Maintaining patience & Love with a sick child or spouse

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Do you ever feel your patience slipping when your child or husband gets sick? How about when one after the other child gets sick. Do you feel anger building up inside as the parent? Maybe you can relate to this, or maybe you can’t. I hear from several mom’s who struggle greatly when a child or spouse gets sick. Especially if it happens time and time again. They nurture and help for as long as they can, but their patience starts to wear thin after a couple of days. They begin to layer on feelings of guilt, thinking they “SHOULD” be more kind and patient, loving & nurturing. Is this something you’d like to work on for yourself? It’s a different story when it’s only one child, but when you have 3 or 4 kids…that’s a whole other playing field. You’re worried that you’ll infect the other children through you – the one who’s taking care of the sick child.

I want to help you emotionally deal with this situation in the best possible way, so you feel some peace for yourself if your child or spouse gets sick. I’ll be referencing mainly what to do when a child gets sick, but please feel free to put this situation where it fits best in your life. If it’s your spouse who keeps getting sick, try to plug in the information that would be helpful for you here.

Step back and become aware of the entire situation

Before your brain spirals out of control around a situation that hasn’t actually happened yet, let’s take inventory about what’s true. Your child comes down stairs with the sniffles. That’s it. That’s all that’s happened right now. No other kids are sick at the moment. Let’s start managing our thoughts around just this one piece of information that we presently have.

Weather this situation escalates or not, the circumstance is “My child has the sniffles.” You’re more than welcome to prepare your brain for the worst (maybe that child takes an entire week or two off of school), but I like to just take it day by day as it comes. What remedies to I administer to my child at this point, and to the rest of us -in my case it’s usually essential oils and homeopathy medicines, along with early bedtimes, and water. I don’t bust out the homemade chicken noodle soup until days 2 or 3 of the sickness. But the point is, I don’t freak out. Nothing has really happened yet and even if it does, I can manage my brain all along the way, trusting that I’ll know what to do exactly in the moment I need to do it.

You probably won’t be getting a lot of sleep & that’s okay

I’m willing to bet that the reason you’re so emotional about the situation is because you’re lacking sleep. You’ve already lost sleep one, maybe two nights now, and you see another child starting to get sick. It’s natural for your brain to go to “I’m losing it here” & “I just can’t deal with this anymore.” You’re tired. Take a deep breath and repeat after me “It’s okay to be tired.” “It’s normal to be tired when I have a sick child.” “I will sleep whenever I can.” But be aware that you’re not really yourself when you’re tired. Patience will be thin with all the other kids in the house who aren’t sick. Every little thing will bother you, and you might even explode on an innocent bystander.

Choose to love yourself anyways and give yourself some grace. Tell yourself you’re doing a great job under all the circumstances. If you can catch yourself before an explosion, do it. It might look like this…you get upset at your 3 yr old child for making a mess on the floor. You’re tired, hungry, and just need a moment to yourself. Before yelling at that child, you could tell your child to please go to their room for a few minutes. Or better yet, you could slip away. This way, you didn’t end up lashing out at your child, it gave you a few minutes to think it over, and now you can choose on purpose how you want to handle this situation.

Just keep thinking “One thing at a time.” Sure, all the kids will need you at the very same time. Ignore what’s not important and focus on what you feel is.

If you were the mom you want to be, what would it actually look like?

Go to the land of how you feel you should behave when a child is sick. What does it look like to you? Are you really suppose to be happy and patient all the time? Isn’t it okay to feel a little disappointed about a situation? And isn’t it okay that your disappointment flares up to a bit of anger when your sick 7 yr old is sneezing and coughing all over people. At this point you’re mad and raising your voice at the 7 yr old.

What’s the worst part of getting mad? The worst part is you feel bad about how you behaved right? You might be worried that your child isn’t going to feel like you’re taking care of him/her when they’re sick. Since we don’t actually know what your child is thinking as a result of you’re anger, we can assume that your child will learn whatever it is they need to learn from that experience. But when you think “he’s going to think I’m not taking care of him when he’s sick,” you feel shame most likely. And what do you do when you feel shame in your life? Most people set out to distract themselves with Netflix or a treat. They do anything they can NOT to feel shame. They want to escape the emotion. There’s a lot of self judgement we’re trying to escape from.

The sad part is, it doesn’t change anything when we feel shame. In fact, as you can see, it probably spurs on more shame and more guilt. Guilt for wasting too much time on Netflix. Guilt for going off your clean eating plan. Guilt for feeling like you’re a bad parent. Not useful. We feel this self judgement and beating ourselves up, is exactly what we deserve, but it’s not true. What happens is, you don’t take care of you. It’s not that you’re not taking care of your sick child, you’re not taking care of you. Do you see it? And now you think “I hate sickness”, but what you really hate is the person you turn into when someone is sick in the house. That’s why you hate sickness.

Turning it all around

It’s time to get curious. Of course you hate sickness when you respond a certain way and have all this judgement of yourself. Then we have to get rid of sickness in order for you not to feel this way and you can be the mom you want to be. That’s asking a lot of your kids in the end. You’re basically asking them (or demanding them) to not get sick. You just don’t know. Kids could get sick anytime.

Let’s stop for a moment, and think of all the things you DID do, to take care of your child (even when you got angry). I bet you could come up with a mile high list of things you did to nurture that child. Did you feed them? Give them medicine? Read them a story? Let them sleep? Hand it all over for your spouse to deal with? See…You totally did take care of them. The manager of the household can make sure things are taken care of best for the child and themselves, and oftentimes, it’s handing off the responsibility to someone else so you can rest. If you’re feeling burnt out, can you hand this situation over to a trusted friend or family member for a few hours?

Your brain is telling you that you shouldn’t be mad or irritated. Whenever the word “Should” or “Shouldn’t” pops up in your vocabulary, question it. Maybe you should be mad. It’s understandable right? You’re lacking sleep and self care. Your routine is all thrown off. Do you think it’s natural for anyone to get irritated when there are kinks in the schedule? Totally. We all do. Anyone who tells you different is either lying, or has done an insane amount of self coaching on their brain (we’re talking years) to get to a point where things don’t bother them like before. You’ll get there too. It starts with awareness of your thoughts, and ditching the self judgement. Even about the way you feel in regards to sickness. Drop all the judgement.

Decide that everything is fine

When you decide that my child is fine, and I am fine, and I am taking care of my kids, it feels like a burden is lifted off your back. There’s no wrong way to do this parenting thing if you truly truly love your child.

What if your only job when your kids are sick, is that you take care of you! Crazy thought huh? But this might just be the time you quickly schedule a massage or acupuncture treatment. Do it the moment you see those sniffles coming on in your child, and just know, there will be nights where you won’t sleep as much, and that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Even if you have a big presentation or meeting the next day. It’s totally okay. You’ll get through it all. But when you’re taking care of you, it’s so much easier for you to take care of others. Put that oxygen mask on first!

You’re all not yourselves right now

Everyone is experiencing the effects of the sickness. You’re not yourself right now, and your child isn’t himself either. Decide it’s okay. However you show up has a darn good reason behind it, and just know that if you want to show up better, drop the self judgement and become acutely aware of your thoughts. Your thoughts are creating everything. It’s not the circumstance my friend, it’s your thoughts about the circumstance. It’s your thoughts about sickness, and all roads lead to “I don’t like who I become in this situation”.

Decide that however you show up, you’re going to love yourself no matter what. Don’t just love yourself on the days you make pancakes and wake up happy. Love yourself on your crabby days too. And all the while, keep working on it. Don’t just give up on yourself and who you ultimately want to be. You’ll do this by creating awareness each time you’re put in a similar situation.

It’s the same principle we teach our kids to get better at anything. Keep practicing. Want to be better at math? Keep doing math? Didn’t make the cut for the soccer team? Keep practicing. You get to keep practicing too as the parent, and that is a beautiful thing. You haven’t passed this particular class or exam yet, and that’s why you have these kids. They’re going to learn from this and so will you. Life is a school. We’re all learning. You can’t hate yourself nicer. It’s okay to be gentle with yourself and your child.

What would you tell a friend if she/he was going through this same thing?

We respond differently when it comes to our friends. When they truly need advice or help, we’re quick to offer a listening ear and give them the comfort they seek.

Pretend you’re the friend coming to you with this exact situation. What would you tell her? What if this were your grownup daughter struggling with your grandchildren and their sickness? What would you tell her? Would you shame her? Would you make her feel guilty? Of course you wouldn’t. You would love her through this and that’s what I want you to do for you as well. Love yourself through it all. Then step away and breathe. Meditate. Drink a tall glass of water. You’ll see that it’s all going to be okay. Be patient with the process.

Do you have a sick child or spouse right now? Maybe someone in your family has an ongoing illness & you feel like it’s wearing you down. I want to invite you to come get coached. I can help you manage your own emotions through the situation so you can show up exactly how you want to. Purchase your 45 min call with me. The sooner you get the help you need, the more you get to practice and apply these tools in each situation and imagine how much your life can change for the better.

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