How To Parent When You Feel Like Shit

I am so, so glad beginning-of-November Hayley got overexcited about her new laptop and wrote up approximately 6 new blog posts to get me through the month, because as soon as I pressed “schedule” on the the Gift Guide for Dads, I got struck down by a horrible illness, a bit of a cold on steroids. I ended up laying in bed for a few days and I’m still coughing like I’ve smoked 50 a day for the past 20 years.


The only problem is – I would have loved to lay in that bed all day and all night. I craved the kind of poorly where you forget what day or what time it is, and you just stay in bed with the curtains shut, festering and watching re-runs of your favourite programs under the duvet until you can speak again. Unfortunatley, I was only able to fester between the hours of 10am – 2pm because I still had to parent around feeling like shit.

Elliot has also been under the weather, he sounds like he’s been twos-ing my 50 fags a day to be honest. So it’s been easier as we come home from school and lay on the sofa under blankets until it’s time to go to bed.

It’s Winter so I know everyone is going to feel like this at some point over the next few months, so here are my tips for getting through the slog of parenting when you feel like dog-shit.

Take it (as) easy (as you can). Give instructions from your bed. I literally called Elliot to my bed of a morning with a whisper to go downstairs and eat his breakfast and then come upstairs and get dressed please. He’d then wander off, eat a banana that I’d give him and then come upstairs and get dressed whilst I laid on the bed and tried to build up the energy to put a bra on. Everyone in the playground that week was lucky I turned up looking half human as there was a definite chance I’d been asleep 20 minutes before each school run.

You don’t need to do shit. I’m going to be real, my house was disgusting when I felt ill. I didn’t do any washing, dusting or cleaning at all for the whole week, I just either laid on the sofa or on the bed (or, one morning I turned our sofa into a bed and really treated myself to a luxurious episode of Homes Under The Hammer). Elliot ate sandwiches for dinner every day (God bless school dinners!) and generally plodded around by himself whilst I was tapped out. I did start to feel guilty towards the end of the week so we did read a few books together and had one painful game of Monopoly that I conceded because I couldn’t actually speak the words anymore.

Surround yourself with everything you love. No, I don’t mean your cousins and grandparents around your bedside holding your hands. I mean, get yourself a cup of tea, and biscuits if you can manage to eat them and settle down in your favourite pyjamas and slippers and watch your favourite shows. We’ve all got comfy shows, I think, that we watch when we’re feeling rubbish. Mine are oddly police dramas so I’ve spent a week watching Luther and Whitechapel on the sofa, but it’s each to their own. Unless you like The Big Bang Theory, in which case I’m going to judge you hard.

Pick your battles. There is no point in arguing with your child about what socks they are going to wear when you feel like you’ve got razorblades in your throat. They want to watch Boss Baby on Netflix for five episodes in a row? Let them go for it. The other 51 weeks of the year when you’re healthy I’m sure you’d do some wholesome activities and as long as you croak out their spellings on a Friday morning then I’m sure everyone will forgive you for the lack of banana bread you made this week. (This is legit from personal experience, as I was getting ingredients out to make gingerbread men on Sunday afternoon and then thought “no. I feel too shit for this” and the world did not end. We just put the My Little Pony Movie on again and Elliot had a jammy dodger instead.)

Don’t be a martyr. This is literally a note to myself as I battled through the week when I was poorly and should have stayed in bed. I went on a bloody school trip to the library, ffs. I went back to work when I wasn’t very well and ended up giving the lurgy to someone I work with and I’ve still got the horrible cough three weeks on. It’s knackering and I wish I’d taken the chances when Elliot was at school when I felt proper dreadful to actually rest. But it’s like when kids are tiny and all the advice you get is “sleep when baby sleeps!” and you laugh it off like “haha! sleep? I’m fine, I have so much to do I’ll sleep some other time” and then three days later you end up crying into a jacket potato at 11pm because the baby isn’t sleeping and your life has fallen apart. Just take my advice, go to bed. Lay on the sofa during nap time, don’t rush around getting jobs done when the kids are at school. Just rest. You’ll feel so much better so much quicker and it saves a lot of hassle.


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