Sick Day

8 Jun

Not for me, for Baby Beez.

Sicky Baby Beez snoozing on the couch.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a working parent is dealing with baby’s sick days.  We’ve been lucky that (once she got through the first few months of germy daycare) Baby Beez has not been sick very often.  Of course, daycare means that Baby Beez brings kid germs home to Mr. Beez and I, and for a stretch last year we were sick for like three straight months, from one cold to the next.

Baby sick days are hard because they’re so unexpected.  When I have to go to court, I have to go to court.  Mr. Beez has meetings.  It’s hard to balance these things while also taking care of a sick and sad little one.  Heck, it’s hard to balance these things when you personally, get sick.

So far, we’ve managed to get through Baby Beez’ sick days in a combination of working from home, help from friends and family, and splitting up our days.  Today, for instance, I worked from home with Baby Beez snuggled in my lap for the morning.  Around lunch time, Mr. Beez came home and worked from home, and I went into the office for the afternoon.

It might be nice for Mr. Beez or I to be able to really take the day “off” when Baby Beez is sick, but the nature of our work isn’t like that.  Luckily, Baby Beez is pretty mellow when she’s not feeling well, and I can get work done while caring for her at the same time.  Today, for example, she was snuggled in my lap watching Elmo in Grouchland, while I had my computer set up next to me and was writing a brief. Every once in a while she’d turn around, stand on my lap, and point out my cheeks and hair and ears and mouth and eyes (and then poke me in the eye. She’s learning facial features right now).  Pretty much, though, all she wanted was to snuggle with mom and watch Sesame Street.

So how do you working parents deal with your little ones’ sick days?



6 Responses to “Sick Day”

  1. Viki June 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    SO HARD! I have this conversation with my parents frequently. Both sets of grandparents live >5hours away and no in-town family means that sick days are a real struggle for us too – I live in dread. All my friends work – so they can’t help out, any parents that are home are there to watch their own kids, and don’t want to expose them to MY sick kid. This is where my parents chime in and talk about having one parent stay home with the children and not work, guilt-trip-yadda-yadda. I have had about 3 meltdowns due to this actual issue popping up unexpectedly. If you figure this one out, LET ME KNOW. Until then, I look forward to the day that Ryan can stay home on his own on sick days…

    • BeezusKiddo June 10, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      I don’t have an answer to this. Our daycare does have a “sick care” program (but your kid needs to be pre-registered in the program, which I haven’t done yet, so that doesn’t help so much). But even if she can go to the sick care, I wouldn’t want to send her to it unless I absolutely HAVE to. She’s just going to feel worse being in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people.
      Do you have your own (desk style) office at your office? Maybe when Ryan gets bigger you can plunk him in there.
      If I absolutely need to, I can bring Baby Beez into my office with me for a short period, but there are few things that I would need to do in the office that I can’t do at home.
      It’s just such a tough dilemma, I don’t think there’s any easy answer.

  2. nikki June 9, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    I always end up taking the day off unpaid. My pay is pretty much insignificant anyway. I suspect it will always be this way. This past school year, Madilyn got sent home sick once. I had my father in pick her up since my job is an hour away from her school .

    • BeezusKiddo June 10, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Being so far away from her school is tough. I think one of the reasons we’ve managed to get through sick days without totally losing it is because we live so close to where we work. It makes it feasible for us to split the day, because I work 5-10 minutes from home, and Mr. Beez works about 15 minutes away.

  3. Shannon June 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    This has been stressful for us, too. Like Viki, we have no family within reasonable driving distance. My in-laws are about 4 1/2 hrs away, and my family is about 5 1/2 hrs away. Our friends are all working parents. We have made it work so far because we both have relatively flexible jobs and beause we did not take any time off for “frivolous” things like a vacation. I hoard my time off like precious treasure. If either one of us had a less flexible boss, it would be impossible. Frankly, it’s one of the factors that feeds into my hesitation to have another kid.

    Though I should mention that having a daycare that takes a… relaxed view of when a kid should stay home makes it a little easier, too. She’s gone to daycare on a few days when she was sick with whatever random cold-like virus was making the rounds. We keep her home if she pukes, but I know that if I needed to, they’d probably let her come as long as she wasn’t actively yakking. My nephew’s daycare requires them to be puke- and fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to class. We’d never make it if we had to keep her home every time she ran a minor fever.

    • BeezusKiddo June 10, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      Yeah, I agree about the relaxed view. Sure, I don’t want my kid hanging out with actively sick kids…but if that kid is sick, Baby Beez has probably already been exposed to the germ anyway. Also, they seem to be practical about the kinds of fevers kids run. She gets fevers after getting vaccinated, and we keep her home on the day she has the fever, but they don’t make us do the 24 hour wait for that.

      I don’t really have days “off” in the calendaring sense. I’ve got to make my billables, but don’t have an allotment of “vacation” or “sick” days. That would sound like my schedule is more flexible, but because it’s so hard to separate myself out from deadlines, it means I took a whopping 5 vacation days and 1 sick day (for when I had strep throat and could not function) in the last year. It’s harder to really cut yourself off and be for real on vacation in that situation. Then again, on days when I’ve had to stay home with Baby Beez because she’s sick, and I end up working from home, I don’t count it as a vacation/sick day, since I’m putting in a full day of work anyway, so I don’t have to worry about “spending” my non-existent vacation days in that way.

      I really overused the quotation marks in that paragraph.

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