When the Flu Hits: How to Help a Sick Mama Friend


This year’s flu season has been harsh in San Diego!

The day after Christmas I began the unenviable task of cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, and putting away the Christmas clutter. By the end of the day I was in bed, unable to move, and the proud owner of a 102 fever. When the chills and muscle fatigue began I realized I had the flu.

I was completely out of commission for four days, and on the fifth day I was only able to make it to the couch. On that day, I looked around at the disaster that had become my house. Since I had been unable to cook, clean or basically do anything for the better part of a week, and I had been in the middle of doing all of those things when the flu hit, my home was almost unrecognizable in its filth. So, as I lay there in a fevered daze, I came up with a short list of things someone could have done to help me while I was sick that didn’t involve coming in contact with me directly.

1. Stock up on everything a sick mama needs. This includes, but is not limited to, tissues, Tylenol, VapoRub, Chapstick, Vaseline, Pepto, cold medicine, etc. (Check out this sick kit post) As I discovered, when you wake up at 3am desperate for something to help the aches the last thing you want is to realize there is nothing left.

2. Finish that load of laundry she started. Maybe even throw in a load of towels or anything that looks like it could use a wash. I ended up with a load of my son’s clothes getting mildewy in the washing machine for five days. Gross! On a similar note, check the kitchen trash. If it’s been sitting for a while it may also be stinky.

3. Do the dishes. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate doing dishes! Mainly I think it’s because I feel like I am always doing dishes. But seriously, the last thing I wanted to do when I finally got out of bed was search for a clean spoon in order to eat some soup, or even think about facing the mountain of dishes that had piled up. Also, check the dishwasher. If it needs to be run or emptied help a mama out and take care of it for her.

4. Help make food. Dehydration and an empty stomach are not good when you have the flu. Something as simple as a piece of toast and some water or electrolyte drink can go a long way toward helping mom feel better. Most moms would also really appreciate someone making the kids some mac and cheese or a sandwich while she is unable to cook for them. Knowing the kids are eating something other than string cheese and cereal is quite a comfort!

5. Take care of the pets. Whether it’s a dog or cat, bunny or fish, when you are that sick the family pet suffers too! Feed the fish, take the dogs out, or clean the litter box. Whatever small gesture you can do to help with these chores will be greatly appreciated by a sick mama.

6. Take the kids to the park, the movies…basically anywhere but home. My son didn’t get sick when I did, and I know he was bored silly being stuck in the house. If there are little kids in the house, get them out for a couple hours. The kids will enjoy it and mom can get some uninterrupted sleep. If they are in school offer to do the morning school run or afternoon pickup so mom doesn’t have to.

I can’t tell you how much just one of these things would have helped me during those first few awful days. Plus, it would have meant that once I was back on my feet I wouldn’t have a week’s worth of catching up to do at home!

What do you mamas think? Is there anything you would add to the list that would help you if you were sick? Let me know!



  1. We keep Oscillococcinum homeopathic remedy for flu and flu-like symptoms on hand. We start it at the first sign of cold or flu (usually a headache or sore throat) and it has worked for us to either prevent it or knock it way back. The first time I tried it, my son had come down with the flu (swine flu, no less), I started Oscillo. My daughter went down a few days later. Both were out for 5 days. I took it the entire time they were down. I did get it, but only suffered 1 day of severe flu symptoms and in fact left town the next day for a girls weekend. I sent it to college with my kids and we continue to use it. I have been in ER waiting rooms a couple of times (for other reasons), filled with people with the flu and did not contract it. It is cheap, it has no side effects. You can get it over the counter or online. It is our go to when exposed or the first symptoms present and we always have it on hand. Also, easy for littles to take as it is like a candy to suck on.


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