Motherhood, Manners, and Sick Children

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It is with great fear and trepidation that I blog on this topic. I carefully tread into the stormy waters of this theme. But I think it’s an important one. First off: I am not trying to hurt feelings or shame anyone. This is merely an “eye opener” for all of us. It is something that I hope will stop and make us think, and act with wisdom. I’m also writing this post in August, when everyone is fairly healthy so that no one thinks I am talking about them in particular. I am not finger pointing. This blog post is NOT one where I air my opinions on topics such as my feelings on medicine, essential oils or herbs, etc. If blog comments get nasty, they will simply be deleted. (Rolls head back and forth, cracks knuckles, breaths deeply… here we go!)

I want to address an issue of manners in regards to our sick children. Many people seem unconcerned with the idea of taking their children out in public when they are sick. They make excuses for it, they have too many commitments, too little time, and well… Johnny is just going to have to tag along if he’s going to make it in this family. Children are dragged hither and yon to the store, to church, to friend’s houses, to sporting events, etc. All because we committed to something and we can’t cancel and stay home. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we all have much to learn.

Dangerous

The first reason that this is a dangerous and a selfish thing to do, is that we are presuming that it’s no big deal if we get someone else sick. This is thoughtless and this is rude.

People in public are as follows:

  • newborn babies
  • the elderly
  • people who have low immune systems due to cancer, Auto immune diseases and Rheumatoid Arthritis, AIDS, or other diseases.
  • Families who have been ill a number of times and who are trying to get healthy again
  • Men and women who work extremely hard and who cannot afford to get sick and take time off from work
  • People who are about to go on a special outing or vacation where sickness would ruin their trip
  • School children with learning disabilities who are already behind on the work

These are the people in public that we risk getting sick. It is even harmful for them in some cases to catch our child’s illness and it’s easily prevented if we just stay at home with our germs.

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The second reason it is dangerous: we are teaching our children that Mommy’s plans, and the need to get out of the house, the desire to go to an event or to serve in a particular way at the church, is more important than our children’s health and best interest. When our little ones have teary eyes, and snotty noses and coughs and they are fussy because of it, that is the time when they need to be AT HOME. They need to be in a rocking chair, with a blanket, being snuggled by Mama. She needs to rub their backs, sing them a little tune, make them tea, their noses wiped,put cool washcloths on their heads, take their temperature, and keep a close eye on them. They need to know that THEY GET FIRST PRIORITY.

Actually, my favorite memories I have with my children, and our most bonding moments are during these times when we read books, and snuggle up and just HEAL. My favorites include reading Brambly Hedge at 2am in the bathroom while the shower steamed the bathroom and my little one sat on my lap and was able to breath properly again. The time my son was crying because the stomach flu was so bad and his little hand grabbed my shoulder and he said “I love you so much Mommy, never go away.” These are the memories we make, the love we grow, the life-altering events they will remember as adults.

The List

If your children have any of these symptoms, keep them home.

  • If they have a fever and for 24 hours after it breaks
  • If they are vomiting and for 24 hours after they stop
  • If they have diarrhea
  • If they have lice
  • If they cough so hard that they throw up
  • If they have pink eye and 24 hours after drops
  • If they have runny noses, watery eyes, sore throat and cough.
  • If they are suffering from asthma (especially if they need to stay near a nebulizer)
  • If they are dizzy and nauseous

 

For the sake of the babysitter

I will also mention babysitters here. If your child is sick, please don’t keep scheduled plans and invite the babysitter to come over. There is nothing worse as a babysitter than being “surprised” with the fun fact that everyone has pink eye and you get to be next in line. And give a “full disclosure” when you do hire a babysitter and ask them if they mind. Some do, some don’t. But information is always nice.

 

Tough on the Mamas

I know that this job and this duty of caring for our little ones is no small task. I remember a Winter in particular that I missed 5 weeks of church. It just seemed like every time we started to get better, we caught something else and were back down. It was lonely and discouraging and exhausting. It’s embarrassing having to cancel dinner at someone’s house. It’s tiresome to go grocery shopping at 10pm because that’s the only time you could get out by yourself. You feel you aren’t fulfilling your noble purpose and calling if you don’t head up some particular event. You are just at home, in your yoga pants, dried snot on your shoulder.

But that is the farthest thing from the truth. You are nobility in the making. You are an adventurer roughing it and gaining glory. That fifth load of laundry from the great stomach virus of 17′ is turning you into gold. This is a short season in the grand scheme of things, but one that is producing so much fruit. You are producing so much love. You are teaching the next generation how to nurture, how to be selfless, and humble. You are teaching your children that there is something really human, yet really grand when you are on your knees cleaning up vomit. You are teaching your children that they are the most beloved children anywhere ever, by not letting their noses become crusted full of snot.

You are teaching your children manners,

especially how to love humans everywhere.

 

 

*artwork by Pino Daeni

7 Replies to “Motherhood, Manners, and Sick Children”

  1. Good points! I remember staying home for weeks at a time because of sick kids and I only had half the kids you do!

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  2. Beautifully stated. If only this would be required reading by all mothers of preschoolers and students of all ages. I have had HS students who attend class and then can barely drive home.
    Although I no longer have children living at home I help care for an 89 yr old mother in law in an assisted living center whose health could affect many if she caught a virus carried by my students. And how broken hearted I would be if I missed a trip to visit the Grands because I became ill, thanks to a student.

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  3. My 101 year old grandfather, who happens to be a young Christian, thinks there will a lot more women in heaven than men. Some of his comments about society and life are fanciful and ridiculous, some straight-on and insightful.
    This sickness domain does generally fall to mamas, but dads who have any authority and actual leadership role need to truly lead on this one. Daddy voices need to be loud and clear for the families (and neighbors) they are assigned to provide for and protect.
    There is much in this article to make me repent of some serious selfishness regarding these children’s sickness matters. I also have to struggle again with *all* the parenting information falling on top of mom, never dad. It’s weighty, folks. There are times my grandpa’s comments ring true as it gets.

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  4. If you allow my previous comment, and don’t mind to edit, the sentence should say my grandpa says there will *be* a lot more women than men in heaven. Maybe you could catch and edit my typo? Thanks. This was good to read. You are indeed a brave voice, like a needed prophet.

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    1. I can’t edit your comments but I enjoyed what you said. And I agree with you that Dads should help too, But they are not my regular audience. My blog addresses women and especially mothers. Thank you for your comments 🙂

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  5. Love this. You speak so eloquently. As a teacher it’s hard knowing that many parents view us as free daycare… so then I get sick and have to miss work (and the students miss real instruction) and my kiddos get sick and miss school. I’ve literally had parents drop puking kids off at school and say “isn’t that what a school nurse is for?” And drive away and not answer their phones. So kudos to this

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