I’ve got the sick kid, working mom blues…


Charlotte felt a bit warm last night. I took her temperature… 100.5. Eh—not so bad. We’ll see what happens. She’s probably fine, right? <—Denial. Deep parental denial.

Naturally, she woke up extra miserable this morning. Her voice was raspy, she was coughing, she couldn’t stop cry-whining (that’s a thing, in case you didn’t know), and her temp was 101.4.

Last week, I had to leave early to take Charlotte to a dentist appointment that we had already cancelled and rescheduled once before due to illness.

Two-ish weeks ago, I had to call HR from our locked, pitch black lounge because I was collapsed in a heap puking into a trash can with the worst migraine I have ever experienced.

Three-ish weeks ago, I sat in my boss’s office and explained that I needed to leave because our household had just been diagnosed with scabies and a) it is contagious, and b) I need to go pick up prescriptions and then get home and wash every last inch of everything. (Long story on that one. I just about fell out of my chair when my doctor called that day.)

Just before that, I missed work to deal with Ratgate.

Before that, I was sick.

Before that, Charlotte was sick.

Basically, all of those events in a row made for an unhappy boss. He was as gracious as he could possibly be, but I can read between the lines. I was being flaky. I knew it. I’d be really frustrated if one of my own employees was throwing up the constant excuses that I’ve been, so… yeah. Not winning any employee of the month awards right now. There is no denying that I am not really pulling my weight at the moment.

And now, Charlotte is sick. Again. And there is no denying her sickness, so I can’t even feign ignorance and send her to school anyway.

Our former nanny is unavailable. My in-laws are both terribly sick, so they can’t come up to help. My dad can handle a few hours here or there, but he cannot change a diaper or deal with anything more complicated than changing the channel or going to the park. The last time my mom caught a Charlotte-virus, she was down for over a month. Her immune system is shot and I can’t let that happen again. Catch

What are parents who work outside the home supposed to do? I get 5 paid sick days, which is great, but it’s not great if I have to use them all in January, and it’s really not great if management rolls their eyes because “she’s out again.” There is so much I could say about this, but I’m too tired and stressed to be articulate and feminist-y. Something’s gotta give, and it can’t be my paycheck.



8 thoughts on “I’ve got the sick kid, working mom blues…

  1. I’m so sorry. I was extremely lucky when our kids were young to work at a place that was super supportive when those awful runs of bad luck like this used to strike for us. I had all the freedom in the world to work from home and make up needed tasks whenever I could. The place I’m at now is totally NOT that way, and just my own issues that took place at the end of last year got me the same kind of side-eye from leadership you’re experiencing now. I really feel for you, and I hope some good fortune is just around the corner – whatever that might look like.

    • Thank you! It’s so frustrating how some people just don’t get it. I thought after my boss’s son was born that he’d be more understanding. I think he tries–at least he tries.

      • Perhaps the operative word is “he?” I think, broadly speaking, men are less likely to understand how nearly impossible it is to juggle a family and work. Having said that, I immediately think of several men I know who totally get it. But none of them are the “head honchos” in their organizations, and perhaps that’s the second part of the equation.

  2. I feel your pain! All of January has been one sickness after another for me personally. Adding a sick kid to it didn’t help. I haven’t worked a full day in weeks. It’s embarrassing!

  3. I’m so sorry Charlotte is sick again, and that you’re spreading yourself so thin right now between work and family. I hope February is better for your family and that you don’t need to use any of those sick days for the rest of the year!

  4. That sucks so much! I’m sorry. 5 sick days in a year seems pretty limited to me. 12 is the standard in my area, but maybe you have a different vacation or holiday leave schedule. Either way, it is rough. My Mom had said once that it seemed like we would have good years and bad years and I have seen that in my own family. Some winters we seem to be sick all the time and others not. With my first child the first three winters it seemed like we were all sick a lot, and it has been a lot less since those first 3 years. Hopefully you are all feeling better soon. This winter has been bad for viruses for a lot of people I’ve seen. I had to leave early one day for lice. I can’t imagine the shock of a scabies call.

  5. Yup. It’s crazy difficult to balance taking care of a family and working full time. Heck, I even find it a challenge to work part time! I’m sure I’ve called off at least five times since the new year! Feverish kids… Pink eye… stomach flu. And the days off aren’t really “off” at all when you’re running to doctor’s appointments and pharmacies. Hope everyone starts feeling better soon!

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