Care has partnered with family bloggers to bring you a parenting survival series, exploring the trials and tribulations of caring for a family. In the third instalment of the Care survival series, Slummy Single Mummy reflects on the ups and downs of raising grown up children.
As I write this, my 16 year-old-daughter Belle is sat next to me on the sofa, under a fleece blanket, coughing* into a tissue. So far this morning I’ve brought her cups of tea, water, banana pancakes and cough syrup*.
50 miles away, my eldest daughter Bee, now 23, is six months pregnant. Pregnancy has been tough for her, and for months I had regular updates on how many times she’d been sick into a bucket.
It’s not really how I imagined my life would be as they get older.
When they were small, we went through the usual round of childhood ailments. We spent nights on end not getting enough sleep because of stuffy noses** and hours in the evenings combing long, tangly hair for nits.
I’d kind of imagined that by the time they’d grown up and left school, my role as a primary caregiver might have scaled back a bit, that they might have matured a little, and yet it was only a week ago that I found myself in the supermarket with Belle, looking for Peppa Pig plasters.
It makes me wonder, is there ever an age at which your grown-up children stop depending on you for health related love and support?
I suspect not.
After over 20 years of parenting though, there are definitely some lessons I’ve learnt along the way when it comes to health.
Teaching self-care is key
As much as you might want to do everything for your kids, one of the most important skills you can teach them is to proactively care for themselves. This means doing the things they need to do on a daily basis to feel their best, like eating well, exercising regularly and looking after their mental health, and also knowing the basics of how to care for themselves when they are ill.
My kids both took part in Badgers when they were young – a St John Ambulance group aimed at teaching young people about first aid – and I’ve tried to make self-care practices a part of our everyday lives. In terms of healthcare, talking your children through your medicine box, and helping them put together their own for when they leave home, is a good way to help them understand the basics of healthcare.
Teenagers will never drink as much water as you want them to
Getting kids to drink water has to be one of the most frustrating jobs on the planet. I swear that if I didn’t remind Belle to drink, she would gradually just shrivel up until she was a dried-out husk version of herself, sat on the sofa, the TV remote in her raisin-like hand.
I often find myself at 5pm, saying ‘seriously, have you not had anything to drink yet??’ I don’t understand how they aren’t just THIRSTY?? I have to comfort myself in the knowledge that they are unlikely to actually let themselves die of thirst and if I nag enough, hopefully the penny will start to drop at some point in their mid-twenties.
Be prepared to talk about anything
Open and honest communication is vital when it comes to healthcare, even if it means sometimes you get a lot more information than you might want! Having this openness ingrained from a young age is important, so that when your children move into adolescence they still feel able to come to you with worries or concerns.
With girls, this includes talking about periods and everything that comes with them – mood swings, cramps, cravings – the lot***. There are a lot of potential health issues that girls need to be aware of, like the safe use of tampons, and you want your children to understand their own bodies well enough that they can pick up on anything that might seem out of the ordinary.
No matter how old you get, you always need your Mum
When I’m ill, even at 40, I sometimes I still just want my mum to make me a cup of tea, bring me some throat sweets and sit next to me on the sofa.
Visit your local pharmacy and ask for the Care range or like our Facebook page @CareHealthcareUK for more health advice.
As well as a mother, Jo is an author and writes an award winning blog. You can visit her blog here: www.slummysinglemummy.com
*Care Glycerin Lemon & Honey with Glucose. Contains Glycerol, Liquid Glucose. With glycerol and honey to soothe coughs and sore throats. Can be used by children over 1 year, adults and the elderly but is not suitable for diabetics. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using this product unless recommended by a doctor. Always read the label.
**Care Menthol and Eucalyptus Inhalation BP 1980. Contains Menthol BP, Eucalyptus Oil BP. For the relief of the symptoms of coughs, colds and blocked noses. Always read the label.
***Care Agnus Castus PMS Relief Capsules. Contains Agnus Castus Fruit. A traditional herbal medicinal product used to help relieve premenstrual symptoms such as: irritability; mood swings; breast tenderness; bloating and menstrual cramps, exclusively based upon long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy. For women experiencing premenstrual symptoms. Always read the label.
Read our previous guest blog by You The Daddy by clicking here.