I don’t know about you, but before I had kids, I got sick maybe once or twice a year. Even once or twice was too often from my perspective. I hate getting sick – not just because it sucks to be sick, but also (and more importantly) because I hate how it ruins my plans. It’s like taking a vacation with none of the perks. You have a ton of work to catch up on once you’re back in action, and you didn’t exactly have a relaxing and restorative break…quite the opposite, in fact.
But now there’s a new low, and it has to do with kids and how often they get sick…which is All. The. Time.
If getting sick used to be my least favorite thing, my new least favorite thing is when my kids get sick. And I do mean “kids” plural, because when one gets sick, the other one is definitely getting sick, too. There’s no getting around it. The only thing I can hope is that Nate and I somehow manage to stay healthy.
Kids get sick for so many unavoidable reasons…they’re not very good at covering their mouths when they cough and sneeze, they’re always putting toys in their mouths and licking things that should never be licked, and their immune systems are still developing. It’s exhausting thinking about all the different ways kids can and do get sick, so I try not to focus on it too often.
Here are some of my least favorite things about my kids getting sick:
--Having to cancel or change my plans: I’m a planner, and I really dislike having to rearrange or (worse yet) cancel my plans altogether. Not only does it cause stress later in the week when I’m cramming 5 days’ worth of stuff into 3 days, but I also get restless and stir crazy during these “days off.”
--Staying away from everyone: As if being a parent of young children wasn’t isolating enough, when you factor in how often kids get sick and the fact that you need to sequester yourself during these times, you might as well live on an island.
--Cleaning and laundry: Any form of sickness is the pits, but the absolute worst of the worst is a stomach bug…especially when your kids are too young to make it to the bathroom or even make it to a bucket. The cleaning of puke is just beyond words disgusting. If I never had to rinse chunks off of sheets, clothes, and stuffed animals again, I would be the happiest person on earth.
--Trying to stay healthy myself: The last thing I want to happen when my kids are sick is to get sick myself, because kids don’t care about you being sick. They still have the same needs and demands, and the fact that you’re laying on the couch like a dishrag is neither concerning nor discouraging to them. When I first lived on my own, I felt sorry for myself when I got sick because I no longer had my mom living with me, taking care of me and making me soup. Now it’s gone to another level – not only does nobody take care of me when I’m sick, but I actually still have to take care of other people! This is definitely one of the worst aspects of motherhood, in my opinion. So, suffice is to say that I run around like a mad woman Lysol’ing everything to try to stave off any sickness for either Nate or me.
How often do most kids get sick?
My sister has had an especially unlucky year of sickness with her family, and she and I were talking (ie, complaining) about it the other day. I researched how often kids get sick and found this study on the topic, and I couldn’t believe the results! Check this out:
If you have no children, you spend about 7% of the year being sick. Once you have between 2-4 children, that number skyrockets to 55-58% of the year. And for those with large families, 87% of the year is spent sick when you have 6 children or more. That’s insane!!
What this means for me is that I can expect to deal with all of the things I dislike about my kids being sick for MORE THAN HALF of our lives while the kids are young. I find that quite depressing.
What can you do to prevent them from getting sick?
I wish I could tell you I have a magic bullet answer to this age-old question, but sadly, I don’t. I’m also unimpressed with the advice from my pediatrician and the internet, who spit out the same answers and take a passive approach to the topic (“they’re going to get sick, nothing you can do about it!”).
Some people think it’s better to expose kids to germs more often so they build up resistance. But, those people aren’t the ones dealing with the repercussions of kids constantly being sick and missing out on things like Easter and their year-end dance recital.
Obviously, things like washing their hands often, using hand sanitizer, ensuring your house is clean, and keeping them well-fed and well-rested are all good rules to follow. But, I’m looking for more advanced tactics to try to beat the odds of having a sick household 56% of the time, and I’ve yet to find anything very compelling. We recently started giving our girls elderberry immune support gummies, so I’m hoping that helps. Another article I read talked about the healing powers of honey, so if you can get your kids to swallow a spoonful of honey every day, it might be beneficial.
In short, misery loves company, and I needed to vent about this unpleasant aspect of having kids. I just want to spend more time happy and healthy and having fun with my kids, and less time stressed out and sick. If you’re the insightful person holding all the secrets to a healthy childhood, please do me a huge favor and share with the rest of us and put us out of our misery. 😊
About Katie Stansberry
Katie Stansberry is a work-remote mom of two sweet girls and the creator of Breastfeeding Bliss. After struggling at the beginning of her breastfeeding journey, she wanted to create a happy place where breastfeeding moms could find practical tips, positive inspiration, and the newest and best breastfeeding products. On her "Back to Bliss" breastfeeding blog, she shares her personal stories and tips for making breastfeeding and motherhood an easier and more enjoyable experience.