Parenting Tips To Cope Alone WHEN YOU’RE SICK

– If you're sick or injured, or sleep deprived, or just plain exhausted, I've got a long list of tips and hacks that will help you cope with looking after your children (upbeat music) Welcome back to my cozy little corner of the internet where I like to share motherly information that I hope will help your family be as wonderful as mine is

I'm Amy and I'm a solo mother by choice to five children, including two sets of twins As a working mother without any relatives to help me, I've always been really super invested in figuring out what works versus what doesn't Today's question was inspired by E Pierce, and actually E asked a couple of super interesting questions, but I'll have to come back to the others in a future video I'm having paranoid visions of somebody Googling this topic and finding this video in a moment of genuine crisis, so if you are sick or injured seriously right now and suspecting that perhaps you should be in hospital, please call somebody right now

Make sure that somebody knows that you're sick who you can trust to follow up to make sure that you and your children stay okay When my eldest son was nine years old and my eldest twins were around about six months old, I had a really severe gastro bug, so like a vomiting virus It doesn't sound like much, but I was really incredibly sick and I remember getting to the point incredibly quickly where I knew I was about to pass out I knew I wasn't capable of getting up to go and pick up a phone, and so I said to my nine year old, "Please ring triple 0" Which is Australia's emergency call number

So Chad was able to confidently call an ambulance, plus also call a friend of the family to let her know that she needed to come to our house right now to give us a hand By the time the ambulance arrived, she hadn't arrived So I had a vague memory of trying to resist being put in an ambulance, but the next memory I have is actually waking up in the ambulance I had passed out and having the paramedic explain to me that I was sick I was in an ambulance and everything was gonna be okay, and that my children were being looked after by somebody

So she had arrived before they had left After that I did a bit of research because I was terrified that something like that might happen again, and the reality is if you're a single parent, the odds are of something like that happening tend to be much higher than most because we all tend to operate on a really slim amount of sleep compared to the average person Fast forward however many years it was until I had five children and had a hypertensive crisis I know that sounds agonizingly melodramatic, but that's the proper medical term for having like three times higher blood pressure than you're supposed to By the way, later on in this video I'll give you some fabulous tips on how to cope with just a regular migraine where you're just vomiting and crying a lot, but you can still ultimately keep everybody alive without help

But anyway, on this hypertensive occasion I went so quickly from walking around like a normal person to being in that phase of kill me, kill me now I exited the house pretty quickly obviously, so I wouldn't stress the children but I couldn't see So I'm assuming I must've been able to dial by feel I couldn't see to knock on a neighbor's door or anything, but I was able to call for help, and this time I was able to use the advice that I'm going to give you now If you're genuinely and urgently needing immediate hospitalization and you don't have any other way to alert somebody safe that your children need to be looked after, ask for both the police and the ambulance

Obviously police are not a babysitting service, but they will attend just long enough to make sure all of your children are found from the various rooms in which they're napping and handed over to somebody safe, at least in Australia they will Hopefully you're living somewhere civilized where the same is true Anyway if you are seriously ill or injured, and especially if you are getting worse by the minute, call somebody now to make sure that your child doesn't end up alone with an unconscious mother or worse – Jeff, not good news She is fighting for her life right now, listed in critical condition

This child is so young she can't even walk, yet she was left alone with her mother's body for days – So lesson number two is having an emergency plan before something like that happens It's not just about having all the contact phone numbers for people like home doctor services that can come and see you at home, or people who might be able to take you to see a doctor or to go and get medications for you, or to come and look after you and your children if you really get to the point where you can't look after them It's also about making sure all of that information is sensibly ordered according to who is physically close by Who's most likely to answer the phone in the middle of the night or in the middle of a working day? Maybe whether they have spare car seats or booster seats, or whether they might be able to drive your car if necessary, or how much you might need to pay them or repay them, because when you're too sick to think, that sort of stuff is super hard to figure out

You should also make sure that that nice, clear accessible plan includes the minimal critical information that somebody will need if they are going to look after your child for you in the case of an emergency Like what sort of medications are they on for what sort of conditions? What sort of allergies do they have? What is their insurance information? If they suddenly come down with this bug and start to get as sick as you are Plus it's also making sure that your children know what the list is, where it is, and how to use it So now let's move on to the sort of situations where it's not a total emergency, and yet it's still a pretty big deal Like for example, if you're scheduled for surgery or if you're about to give birth

In a perfect world you'll always have grandparents or you'll have relatives or friends who are willing and able to step in, but life's not always perfect So you might need to consider hiring someone, or you might even decide to do it that way anyway For example when my second set of twins were born and I was in hospital giving birth to them, I hired a nanny to stay at home with the other three children for those few days, because that gave me the option to insist how early and how often that I wanted them to come and be brought to me to visit us in hospital and be together Those twins were only born one day earlier than the doctor had planned anyway, so I'd been able to interview potential nanny candidates and pick the one that I really liked best, but even I'd had a premature birth, I had done my research so much earlier that I already had my nanny agency selected according to who I felt I could trust that if it really was an emergency, that I would be able to feel confident in whatever complete stranger they sent me It would've been even better if I had been able to hire one of my children's own child carers from their daycare center, but it was against their center's policy at that time, but it's still worthwhile for you to check into that sort of option, or look into family daycare

Now the process of registration for family daycare can be really long winded and slow, so if you're not already registered, you've gotta be pretty prepared, but if you already have a family daycarer, often they will step in really happily for extended periods of time to keep your children in care Even if your family daycarer doesn't, there may well be many others in the neighborhood with terrific references who are available and willing to take on a group of children for a period of time until you are well On the other hand if you're already in hospital while you're watching this, again in an ideal world hospitals would do social admissions, especially for breast feeding mothers, but most don't Although I still have a tip for you if you've got a newborn who needs to be in special care for some period of time You might consider resisting being discharged yourself for as long as seems financially and ethically sensible, because you don't want to commute to visit your baby and deliver breast milk any longer than is necessary, especially if you live a really long way away

As for leaving hospital, I've signed myself out against medical advice probably as often as not I understand the pressure when you're a parent, especially if you're a solo parent, but in my defense I'll add that for the last few years I've had a really severe fear of hospitals So when I've been hospitalized so many times for pancreatitis in the last couple of years, I really do get to a point where I start going downhill, and in fact on one occasion I had a migraine so severe that for several hours the hospital believed I was having a stroke But anyway, whatever your reasons I don't suggest you follow that irresponsible example and take me as the cautionary tale I've been readmitted more than once within the space of a couple of hours, either because I really genuinely couldn't cope with the degree of illness or pain, or because I was recalled by the hospital who had just gotten blood test results and were really alarmed and said that I had to go back right now

Do be honest with your doctors if you believe that you would be better or sleep better at home, but by the same token do try to take medical advice so that when you take yourself home to your children, you can be well enough to look after them properly But if right now you're just a regular miserably sick versus crisis levels of sick, again in a perfect world you'd have a support network of family or friends or prearranged buddies who would step in to help you, but the world's far from perfect If you're stuck home alone with children while you're sick or exhausted, or in pain, or trying to recover from an injury, I've got a bunch of tips for you too to hopefully keep your misery to a minimum I've personally found migraines to be one of the hardest things to cope with home alone with a group of small children I suffer with both light and audio sensitivity, so I need things to be as dark and as quiet as possible

I found the most effective activity to involve the children in, is making blanket forts and cubbies We used to put all of the blinds down in the living room and give them lots of sheets, and towels, and old baby blankets, and little torches The idea would be to darken their space They'd take ages making their little blanket forts and cubbies and being next door to each other and the whole adventure You will have to remind them a couple of times not to shine a torch in your eyes or to keep the noise levels down, but on the whole that's the easiest way I've found to get a really extended period of relative dark and peace and quiet

I also went through a phase where I had bacterial pneumonia a bunch of times Apparently when you have it once, you can get scar tissue on your lungs, which increases the chances it'll come back and you can get into a whole little cycle Luckily for me that ended before I got pregnant with my second set of twins, because this next parent hack only works for maybe one or two children, and that's baths Have baths with the kids two or three times a day if necessary When you're really severely feverish and achy and barely able to stand up, kids will usually still be ecstatic to spend an hour in the bath with bath toys

Obviously if they're under school age, you'll have to be in there with them and not in any danger of falling asleep due to the illness or any medication you might be on, or else they will drown But it's an awesome way to keep toddlers safely entertained and within arms reach and out of trouble If they start to get bored with the same old toys, chuck in a couple of pieces of Tupperware or a pot or a pan, and you'll renew their interest for a whole nother hour or three If you're dealing with an injury that involves a long recovery, don't wait 'til bedtime to read stories and don't assume that reading aloud is only an activity for little kids When my workplace injury first occurred a couple of years ago, my elder twins' favorite time of the day was the time I would read stories to them and in fact my eldest child was 16 and 17 years old at that time, and without fail he would peel himself off of the computer and come and sit and join with us

We read all of his old favorite stories I don't remember them all, but I know we read the Hobbit and we read the entire Lord of the Rings series, and Watership Down and a bunch of others Mealtimes are probably going to be a major pain point When you're really, really sick it's not the time to be snobbish, so don't be afraid to do cereal and sandwiches for dinner, if it keeps you all safe and alive Better yet if your budget allows, and you are fit to drive, get the whole family out into the car

Put all of those children in their car seat restraints, sit your exhausted self down in your car with the air conditioner on whatever makes you feel most comfortable Drive all the way to somewhere that does fast food, eat your meal in the car, drive all the way home with those children restrained and considering it a fabulous treat It's a win win Or in this day and age, maybe you can book an Uber to go and get food for you Maybe they can add shopping for toilet paper and tissues

Maybe they can even go and get your medications Have a research what's available in your area and make use of it When my 22 year old was a toddler, the Wiggles built a multi billion dollar industry out of producing videos for toddlers and preschoolers, so that we exhausted parents could distract the kids with a 45 minute dance video at any time of day that we needed a break You younger moms have it so much easier thanks to all the electronic babysitting devices like tablets and phones Honestly if it's debatable whether or not you're even going to survive through the day, this is not the time to be precious or fussy about how much screen time they're having

I also recommend you take the same non-snobbish approach to co-sleeping because even an older sibling might have a nap if you and baby, and older sibling are all in the same room together If that's something that you're able to do in a safe sort of a way Lego and building sets and crafts can keep older children occupied with minimal assistance for hours at a time, but obviously don't give them access to anything dirty or messy that you're not well enough to ensure is cleaned up, or anything that could harm the younger siblings that you're not well enough to supervise really closely If your kids are older but have too much energy to burn inside, consider driving if you can do so safely to a local playground where you can still supervise adequately from the car, from the comfort of sitting still in air conditioning If you're struggling to get up and down at all, never mind in a hurry, please consider putting a pause on toilet training

Putting nappies or diapers back on a child who's already made some progress may well cause some regression, and may lead to a need for retraining in the future, but just think through That might actually be worth it if you avoid a potential catastrophe today if you're unable to help in time if there's gonna be a problem If you're not actually sick right now and you're just one of those genius forward planners, I salute you and I've got a bunch of tips for you too So yes, do store and freeze breast milk and have bottles, but also have a tin of formula in the cupboard because if there really is an emergency and you really can't feed, at least you'll have the comfort of knowing whatever your preferred brand is or the brand you can most stand is, is going to be the one that's being used Formula usually has a long enough expiry date that you can donate it to somebody else when your baby grows past that stage anyway

Keep your medicine cupboard and first aid kits safely out of reach of children, and always fully stocked with the everyday sort of remedies that you're going to want from the things that ease fevers, and make sure you have heat packs and ice packs, and allergy remedies and puffers, and plenty of medications, even for things like migraines that you really get very, very infrequently Make sure everyone's vaccinations are up to date Maybe even the really costly optional ones Even if you're a healthy family, and maybe get a flu shot if it's safe for you to have one Even if it's not generally recommended for your age group

Exhausted parents are sick parents, and single parents in particular generally can't afford to have any more illnesses than we can possibly avoid PS I've got another video coming out soon with more general everyday hacks to make everyday solo parenting easier I've actually got some really major news for you today, but first please vote in today's poll to let me know how much do you worry about potentially not being able to look after your children if you become unwell, and let us all know in comments if you've got any tips or suggestions or hacks for how to help other parents manage when they're really unwell, or injured, or just plain exhausted

If you haven't already done so, now's the time to have a scroll through those comments yourself and get some suggestions from other people on how they cope because I promise you the people that hang out around this channel are so much nicer, wiser, and more intelligent than people on the worldwide web as a whole So I promised you news, and here it is I had a really brief try at Facebook a few years ago, but just never really got onboard that train, but in the last week I've created a new Facebook page You'll find a link to it in the description below Please come and visit me there and help me learn how to use it

I've been having a ton of fun creating a bunch of funny meme sorts of posts and short videos, and by the time you see this video I'll have shared at least a couple with a lot more to come If you're a lover of Facebook, I'll be really super extra overjoyed if you share my Facebook posts and YouTube videos with your Facebook friends That's a wrap for today, so if you've already subscribed here on YouTube and clicked the bell so that YouTube will actually eventually add those videos to your sub feed, please go find me on Facebook at AskAMYvideos and follow me there as well, and remember to visit back here every week for a new video on YouTube

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