3 things to remember when your little ones get sick

Last week was a long, runny-nose-filled sick one. In fact, I can’t recall a day when someone in my family wasn’t feeling a little {or a lot} under the weather since Thanksgiving.

Remember when the school called me last Monday about Henry’s fever? Well, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday came and went, and poor Henry still wasn’t quite looking ready to go back to school. I spent Friday morning taking him the pediatrician and the afternoon snuggling with him on the couch.

While he was incredibly cute and cuddly, I couldn’t help but feel distracted by the huge amount of work I had originally planned to do that day. And then I felt guilty that I felt so distracted. And then I felt stressed.

I mean, just as you cannot {or should not} bundle up your sweet sniffling toddler and send him off to daycare sick, you also cannot {or should not} neglect your work responsibilities, right?

My husband and I are incredibly lucky when it comes to sick days. We’re both self-employed, which means we don’t have anyone to call to request time off and we don’t have to eat away at our vacation time in order to be there for our children. This definitely is not the case for many parents.

But with this great flexibility, also comes an enormous amount of pressure.

My husband is fortunate that he has some great employees who can temporarily pick up the slack in his absence. I, on the other hand, am a one-woman show. If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

Fortunately, I’m a planner and typically schedule out my clients’ needs days if not weeks in advance. But what about those emails? What about that meeting? What about this blog post?

Here’s what I want all working moms to know when their little ones gets sick:

1. Keep your guilt in check

The reality is that there are times when you will need to get work done in order to meet an important deadline and there are meetings that you absolutely cannot miss. But there are also times when you will need to be better at letting it go to be there for your child who needs you. No matter which situation you’re in when your little one gets sick, try to remember that you’re exactly where you need to be. Let the guilt go – whether it’s about the kids or work.

2. Know when to call for back up

We live in a society that assumes that mom will stay home. Maybe this is still true for some families, but that doesn’t mean it will always be true for you. Know who your alternates are ahead of time, because that nasty cold likely won’t call you in advance to schedule a babysitter. When you wake up in the morning with an unexpected sick kid and cannot be the one to stay home, you need to know who may be able to help you.

For me, it’s usually a matter of my husband and I comparing schedules. Can we trade off throughout the day? Does he need to stay home today so that I can be at that event and then we will switch tomorrow? I’m also incredibly lucky to have my parents just down the street as a plan B {although they too work}, as well as some fabulous neighbors.

3. Life happens

My kids coming down with a fever has hardly been the only reason for a work day gone awry. I’ve had my car break down on my way to work {before dropping my kids off}, inclement weather {I remember spending hours in the basement of the building I worked in during a tornado in the middle of an incredibly important meeting}, power/internet outages at the office, and on and on.

A sick kid is hardly the only thing that gets in the way of a productive work day. As working moms, we make adjustments all the time. {See? This blog post still got written.}

At the end of the day, someone has got to take care of the little one when he’s not feeling well. And I, for one, am glad it was me.

3 Replies to “3 things to remember when your little ones get sick”

  1. My little one started daycare last month and is already on his fourth bug. We’re currently home with pinkeye and a double ear infection, and this post was exactly what I needed to remind myself to keep the guilt in check and that it’s okay that I’m using grandmas to help. Thanks!

  2. I can totally relate with this. When my little one was about 2 months old, she got a high fever and it breaks my heart to see her fussy and crying most of the time. Since it was only a month after I got back to work, pending reports and tasks already piled up so I forced myself to work on these rather than staying at home to take care of my daughter. I was so guilty about it and I can’t focus for I always think about my sick daughter. My mother-in-law and her nanny were the ones looking after her but I know she needed me more than anybody else. The next day, I really can’t leave my daughter behind so I politely asked my boss for a leave and she did understand the situation. Situation like this really happens for us moms, but whatever decision we choose it is always for the best of our children.

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