We’ve been fairly lucky this winter (touch wood nervously), but when Miss Three is sick, things get pretty tense in our house. Negotiations about who has the most critical meetings and deadlines at work occur. There are thin lips all round.
Like a lot of families, we have no real backup plan. Our parents live too far away and missing a day’s work can seem like a crisis. It’s usually worse for Miss Three than it is for us, but at the time it feels like a disaster.
The other challenge is that, when kids are sick, it’s usually going around in the family, so you’re probably struggling with something too. But there’s no sick leave as a mum, right?
Coping with Jane has published these tips on Four ways to avoid a sick child in day-care which has some good ideas, but there are times when none of them work, and you just need to get by.
Here are your options.
OPTION NUMBER ONE
Force your kids to get up and ready for day care. Often a bit of a false economy as the carers are pretty expert at spotting a sick kid and will whip out that thermometer and call you home by mid-morning. The rules are often that they have to stay away for 24 hours after being sent home, so you may have turned one sick day into two.
OPTION NUMBER TWO
Call someone – anyone – to look after your sick kid(s). Mums, neighbours, friends, paid babysitters, can all come into their own at around 7am on a sick day. A paid babysitter can earn more than you do, so this can also be a false economy.
OPTION NUMBER THREE
Try and do it all. Call your employer and explain, offer to work from home, and then, if your work allows it, log in and try and get as much done as you can. This method usually involves using a television as a babysitter, or taking calls with a child whingeing in the background. In many jobs, and for many employers, it’s also not allowed.
OPTION NUMBER FOUR
If you are one of the very fortunate, use one of your carer days as a leave day and explain to your employer that your child is sick and you will not be at work today. They understand and know that their flexibility will be appreciated by less time goofing off at work and a more engaged and loyal workforce.
OPTION NUMBER FIVE
Try and get your husband or partner to do one or all of the above.
OPTION NUMBER SIX
Lie and pretend it’s you who is sick so your employer doesn’t regret employing a working mum and just thinks you’re always ill.
Have you used any of these strategies?