As working Moms, we all sincerely hope that if anyone has to get sick, it happens on a weekend. Managing our home, our job, our family, and our relationships is hard enough without tossing bad health into the mix. But toss that puppy in and it can get downright complicated.
Take for instance this week. Emma has a cold. Ava was congested. Sarah was just fine. No fevers anywhere. Everyone went to daycare as expected, and to Grandmom’s as expected. Nobody felt 100%, but then nobody felt down in the dumps either.
Then along came Friday. Emma woke up at 4 am with a fever, after staying up till 1 am preceding, coughing a lot. Emma was obviously sick, I was obviously exhausted, and the workday was a bit of a stretch for us both. Thankfully, Emma was acting fairly close to normal Emma, and I have a rockin’ caregiver on Fridays (Kaitey is truly a supermom, whether or not she has her own kids is immaterial.) who handled it all with her usual panache.
But what do we do when our kids are sick? Or rather what should we do?
- Firstly evaluate the situation. Does this need immediate attention? Or is it something that can wait till after work, or towards the end of the workday?
- Is it contagious?
- Would I go to work feeling like my child is now?
We all know that when we are sick, we take a sick day. When our child is sick, we take a sick day. Sometimes, its easier to send our child to a caregiver, than it would be to send ourselves to work. I did not know how Emma truly felt, and sometimes it is easier to talk myself into going to work when she is too sick, or into staying home when she’s not. I don’t know how she feels, but my choice is often colored by my desire, or need for a paycheck, or a day off with or without consequences. So what are some guidelines for evaulating our child’s ability to enter a group situation? (Be it a party, or in a caregiver’s care.)
- Is this child participating? Acting their normal self, or close to it? (If Johnny is still running and jumping with nothing but a fever of 102, don’t sweat it. Johnny is generally cool to be in care, with a side of motrin.)
- Can this child’s bodily fluids (trying not to be gross, but motherhood is nasty sometimes…) be contained by a toilet, diaper, or tissue?
- Is it a known contagious condition untreated by antibiotics? (Think Pinkeye.)
If the answer to any of these is questionable, try to keep them home. I know thats hard, I’m a working Mom too, and we need that paycheck, or else we wouldn’t be working, right? So I try to have a backup plan. If its a grandmother, a neighbor, or somebody who can keep them home for you, that is often a good alternative to taking off of work. They cannot do Dr’s appointment’s for you, but depending on the nature of the emergency, the appointment can wait till you can take Jr. yourself.