Musings from the Sick House


I'm writing this Saturday night, and let me tell you: it has been a week. A WEEK. It started last weekend when R got a stomach bug Saturday night and projectile vomited all over the carpet in our bedroom and then twice more in her bed. She spent basically all of Sunday parked on the couch watching TV. You know your toddler has watched a lot of TV when she comes to tell you she doesn't want to watch anymore. 

I've mentioned before that for some reason I'm way more against TV time than I thought I would be as a mom, and not to sound dramatic, but days like that make me die a little inside. But then I remind myself that lying on the couch watching endless amounts of TV is pretty much the only good thing about having a stomach bug. This is true when you are 32 and when you are 3. Amen.

By Sunday afternoon she was complaining about her right ear hurting. And by complaining, I mean inconsolable screaming late into the night. I took her to the doctor first thing Monday morning to check her ear, and sure enough it was infected. My work is pretty flexible, which I'm grateful for, but this last week and next week are the absolute worst two weeks for my kids to be sick. I am working on the most important issue of our publication, which goes to press at the end of next week, and it's a stressful time for me and a lot of my coworkers.

There are a lot of hard things about being a working mom, but in the three years since I started back to work after having R, I still think the very hardest thing is when my kids are sick. I absolutely hate that I am unable to give them 100% of my focus when all they want is me. Even when I do take off to stay at home, I still have to call in sick/reschedule meetings/answer emails from home. And there are times when they have a cold or just aren't acting themselves, but they aren't technically contagious with anything, and I send them to daycare, and I feel terrible about it. There's just a lot a lot of guilt involved for a lot of different reasons, and I feel like I'm failing at being a good employee and failing at being a good mom.

So I had that going on to start the week with R, and J also wasn't acting like himself at all. He basically cried most of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and finally Saturday afternoon I took him to the doctor to get his ears checked just in case. Double ear infection. MEANWHILE, when I got home from picking up J's ear medicine, Jordan said he felt nauseous and promptly threw up. What is life right now.

I admit: I have not felt very jolly this week. I've either slept on the couch or in R's toddler bed most of the past week. Someone has been puking or crying nearly every minute of the time I'm with them before and after work. I quit Instagram until the new year because if I see any more posts about how much fun it is to stay at home during the day with your kids and bake Christmas cookies I'm going to claw my eyes out.

I called my mom on Friday, and she asked how I was doing, and I said, "Good!" Then I said, "I don't know why I said good. I'm not doing good. This week has been crappy." We've so trained ourselves to answer "good" to the "how are you doing?" question that I even say it to my own mother, apparently.

In the grand scheme of life, obviously these are minor concerns. And really it's just been this week. We've actually been able to do a fair amount of Christmas merry-making this month, including Jordan putting up lights on our house for the first time ever! I also love how my mantel turned out, thanks to some FaceTime help from my aunt. It feels like the one thing in the house the kids can't touch and mess up.

On Thursday we met some friends at a kid's play area called North Pole Adventure, and R took her very first picture with Santa of her young life. I think I've talked before about how I personally don't understand why people think photos of small children sitting in Santa's lap and screaming are funny. We've never taken R to see Santa before, and we didn't at all force her to go this time, but she hopped right up there herself and told him she wants "more games" for Christmas. (She told me today that she also wants a pink Barbie, but too bad that's not happening. I don't have time for late-entry gift ideas! I also have no idea where she came up with that idea since we don't own any Barbies. I know she plays with them at daycare, though.)
J was there too, but he was in a terrible mood because of the aforementioned ear infection and only wanted to be held by me or Jordan. I didn't want to put Santa through that kind of stress ;)

This is one of those posts where I feel like I should have some kind of ending point, but really I don't. I've been reading Paul David Tripp's daily advent devotional each day this month so far, and I'm thankful for his simple reminders during this season of what the point of everything is. It's not perfect Instagram squares or clean houses or even everyone being completely healthy. It's Jesus. I have to keep telling myself that my days are not wasted and that he understands.

I think I'll end with sharing a quote that someone I follow shared on Facebook recently. I almost skipped over reading it as I was scrolling through, but for some reason I stopped, and I'm very glad I did. A good reminder in this Advent season. So much easier to read about than to do, but I can keep practicing!


  1. WHAT IS WITH ALL THE SICKNESS THIS YEAR? We’ve missed at least four fun Christmas-y things because of sickness so far, including a party tonight because I lost my voice. Ugh! Sorry you’ve been dealing with it too!

  2. Solidarity!!!! I don't think my week can top yours on the scale of awfulness, but the second half of the week was pretty rough over here. Wednesday, I came down with what seems to be a stomach bug except I had everything except vomiting (for which I'm grateful), and that was the day when we had to pick up our order from a local raw milk co-op-and on the way home, I went onto the wrong ramp and wound up on a highway with no way off for 20-30 minutes. Thursday I spent most of the day in the bathroom or on the couch, and it was the most miserable I've been in a long time (I don't get sick often). Thankfully I'm better now and so far no one else around here is sick, but those couple days were terrible. That Dorothy Day quote is so perfect and timely-as I sat on the couch this week, letting my toddler (who I do not give any screen time during the day, normally) watch hours of Shaun the Sheep so I could rest in between nursing the baby, I thought about how all these different Advent things I've been trying to do have fallen by the wayside. And I'm trying to remember that as great as Advent devotionals and our Jesse Tree reflections are, the most important thing is focusing myself on God-and even if I've fallen behind on my "Advent to do list," if I'm using my circumstances to grow close to God, then I'm not really "failing" at Advent.

  3. Ugh! I am so sorry about the sickness. We all have been battling a nasty cough, etc in our house. It's the worst. Sending healing vibes your way!

  4. Hang in there! Last week was a WEEK at our house too. The problem with being a working mom is that everyone does not get sick the same day. Our youngest promptly threw up last Saturday 2 seconds after we set down for breakfast with friends. And it continued with someone everyday until Friday. My work is also flexible but come on..... I can't ask for a week off every other month. The guilt.
    Due to lots of circumstances we have missed out on things I wanted to do this holiday season but even at my kids ages they don't notice. They are just happy to eat extra sweets, have fun days at school, and be spoiled by gifts. Even the life Nativity worked out with only half of us getting to attend.

    1. It is really nice they are still at an age where they don't really care too much as long as they get sweets and gifts! :) So sorry it was a hard week for you too. I feel you about asking off work! Ugh. The struggle is read and hard.

  5. Oh man... I am sending some STRONG healing prayers your way. Yikes. Two kids sick (and a husband, too) has got to be AWFUL. And with work stress/chaos on top of that? Even with a healthy house and distracted kids, that'd be tough. You're doing great, though. Give yourself some grace ;)

  6. Oh my! Bless you! I will say a prayer for your family that everyone will be back to 100% soon so you can enjoy Christmas! Also, I can't personally understand the stress of being a working parent with project deadlines while also having a kid who needs you, but I'm married to someone who has experienced that and I know just from hearing him talk about it how tough it can be at times (read: all the time). So I feel for you! <3

  7. Sending you lots of prayers for a healthy family ASAP - those poor babies. This time of year can be so overwhelming and to add sickness and work deadlines on top of it, I can't imagine. Hang in there and give yourself lots of grace. Since I'll be signing on and off throughout the rest of the year, Merry Christmas to you and yours. I can't wait to see the sibling gift photo this year :)

  8. Girl! Oh my gosh I'm so sorry about the sickness. We had Hand foot mouth sooo bad a few weeks ago with Nolan. Annabelle wasn't so bad but we were contained to the house and I was at the end of my rope with whiny kids. Ah. I had to take off from work and I had such guilt about it. I don't work full time so I don't understand that magnitude but I had so much that needed done and I couldn't do it from home. I'm praying everyone gets healthy for Christmas <3 It is so hard to have sick kiddos!!

  9. I’m so sorry to hear this. Unfortunately I completely relate. The past couple weeks have been an absolute nightmare. I’ve been sicker than sick, so has James, plus he almost had emergency surgery and still might?? Gracie had RSV and just tonight came down with a horrible bout of croup and I’m seriously wondering if she needs to go to urgent care right now. UGH. This has been the crumbiest December. And that’s like maybe half of it. Anyway, I relate. I’m so sorry. May 2019 be better for us all.

  10. We're having one of these weeks this week! Hope you're feeling more jolly!

  11. Oh my gosh that sounds like such a rough week. There have been quite a few bugs going around where we live and a lot of kids have been getting sick. Surprisingly we managed to keep it away from us. However, I do understand what you mean about the hardships of working and having a sick child. There have been so many times where I am so torn between work and staying home and making sure that I make the right choice. In fact, last time my son felt sick I stayed home... and he honestly felt just fine. I gave him a little bit to eat and he felt better immediately. So, he was just hungry. I stayed home because my child, who had eaten breakfast not too long after he woke up, was hungry again. I hope you all are feeling much better!


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