In The Bleak Midwinter

In The Bleak Midwinter

There are LOTS of things people don’t tell you before you have children.

But, above all else, the one I wish I’d known is – they make you really ill. A lot. Especially in the winter.

Colds, sore throats, ear infections, you name it. It’s now a given that from September to approximately the end of March, at least one person in our household will have some form of illness every week. And we only have one child…

So far this winter we’ve had stomach bugs, rashes and a nasty cold, and they’re always impeccably-timed. Got a nice Christmas surprise trip planned? Oh hello suspiciously high temperature. Grandparents staying for the weekend and only one toilet in the house? Time for a stomach bug…

But my personal favourite, and the one which all parents will be far too familiar with, is The Virus.

It usually goes something like this – the child develops a hideous-looking rash and a crazy high temperature, goes off her food and lays on the sofa with zero energy. My husband and I spend several hours (sometimes days) debating whether she needs to go to the doctor.

We eventually decide to take her as she doesn’t seem to be getting better and nothing we’re doing is working. Then lo and behold, the minute we get to the doctor’s surgery she’s running around the waiting room with more energy than Mr Tumble.

Which is another thing no one tells you. Despite all the worrying and panicking you will do when your little ones are ill, they generally bounce back very quickly. You on the other hand may not..

There’ll be no more lazy mornings watching This Morning on the sofa and curling up in bed whenever you feel like it. Nope, there’s nursery/school runs to do, classes to attend and small people dependent on you for food, water and entertainment. Even if you try to have a ‘quiet day’ (ha!) at home, it’s likely you’ll be so desperate to get out of the house by lunchtime that even the prospect of having an unfortunate accident in the park (you, not them) seems preferable.

So for anyone battling with endless bugs this winter, I feel your pain. You might not see it on the Instamums beautifully curated festive feeds – matching Christmas pyjamas covered in vomit does not win followers – but know that you are not alone.

Let’s raise a glass to all of us and our sicky children – even if it is only a Lemsip. It will be summer again before we know it.

Sarah Matthews

Sarah Matthews is a freelance writer and mum to two-year-old Olive. When not writing or parenting she enjoys wine and sleep mostly, as well as occasionally reliving her youth at Clubbercise classes and stretching out her achey limbs at yoga. And she definitely needs to get better at writing biographies that don’t make her sound like an old woman..

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