Let's Stop Blaming The Sick Kids (And Their Moms)

So. There's this thing I'm super guilty of, and I'm wondering if you are too. I'm trying to kick the habit because really, it doesn't do anybody, anywhere any good - least of all me or my kids. But I just. can't. helllllllllp myselllllf. 

Here's a story for you. My son had a cold for a few weeks, and over the weekend, the cold suddenly took a turn for the worse: the cough kicked into high gear and began rattling around in his chest, his nose became a faucet we could't turn off, and he started running super high fevers at night. Turned out, that run-of-the-mill cold had become pneumonia.


I quickly thought back over the past few weeks, who we'd spent time with or what places we had used childcare at. The rolodex in my mind turned over and over trying to remember, trying to figure who's kids I'd seen with runny noses, who's kids had a cough, who's kid picked his boogers and wiped them on a toy before handing it to my son.

Okay, let's stop the story. Can you relate, at least a little? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

There are few things in this life worse than sick kids. They're miserable, you're miserable, the entire house is miserable. Everything is covered in snot and tears, no one is sleeping even though everyone needs it. I think finding a kid, or even a mom to blame make us feel just a little bit better about the situation. Because you can't be mad at your kid, you're definitely not going to be mad at yourself, so you pick on poor Johnny for not covering his cough, or Johnny's mom for putting him in nursery when she MOST DEFINITELY KNEW he was sick.

But the blame game has to stop. (Preaching to myself here.) First of all, I'd LOVE to see someone try to prove exactly which kid/mom/family made your kids sick. I mean, I see kids sucking on the bar of the shopping carts all the time. Who's to say they didn't get it there? Sure, you saw a couple runny noses, but your kid picks up chewed gum on the ground and pops it in for a taste test when you're not looking. Unless you live in some sort of fantasized, sanitized health bubble, there are a lot of places a kid can catch a cold.

Sure, sometimes, the culprit is obvious. The kid at the play date with a constant snot drip and a horrible hacking cough that's wandering around touching every toy in sight. *Most* moms know, if your kid is sick, keep them home, or if they start showing symptoms of being sick while out and about, pack up that diaper bag and get home. (And if you did not know this, you do now. So do yourself a favor and write that down - it's probably one of the most important rules in the unwritten handbook on maintaining mom-friendships.) Heck, I've even had moms text me to let me know their kids came down with the flu right after we finished a playdate, and sure enough, the next day, my son has it too. They didn't know their child was sick at the time, but now I know exactly who to blame. But how can I blame them when they had no idea? And even still, knowing the source of the germs won't make your kid get better any faster. This isn't some sci-fi movie where finding patient zero is the end all to healing the entire population.

Kids just get sick. It's a fact. If you've been a mom for any length of time, you know. Despite your best efforts, your children will get sick. Sure, it'd be great if all moms took tons of precautions and sanitized the heck out of their house and anything that ever leaves it, but you can't control them. You can only control you and yourself and maybe/sorta/kinda/not really your children. Which means you're still all going to get sick.

So whatta say we all agree to stop the blame game? It doesn't do anyone any good. Let's just believe the best in each other, that we're all doing the best we can to stop the germ spread and trust that no matter what, it's not intentional.  Remember that story up there? Yeah, we were staying with family when my son's fever started in the middle of the night - and they have a four month old. I about died thinking about how we just unintentionally infected them. You see, the fact of the matter is, while you're sitting there blaming another kid or mother or whoever, in a few days, someone else can and will be blaming you.

Nobody's perfect, so let's stop the blame game and just chalk it up to building up the immune system.

*On the topic of the "My kid just got sick when we got home, sorry!" text - if you're a mom, do this. It's probably the most humbling/horrible texts to ever write, but it's super helpful for the other mom to at least have a few hours to prep the pedialight and Tylenol.)

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  1. Oh, the most humbling/horrible emails I've ever sent was the "I just found lice on my kids' heads, on the evening after you all were at our house for a party."

  2. Oh dear! Yes, that's a terrible one - but so good of you to give them all a heads up. Gah!