Mum's the Word

Orphanage Mode: What to do when it's sick season

Posted: Feb. 21, 2017 10:05 am Updated: Feb. 21, 2017 5:35 pm

You've been up all night, your kids just thew up up last night's dinner, your stomach starts to turn and you can't tell if it's because of what you just witnessed or if it's the real deal.

Either way, you're not getting sick.

Mentally, you have to get over it because somebody has to hold it together for the kids and that somebody is you. You close all exits. Lock all doors. You get toys out, throw crackers and kiddie cups on the floor and you put the cartoons on a loop.

You are in Orphanage Mode and if you don't have to get off the couch you won't.

If Orphanage Mode lasts for days, it can lead to what I call "Sandworm Syndrome," where you feel like you are trapped in your house and cannot leave or you will be eaten by a sandworm.

If this happens, you will start to lose your mind. It's OK, just embrace it. You will have no sense of time and space. You will wear the same clothes for days and not care. You may do things with no recollection of doing them, like the dishes or putting your phone in the refrigerator.

You will not brush your hair and be OK with it. You will start to hum the theme to every program your child is into because of "the loop."

People will call to confirm basic details and you will detain them with questions like "So, what's new with you?" and "What are your plans for this week/month?" Never mind that it's just a telemarketer; you are so desperate for human contact it doesn't matter.

Orphanage Mode is rough, but you will get through it.

Here are things you will need. All parents should stock up because it's sick season:

1. Tea for you

2. Plain crackers

3. Frozen waffles

4. Campbell's soup with the pop top

5. Disinfecting cleaner

6. Carpet cleaner

7. Paper towels

8. Toilet paper

9. Tissues

10. A smorgasbord of drugs

11. A full DVR/Netflix

12. And most important of all ... a sense of humor

Good luck to all the mothers out there.


Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.

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