even able to care for yourself (which, by the way, happens to me about once a year be it a nasty case of strep. or whatever).

I have two young ones – 21 months and almost 4 years. My husband is disabled and has recently worsened to the point that he can no longer help care for the kids (he can watch them for short periods of time – like an hour at most – but he couldn’t prepare meals, give baths, change diapers, etc.). We also have no family here in Michigan and all of our friends have children of their own. Anyway, who, besides family, is going to help at a house with a contagious illness, especially if our kids were sick too?

I know, “don’t borrow trouble”, but I need to be prepared with a plan in case I get sick like that again. I bought paper plates, etc. to eliminate dish washing, and I keep backup meals in the freezer. We have also taught our 3 yr old to get dressed and go potty in the middle of the night by herself. But, there is still so much more that would have to be done, especially to care for the 21 month old.

So, please, share any ideas on what you have done in such a scenario. (Encouragement would be nice, too, because I really am worried about it.)


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answers from Detroit on

short answer... survival mode...

wehn I am sick.. I do the bare essentials.. feed the children.. and change diapers as necessary. and of course meals are simple.. hot dog . peanut butter sandwich.

kids do not have to get dressed they can stay in pjs all day. they can watch tv all day for a day or two...

of course I dont do laundry or vacuum or any of hte normal thins I do when I am feeling fine..

I had stomach flu when my daughter was 13 months and I was pregnant with my son. and my husband was out of town.. my daughter was getting over it and I came down with it.. she sat on my lap and we watched tv.. it was a rough day but we made it.

and no dont expect anyone to help when you are sick.. even if you had nearby grandparents not all of the garndparents will volunteer to care for contagious kids..

At least your husband is there and he can watch the kids while you run out to get something.. there are a lot of single moms out there that dont even have that much help.



answers from Detroit on

I see you are a Christian (me too)... do you belong to a church? I do have family in MI, but they all work full time, go to school and have many activities to do. Although they are willing to help it's sometimes limited.

My church family is amazing. They will set up meals for families in situations like this... usually since people bring so much they do it every other day for 10 days or so.

I also have a small group of mom & tot's that I go to at my friend's house every Thursday. We've been meeting for about 3 or 4 months and at this point I'd be comfortable asking any one of them to come and bathe my kids or help me with something during the day when my husband is at work.

I highly recommend getting involved in something similar, maybe MOPS? Build a support network within the body of Christ & show them the same love when they are in those situations too.

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” These are Jesus’ parting words to the disciples found in John 13: 34-35.
(The bible describes love as an action, not a feeling!)



answers from Detroit on

for one i think you over reacting. Because nothing in your request indicates your sick but it seems like you planning on being sick. I would take each day to the fullest and when the time comes if there is ever go from there. Your three year old could be 10 by the time you get the flu. But seriosly not meaning to be mean or upsetting to you. I really think the media is putting a scare into everyone in case they get sick. I understand your situation with the hubbie and kids and I probably would have these same thoughts and concerns if i was in your shoes. I don't think it will happen if it does look into your church for help. Really having bathroom issues withone end is the same if you get the flu. But if its something more worse than you can check with your hospital your affiliate with for in home care. Your dr.'s and hospitals along with community have help. I wish you luck. I will keep you in our prayers that things are a smooth ride. But God has a plan and he wouldn't have you n your situation if he didn't think you can handle it. Which I am confident you can. Good luck and god bless.



answers from Detroit on

You have to let go a little when you get sick. The most important thing to do is to take care to get yourself better. Do as little as possible. I was just sick for a good month or more and REALLY sick for a week. I have a daughter that was 21 months too.
While I was sick, we ate meals I had frozen, canned soups and PBJ sandwiches. Anything that required more work than putting in microwave was not on the menu. As for diaper changes, you do have to change diapers... but baths can give when mommy is sick.
Cartoons and a new toy that I had in the closet were the only things that saved me and allowed me to rest. I laid on the couch and turned the TV on and I rested while my daughter watched TV. My daughter isn't allowed to watch TV on a regular day.
However, I am wondering why you are having to get up in the middle of the night? Are your children not sleeping through the night? If not, you should nip that in the bud before you get sick. Sleeping through the night will help keep your immune systems in better shape to defend against diseases.
Basically, you shouldn't worry so much. Moms don't get sick days, but a boss isn't going to fire you if you slack off for a week or two while you recover.



answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,
I understand your concern because I have had the same thoughts. Only now, my older ones can and have helped with the youngers ones.
I would suggest that your friends and especially your church family would be willing to help out. But before you need that, take preventative measures for your health. Always wash your hands, use disinfectant around the house, take vitamins, etc. And pray! It is written, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are saved." Proverbs I believe.



answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,

I'm in a similar situation as you in that my hubby cannot help care for the kids because he works out of state. My two younger kids are 4 years old and 4 mos. old. I too don't have any relatives that can help out because they live far away and some are too old. So, I'm on my own. Luckily, God has blessed me with some wonderful neighbors who are always there when I need them--and I'm there for them too when they need me. We do each other favors all the time and it has worked out very well. I joined a local community group and met many wonderful people. You'd be surprised how kind and reliable some people really are--and some offer to help unexpectedly. In fact, some of my friends are better than my family. I suggest you get involved with a community group or church to meet people preferably people who themselves are parents. Also, when your oldest starts preschool, you will meet many parents of her friends who can be helpful. Maybe join a co-op preschool where you can help out--this is a great way really get to know other parents. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child:)

Best regards,




answers from Detroit on

Since yous state that you are a Christian, getting more involved in your church, making good women friends there etc. is your logical answer. Also getting to know your neighbors. I'd say, like with a lot of things in the life of a Christian, it's a combination of trusting God, praying, and getting involved in the community where you live. You're gonna be fine! You've taken some good precautionary steps. Don't worry!



answers from Detroit on

First off, you are right when you say 'don't borrow trouble'.
I am right there with you as my husband and I suffered the stomach bug pretty much at the same time when my son was still a baby (he's now five) - then again when he was two.

Basically, aside from trying to remain positive and doing everything you can: preventative measures - such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing of your home. I keep my son home from school if there is any chance he could risk catching anything (With a low-grade temp and any other symptom with it. It may be too much, but my son had a few rough years in his life that I do not wish to repeat.)

What we did - had our family, my sister-in-law take our son for the time to recover. It was really for a maximum of a 12 hours. (It could have been longer when he was a baby, but I'm not sure... I did pump while he was gone as I was nursing him.).
(I emailed you more on this story - so I hope it helps!)

I really recommend you ask your family or any close friends to see if anyone can assist you if it is needed for an emergency like this. If you are thinking the worse - then you really need to consider the outcome for all involved so everyone is taken care of - that too would involve your family/ relatives or closest friends.
(sometimes our closest friends are like family to us.)

But I would not think that way - I would try to remain positive and not think the worst. (and yes, I know it's hard to do! I'm still working on it, too with all that is going around now.)

But I love that you are so prepared and have everything so convenient - I should do this!

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