Cold and flu season is upon us. At the first sign of a runny nose, the sound of a sneeze or the dreaded “I am just not hungry” during meal time – parents find themselves on high-alert, waiting to see what may come next.
If your child does end up sick then you are left to wonder, “Who’s going to be next?” It’s like a stomach-bug sniper taking out victims one-by-one. You don’t know when it’s coming and you don’t know who it’s going after, but someone is likely to fall victim.
This is especially true if you have multiple young children. Their little immune systems aren’t built up yet, making them more susceptible to many of the viruses they come in contact with.
Here is the good news. Yes, there is good news. They are building their immune systems and they will start to get sick less often as they get older.
In the meantime, know that you are not alone.
It is hard. It can feel isolating at times when you have been cooped-up for long stretches. It can be exhausting with late nights (sometimes sleepless nights), loads of laundry and trips to the doctor and pharmacy. It can be scary if your child becomes really sick – especially if that sickness ends up with a trip to the ER in the middle of the night.
Remember, you are not alone.
You may feel like you have cancelled or changed every plan you have made for the past two months. You may worry your friends won’t understand or worse – they won’t want to make plans with you anymore. Remember, you are not alone. I have learned over the years if someone doesn’t want to be my friend because my child was sick and I had to take care of them instead of meeting for coffee – then we probably weren’t that great of friends to begin with.
Your good friends will understand. They will offer you a listening ear – and may even drop off some chicken noodle soup. A reminder that you are not alone.
There are other parents all around the world who have been where you are. They can empathize with your struggle. They understand it is hard – because they have been there too.
This is part of parenting. This is life with little ones. We can attempt to have structure. We can attempt to make plans. We can attempt to have schedules, but so much of parenting – and of life – is unpredictable.
This is a life-lesson I learn time and time again as a parent. I can make my plans, but I need to make them loosely. I need to live in the moment because I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.
All of my children are roughly two years apart in age. When they were little, I felt like someone was constantly sick. I even scheduled a consultation with their doctor to find out what was wrong with them. Why were they always sick? Was this normal? What was I doing wrong? I was sure something must not be right here. She assured me my children were fine and this was a normal part of parenting. Because we had our children so close together, and they were so young, they were just passing things around.
The reality is, sharing the germs helped their little immune systems to grow. As they have gotten older, they do get sick less now than they used to. That does not mean by any stretch that we are in the clear. They get sick less often, but it does still happen.
As I type this, my daughter is laying on the couch watching tv – at home with the stomach bug. And I am left to wonder…..
Who’s going to be next?
And hoping the answer is no one.
Jennifer Thompson is a stay-at-home mom of four spunky, sweet, kind and sometimes a bit wild children. She has a passion for the written word and thinks that libraries and bookstores are the coolest places ever. When not hanging out with family or writing, she can be found enjoying a good cup of coffee, running, spending quality time with friends, working on some type of project around the house, planning the family’s next trip to her favorite destination – Walloon Lake, Michigan, or very possibly – reading a book.
Jennifer enjoys writing about her parenting experience and outings with her children for Indy’s Child as a freelance writer and blogger and also keeps a personal blog, www.trulyyoursjen.com, that she has fun writing when time allows.