Kids seem to be petri dishes for illnesses. My first year working full time in an office was part of a stressful year for our family, which of course made my kids even more susceptible to every germ that came along. I was so very thankful that my mom lived nearby and could come over to administer to whichever one was sick and let me go in to work. It was frustrating to leave this nurturing task to someone else (even a loving and willing grandma), but I was very concerned that I did not want to get a label as being unreliable at work.
I know plenty of couples who try to split up these parenting duties, and I know others where this responsibility falls fully on the wife. (I’m sure there are some families where the husband takes on this duty, I just don’t personally know any.) And then there are other single mothers like me who have to cobble together some sort of safety net for the inevitable sick days. Does a parent ever end the year with any left-over sick days?
Even if a parent finds support for those hours at work, what happens once the parent comes home in the evening? I love my children and I find a lot to enjoy about being a parent, but I never cared much for the night duty. My boys will tell you that I don’t do nurturing between say midnight and 5 am – I never have been much for it. I’ll get up and do what needs to be done, but it won’t include much in the way of loving words or hugs.
It is a boon to have an understanding boss – you can perhaps adjust your hours to be able to balance both work and the extra child care needs. You won’t get a glare if you aren’t particularly sharp in a meeting after being up in the night, rather an ironic smile. You can finagle a late start or an early end to your work day, as long as it isn’t too often and you keep up with your tasks.
When I was growing up, home sick from school meant staying in bed where I could read or color or play with my toys, but no TV. I had the same rule for my boys which these days would have to be no electronic device, I suppose. The idea being that if the illness prevented attendance at school, it also prevented entertainment, except what could be created by the child.
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