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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been one of those weeks.

I am a lawyer, though not yet admitted to this state's bar. I have to prepare another lawyer for two hearings coming up next week, even though I won't actually enter an appearance as I am not yet admitted. I've taken over these two cases from a lawyer who recently left the firm, and they are not at all ready for trial.

I also have to take a two-hour ethics exam on Friday (the MPRE, for lawyer moms) and have had virtually no time to study.

Usually, I work until 2:30 each day and then pick up DS from daycare. This week, DH agreed to take care of DS each afternoon so I could study. He just started a new job recently, so it has not been easy for him to take that much time off.

Today, we got a call from daycare at 11:30 (which is DS's naptime
: ) telling us to come pick up DS because he had diarrhea. Usually, they don't send a toddler home until they've had two bouts of it, but because it's been going around, they wanted us to take DS home right away. Well, where do ya think he got it, and is he really going to pass it to that many kids while he's napping??! So DH has to leave work a full 3 hours early to pick up DS - I am 30 minutes away, and am going nuts with work and studying anyway.

DH may have to stay home with DS tomorrow if he isn't better. With other kids, this has turned into a full-blown GI bug with lots of vomiting, so I'm freaking out that DS may get really sick and I may not get any sleep between now and Friday when I take the exam I haven't really studied for yet because of work demands.

DH is going to be traveling for work in a couple of weeks, and I'm panicking because we don't have a backup plan for child care when Evan is sick, other than me or DH taking him. My mom is local, but works, and doesn't spend that much time with us. No grandparents on DH's side. No siblings who are close. No friends who don't work.

So what do I do if DH is traveling, I have a court date or some other inflexible obligation, and DS is sick??

What is your backup plan? How do you manage if both parents are working and you don't have family help?
 

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Well, I have a few other family/friend options than you do, thank goodness. But my DH is an attorney too, so I know just how inflexible some of those dates can be! This was a bigger problem before I closed my catering business -- you can't exactly ask someone to call off a 50 guest cocktail reception because your kid has a fever and daycare won't take him.

We've only had a couple of times when both of us were completely unable to take off from work and various relatives aren't available. The answer for us was a very expensive babysitting service/temporary nanny agency. Now, I don't like this because you don't know what you are going to get by way of caregiver and they cost an arm and a leg. But sometimes you got to do what you got to do. I figure one day with a sub-par sitter isn't going to cause irreparable harm, but I still worry about it. Find their numbers, check their policies, interview the firm now, before you need them.

If there are other parents in your firm, you might want to have an agreement with them about covering each other's work in the event of a family emergency. Or even taking each other's kids if the other is in court or something. One of DH's collegues is on our "OK to pick up" list and we are on hers just in case this sort of thing happens.

If you have a sitter or two that you use occassionally for evenings or whatever, find out now what their day availability is and if they could help you in an emergency. A couple of my high school/college age sitters get out of school really early on some days and I know which ones!

Check with your mother now if she might be willing or able to leave work in an emergency if you were really stuck. Better to know what your options are before you need it.
 

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Our local Craigslist has a lot of babysitters/backup care/college students with flexible schedules. I'm going back to work Monday, and I'm planning to interview some college students that have advertised as available for day or nighttime sitting. Theoretically. That is, I'm planning to, but I'm also procrastinating because I'm in return-to-work denial. Sigh.

Do you have access to a LLL, NINO, or other mom's group? Perhaps someone there could help out with short term emergency babysitting-- though probably not for a sick baby, I guess.

Our company actually has a firm it contracts with for emergency daycare-- maybe you could check with your HR department to see if it has any resources for you.
 

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mom2evan-
i think that we just had the same week! i could use some of the same advice! my DS came down with something at daycare on tuesday and required an early pickup. i work an hour away from home and couldn't get there very quickly. DH is closer to home, but is a trial lawyer so is often in court. luckily he was able to get out early and pick up DS.

i took DS to the pediatrician that night and he had a bad virus. his doc said that he should stay out of daycare for a few days. argh- that left us in quite a bind for the rest of the week. i had can't-miss meetings all week and DH was in the middle of a jury trial. we have no local family and all of my at-home friends have kids of their own who shouldn't be around a sick contagious baby.
so- long story short, i stayed home and he is a little better today... but what a stressful and grueling few days.

i'm right there with you... need ideas so that this won't happen again. i hate leaving my little guy when he is sick!
it just breaks my heart!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, all, and thank you for the thoughtful replies.

I think what I will do is first contact the daycare, which is at a local college. They have students who work there, and know DS, so I will see if any of them are interested in sitting/providing emergency backup care for us, and what their availability is.

The hardest part is knowing that usually, if we need backup, it is because DS is sick. As sammy said, it breaks my heart to not be with him. It's even hard for me to leave him with DH when he's sick, because all he really wants is the comfort of nursing. I can't imagine leaving him with a sitter that he almost never sees. So I guess we need to plan for these types of emergencies by finding a sitter or two, then making sure DS spends some time with them.

Being a two-working-parent family is harder than I thought it would be.
Unfortunately, we don't have the option at the moment of having one of us stay home.

Thanks again for the advice.
 

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When my son was 7 mo. old, I went back to work PT. Either son or I was sick every week, I missed timed from work. No way could I have held down a FT or PT job, except that they "needed" me a little bit and I did not like them very much (the ex employer). So to make a long story short, I was in college and grad school for over 8 years, and only worked for 6. Now SAHM.

I guess I was "supposed" to get a nanny.
 

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Well, if DS is sick, either myself or DP has to stay home with him. We don't have any other options (no close family or friends that could take him). Fortunately, we have flexible work schedules, so DP will stay with him in the morning and I will stay with him in the afternoon.

Is there any way you could go with a nanny instead of center based care? With inflexible schedules, that may be the way to go. The other benefit of a nanny is that your son will probably not be sick as much.
 

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DH and I are usually able to split time somehow. Barring that - we have a home-schooling family with teenage girls and have sent our girl there in a pinch when she was sick for several days and both DH and I had been out with her. We've got no family of either side in-town.

We also have that very expensive Nanny service where they will send you a nurse of sorts (the kind with the lesser degree, not an RN) or someone else to care for your sick kid. My own day care provider had to use that when her TWO toddlers were sick, but she needed to work. She paid more for the Nanny than she made at Day Care that day, but I guess she decided she couldn't take the day off. It's really tough - but get yourself a good back-up for your sanity. You will feel better and be able to concentrate if you know you have plan in place.

In another pinch, I wouldn't be above asking my mom to take time off work if she was here and I needed her. My DH broke his leg when DD was less than 6 months old and I asked both of our parents to come out and help - it was pretty desperate situation, but that's what family is for.

Also - just nurse your kid through the stomach illness. It might not be as bad as you think. The babe will likely want to nurse a lot anyway and you can probably study in bed with the kid nursing. Be prepared for more vomitting though, so put down a towel. The DC REALLY does need to send the children home at the first sign of illness. It keeps everyone at the center healthy, especially the Day Care workers!

Also, does your firm have an EAP program or any resources or services you could avail yourself of? Take advantage of those things.
 

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i am on my laptop reading this post, as my 7 month old is whining while laying on my chest in his ergo carrier. i am supposed to be in court this am for two different motions. obviously, i will not make it!

my baby came down with a fever yesterday, and kindercare called me at my office. i had to leave a client meeting and get my baby. the dc policy is to not allow fevered kids back for 24 hrs after the fever runs it's course. thus,
my superior at work had to find two other lawyers in our firm who were available to cover my cases for me.

while my father helps out w/ my 11 y.o., dad is not the kinda person that could properly care for a baby for more than 2 hours or so. besides, when your child is sick, they want their MOTHER, not a substitute.

so, no back up ccp for me; i have to do whatever i have to do to take care of my sick child. if i miss court, then so be it. family comes first! besides, i am a FAMILY law atty, so my boss HAS to understand!
 

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ds is BF; seems all he wants/needs is to nurse all day and night. a back up ccp could not help him out with that!

even though i am home with my sick baby (who just fell asleep on my chest), you'd better believe that i am feeling a whole lot of stress and guilt (the other 2 attys had to rush around preparing for my cases) by missing work.
 

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As far as I'm concerned, this is the most stressful part of being a WOHM. You are just pulled in so many directions, and somebody's needs are gonna go.

So far, DH and I have been able to swap days off. But when they are really young, sick and bf, sometimes only mum will cut it. Unfortunately, DH and I have our annual busy time at work at exactly the same time. Last summer, we came very close to signing up for one of these "emergency nanny" services though, when DD had a run of GI problems during our busiest times.
 

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I like to work alternate weekends, because high school sitters are available. I have totally stressed over the backup childcare situation too. I haven't found a really good way to deal with the emergencies because they are all unplanned. I have used a nanny agency and been happy with the sitters they've sent. It helps to have used them already so when you call you don't have to fill out a mountain of forms. Good luck with your week
 

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I'm an attorney, too, and I'm in court pretty much all day every day. Very inflexible as far as taking emergency time off. And I'm a single parent so no daddy to coordinate with.

My neighbor can help in an extreme pinch, and I have one other friend I could call if the roof were caving in. Mostly I just pray pray pray that DD's health remains good and that I don't have to deal with a multi-day sickness. As you can see, I'm pretty comfortable in my denial...
 

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My company provides 80 hours of emergency back-up care for people who use daycare to care for their children or elders. It is essentially one of those expensive nanny services, but the company picks up some of the cost, and the total cost to the employee is $4 for an in-home nanny and $2 for a child care center. The in-home care is for up to three people.

I swear I could hear the sigh of relief from every parent when they instituted this policy. Obviously it's not something you would use unless it were an extreme emergency, but it's nice to know that it's available.

As for our current situation, my sister is our nanny, and she's cared for my son a couple of times when he's been sick. If she gets sick and can't come, I call in sick to work. We're a pretty healthy bunch, so it hasn't been an issue.
 

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i am in the same boat. it is either me or stbxh. so far in this last year we havent had any major problems where either of us couldnt take time off. i also have the situation where i dont get all the holidays off but dc is closed so we either take half a day off or her dad watches her for the whole day.

what upsets me is many times my dd is well to be cared by someone else because seh is not totally sick but just getting over the bug yet not ready to meet teh requirements to go back to dc - and i have to stay home eating up my precious sick time. i want to save them for when she is really, really sick.

i am on a tight budget so i cant really afford paying someone else. also i cant really leave her with another mom with kids when she is not ok to go back to dc.
 

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Just another story to add, one that won't solve all the issues raised here, but... We have a home day care provider that is kind of like a grandma figure in our family, partly b/c we have no family at all in our area either. This home day care provider will take our ds when he can't go back to school b/c he has had a fever in the last 24 hours, etc. He gets to lie on the couch at her house and be spoiled a little bit the way a grandma would. It took us awhile to build such a relationship with someone, but it has been worth it for us and him, and she is a loving, unusual person--it probably isn't the case that you would find someone like this easily, but it may be an option you haven't considered. But I would only send ds to her when he was feeling much better and basically just can't go back to day care and now school b/c of the 24 hour rule.

Of course, when ds was really sick, I would hate to leave him or have to take him anywhere, and haven't had to as my job and dh's are more flexible than some of the ones described here--and I do all kinds of swaps with colleagues for just the hours we teach (I teach college), i.e., leaving ds for two hours while I teach my class, rather than for a whole day. It's one of the benefits of my kind of employment...

But it's striking to me that I feel I can barely scrape by with these arrangements--and I have a very flexible job by comparison. I can see how these kinds of dilemmas make an in-home care provider more of a necessity--but still, the agony of having to leave a sick child with anyone else is really something no one talks about much.
 

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We don't have back up. Our usual sitters are my parents. When they go on a trip as they do every few months one of us will have to take time off from work even if it means doing leave without pay. DH has relatives in this area but they are unsuitable or unavailable. *sigh* Fortunately, I have a pretty flexible work schedule and seniority where I work so I can take time off if needed.
 
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