As we all know I really like working. I've worked since I was old enough to work and really enjoying the interaction and task related joys of my job. I did have a brief 1 year stint as a SAHM and almost went the same way as Sylvia Plath. But that had more to do with cabin fever than anything so maybe it'd be different if I did it again.
But one of my struggles as a working parent is what to do when the kids are sick. My carrier monkeys start dripping around November and don't clear up till April. Its one cold after another with them as you'll remember in my post Weekend in the House of Sick. I only have so much time off and I'd much rather use my vacation hours spending real quality time with my kids instead sitting at my computer trying to work from home while they lethargically watch TV. This is how I spent part of both Thursday and Friday.
This dilemma is one that I spend most of my winter worrying about. Scrutinizing every sneeze or looking at runny nose goo under the microscope to see if it is clear or the color of Ick. When my cell phone rings and the word DAYCARE pops up I immediately go in to a panic.
Notice the cute picture of him, I told him to look sad. What a little actor!
I always sound like a big dumb excuse maker when she calls me "But... but he didn't feel warm this morning. But he slept fine last night." I am secretly worried that she will think I just dropped off my sick kid and hoped she wouldn't notice he had the Black Plague.
In my mind people look at me and like I'm one of "those" parents. The ones they say send their kids to daycare or school sick because they're lazy and don't want to take time out of their day to care for their poor sick kids. I'm not just being paranoid, I've heard this said out loud. Not to me, but still said in assumption about another parent just the same.
Its like they think I get to daycare and slow the car down just enough to push my kids out of the car at the end of the driveway, tossing out their blankey and hitting the gas before Daycare Diva notices the dark circles under their eyes and the river of green and yellow snot pouring from their noses.
But let me spell it out. I do not toss my kids from moving vehicles. And I've only sent my kid to daycare once when I knew he was sick and this is the reason. I didn't know what else to do!
But that is me, yes I need to find a back up and I think I may have found one in the old lady friend of Honey Bunch...but that is only until she finds steady work. And then what? But that's just it, I can afford to pay a babysitter on top of the week of daycare if I have to. But a lot of people can't.
They don't have days off, they can't call in to work anymore or they'll get fired. Or they've missed so much work because of sick kids that they're afraid they'll lose credibility and the company will grow to think they're not reliable. They don't have an option, they don't know what to do, jobs are precious in this economy so sometimes they might dose their kid with Tylenol and hope for the best. Its not because they're lazy jerks but because they are desperate.
I do acknowledge that there may be parents that knowingly send their kids to daycare because they would really rather not have to deal with them when they're sick. But when you see a child at daycare or at school and he has a runny nose and is coughing, don't assume that his mom doesn't care. Don't assume that she pushed her child from a slow moving vehicle in order to get to her much loved job. Consider that she may be at risk of losing her job. Or if she doesn't go to work, she won't get paid for that day. And that day's pay is what provides the groceries, or the light bill, or the gas for the car that gets her to work. So if you were in her shoes, what would you do?
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