HOW TO SURVIVE THE DREADED TWO-WEEK-LONG KID PLAGUE

As moms of daycare / school kids, there are only a few things of which we can be totally sure:  

Lice, HFM, weird poo, and the fucking flu.

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We got hit hard with the latter here on the Stanley camp over the “holidays.” The weeks we “had off” were weeks we spent in a time warp of our own making – One we went into with holiday cheer and came out of with our sights set on making 2019 our bitch.

The most striking thing about being housebound (from December 16 to Jan 3 consistently) with two sick kids (aged 2.5 and 4.5) was that it took me right back to the very early days of both my kids’ lives and honestly, the whole scenario had me slightly shook.

The cabin fever. The exhaustion. The worry. The fear. The doctor visits. The anxiety. The love. The snuggles. The quiet. The calm.

It was a flashback to a time before any of us really knew who we were or what we were doing – a smack in the face reminder of everything we’ve endured, what we’ve survived, of what we’re made of.

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The hard shit makes you strong but the catch is you have to survive it first. Since we’d hate to leave you up shit’s creek without a paddle, here are some helpful tips to get you through should you too get slammed with the flu:

Tip 1: Don’t waste your dwindling energy stores worrying about your kids’ food intake. Mine refused almost everything I offered (mostly cool fruit and popsicles) but luckily they now old enough to tell us why they didn’t want to eat: “Everything tastes gross, Mummy – my mouth is disgusting.” Yep, we’ve all been there before, kid. Alors, hydration and comfort should be your main areas of focus. (And honestly, not having to really cook is the only bright side of weeks of fever.)

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Tip 2: Use this opportunity to introduce your sick spawn to some of your favourite cartoon classics. They’re old enough to sit through a movie and they’re lethargic enough to want to watch a whole marathon of them while dozing in and out of sleep so SEIZE THE DAY, MAMA! The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Vintage Mickey – let the greats shine once again through your family TV.

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Tip 3: Take a break from being a human bed whenever it begins to feel like your skin is crawling and you want to climb out of your own body. That’s the point where you need to get up, have your partner replace you in the cuddle puddle (your kids might temporarily lose it but they’ll get it together once they realize there’s even more bodily real estate to take up on dad), and go deep clean yourself in the shower. Turn the water on dangerously hot and let it beat on you for however long it takes for you to feel like you can tackle the disaster in your living room again.

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Tip 4: Embrace your cleaning neuroses. I don’t know about you but when my kids get sick, that’s when my inner germaphobe really comes out; but in this scenario, it is for the greater good of everyone involved. Wash linens, couch blankets, clothes, PJs, floors, and any other surface your snotty kids have smeared their hands and faces on. USHER THE FUCKING PLAGUE OUT by way of rag, mop, and vacuum. Just make it stop. 

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Tip 5: Get on board with doing literally nothing but cuddling and worrying – and in those rare moments when you’re not shitting your pants with fear while pretending to be an all knowing, zen master nurturer, really give in to the love and affection. You gotta enjoy that good good lovin’ while they’re still offering it.

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Tip 6: Intermittently open the windows if it’s not -100 outside. Let the gross sick air out and the fresh air in. This is as close are you’re gonna get to an energy clearing ceremony right now so hop to it.

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Tip 7: Don’t murder your partner if he contracts man-flu while your children are sick. You don’t need his help right now anyway. Let him rest while the kids are sick because when they’re all healthy, they can get the F outta the house together so you have a glimmer of hope to decompress.

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Tip 8: Edibles. You’re already a prisoner to the sofa. Might as well make the best of it.*

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Tip 9: Seize this opportunity to refresh the homestead. Scrutinize the walls from your couch steak out: Have those frames been cleaned in the past year? Does that painting need to move three inches to the right? If you’re going to be trapped in the house for weeks, might as well make it a place worth hanging out in. (Also a great time to purge wardrobes and toys. Nothing like disinfecting a house that is also organized to the tits. Guaranteed success.)

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At the end of the day, your doctor will hand over a prescription for antibiotics or she’ll tell you to hit the road, keep ‘em comfortable and feed ‘em an ice cream diet until their appetite comes back – either way, all you can really do if your family gets befallen by the school plague is whatever it takes to get through.

Honestly, part of me enjoyed the time away from the world. There was a lot of space to think and daydream and by doing so, I was able to learn a really important lesson about myself at this very point in my life: I really love to work. I really love my work. Being isolated from it in the way that I was over the holidaze reminded me of why I started The Rebel Mama to begin with: To get the fuck away from everyone for long enough to hear my own thoughts; to listen to them. To write, to create, to plot, to plan, to forecast, to design.

And so I emerged from the holidaze with restored focus, a KondoMari’d house, and 2 healthy kids – all things I plan to honour and be grateful for every day of 2019.

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*Do not attempt while caring for sick kids unless you’re a borderline expert and even if you are, remember to “start low and go slow.” You don’t need to get all Cheech and Chong, just a slight body buzz to help relax your now jacked up back and make the cartoon marathons more fun.

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