As I mentioned before I am new to the whole mom thing but based on my discussions with other moms, I think its pretty common for babies to get sick A LOT in the first two years. Despite all my efforts to keep things clean and avoid too much exposure to germs, it seems like my kids are coming down with something every few weeks or so. Nursing a sick child can be an exhausting task for anyone but I think there is more than double effort when caring for sick twins.
After months of on again off again viruses, colds, stomach bugs and the like I think I would say the worst of it is the sleepless nights. Just this past week my kids have had a head cold and I felt like they were tag teaming me. Lily would wake up crying and then half an hour later, Levi would have his turn. The cycle continued throughout the night until we all passed out for about two hours. Then they were up and ready for the day at 5 or 6am!
My twins share a room and have done so since they were born. I’m amazed sometimes at the level of noise one can produce without waking the other! Still, on nights like that I find myself doing the ninja creep to the bed of the ailing baby and I whisk them out of the room as quickly and quietly as possible. There have been a few occasions in which they both wake up simultaneously and then it becomes a screaming match. Who can fuss the loudest and get the most attention? That’s when I run back into the bedroom and beat on their daddy until he wakes up (how can he still be sleeping?!?) and drag him into the room to help.
I have to praise my husband here for a moment. Despite having a long commute and a full day of work outside of the home, he is great about helping out when needed. The other morning I had been up with Lily from 12am – 4am and was just exhausted. So, he took over then and cared for her so I could get a couple of precious hours of sleep before he had to leave for work.
Times like this are rough! You feel so sleep deprived and emotionally depleted that you just want to crawl into a hole somewhere and call a time out on life. I love my babies and I LOVE staying home with them but pouring yourself out constantly can leave you feeling all used up. So, I decided to share some things that I’ve learned through these last 15 months and hopefully someone else will find them helpful.
Never make any major decisions while your kids are sick. I can’t tell you how many times I have been tempted to quit a volunteer position, quit my part time job with the church, quit being a stay at home mom, quit that friendship, quit my marriage or quit attempting to cook meals because I was an emotional wreck. I’m just being honest. Some days we just want to walk away from it all but we need to recognize that we cannot be led by our emotions. Emotions are such fickle things and can be so easily swayed by lack of sleep and other negative contributing factors. When I start feeling frustrated and hopeless, I begin to quote scripture to myself. If I am feeling foggy headed and can’t think of any – I seek out quotes I have written down before or I will search for encouraging scriptures online or use other tools to help me get through it. This page has a great Promises of God booklet and it is FREE to download. One of my favorite quotes from the Bible is:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Don’t isolate yourself. This is something that I have a tendency to do because one of my pet peeves is spreading illness to other people and their kids. That being said, just because you cancel your play dates for the week, doesn’t mean you have to stay in the house. This past week I have taken the twins out in their stroller at least twice a day. It helps that the temperature hasn’t gotten above 85 but even on the hotter days, you can go outside early in the morning. Hey, I was up at 5am anyway, right? On days when it is raining or just too hot and the kids are restless, I take them for a drive. Now that they are older they don’t like being in the car for too long (unless napping) so I’ll just drive to McDonald’s and get an iced coffee. It’s amazing how even that small break in my routine can help me feel refreshed.
Make time to recharge your batteries. If you have a friend or family member who is available to help, don’t be afraid to ask them for it! Again, I’m a believer in the benefits of quarantine when ill so I often shy away from asking for help but sometimes you have do what’s necessary. While those are healthy practices, they do you no good if you’re about to lose your mind. Earlier this week, I had gone 4 nights in a row with very little sleep and I had to ask my husband to stay home from work. I hate using his leave for this type of thing but I needed some sleep to be able to keep going! If circumstances don’t allow for you to take a break, make plans for your next break. Schedule a babysitter or plan a day out with your husband and kids for the following weekend. Sometimes just being able to see light at the end of this tunnel can help you keep going.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Another really tough thing about my twins being sick is the disruption to their normal nap schedule. This might sound like a minor detail but anyone who has twins knows that having them nap at the same time is the only way to get time to yourself. It is when I wash dishes, shower, clean the floors and write my blog posts (hence the sound of crickets on my blog this week). That’s why at times like this I try to simplify my day. The chores are reduced down to what is necessary and if all of the laundry doesn’t get done, then so be it. Everything that can be run in the dishwasher is loaded in and cleaned. If there are a few pans that need to be hand washed, they get rinsed and left to the side until later. (Not days later. That’s a good way to invite little creatures to invade your kitchen. lol)
Don’t forget this is just for a season. Hopefully this sickness won’t last through the entire cold and flu season but what I really mean is that in most circumstances this rough patch is temporary. You just need to hang in there and ride it out until it’s over. I have some slight OCD tendencies so any disruption in my routine can make me feel anxiety. If my twins aren’t eating like they should or if they get out of sync with their naps, I start worrying. I often have to remind myself that its OK not to be in control because ultimately God is in control and He has my back. Sure enough, as they begin to improve in health, they start falling back into the routine that us twin moms rely on so heavily.
I hope sharing these few thoughts will be of help to someone. If you have a child or children of toddler age, follow me on Pinterest and check out my board full of ideas of activities to keep toddlers entertained.
If you have any additional tips or thoughts to share on this, I would love to read about them in the comments section below or visit my Contact page and send me an email!