Sick Kids and Mom Guilt


sick kid in bed blowing his noseI feel all the mom guilt when my kids get sick. And lately, I feel like they are sick all the time. I know it’s cold and flu season and the middle of another brutal Iowa winter, but I still feel guilt and a sense of shame every time. Tell me I’m not the only one!

I can’t help but question myself as a mom when I call the school office, yet again to say my child will be staying home.

As a mom, I feel responsible for my kids’ health and well-being, so when they aren’t well, I feel like it’s my fault. I start running through a list of what I do to try to stay healthy, wishing that if it were as easy as checking off the boxes.

We wash our hands every time we come home.

We take vitamins and use essential oils.

We take elderberry syrup regularly and try to get good sleep.

I feed them fruits and vegetables and attempt to not let them eat too much candy.

But still, we get sick. Right now, it feels like all the time.

I hate seeing them not feel well, and selfishly I hate the way it disrupts my life. I know kids get sick. It’s just life, but I still feel responsible. I question myself what I could have done better so they didn’t get sick.

I tell myself if I did a better job keeping the house, we would be healthier. Or maybe if I scrubbed the counters better or disinfected things more often we would avoid the latest bug going around school.

Maybe if we didn’t go to the mall play place or the library we wouldn’t be in the doctor’s office every week.

Maybe if I made sure they didn’t drink out of each other’s cups everyone in the house wouldn’t constantly be passing around coughs and sniffles.

Honestly? I’m tired. 

I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of holding my breath at night every time they cough, wondering if it will turn into croup. I’m tired of canceling plans because someone has a fever. I’m tired of spending another day stuck at home when I’d rather be working or enjoying time with friends.

I know my feelings are ridiculous. I have shared my anxiety with friends and they have assured me that it’s not my fault when my kids get sick. It doesn’t mean I’m not a “good enough” mom if they have to stay home from school.

Kids get sick. That’s just the reality.

I share this to reassure you, mom of sick kids, that you aren’t alone. No matter how many days you’ve had to call in sick or how many times you’ve taken your kids to the doctor this year, you are doing a good job.

I wish I could put my kids in a bubble and protect them from all the germs and other ugly things in this world. Since that’s not possible, I will stock up on Clorox wipes and Kleenex and settle in for another day of LEGOs and Disney+. And I’ll count down the days until spring!


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