There are no sick days.
There are –
‘Who stays home from work this time?’ days.
‘Who calls their parents first?’ days.
‘Who teleworks today?’ days.
Parents don’t get sick days. And that’s fine. We all know that going into it. You mentally prepare yourself for it and suck it up. What you don’t prepare for (in my case at least), is the stress that comes with not being able to embrace a true “sick day” with your child.
Sometimes I simply want to sit and snuggle my sick babes. But in the back of my mind is that project at work that needs to get done, or worrying whether they’ve been fever-free long enough to return to school/daycare the next day. I can never just sit and embrace (as much as I cringe to write that word) my sick kids.
This past week has brought with it two sick kids – for entirely different reasons. It also gave me two other snuggly children (who are otherwise little independent, non-snuggly souls). They actually want to lay and snuggle in my arms. And I want to relish in those moments and let them be sick. But the working mom world awaits. And sure, people will say “put your children first” and “don’t stress about work, they’re only little so long”. But that’s not how I’m wired. And sadly, that’s not how corporate America is wired. Yes, I think hubs and myself are lucky to work with/for people who are understanding and compassionate – but at what point do people begin to judge?
“They’re sick again?”
Yea, I’ve heard it. Innocent and not meant to be anything more than a comment, I’m sure. But it sticks with me. Is my work performance under heavier scrutiny as I frantically try to juggle an early daycare pickup and figure out who cares for a sick kid the next day? Sure, I’m probably too hard on myself and have standards that others wouldn’t place on me.
I only hope I can be seen as that semi-scatter brained mom who’s juggling a million things, but also handling her shit. If motherhood has taught me one thing, it’s how to be efficient as hell with my time. I’d like to think I get more done, quicker than I once did. I know it to be true. But do others?
So here I sit. On a Sunday evening, wondering whether to stay home with my sick babe tomorrow, call in a Hail Mary to a grandparent, or ask hubs to take time from a job that’s still very new. It’s stressful regardless of which we chose.
I think I’ll just chose snuggles.