Erin Chawla: The Kiducation Learning Curve


A Day In the Life of a Teacher Mom Who Doesn't Have Time to Be Sick

What Busy Moms Need to Fight Colds and the Flu

A Day In the Life of a Teacher Mom Who Doesn't Have Time to be Sick

Like you, I'm busy. Life moves fast, and a I can't drop the ball. As a teacher and a mom, I’m surrounded by adorable, virus-laden sneezers 24-hours a day. Vicks asked me to share my experience of how I recently fought the phlegmy fight and won. Here's how my day played out. Can you relate?

9:17 PM - My daughters are sleeping, tomorrow's lunches have been made, and lessons have been planned. As I sink into the couch, the scratchy throat that has been whispering to me all day ramps up to a roar. I followed my usual cold-prevention regime - regular hand washing, getting lots of sleep, and eating healthy. Even my ironclad teacher's immune system can't filter out every germ. Would a glass of wine help fight this off? Sigh, probably not. I wrap myself around a steaming cup of peppermint tea and try the power of positive thinking.

9:49 PM - I can ignore it no more. One of those sweet, little booger machines I call students has passed something on to me. This cold is coming on ferociously. I’m already coughing and I'm achy. But, it’s too late to arrange for a supply teacher. Besides, I’m the only one overseeing play rehearsal after school. Sometimes, a sick day is just not an option. I need something to alleviate the worst of my symptoms and help me get comfortable enough to sleep. I dig out the kids' humidifier and elevate my mattress to keep the fluids draining away from my stuffy head. I also take a dose of Vicks NyQuil COMPLETE in the hopes of getting a good night's rest, then I head to bed.

5:30 AM - The baby needs to be fed, so I stumble to the kitchen and become very aware of my sinuses. Before I was an adult, I never thought about them, but now, every time a cold hits, it’s this area that bears the brunt.

6:23 AM - Baby is now settled, pre-schooler is still sleeping soundly, and a steamy shower has cleared my sinuses...a little. I am a warrior - I will prevail! Or, at least, I will make it through today without being a total mouth-breather. When I was pregnant with my first, I discovered the effectiveness of a saline nose spray. I grab my spray, whoosh out those nasal passages, and get myself in gear.

7:40 AM - Fortified by extra vitamin C, fresh coffee, and a warm breakfast, I’ve made it to work. I’m armed with a package of tissues, hand sanitizer, zinc lozenges, a soothing thermos of soup (soup really does soothe a cold!) and a dose of Vicks DayQuil, just in case I need to bring out the big guns to help tackle my day.

10:15 AM - At morning recess, I survey the throng of boisterous kids, wondering which one brought me down. Luckily, I’m keeping it together. I’m definitely feeling better than I did when I woke up. I'm winning, so I guess I can’t complain, considering Canada’s flu season starts as early as October and runs until May. I’ve done well to remain germ-free as long as I have.

12:15 PM - I’m catching up on emails, sanitizing my hands before and after touching the keyboard. Do you ever notice cold symptoms get worse when you sit down? My sinuses are pounding out their drum solo again and my head is aching. I drink some extra water (fluids are my friend!) and I find time for a brisk walk. Movement always clears my head and keeps me from wallowing in my cold symptoms.

5:45 PM – I’m home, and it’s time to feed those hungry kids. All hail the mighty crock-pot - at least I have a hot dinner ready and waiting. Brimming with snuggles from the little one and endless chatter from the three-year-old, this is the best and busiest part of my day. I rush about, cleaning up spills, managing everyone’s food intake and focusing on my girls. This is the best reason to keep on marching, sneezing be damned. 

6:00 PM - Sneezes erupt from the littlest member of my family. Running eyes and nose. Another one hit.

7:03 PM - Baths and lunches are done and it's bedtime for the girls. And now I have to tend to a sick baby. Like all moms, I just can’t check out to nurse my own sniffles. I’m the captain of this ship. Thankfully, I have an arsenal of home treatments and some over-the-counter medication. My best advice is prepare a cold and flu survival kit ahead of time and keep it ready and waiting. Here's what I keep in ours:

  • tissues
  • saline treated nose wipes
  • extra pillows
  • herbal teas
  • humidifier
  • a multi-symptom medication to help with congestion at night, such as NyQuil COMPLETE. NyQuil will help you sleep at night by relieving sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aches.
  • zinc and vitamin C
  • throat lozenges with echinacea
  • chest rub
  • thermometer
  • a magic frog (a little ice pack for scrapes and bruises, but my daughter believes magic frog helps with all ailments and faith can be very healing)

9:12 PM – I’ve made it through the day and I am finally ready to rest my congested head when my husband comes home. “Babe, I’m not feeling well.”  Oh no. Batten down the hatches – man cold approaching! This is why I always keep my kit on hand filled with all the essentials. You never know when you'll need it!