Ten tips to survive a family stomach bug without throttling your partner

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Full family stomach bug

So we’ve just had our first full on every family member sickness and diarrhoea bug as a family of 4. Think the scene from Sex and the City where Harry and Charlotte get food poisoning from their seven course fancy meal, except add a 4-year-old who keeps puking in a bowl and pooping his pants and an 11 month old who at least wears nappies but keeps puking indiscriminately anywhere and everywhere.

It’s been pretty horrific. When something like this happens as parents you definitely say stuff like, ‘that’s it, this seals it, no more kids’. It’s the dark side of parenting. I have never seen so much excrement in my life. Or so much washing. So so much washing.

As a nursing Mam of two non-sleepers, there was literally no rest for the wicked. I had to nurse through my fever, go puke and cr*p myself, wake the baby then run back to nurse her back to sleep. One morning she woke me up by vomiting on my face. The joys of bed-sharing. The glamour of motherhood.

And of course whilst I suspect it hit Papa Ginge milder than me, he of course, took to bed and rested for two whole days.

Even though I knew (from being ahead of him) that he was at stages where he definitely felt better than me, I was left with two kids alone. Why does that happen? How does it work? Why do I allow it to happen?!!

Grow some balls is definitely a ridiculous saying and sick men prove it time and time again. Like Betty White RIP says ‘Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a v*gina. Those things can take a pounding.’

I don’t want to generalise or man bash BUT why are most men such babies when they get sick?! It’s a total pet peeve of mine.

My theory is that women are so accustomed to having to continue on with daily discomfort due to menstruation, pregnancy, birth, postpartum issues that we just have way more ‘opportunity’ to get used to battling through pain so when it comes to a cold or norovirus you think, I can cope, I puked for 21 weeks when I was pregnant etc.

Papa Ginge once told me during a bout of norovirus that I couldn’t possibly have felt this bad for 21 weeks when pregnant, guess what, I truly did, sometimes worse as you feel no better when you puke, but I still had to look after our 2-year-old. Life goes on. SUCK IT UP MEN FOLK.

Anyway, rant over. What practical tips do I have for getting through this horrid time:

1. Always keep a sick bowl next to or under the bed for toddlers and preschoolers. You never know when these things are going to hit and nine times outta ten it’s in the middle of the damn night. I was feeling so smug when my 4-year-old started this time, I anticipated, grabbed the bowl and caught it. Not so smug when the next one hit the pillows but you win some you lose some.

2. For babies, at night laying them on top of a fleece blanket or towel helps when they puke out of nowhere. Fleece especially keeps the sick on top rather than soaking through it if you grab it off the bed quickly after. If you do this right then it means if they throw up you don’t end up having to strip the whole bed. My daughter is pretty pukey at the best of times so we always sleep on top of a fleece blanket. It’s cosy too. Then under your sheets ALWAYS have a waterproof mattress protector to save your mattress. It will come in handy for potty training and general night accidents too.

3. Nursing is tricky because this is prime puking time so skin to skin baby. When we are in a pukey period. I nurse her with us both naked, laid or sat on towels. So much better than washing an two outfits each time, your bedding or sofa!

4. A tumble dryer (one that doesn’t result in your clothes coming out super creased like ours) will help because like I said SO MUCH WASHING!

5. Always have a stockpile of wipes and Febreeze handy. This applies in all parenting situations. I actually really need to go beyond this lazy parenting level now I’ve got two kids though and invest in a decent spot cleaner if any of you guys have any decent recommendations leave me a comment please!

6. Have a non contact thermometer that doesn’t beep or do anything loud or bright to wake your kids. It should be one that immediately takes the kids temp in a millisecond. Ain’t nobody got time for those armpit ones that take minutes while you are trying to keep a crying wriggling child still.

7. If you are at the start of your parenting journey always buy products with easily removable washable covers! Because trust me they will puke in the car seat or the stroller or the baby carrier. Whatever is the most expensive they will get with the most colourful puke or ‘poop-splosion’. We just bought a Cybex Sirona (affiliate link) extended rear facing car seat and Lena really christened that sucker this week, we felt very relieved we had bought a seat with washable covers.

8. Don’t be afraid to contact a cleaner to help you get back on top of things (once the house is no longer infectious of course). When the family is all down like this the general mire of daily tasks that it takes just to keep on top of a household with littles becomes neglected and can seem insurmountable. Most cleaners in England cost about £10 an hour give or take. Getting a professional in to do a few tasks for an hour or two is money well spent. Whatever your least favourite jobs are, make a list and set them aside. It really is money well spent. Same applies to takeaways and online grocery shopping. In the words of the Walking Dead, Just Survive Somehow

9. Don’t be afraid to contact family members/friends for help, whatever help they can offer. Once our 4-year-old was no longer contagious but myself and Papa Ginge were still sick we sent him for a sleepover at his granddad’s house which was super helpful. He was entertained and spoiled and I only had two infants to care for, Papa Ginge and the baby (I know I’m infantilizing a man but he behaved like one so it’s relevant ok)

10. As always, complain to your tribe, I always feel better after a rant (especially about sick men being babies), remember this too shall pass, the days are long but the years are short and when it is over reward yourself with chocolate, booze and yummy food.

Happy weekend!

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