Practical Tips For Handling The Sick Days As A Working Parent

Practical Tips For Handling The Sick Days As A Working Parent

Practical Tips For Handling The Sick Days

You know that feeling you get when you’re at work for 10 minutes and you get the dreaded phone call from daycare – your child is too sick to be here – that phone call. 

Then you get that feeling in your tummy, the knots of anxiety because you have to tell your boss AGAIN that you have to leave work for the kids. You know that the boss isn’t happy with you already because you always leave to get the kids from daycare.

Thank goodness in Canada there are laws to protect us from getting fired due to sick children, but not every place in the world is like this. We are so lucky.

But it does not leave me in better place anxiety wise. How can I be happy to work when I’m anxious about my “status” at work. 

But on the other hand, you’re so worried about your poor little one who needs a hug and kisses immediately to feel just a little bit better so you run away from work with all sorts of mixed feelings. 

I mean we are human, not robots.. we love our kids and we need to work, the struggle is REAL. 

Honestly, sometimes I wonder, are we the only struggling family that has the little people that are ALWAYS SICK? 

A Horrible Story Of A Sequence Of Sick Days

A few weeks back… 

I had an inkling, that my son was not feeling super well. He is 4 years old and he told me he was feeling fine. So off to daycare he went. I told my husband to be on alert as we can get a phone call at any point in time and it was his turn to be on sick duty. 

Low and behold, the phone call came. Daddy picked up our sick kiddo from daycare and off they went to cuddle at home. 

The next day, the same little kiddo was still sick, but so was Dad. So they stayed home together again. 

However, I have 2 kids and this time, the second kiddo got sick at daycare too! So I pick up and drop off the second little one to sit at home with Daddy and go back to work. 

This continues for 3 more days! That's the entire week, all gone for a sick family. As my office was well aware that my husband took the hit at work this week, I was on sick duty the following week, crossing my fingers it doesn’t come to that. 

But it did, it came to that. 

We battled eye infections, ear infections and the flu in each kid for the next 2 weeks. 

That's right, 3 weeks off work between my husband and me. Honestly, I thought I was going to lose my job! 

How do you cope? The loss of wages when you leave work or call in sick? The loss of trust in you from your employer because you know they know that you are never guaranteed to be at work, its a gamble. And then you wonder why your boss would take a chance on giving you any of the desirable projects/tasks in the office because of your “flakiness”. 

On the other hand, the kids… the kids who are sick. The kids who need you more than ever because honestly, who knows better than mommy what foods will make them feel better and which medicine to give and which blanket is the absolute best for cuddling on the couch. The guilt you feel that you’re even thinking about the office when you know your children need you more is overwhelming. 

Do you see where the anxiety portion kicks in? It's like being torn in a million different directions to the point where you just don’t really know what to do. 

Practical Tips For Handling The Sick Days

As you can see from our story, we were not prepared for our flu season to hit us, but there are ways you can get ahead of the sickness and try to plan for all the unexpected series of events. It won't be a perfect plan, but it could help with creating a work-life balance.

  1. Have Backup Care In Place - It may sound silly to you to have backup care if the kids are sick because they will get sent home from this care also and you're in the same position.
    But - the kind of backup care I'm talking about is the kind that won't reject your child if they are sick. This is family members, friends, and neighbors.
    We are not all so lucky to have family around to help us out in times of need (Like My Family!) but if you do have a support system, see if you can work something out in advance for "drop-in" care.
  2. Check To See If Your Work Has A Daycare Program - This is probably something you are looking into before you even start working, or going back to work from maternity leave, but not all employers advertise their daycare. If your child is well enough and you are working in the same building, the daycare will more likely keep the child for you so you can get some work done.
  3. Rotate Care With Spouse - If your children are often sick, like mine, it is a good idea to split the time off with your significant other. If you are a single mommy, I feel for you! This is not an easy feat but I'm crossing my fingers you have a support system to help you out in your time of need.

Helping Your Child Get Better Faster

There is no magic cure for healing your children, that's just the fact. However, there are many things you can do to make sure they are comfortable and on the road to recovery.

If the child is very sick, take them to the Doctor. It's a bit of a pain the butt and if you live somewhere that doesn't have free healthcare this is more difficult to accomplish, however, a doctor can help provide insight as to the bug that the child is dealing with and can prescribe or recommend treatment.

These are the things I do when my child is sick: 

  1. Go to Doctor if rash, vomiting, and fever that doesn't subside with Tylenol, or if mommy gut feeling says I need to go.
  2. Crack open essential oils and the diffuser asap. We use tea tree oil, peppermint and eucalyptus in the diffuser as a combo mixture. I just mix my own oils, usually 2 drops of each.
  3. Give child bath and strip bedsheets before having a child spend the day in that bed.
  4. Start some chicken soup on the stove as my Russian granny taught me that chicken soup helps heal anything.
  5. Whip up some fresh real fruit popsicles - get the kids those vitamins in a way that they will actually eat - or lick in this case.
  6. Wipe the house down with my favorite disinfectant Sol-U-Guard. I buy this from Melaleuca as I am a part-time member. Lysol is alright also but I really prefer to use natural ingredients instead of chemicals. You can also create your own cleaner with water and tea tree oil.
  7. Endless loads of laundry, washing every bed, blanket, and clothing that I can find. I will repeat this process when the sickness leaves us also. This is not the frugal way to live, but it helps keep the bugs away from the rest of the family, even if just a little bit.
  8. Snuggle up with my kiddo and create a feeling of comfort and safety.

These just a few of the things I do when the kids are not well and I have to miss work. As you can see, it is not a day off in any way, a lot of work goes into a sick day.

Do you have any tips for dealing with sick kids and your work schedule? Share with me! I want to hear all about it. 

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11 thoughts on “Practical Tips For Handling The Sick Days As A Working Parent

  1. OMG I got “the call” last week. I am so lucky my boss is chill. It’s so stressful feeling torn between work obligations and the babies…but they always come first.

    1. Thank you so much, it was so hard for me to balance the sick kids and the work life, it feels good to share this with others.

  2. Oh yeah, that’s the struggle parents have to face! It’s horrible isn’t it? That you always have to kinda “choose” between the two worlds, that there’s no real compromise yet. But the tips you gave are very effective! and also, as for my experience, it gets a little better once they get older. It feels good to feel understood, thank you for sharing your story as it speaks to all of us ! And it makes us feel less guilty..

  3. The anxiety that I used to get when my kiddos were sick was terrible. It’s one of the reasons I started freelancing so I could just stay at home!

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