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  • Gareth Ellis

Struggling Through Sickness

When you’re ill and you work in an office it can be very simple. Call your boss, tell them you’re sick and then have some time off to recover. When you’re a parent, it’s not that simple.


As a parent, you often don’t have the luxury of calling in sick, you have to plough on regardless because your children need you.


Recently, I was hit with a bit of suspected food poisoning, which gave me a bit of a dodgy belly. I can tell you that dodgy bellies and a lack of energy are not what you need when you’re looking after two toddlers.


I ‘luckily’ started this bout of sickness on a Sunday which meant not only was Jess home, but my Dad was able to have the kids for a few hours too.


I then wondered what I would do if I didn’t have a support network. Would I have to look after two children in between trips to the bathroom? The short answer, yes. On the Monday, Dad and Jess were back at work so I had to – for want of a better term – ‘get my arse out of bed and get on with it.’


Children don’t understand being poorly. When it’s them they’ll often try and run around like normal and won’t take the time to rest and have a sleep, only succumbing to a nap when they physically crash.


When we’re ill we can’t tell them what’s wrong, and we certainly can’t get away with lying in bed or on the sofa and having a sleep, expecting them to sit still and watch a film etc.


Rupert is getting to the age where he understands to a degree, but all he knows is that ‘Daddy’s poorly’ and that he needs to say, ‘Get better soon, Daddy,’ and not that Daddy can’t move too much.


The point is parents HAVE to keep going. You can’t quarantine etc because your kids need looking after – although you may be hotter on disinfecting everything and washing your hands.


The other problem is simply that when children go to nursery/pre-school/school, they will inevitably pick up more bugs etc because they may not have been exposed to that particular illness.


In our house it seems that I’m more susceptible to the tummy bugs while Jess is more prone to catching the sniffly ones – I’m not sure which I’d rather.


Illness can’t be avoided, whether you have kids or not, we all have to do our best to power through and get better as quickly as possible.


My advice to those who have kids, disinfect everything, take any advice on food (vitamin C rich things for colds etc) and get to bed as soon as the kids go.


Oh, and drop them at a family member’s if you can. Get that guilt-free sleep where you can.




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