We’ve all been there … You wake up one morning to get ready for work and realize your child has a fever! Not only do you feel terrible for your little one, but the stress instantly sets in knowing you have a pile of things to get done at work, but also need to take care of your sick baby. If your child is in school or daycare, you are not allowed to take them when they’re sick (although that is the last place your child wants to be anyway!) So, you run down your list of things to do at work that day and try and figure out how you’re going to manage the day.
For me, this topic hits on flexibility at work again. I’m not sure how I would manage sick days for my little ones if I didn’t work in the environment that I do – the ability to work remotely from home and an understanding manager (as long as I don’t take advantage of the situation). I still always feel guilty when I have to work from home when I have a sick child, but at least I am able to do it. And vice versa – I always feel guilty. One thing that has really made things easier is my husband is also able to help out. I realize there is sometimes a stigma out there about men taking paternity leave or staying home for a day or so with a sick child and that is unfortunate. But we are lucky in that Matt is also able to work from home when necessary and his boss understands that with 2 working parents, the situation arises where you have to put your kids first. So a lot of times, Matt and I will switch off for the day – where one of us will stay home in the morning and then trade off at lunch so we can both spend some time in the office if necessary. Or we will alternate days that we stay home if it is a prolonged illness.
One other thing I’ve noticed is that it is much easier to actually work from home when they are either babies or over the age of three. Babies sleep a lot so you can get things done while they are napping and over the age of three, my son has always looked forward to “movie day”! He gets to curl up on the couch and watch his favorite friends on the big screen while I can knock out a few things too. However, between the ages of around one to three – forget it! It is virtually impossible to get much done during the day so I found I pretty much have to take a sick day myself. I remember one time I was home with Jake and I tried to run a conference call and right when I was about to say something really profound, you hear Jake pipe up in his oh-so-loud 3-year old voice “Mommy, I have to go poopie!” How embarrassing!!!! Luckily he got a good chuckle out of it, but still…
My situation is different because the girls are at my house during the day – so I don’t have to worry about daycare not taking care of my sick kids. But I still have a hard time heading off to work like everything is normal. No matter how much my nanny loves my girls, everyone wants their mommy when they don’t feel well. Most of the time, I go to work as planned, but only in the morning. I make everyone aware of the situation, and then I knock out all of my important meetings or conference calls and head home as soon as possible. It allows me to forget about work and take care my sick one. It makes it much less stressful when you have a busy day at work and your child isn’t feeling well. I never feel like I am letting my little one or work down.
Please share your stories and tips on how you manage with sick children.