So, mamas: It happened to me over winter break. The dreadful moment when you and the kids are sick at the exact same time and you realize you didn’t make it to the grocery store.
It never fails. You’re running a temp of 103, the kids all have fevers and ear infections, the hubs can’t get away from work, the fridge is empty and you just used your last piece of toilet paper. I mean, toilet paper. Things just got real.
I was standing at the counter sighing, trying to concoct some kind of snack out of jelly, Cheerios, and mandarins (don’t ask), when I said out loud, “Why does this always happen to me?” And then a little light bulb went off. Literally, the light bulb above the sink blew out. And I had the most brilliant idea I think I’ve ever had since I’ve become a mother. In fact, it’s such an awesome idea, I honestly don’t know why I never thought of this before. Though the Boy Scouts thought of it too: Be prepared.
Mama’s Sick Survival Kit
I present to you a heaven-sent care package, full of all of the essentials you’ll need to get by while you’re sick and can’t just shimmy over to the store. This kit works whether you’re the only one sick or if you and the kids are both sick.
What you’ll need is a large container, small enough to fit on a shelf but big enough to hold about 15 items. Prepare your kit right before sick season hits but empty it afterward so nothing sits and spoils. Remember to keep your kit high up on a shelf possibly in your closet; you wouldn’t want the children getting into it. And DO NOT break into it to save yourself a trip to the store if you’re not sick. You’re saving this stuff for a disaster … the kind of disaster that comes with coughs, wheezes and goopy eyes.
- First up, a roll or two of toilet paper. Because nothing else comes close to having toilet paper … enough said.
- A roll of paper towels. (In case you forgot the toilet paper.) Maybe throw some Kleenex in there too.
- Your go-to grown-up meds. For me that’s Tylenol Sinus, Aleve and Alka-Seltzer Plus.
- Your go-to kid meds. For us that’s Tylenol, Motrin, ear drops for pain, Vicks rub and a bottle of saline solution.
- Snacks that will hold up for at least 3 months if not opened. That means crackers, Goldfish, pretzels, a box of cereal or PopTarts. You get the idea.
Several cans of soup. Because you will get hungry and you won’t want to cook, and soup works for lunch or dinner. Now, I get that this is all processed (and you know how I feel about processed) but we’re going for survival here. MREs anyone?
- Powdered creamer and a small can of coffee. “I wouldn’t use powdered creamer on the longest day I lived,” you say? Well, this will feel like it. You’ll need the coffee.
- Diapers and wipes. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING will come close to containing antibiotic-induced diarrhea in your little ones. You can not afford to run out. Those swim diapers you fished out of the beach bag …don’t. They won’t contain it. Trust me. Unless you cloth diaper, of course, but then I’d still say who has time to wash diapers. You’re sick, remember?
- Paper plates, bowls and plastic spoons. You don’t have time for dishes when you’re sick. I barely have time for dishes when I’m not sick.
- A sweet note from yourself to yourself that reads, “Today you’re sick but you will get through this. It will be rough and taxing at times to function while your darlings are screaming that they’re hungry, thirsty, or want to watch The Wiggles for the 30th time that day while all you want to do is crawl into a quiet dark hole to let your throbbing head ache pass. But you are STRONG! You are WOMAN! You are MOM and moms don’t have sick days … they have survival kits!”
What would you include in your survival kit?