Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Busy Mom's Life: Lick your wounds!

Posted November 28, 2010

It's a constant struggle for moms who work out of the home: What do you do when you're running out of vacation or sick days and your child comes down with something? November has been the month of sickness for my children from fevers to a stomach bug. My husband and I are just about out of days we can use to stay home with the sick child du jour. Now we're holding our breath until the end of the year.

So on a Friday when our oldest daughter told us she wasn't feeling well, we explained that she had to go to school. She had no fever, no belly ache -- no symptoms other than a general blah-like feeling and mild cold symptoms. As I drove her to school that day, she said she wished she could stay home. I told her she needed to get through the day and lick her wounds over the weekend! I would soon regret those words.

That afternoon, our daughter called her dad to say she really needed to come home and rest. Her cold was getting worse.

I felt terrible about what I told her when I dropped her off. I also felt hurt she called dad first… but it’s no wonder. I expected her to be “tough like me” when all I wanted to do was encourage her to be a little more resilient.

So what's a mom to do when there are no more sick days? I’m certain that telling your child to lick his/her wounds is not the right answer! But you can’t take time off every time your child coughs, sneezes or sniffles or you’ll be out of a job.

I’ve decided that giving my supervisor as much notice as possible is one thing I can do to offset the issue. My husband and I have lined up a couple of back-up babysitters. And finally, whatever time I set aside this year for emergencies – I will likely double the amount of days to set aside next year because I have three children.

If I had it to do over again (and I’m guessing I will) I would still send my daughter to school with those symptoms. I followed school, daycare and physician recommendations. Next time around though, I would choose my words more carefully so she knows her mom is always here for her – sick time or no sick time.

Aysu is the mom of three girls and assistant news director for WRAL-TV.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • howdiditgettothis Nov 29, 2010

    We have wonderful neighbors, and I think--in a pinch-- we would ask for daytime help.

    Another option might be for one of you to take a half day in the morning, while the other takes a half day in the afternoon. Or ask for help part of the day and one of you take a half day.

    Not sure about your child's school, but our school will administer medicine that is sent in with the child. I actually sent some cold medicine in today.

  • JAT Nov 29, 2010

    Simple - you don't take vacations and your hoard your vacation time until you have to end up losing it at the end of the year if you happen to have a healthy child that year. I'd much rather lose my vacation time than lose my job. Of course, ultimately, you have to hope to hope you have an understanding boss who realizes that not all moms can or want to stay at home all the time and realize that his or her or mom surely had to stay at home sometimes when he or she was growing up.