A surety that we all should not be surprised when it happens: is sickness in the home. Especially during this cold and flu season! And yet how many of us are caught off guard when the dreaded germs DO invade our homes. What to do when a parent is sick?

Calendars are interrupted.

To-do list are stopped full tilt.

Projects halted – no matter what the state that they are in.

Doctor appointments are scheduled in.

Pharmacy runs are made.

Extra, budget money is spent.

And your world seems to stop as the sickness spins through your house.

It can be depressing.

It’s hard work for a parent.

It can be isolating.

It can run you to the limit of your human ability — making you feel weak as a kitten.

It can be so frustrating.

It can invite the crushing weight of helplessness into your home.


Recently we’ve gone through a nasty cold. Rumors are around the community that this nasty cold was kindly spread thought out our school and community right before the Christmas Break.

Meaning we were not the only ones that were taking, on Christmas Day from opening presents. Right?! The kids just wanted to rest. Dan and I kept taking turns napping on the couch. This nasty cold has been hanging on for two weeks and counting, affecting us older folks 🙂 with lingering effects and possible pneumonia scares more than the resilience of the children.

when a parent is sick

Especially if it’s the parent sick — at home with your young children — it can cause us to do crazy things that we wouldn’t normally do.


-Watch an orbit amount of TVO kids throughout the day with our child. Park it right on the couch!

-To tell our kids to sort out the fighting and pecking order for themselves. You have zero energy to deal with it.

-To banish each child to separate and far-reaching corners of the house when the pecking order is NEVER figured out and keeps going — and mom loses her patience.

-To run errands around town without makeup on, to cover the large bags under moms eyes and the yellow tinge to the skin on the face. Risking the fact that you may bump into someone who you know, but right now – you REALLY couldn’t care less.

-To be fine with the fact that PB or grilled cheese is OK to have for supper again. Or that the mysterious leftover dish in the back of the fridge is alright to eat. Heat it up hot enough and it should be fine. Right?!

-To forget to count how many days in a row it has been since you last had a shower! You couldn’t work up enough energy to care. Just wash your face and stick on a hat before leaving the house and all is good. People will just HAVE to understand or they will have to run in the other direction.

-To question why you ever wanted to have children because if they didn’t exist then you could have the luxury to lay in bed all day like you would love to do instead of rolling up in a blanket on the couch with one eye open on the children, playing around you.

Fair enough – point made – being sick SUCKS!!!!!

1) Hold onto HOPE: depression and sickness go hand in hand. If we are in the mindset that we will be better in a couple of days, and a couple days go by, then a few more and nothing improves. The fear that something more is wrong with you — like some sort of chronic illness — can cause us, parents, to think crazy thoughts. On top of that, you have to deal now with the depression that you will never be well again.

It’s hard to remember what it was like to have an abundant amount of energy. It’s hard to remember what your head feels like without a hammer ringing inside. It’s hard to remember how to talk without out the probability of setting off another cough attack. It’s really hard to remember what it feels like to NOT want to sleep so much.

Hold onto hope throughout your time of illness. Unless you do have a chronic disease, it will pass.

Post encouraging words on your bathroom mirror, or encouraging scripture. Talk to someone and literally say “I NEED words of hope in my life right now. Tell me I won’t always be sick!” You could call your doctor. If the time and the energy of talking out and breaking down what your sickness is doing to your body and how soon you should start to feel better — that conversation and the doctors’ plan of action can be exactly what you need to hear to keep your hope up.

2) Go into sick MODE: have a plan.

The simple act of having a plan when a parent is sick can make or break it for you.

Having a plan, I know for myself is a HUGE relief. Even a simple plan. Whether it’s to quickly clear your schedule of everything but the necessities To have a list of what medication you need to buy from the pharmacy or what “comfort” food would be needed to have in the house and go grocery shopping. Plan out what time during the day you can sneak in a nap (s) or what time can you get to bed as early as possible.

Having a plan takes the guess-work and the brain power out of the essentials that you need in your home and schedule for you to get better. With the guess-work taken out, you obviously have more time to heal and sleep off your sickness.

3) Keep TRACK: write it down.

As the days blur by when your sick, it’s easy to forget when you actually got sick, when you actually felt even worse, when you started to feel better and when you possibly got sick again. Writing down your sickness journey can help you literally see your sickness pattern.

It can help you decided on when to call your doctor and set up an appointment. It can help you to decide on whether or not you need to take a few days off from work. You can use your Google calendar, agenda or a paper on the fridge to do this. You can write a simple note to yourself, or you could open up a WORD document and make a medical folder for each of your family’s members health care in full detail.

At our house, we have a big whiteboard calendar on our one wall. I’ll make notes on that of when a sickness started, so I know when I should call the doctor.  

hoping parents get well soon

Getting sick can be a burden on the family. Where a month can go by and you can feel that it’s a “write off” as all you were dealing with was sick kids, sick spouse, or sick YOU!

Remember not to lose heart and do what you can in the small things.

By: Sharon Schuler

what to do when a parent is sick

p.s. After 3 weeks of a nasty cold and a dead laptop, it’s so good to be back blogging. Hope you and your family had a great and germ-free Christmas Break!



Sharon Schuler

28 comments on “When a Parent is Sick”

  1. Oh God! I can totally understand the feeling. Everything just feels yucky when you’re sick. And don’t even get me started with being irritated all the time especially if you have to do all the chores and work!

  2. There is no time to be sick in my house! I pump the essential oils through my body on a daily basis to avoid getting sick. Cause when momma is sick everyone gets sick. No fun!

  3. Welcome back and thanks for sharing.
    As a parent I dread being sick! Because even when I am sick and just want to stay i bed and sleep, I cannot because the kids depend on me. I have to suck it up and get on with what needs to be done.
    I do however only carry out the important tasks. Most importantly, I worry that the kids will catch whatever it is that I have. which can be really daunting at the best of times. But like you say, implementing a good plan is great as it keeps you on top of things. There’s nothing worse than feeling under the weather and feeling the pressure of completing other tasks.

  4. This post certainly made me think more of my friends who have children. It’s really good to have buddy who can help when you’re ill. I certainly plan to be more alert to offer my help in a more personal way when I see that a parent-friend is not feeling well. Thank you for this post.

  5. I stopped eating out at surprise places to prevent tummy troubles after I became a mom.It’s horrible when you are ill and you have small children. Let all mommies have good health forever

  6. Since I am living alone, getting sicknis a big no no. That’s why am so OC with regards to my health. And getting sick is more expensive.

  7. Oh man, I hate when I get sick. The messes just pile up. I mean, yes, my husband helps, but he works, so I can’t expect him to do everything I do and not go nuts. I remember one time I got sick when he was deployed. I was crawling around the house because standing hurt too much trying to get things done.

  8. Ugh I can only imagine! Sickness for a childless person is hard enough so for somebody with a family I can imagine it being so much worse!! Nikki x

  9. This is great Sharon! A great subject to cover 🙂 I’m not a mom yet, but I can appreciate an article that goes out to all the hard working ones out there who may be feel the stress of being sick and caring for a family!

    • I love that your checking up Jess! Makes me smile. Hope everyone is healthy in your house now! In a way it was nice to have happened on Christmas Break…no school missed! LOL
      ~ Sharon =)

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