Code Red … Mom’s Down!
by Nanette Miller
You drag your barely functioning body out of the rubble of wadded tissue, unable to keep your cough at bay. After a look around, you realize that you’re in serious trouble. The maid, driver, tutor, cook and overall keeper of the clock has obviously been missing long enough for chaos to break loose in the house. It’s clear there’s no replacement coming, and the look on everyone’s face has changed from sympathy to panic. Soon the food reserves will be gone. And no one has a clue how long the last roll of toilet paper is going to last.
Most moms can tough out just about anything, but sometimes our health takes a back seat to busy schedules and ensuring our family’s well-being. Add a little sleep deprivation to the mix, and you have the makings of a disaster during flu and cold season.
The obvious answer is prevention and taking better care of our natural defenses. But even then, the strongest mom can fall prey to a super-flu bug. So how can you prepare your family to cope when you’re ill?
Try establishing a Code Red “Mom’s Down” emergency plan of action before the unexpected flu bug takes you out:
- Fill a binder with the following information and go over it with your kids like you would a fire drill. Be sure to include:
- Names and phone numbers for emergency contacts (911/poison control, etc.)
- Home and email address
- List allergies/health issues for all family members
- Spouse’s work and cell phone, if applicable
- Contact info for nearest available neighbors
- Children’s school info with teacher’s names
- Doctor’s office address and phone number
- Family members or close friends who will help with shopping, appointments, child care, etc. (Special Note: It’s important to develop a network of moms that back each other up in emergency situations. Whether it’s your MOMSnext friends or just one other mom-friend, ensure that you have a back-up.)
- Post an updated calendar of events with important meetings and lessons. Then if you’re too sick to remember what planet you live on, someone else can take care of these events or cancel them. Include the appropriate contact info.
- To avoid the ever-so-popular line, “But Mom, you didn’t tell me to do that,” have responsibility charts and check-off lists for your kids. Explain to your children that you really do need their help. It may challenge them and give them a new sense of purpose. They will enjoy showing you all they can do on their own. Plus, telling them you believe they can help take care of you is an excellent way to acknowledge their capabilities.
- Keep a reserve of basics stored up for occasions like this. Include canned foods such as: spaghetti, soups, ravioli and fruit as well as dry goods like peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, powdered drink mixes and cereal bars. Make sure you have extra toiletries and medication so you aren’t trying to run to the store for relief.
- Print a medication dosage and temperature log so you don’t have to guess what medicines that you’ve taken and to also make it easier if you have to relay that information to a doctor. If your kids are sick at the same time, be sure to keep separate logs. Keep those little ones close by so you aren’t trying to chase after them while you aren’t feeling well.
Nanette Miller is a single mother of five, ages 6, 9, 14, 17 and 19. She co-writes for the blog momcare.blogspot.com.