taking time off when kids are sick - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 02-24-2004, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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This has probably been asked before, but.... how do you and your partner (if you have one) handle taking time off for sick kids? My dh has taken a few days off, but I've taken a boatload of sick days this winter, between rotavirus, strep, ear infections, and pink eye multiplied by two kids. (Not to mention my own colds and pink eye.)

So, do you take them sick to school/daycare, do you have relatives who help you out, or do you just take the days off and hope your work doesn't care too much?
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#2 of 17 Old 02-25-2004, 12:19 AM
 
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I take them to kindy or school if they don't have a fever or something highly contagious. If they're miserable, they stay home. We don't have any family to help. Very rarely I'll call on a good friend for a favour to babysit if I can't take time off. Dh & I stay home on a case by case basis. Depends on who has what commitments for the day. Usually I'm the one who stays at home as I am a student, whereas DH is working full-time.

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#3 of 17 Old 02-25-2004, 12:34 AM
 
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We usually switched out with exceptions based on our schedules (i.e. meetings one or the other couldn't get out of). Now that I WAHM I'm generally the one who is delegated to do it since I can work nights if need be.
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#4 of 17 Old 02-25-2004, 10:19 PM
 
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A subject near and dear to my heart, as I took today off because my dd has flu.

We don't have anyone to help. We alternate taking days off. A lot of my colleagues will split the day with their spouse, but dh is a teacher, so if they have to hire a sub, it works out better to alternate full days, rather than need a sub for more half days.

I feel very guilty about it. Before kids, if I took two sick days a year, that was a lot. Now I take about 8-10. Of course, I have perfectly healthy childless colleagues who take just as many days.
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#5 of 17 Old 02-26-2004, 11:59 AM
 
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Like EFMom, this subject is key for me as well...since it is Thursday, and I haven't yet had a full day in the office this week...

DH is in business for himself, so he has some flexibility about time out of the office, although his clients usually dictate how much of that he can take. I work a corporate job, and have the ability to work at home if I need to. So we often end up splitting the day, with each of us taking half (I often try to get the half with the nap in it! ). This week we both had work commitments on the same day, so my parents pinch hit for the morning, but that is not something we can depend on regularly, since my mother still works, and my dad has a hard time with the kids on his own.

We just end up sort of dealing with each round of illness on a case by case basis (and this year has been particularly bad). Every time we are in the thick of it, I always swear I am going to quit, or get a nanny, or whatever, and then we get through it and everything sort of settles back to normal. I have a very good relationship with my boss, very open and honest, and he is extremely understanding about my need to be out of the office as much as I am, but here we are up on performance review time, and I can't help but think that this is going to come up in some way or other...

Mia
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#6 of 17 Old 02-26-2004, 04:48 PM
 
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Appropriate subject for me right now. We use an in-home daycare, she only has a couple of kids (toddlers) plus her own school age ones. It has never been a problem for any of us or the dcp if we take our kids there with colds or sniffles or anything minor, and if her kids are sick I don't mind. I figure kids pass germs around a lot anyway, so no big deal, and then I don't have to take time off unless she's really sick. (Because it would be me to do that, not dh) Suddenly last week one of the other moms freaked out that dd was there not feeling especially well one afternoon, had a little bit of a fever, that I attributed to teething because she's getting her molars. Said my dd was there sick "all the time" and was the reason her dd was sick "all the time"! Well, both of our kids have been there with colds, and her dd is sick a lot, but mine is not. I was totally shocked because this has never come up in polite discussion, but she was totally angry at dcp, and basically implied that I was a bad mom. Aargh! DCP says "don't worry about it, I've always allowed kids here unless they are really sick, contagious, etc, and no complaints before now". But now I'm totally paranoid, and I imagine I'll be taking more time off in the future....
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#7 of 17 Old 02-26-2004, 07:01 PM
 
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This is the most stressful part of working for me... I never feel more torn or more ashamed than when I have to decide between "not doing what's best for my daughter" and "disappointing the people at work and having an unknown effect on patients" (I'm an audiologist, and the only one in this office, so if I call in, all my patients need to be rescheduled.) Notice that it's framed in the negative, either way.

I want to be totally responsive to my babe, but when push comes to shove, she's the one who's suffered. It makes me sick to admit it. I've sent her with sniffles and on cough suppressant. Somehow it's even harder for me when I know she just needs a "Mama Day" and I can't give it to her. (She really loves "going to school", so usually she's fine when I leave her...) I feel like, "I'd love to keep you home and cuddle all day, but I'm too afraid to say that my child's needs come first. So, sorry babe."

If she's really sick, DH has stayed home with her. I'm afraid to miss since I only work 20 hours/wk.

I thought I would always put my daughter's needs first, but I turn out to be more responsive to strangers. Anyone else feel this way?
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#8 of 17 Old 02-26-2004, 09:17 PM
 
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Hey there now, Audiomama- easy on yourself! You work 20 hours/week- I'm assuming the other days you are at home. I don't think this is being unresponsive to your DD's needs! I know it's really hard when you are feeling yucky & guilty, but there are lots of working parents who simply must stay at their job. Our situation is similar- Dh & I both work in teaching (at University; I'm a student as well) & if we take time off, the scheduled class is cancelled. In Dh's case this can affect more than 100 students. In my case my boss has to scramble to find someone to cover, if she can, or my lab has to run on half-staff (which means its horrible for whoever was supposed to work with me). If Dh or I take a day off, it definitely has a negative impact on the students. So, the kids go to school & kindy with colds. I have used antihistimines to make them more comfortable before they go in the am.

Don't know if that helps at all, but do try not to beat yourself up too much about it. Be gentle to yourself, you deserve it too!

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#9 of 17 Old 02-27-2004, 12:08 AM
 
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Audiomama, I agree with Aussiemum about not being so hard on yourself (another great example of "take my advice, I'm not using it," since I am often quite hard on myself about this topic...)

I know you feel like you want to be as responsive as you can to your dd's needs, and I am sure that if it were really something big, you would be. And I do think that kids bounce back pretty easily to a lot of this type of thing. My older dd tells me on a pretty regular basis that she doesn't want to go to preschool (even though she is extremely social and loves it), but what can I say? I don't always want to go to work every day, either.

For years my dad worked from home as a technical writer, and my mom worked part time as a librarian, so the upshot was that someone was always home when my brother and I came home from school. We thought nothing particularly of it, probably appreciated it in some ways, but it was what we knew, so that was that. Years later I heard my dad say regretfully that he felt like he was there, but not really there for us kids, that he was always working. I told him what I was grateful for was the fact that he WAS there, unlike most of my friends, who had fathers that came home at 8:30 or later every night, and left before they got up.

Bottom line, I think that kids get it when you are genuinely "present" for them, even if you can't be there 24/7.

Just my opinion. Chin up! You're doing a great job!

Mia
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#10 of 17 Old 02-27-2004, 10:39 AM
 
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Thankfully my mother watches my son while I work so unless, I feel bad too or if he is really clingy and wanting me, I go to work. Then I spend my lunch hour with him most days. It works out about 1 out of 3 sick days I get to stay home.

No DH to split the sick days so it helps out tremenously when my mom is so helpful and close to my job. Not to mention I get sick more so than my son.
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#11 of 17 Old 02-27-2004, 11:36 AM
 
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We have issues with this too.

My DD is 27 mos and we have probably had about 10 sick days for her and at least 5 for me in 22 mos or so. Doesn't sound that bad but I have some of the same issues as voiced above.

For one, my DH doesn't take off for her. His job is in a conservative, not so family friendly place so he would definitely have to lie and say he was sick. Not a big deal but he seems to resist it because he feels that a parent taking off for a sick child just isn't done at his place of business. There is also an attitude that my job is less important . . . why? . . . because not only does he make more than I do but for him to find a new job would be a lot harder than for me to. I don't think it's sexist but reality based.

There are practical reasons too. We couldn't really split the day because he commutes into the city so it's not real practical. DD is still nursing so she needs her mommy. I am a health care professional so if she is really sick I know how to take care of her better. I work in a woman dominated field and job so they are understanding of such things. My boss is getting her PhD, an endeavor that is fully supported by upper level management but she misses work all of the time for her classes and such so she really has no "right" to say anything

I struggle with the same feelings though. I work as an advanced practice nurse but my main focus is staff development of bedside RNs. Thus I have no direct responsibility to see patients. I do have committee meetings and such but if I need to miss them I will call and give info that is needed or ask people to update me on what I missed. Since I work in a hospital and it gets busy people miss meetings all of the time because they can't leave their primary area of responsibility and such so it's never that much of a big deal to miss a meeting. There are few "must" days of work for me (teaching something that only I can teach, a visit from an accredting organization) and luckily I have not needed to miss any of those. It is unclear what would happen if DD got sick on one of those days. I have (sigh) given Tylenol to make sure she felt better and I wouldn't be called to take her home. My biggest fear is as far as that goes is that she will be sick the day before on of those "must" days and will get "kicked out" of our onsite childcare for 24 hours . . . then I am up a creek.

Similarly I also have problems if I am supposed to stay beyond my contracted hours of 7-4 at the center. I have no alternative to pick her up so there are a few things coming up that I will be doing either with DD with me (not sure how that will go) or I have volunteered to do more than my "share" of hours so that the hours can be between 7-4. I do work with women, most of them moms (my DD (and I) are the youngest in the bunch though) and I think some of them with grown children don't have a lot of tolerance for me though.

Oh well, sorry this turned into a novel. You are not alone and it's hard when you have personal and professional responsibilities and you either don't have a DH or SO or they can't help out much and you don't have family or friends nearby that can pinch hit for you.

((HUGS))

That's why we are all here
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#12 of 17 Old 02-28-2004, 01:23 AM
 
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Thanks, Mamas. Reading your experiences that are similar to my own made me feel a little weepy (from relief, mostly, I think).

There are many Mamas where I work, but none of them are overtly AP and many are clearly NOT. Reading the other areas of Mothering, I guess I forgot that I choose my place on a spectrum... I don't have to be either surgically attached or totally absent.

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#13 of 17 Old 03-06-2004, 03:57 PM
 
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I'm a little late responding to this but DH and I try to take turns staying home when Ian is sick or there's a schedule mishap. A couple weeks ago Ian's daycare had to be closed on a Friday because they were moving to a new facility. I stayed home with the boy that time but the following Friday when Ian was sick DH stayed home with him.

Sometimes DH has client meetings that aren't close by (he covers all of New England) and sometimes I'm in class so scheduling can become tricky. I wish we had a relative nearby who could lend the occasional hand but alas, they all live on the other side of the country.
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#14 of 17 Old 03-13-2004, 04:36 PM
 
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We have a sitter that takes in kids that are too sick for school ...
so I don't have much of a problem sending a miserable little kid off to spend the day with her.
I do stay home for high fevers though. No one's better to deal with that than mom ....and I'd be too worried to concentrate or get any work done if they weren't with me then anyway.
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#15 of 17 Old 03-15-2004, 07:26 PM
 
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I rarely work during the week, for the reasons stated above.

However, when i do, it is understood, that should one of the kids become sick at school, or need to stay home, it will be my husband who comes home or stays home. He makes three times what i make, but working as a staff nurse in a busy Emergency Room (and for 6 years before that, an ICU) I just cant up and leave. Thankfully, this doesnt happen often, and my schedule allows for me to schedule myself on the weekends or afterschool hours.

I remember one time the school called him at work because our middle son wasnt feeling well. My husband called me, hoping i might be able to leave. However, i had a patient arriving via Flight for Life, and i could see the chopper landing as i was talking with him. I told him not a chance, and why, and he laughed and said "now i cant argue with the drama of a helicopter now can i?" Nope, you cant! :LOL He left and picked up our son
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#16 of 17 Old 03-15-2004, 07:31 PM
 
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We have a nanny so if its minor (cold, sniffles, no fever) we have no issues but if he is really sick we switch off. Even so I used up my allotment LY by Nov and went ito the red by Dec.....

Pardon me while I puke.gif

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#17 of 17 Old 03-18-2004, 01:09 AM
 
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We used to switch off completely, now we alternate. DH is an odd one though- if he is home with a sick kid he gets annoyed witht hem when he can't work?? This is new behavior so I try to take off. But we are short staffed so I feel bad when I do, and feel bad when I leave.
We have no family or friends who could help out. I have fudged the story to dcp a time or two... talk about guilt!
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