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.
This is not the norm to have the ability to work at home or have a nanny. Almost all working women have the real pressure of “what to do” b/c if we don’t go to work we will get penalized.My work does not allow sick days for anyone other than yourself.
So what do you do if your child is sick?
I should have mentioned that I get penalized if I choose to stay at home when my girls are sick. My company has Paid Time Off. So whether it is vacation, a sick day for me or my duaghters, it gets deducted from my PTO. I usually don’t have to take a full day becuase I come into the office in the morning, but it still counts against my time off. I work with other moms who have friends in their neighborhood that are willing to help out in these situations as well.
OMG – what great timing as my 2.5 yr old son is home sick today!! I have the flexibility to work from home but agree that it was much easier when he was an infant. Between my husband and myself, we juggle the sick days. My manager is pretty understanding – just make or re-schedule the critical meetings and get my work done (even if it means that I work more in the evening than during the day). This is definitely the hard part of being a working mom!
Tough topic as unfortunately many work environments and managers are not supportive in these situations. On another note….Aside from this weekly section (And we missed last week’s) it seems this blog has become more geared towards stay at home moms. Would it be possible to balance the scale again?
I agree. All the ladies at my office visit but we have noticed a change. We’d love to hear from more working moms.
How about a blog about how working moms out-source or about any type of support/social groups in the area for working moms?
I agree – let’s try to keep info equal for working and stay-at-home moms. I’ve started tuning in less lately since everything seems so much less relevant to me, a single, working mom. I also agree that the two examples given were the two least common situations out there — working from home and having a nanny! What a dream! I can hardly sympathize with those stressors! If I can’t bring my baby to daycare because she’s sick, I rely on my ’emergency backup’ (my best friends nanny) or my best friend if she’s not working that day and has no plans (unlikely) or my sister’s nanny (who has two other babies to care for and I would be exposing to sickness!). None are good options but not going to work means cancelling surgeries or 40 some clients that are counting on me to show up to the office on any given day. Thanks to breastfeeding, and maybe some good luck, my daughter hardly ever gets sick and when she does it’s on the weekends!
I agree too. So not to complain w/o offering a solution, what if you increased the number of working mom perspectives?
Hmmm, I’m not sure what these comments about your blog being geared more toward SAHMs are based on. Reviewing the last posts, I had to go back to 7/8 (playgroups)before I found one that was not geared toward the working moms. Great job to you and all the bloggers for already mainting a great mix, and wonderful material every day!
Thank you for expressing your interest in more articles for working moms. Tracy and I are trying our best to bring this perspective to the site, but two people can’t cover every working mom situation – so we try to bring up situations that we have to deal with in hopes that our readers will contribute with their personal situations to round out our topics. We spend a lot of time talking about how working mom’s need to rely on each other, and Tracy and I are relying on our loyal readers to share their information to help out all working moms. We love hearing about topics that you want us to explore as well, so please keep that coming!