Create A “When Mama Gets Sick” Kit To Help Your Home Run Smoothly

Photo Credit

This post was written by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Kat.

My family recently emerged from a bout with the Black Plague. Or something like that. All I know is I was down and out for almost 2 full weeks. I. Felt. Horrible. I was in bed more than out of it and my wonderful husband Jimmy did everything. I didn’t emerge from my room for a couple days.

I didn’t even blog.

Yes, it was that bad.

But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right? So, here’s something I learned from The Great Sickness of 2010:

Mama needs a backup plan.

Jimmy did a great job, don’t get me wrong. Since he works from home, he has a good idea of how things run around here and he took care of things like a champ, but it was hard on him. I want to plan in advance so, should anything like this happen again (may it never, ever be), we’ll be prepared. And it will be easier on everyone.

So I’ve decided we need a “If Mommy Gets The Black Plague Again Kit.” Here’s what it will contain:

1. Frozen meals

Make sure there are always at least a weeks worth of meals in the freezer. It would have been much easier if Jimmy hadn’t had to come up with a meal every single night. It would have been nice if he could have just pulled something out of the freezer to heat and serve.

I want to keep at least 5 meals in there at all times. In addition to that, I want to have snack/lunch options in the freezer regularly as well.

Lindsay has a great post with a gabazillion recipes. Don’t try to use that word in Scrabble.

2. Paper products

Lindsay may kick me out of my guest blogging position for this suggestion. (Kidding…I think.)

But dishes are just one more thing our husbands need to take care of when we’re sick. By having some paper cups, plates, bowls handy we can save them a lot of work, stress and mess. You can buy the earth friendly kind, so you don’t feel so guilty about using them. We did this about a week into The Great Sickness of 2010 and it made a HUGE difference.

3. Give everyone a job

When you’re healthy is a great time to begin teaching your kids how to do chores. If they can walk they can help. They can carry their clothes to the hamper or put their plate in the sink. If they’re used to doing a chore, they’ll be much more eager and able to help when mommy is out of commission.

4. Activities list and supplies location

While I was sick, Jimmy took the kids out, played games with them, read to them and let them watch tv. But it would have been easier for him if he had a list of entertaining activities for the kids. Things like Playdoh, painting, blocks, puzzles, audiobooks, Adventures in Odessey stories and looking at old photo books are really fun and they allow daddy a little time to rest.

5. Goodies

Keep a little box of trinkets (stickers, bubbles, coloring books) handy for those days when you’re not feeling your best. Providing a goody bag for your kids will thrill your kids and take some of the stress of entertaining them off of your husband.

6. Prayer

When we’re sick we have PLENTY of time on our hands to pray for our children and our husbands. Grab your prayer calendars and spend an extended portion of time praying for your family.


You CAN take care of your family even when you’re sick and stuck in bed just by doing a little planning and creative thinking.

Having an emergency kit will not only make life much easier for your husband, but it will also ease your mind when you’re sick and need to rest.

Action Step
Take 30 minutes today to:
1. Add paper products and a few goodies to your grocery list.
2. Double 2 recipes this week and freeze the left overs.
3. List 1 chore that each of your kids can practice.

Kat blogs at Inspired To Action, a site dedicated to helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world. Kat and her husband Jimmy live in the great state of Texas and have 3 children ages 7, 5 and 3. Kat loves music, running, technology, Jesus and Tex-Mex food. Not necessarily in that order.

About Kat

Kat blogs at Inspired To Action, a site dedicated to helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world. Kat and her husband Jimmy live the great state of Texas and have 3 children ages 7, 5 and 2. Kat loves music, running, technology, Jesus and Tex-Mex food. Not necessarily in that order.

27 Responses to Create A “When Mama Gets Sick” Kit To Help Your Home Run Smoothly

  1. Todd May 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    At this time I am going away to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast coming yet again to read additional news.

  2. Andrea May 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    I feel terrible at the moment. Now I know that I must take action right away after reading the posts! :) I’m thankful ’cause we have a full freezer and today we went on grocery shopping. I’m affraid at the mess I will find after I get over of this, but I’m thankfull for my loveling husband who washed the dishes today with the help of our little girl. Having a nursing baby doesn’t help either, but Im going to bed. Tomorrow will be another day. HE IS FAITHFUL !

  3. Pat in TX May 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    One of the commenters asked what to do when Dad’s schedule is not flexible enough to allow him to stay at home when Mom is sick. I have been there many times, both with sickness and thirteen or so very pregnant/new baby times. My husband is certainly helpful around the home and not by any means a work-a-holic, but he never had the flexibility to stay home when I needed him. (Nor did I have family or friends to step in.) I did have some help available after some of the children were older, but then again not always as they too had commitments.

    My keys to keeping the children safe and well-cared for were daily training in obedience and how to be quiet long before I needed it, keeping them always close at hand (generally in the room with me and often on the bed with me), and being flexible about some things that I am generally more careful about (for instance the commenter that was appalled at a very occasional use of a paper good).

    One of the best ways to bless dad is to ask HIM what would be helpful to him! Would he find meals in the freezer helpful? Let’s face it, toast and cheese for a weekend or even several days is probably not going to kill anyone. Would he like to know how your daily schedule looks, or have some new activities set aside for his use? Is Mom flexible enough to cope if she makes those things available and he chooses NOT to use them?!! Some of my children’s best memories with dad are the times they did things that were unconventional and pretty much unlike Mom’s ways:-) Like the guy campout in which they forgot to pack fresh socks and underwear!! Gross, but it didn’t kill anyone – and they never forgot that stuff again, either:-) Or the times dad fed them strange stuff and odd combinations.

    My best advice is bless your husbands in a way that truly blesses them, then stay flexible and appreciate all that they do for you!!

  4. The Coconut Mama May 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    What a great idea!

  5. Mrs. V May 6, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    This is a great idea! I know my husband would appreciate this so much. It would definitely give him the tools to handle the household confidently while I was down.

  6. Meredith May 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    My mom gave me a “sick box” for my kids for when they are sick. It’s full of little toys and activities they can do quietly and sitting on the couch or in bed – she had the same thing when I was little. The nice thing is that it’s put away unless they are sick so these are all “new” toys for them. I’ve used it when they were sick and I’ve used it when I was sick. A lifesaver both ways!!!

    She put in things like coloring books, puzzles, a view finder, a new Matchbox car, those magnetic boards you can make scenes on. Every once in a while she finds something new at the dollar store and stocks us up a little more!

  7. Martie May 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    I love this idea! We have had somethings similar to it in the past. (I now have teenagers to help with the little ones – what a blessing!) I know what the first commenter was saying about husband’s knowing the kids and all – but I think it is our responsibility to help him when he is pulling double duty. (His job and then doing ours too!)

    I think this tip is not anti – 21 century at all. When we realize that God has created us to be our husbands helper – (this is what the Bible says) – - it is our God- given opportunity to do everything in life to help him. This is a great tip that allows us to show him that we want to make things easier for him when he is giving to me and helping me when I am sick and down for the count. When he is watching the kids and taking care of the things I normally do when I am sick he is fulfilling his biblical command to love his wife as Christ loves the church. When I do what I can to make these times of sickness easier for him, I am fulfilling my role in being a help meet for him in this circumstance. (That is what is so neat about the biblical roles in the home – when both are viewing life in how they can do for their spouse the things God would have them to do – things run lovingly and smoothly. God’s ways are always best!)

    As for the paper products – I don’t use them often – but in times of sickness it is nice too to be able to throw them away and not have cross contamination issues. To me that is an added ‘plus’ when we have a ‘sick house!”

    Thanks for the tip.

  8. kanmuri May 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Ummm, I agree with some parts of the plan and I disagree with other parts.

    1. Great idea. It can also be a good solution for those days when you don’t feel like cooking. As long as nothing is

    2. Paper plates? I say no. Being sick should not be an excuse for polluting more. Surely your husband can do the dishes.

    3. Yes! Children should learn to take responsibilities early, even if it’s just small tasks.

    4 & 5. Sure, making a list of activities or preparing bags of goodies sounds great, but my question is: why can’t your husband come up with some stuff himself? Doesn’t he know his own children? If the tasks are well divided in the house men should be taking care of their kids as much as women. they should know their kids and what they like. Your suggestion seems to imply that women take care of the kids and men work, thus can’t possibly know what to do with children. I find this really negative for the 21st century.

    • gina May 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm #


      I used to be a middle school teacher, but am now a SAHM. My husband and I worked with H.S. students for many years before we had kids of our own…neither of us really knew what to do with little ones! We now have a 2 and 3 year old…since I do stay home with the kids most of the time, I have a better idea of what they like to do and a better knowledge store of activities for them because I read about it and have learned. He could not possibly know every little thing just like I don’t know every little thing he does at work. Anyway, I don’t think this notion is antiquated at all…but a reality for a lot of people. I really don’t think it has anything to do with knowing your own children. The whole point is to make it a little easier on him since he doesn’t do it every day. Even for me, it has taken a lot of practice and I still don’t always know. I think it’s awesome if your husband doesn’t have to work and is at home with your children!

    • Kat May 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

      I definitely hear where you’re coming from and I highly appreciate your input.

      My perspective on it is that he’s just come home from a full day at work (or since he works from home, he’s coming in and out from a very busy and stressful job) I just want to make it easier on him since he’s carrying the entire household load.

      Granted, during my sickness, I was ill for two whole weeks and he did everything – he worked full time AND took care of the kids AND took care of me, so I wanted to do every little thing that I could to help him.

      Next time, if I’m sick for a normal period of time, all the things aren’t necessary, but for our extended sickness (and I failed to mention that all 3 of our kids were sick as some point in that two weeks, too) they were incredibly helpful.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

    • Rebecca in STL May 6, 2010 at 5:01 am #


      I also hear where you’re coming from. When I was a kid, it was such a treat for my dad to be home with us for the sheer fact that his outlook on parenting was different–albeit less experienced than our mom’s. Sure he didn’t know where the finger paint was, or that certain hours were designated for reading, but he had his own well of things to do–even if they were out of the ordinary. Even something as simple as getting to draw on his graph paper (he was an engineer) instead of the usual white that mom provided us was something special that made mom’s absence bearable and dad’s presence a source of excitement.

      I guess I can understand leaving lists of where things are located in case your husband doesn’t know, but I’d probably steer clear of micromanaging him with too much information. He’s apt to feel more confident in his parenting (and, in turn, to feel that you, too, have confidence in him) if left to make some of those decisions for himself.

      • Kirara May 7, 2010 at 8:28 am #

        It really depends on your guy.
        A lot of men will be too emotionally exhausted by work and by taking care of you to want to have to come up with games and activities too.

    • Heather May 24, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

      If you’re a stay-at-home Mom, likely as not, your husband is working his butt off so you CAN stay at home because you are BOTH committed to this as a lifestyle. That often means that Mama runs the home, and, when Daddy has to do it, it’s about the same as asking Mama to go to work and do what Daddy does for a few days (or not as bad–my DH could make sure that diapers got changed and the kids didn’t starve for a few days, but I am NOT a computer programmer!!!). So, it’s not unlikely that Daddy is not familiar with all the little points of the part of household routine that happen while he’s working, and can use all the help he can get–including paper plates (buy the cheap-o ones & compost ‘em if you’re that worried about it)!
      Anytime you ask someone to step into someone else’s job in an emergency, making it as easy for them as you can is always a good idea.

  9. Leslie May 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    This is great…..I love the thought of being prepared, and I love the freezer meals idea. I’m going to work on this very soon.

  10. Sheri May 5, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    I am having a planned c-section in 2 weeks. I know from my previous ones that advanced planning is definitely key! I am going to intentionally rest more than I did for the last two, which means I need to prepare my husband as much as possible. I think I have decided to use paper products leftover from a few birthday parties, even though it makes me cringe to use them when we are home. However, I think this will help the hubby out more than I know :) i also have the freezer stocked and activities for the kids ready to go!

  11. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home May 5, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    I was thinking the same as one commenter above… this is good preparation if you think you might be getting pregnant anytime soon! This would definitely help during morning sickness!

    Also, some good suggestions for if mama is going to be gone for any period of time. I’m going to a blog conference in a couple months, and I need to start thinking about preparations for leaving my husband with the kids, so they don’t eat toast and cheese all weekend. :)

  12. Michele @ Frugal Granola May 5, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    Yes! So true! :) I just restocked the “goodie bag” supply, now I need to get going on the freezer meals.

  13. Natalie May 5, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    You know, this would be perfect for morning sickness, too! We’re not expecting #3 yet, but I think I’ll work on this looking ahead… :)
    (Plus, it’s a more cheerful thought than the plague!) ;)

  14. Bethany May 5, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    These are all such great suggestions! I love the idea of being intentional and prepared for when sickness or other circumstance strike. Thanks for the great advice.

  15. shorty May 5, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    I got super sick this year also but didn’t think of doing something like this!!! I will be putting a few things in the freezer to help with meal planning. I think I would like to put lunch friendly things in there that the big boys can heat up while Dad is at work. One thing that I have already done is teach my middle child to make muffins and pancakes. I keep pre-measured dry ingredients for both in the pantry with the wet ingredients written on the baggie (we reuse them over and over) so all he has to do is add a few things, put them in a pan and bake. I taught him how to use our electric griddle for the pancakes, which he loves to do, so he is capable of making breakfast. My oldest child can make eggs so breakfast is taken care of. Now I just need to teach them to make something I have put in the freezer and the next time I get sick…

    Thanks SOOOO much for this wonderful idea!

  16. Anna B May 5, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    Quick question – what if your husband has to work each day? How do you deal with being ill, if you’re home alone with your children?

  17. Narelle May 5, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    I did a plan like this a couple of weeks back – for short term illness though, not a mega stretch – and needed it this week. It was great to have already thought it through. I actually got to spend a whole much needed day in bed!! Of the 12.5 hours my husband was gone for, I was only out of bed for a total of less than 60 minutes – Thank you God!
    The only thing I’d add to the list above is to have a bell by your bed – a very handy tool (well, till the toddler runs off with it!)

  18. Monica May 5, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    This is a terrific idea. Without the worry of how your family is getting along while you are down, you can have a better recover period. Thanks for the idea!

    • Kat May 5, 2010 at 3:14 am #

      Monica – Glad you liked it!

    • Kat May 5, 2010 at 3:15 am #

      Ah. A bell. Good idea! Since my husband works from home, I could just text him when I needed something, but if it had just been home with my children, a bell would have been very handy.

      Thanks for sharing!

  19. La Tempete May 5, 2010 at 1:08 am #

    Actually, that is a really good idea. Thanks!

    • Kat May 5, 2010 at 3:11 am #

      La Tempete – You’re welcome!