This morning I walked into my 6-year-old son’s room to find him sitting on the edge of the bed, tears in his eyes.
I set down the laundry I was carrying and pulled him into my arms. “What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked. He melted into me, his voice breaking. “Mom, we’ve been sick for so long. We get better for like a day, and then the next thing comes along.”
My heart sank, and I nodded—because he was right.
Our boys started kindergarten and preschool this year, and for the last two+ months, it seems like our family has been hit with illness after illness.
The common cold.
You name it, we’ve had it.
I can count on one hand—maybe one finger—the number of week-long stretches we’ve gone during that time when someone hasn’t had the sniffles or a cough. And honestly? I feel super defeated.
When you’re raising school-aged kids, the winter months are rough.
There’s something about the transition from kids being mostly home to being around a ton of other people in a totally new environment that shakes kids’ immune systems up a bit. Add in the fact that little ones tend to touch everyone and everything in their exploration of the world, and they’re bound to pick up unwelcome germs.
I was warned about this. Heck, I witnessed it with several of my friends who are ahead of me in this parenting thing—but I don’t think I truly understood until now how hard it is to do life as a parent of grade school kids when your family is constantly sick.
There have been canceled sporting events.
Postponed visits with elderly relatives.
Missed school days and called-off babysitters.
Our house is a wreck, because as I scramble to keep up with my job and take care of sick kids (sometimes while sick myself), the ball that gets dropped most often is housework.
I’m physically exhausted from only halfway sleeping while I keep my ears open for coughing or little voices calling to me from the other room.
I’m overwhelmed with all of the to-dos that are piling up instead of getting done.
We’ve hardly left the house, and the cabin fever of being home with sick kids in the winter is REAL, friends. And it’s suffocating.
It feels like every time I breathe a sigh of relief and think, Finally. This will finally be the week we get back to our routine and I can catch up, someone else spikes a fever or throws up all over their favorite stuffed animal in the middle of the night.
Staying healthy this school year has truly been an uphill battle—and if I can be perfectly honest . . . I’m drowning. I think a lot of parents are.
A conversation with friends or a scroll through social media tells me just how many other families are up against the same challenge lately. As much as I’m struggling, I can only imagine what this season must be like for single parents or parents whose work isn’t nearly as flexible as mine and my husband’s.
This winter has tested my resilience, for sure, but I know I have no other choice but to put my head down and keep going . . . because that’s just what we mamas do.
So I’ll keep making nightly rounds doling out cough syrup and checking temperatures.
I’ll keep waking up when someone needs a warm bath or cuddles at 2 a.m.
I’ll somehow figure out how to get emails answered and work tasks completed, even if it means staying up until ungodly hours to do so.
I’ll keep my family functioning with the help of my husband, who I know is carrying just as much of this weight as I am.
I’ll acknowledge that this literal season of motherhood is really hard, and I’ll do my best to give myself an allowance of extra grace.
I’ll do what I can and let go of what I can’t (and hide under the covers with Netflix or a good book whenever remotely possible).
And I’ll cling to the hope that comes with the warmer days ahead.
If you’re in this place too, mama, hold on. Spring is right around the corner, and I just know it’s going to be beautiful.