I felt on top of the world. I was getting used to the new routine of having 2 children, I had successfully gone back to work and managed to not look a mess (most days anyway), I was cooking a pretty balanced meal most days of the week to leave my family while I left to work the late evening shift, my home was starting to look like I put in some effort. I was calm, cool, and collected while dealing with other people’s emergencies and bs at work. I. Was. Supermom. At least in my own head.
I was walking around with a pretty big ego about having my shit together. Then it happened. My daughter caught a stomach bug. One urgent care trip, and a lot, seriously, a LOT of barfing later, the rest of us managed to avoid catching it, then she caught a cold 2 days after. The baby and I weren’t able to escape this one. It all went downhill, spiraling, plummeting to an abyss.
I found myself looking around in despair, home looking like a tornado went through it and took a crap, feeling just about the same, wondering how I let myself get so cocky. There needs to be a better way.
Being the overthinker I am, I analyzed, processed, and came up with a game plan. Preparation. Things simply cannot get this bad everytime I get sick. Some might say, don’t you have a perfectly able bodied husband around to pick up the slack, and to those I say, oh honey…. My husband, bless his heart, just does not possess that ‘je ne sais quoi” that supermoms have. He did up his dish-washing game a little, and took over all pet duties for those couple of days, but while I was at work, or passed out trying to recover, he just isn’t able to do other things while watching both kids. Someday he will, but for now I am content my kids were fed, clean and entertained. Someday I will teach him the the art of multitasking. This will be long term lesson/battle. So more on that later.
As far as what I can do to prepare myself or home for another disaster like this, there are a few solutions i came up with:
1- having a few ready to make frozen meals. I love crockpot meals, and have a board dedicated to easy recipes, but my favorites are the ones I can prep ahead of time, freeze and only need to thaw and put into the pot or oven the day I need them. I had made about a dozen before baby #2 arrived and it was so nice not to have to plan or do anything hard for dinner. Those ran out though and I haven’t replaced them. So the plan will be to always have at least 3-4 days of dinners to hold us over so we don’t end up eating pizza, Campbells soups and mcdonalds hotcakes for 3 days.
2-I had a bunch of little housework to-do’s that were put off for a free day, when i assumed I would be in full health and stamina. First off, yes, I know what they say about assuming, second, with 2 toddlers, there is no ‘free’ day. A day off from work only means crazy busy catch up madness. This usually gets me by when I’m not sick, but my day off was consumed caring for my little ones while trying to fight the cold. Not much else got done, which led to the mess I found myself in. Wishing I had put the clean laundry in the hamper away right after I washed it, that I had given the bathroom a quick scrub down, filled the water jugs when we still had ½ jug left, finished sorting the clothes the kids had outgrown instead of leaving a half sorted pile next to their closet. So many little things would have not added up the the normal dishes, toys on the floor and dirty clothes that pile up while we are all sick.
3-I keep meaning to put myself, and Hubs, on a weekly schedule so we know what has to be cleaned each day and don’t have to do a major clean up on our day off at the end of the week. I believe this would keep chores from piling and also help with getting him contribute a little more. Something like Tuesday-Dust living room shelves and clean out litter box seem a lot less daunting than, ‘clean the house’.
4-Basket strategy. When my cousins were little, one of my aunts had a system of grabbing a large basket or hamper and making everyone throw everything that didn’t belong in a particular room into it. It only took a few minutes and instantly made that room look clean. Her only task then was to carry the basket around the house putting everything away until it was empty. Which took a lot less time than taking each item to its home one by one. I recently remembered this and like the idea.
5-The final idea. Asking for and accepting help when I need it. Every Supermom needs a break. We cannot fully care for others without making sure we are taken care of ourselves. My kryptonite is admitting I am overwhelmed or need someone to do what I am ‘supposed’ to do. Easier said than done, but i will definitely try to remind myself that it’s ok to call my mommy and ask her to help me for an hour or two while I nap, or shower, or both.
As flu season fast approaches, I wish all you fellow Supermoms the best of luck and a lifetime supply of antibacterial wipes.