The winter months have been especially brutal this year. Click onto Facebook, and it seems more than half of the county is sick with some horrible virus or infection. Pair that with the grey days of winter (or even worse, being stuck inside when the sun is shining!), and it is easy to get discouraged. We all know that moms don’t get sick days. When someone else in the home is sick, we play doctor because there is no comfort like Mama’s comfort for those little ones (and husbands).
How to do we hold on to hope and survive these hard weeks?
1) Find ways to connect with community – Just because we are staying away from each other in an effort not to share the germs, we must remember that we still have one another. A friendly text, checking in to see how someone is doing, can be a glimmer of hope during an uneventful sick day. Bringing someone dinner is a modern day miracle for a weary mama. Even a Facebook chat is connecting.
When we have nothing to offer someone else, the true love and kindness of a friend is most welcomed. When you are the only well one in the infirmary of your home, a dinner out with a friend is the sweetest change of scenery a mom could ask for. Don’t forget about one another.
2) The bare minimum is good enough. When illness is in your home, no one needs to be concerned about being super mom. Settling for “the World’s Okay-est Mom” is just fine. There will again come a day when you are back to your amazing mom ways, but for now, the laundry can pile up (everyone is wearing pajamas all day anyway), dinner can come out of a soup can or a take-out box, and it’s ok if you don’t have the energy to craft with your kids or go on an adventure.
I think my kids kind of like it when I am sick because it means we color together more, we build Legos, and watch a lot of Netflix – but we do it together. Even if I am just lying on the floor with them, it means I’m not flitting about trying to get my “to do list” completed. The days when they are sick, I am loving them with the persevering love of a mother, unconditionally, because that is just what we do as moms, isn’t it? Is it easy? No. Is my house going to be ready for company? No. Are we going to be surviving the best we can? Yes. That is what is important. Show yourself some grace and self-compassion. You probably won’t rot your child’s brain with three days of Disney movie marathons (disclaimer: this statement has not been verified by a medical professional).
3) Just give me Jesus. My husband texted me this morning – checking in to see how I was feeling and confessing he was not super excited about work today. I replied, “I am so tired. Praying my way through the day.” Yesterday, I may have uttered the words “Jesus should just come back today.”
Motherhood in general–and sickness in particular–definitely pushes me to the brink. I’m tired. I’m depressed. I’m grouchy. I’m overwhelmed. Recognizing these truths helps remind me to seek the One who has the strength to carry me through. When I wake up from a night that was too short, I am painfully aware that I cannot do this thing called life on my own. It is just too hard. On a good day, I immediately pray, before my feet hit the floor, “Lord, I can’t do this without you. Please help me.” I know, it seems silly, but it also seems to make a huge difference in my day. When I feel rotten and my kids are disappointed that I am not my normal fabulous self, I ask them to pray for me, and they are learning compassion as they do. When I grab a cup of tea to ease my sore throat, I grab my Bible and read the Psalms, to ease my weary soul.
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.–Psalm 30:2
The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.–Psalm 41:3
When I rock my sick babies, I thank God that I can be here for them, because this motherhood stuff is a gift. And I sing sweet hymns of hope over them. I pray for wisdom. I pray for strength just to get through the next hour, and then in an hour I pray for another hour of His unfailing everyday grace.
…he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you”…–2 Corinthians 12:9
That’s a good day.
On a bad day – I just cry a lot – and that’s okay, too.
Some days are just the worst.
Thankfully for most of us, we and our children will be well again. These viruses come and go. Natural remedies, healthy diets, and antibiotics or other medical intervention can often get us back on the path to good health. Being sick isn’t a new problem, and as cliché as it is, this too shall pass. Until that day (only 123 days until summer!), carry on, mommy warriors. We’ve got this.
Jesica Swanson currently serves as Coordinator at Bigfork MOPS. She is mother to Boden & Isley, and wife of Norse. You can find her random thoughts on spiritual life, marriage, motherhood, fun products, and whatever else pops into her head at http://www.atleastwecanlaugh.com.