It’s 6am and the high-pitched crying isn’t coming from our alarm clock. That’s your little one, and she’s coughing non-stop. And you’re soon to find out that she’s got a fever and a runny nose too. We get it — work-life balance as a working mom isn’t exactly a breeze, even on the best of days. Add in a sick kid and your 30-minute morning routine goes from moderate disorder to full-fledged chaos. Take a step back, breathe and know that you’ve got this, Super Mom. Here are seven ways to handle your workday (while still staying sane) when your child is sick.
1. Use a sick day. This seems so obvious, but calling off work to stay home with a sick kid may make you worry that your coworkers or boss will think you’re more in mom mode than anything else (i.e., you’re not as “into” your career as they are). But a sick day is a sick day — whether it’s for you or your child. Your cubicle-mate calls off when he’s got the sniffles, so why shouldn’t you do the same when you’re taking care of your helpless little one? If your kid needs a lot of attention, be it because of age or fever temp, use a sick day — even if it’s not exactly for you.
2. Use your spouse’s sick days. Don’t have any sick days? Maybe your honey does. If your spouse has a few stocked up, swap duties and get yourself to work! This is *super* helpful if you know you’ll have to be out for a few days.
3. Find a specialized center. Some daycare centers have a sick kids room. Depending on the center’s policies, they may allow kids who aren’t enrolled as “students” to use their sick services on a drop-in basis. Ask your mommy friends, talk to the pediatrician or browse the local parenting blogs to get the scoop on which centers offer this save-the-day option.
4. Bring baby along. We realize that not every work culture welcomes an impromptu take your child to work day. But in some extreme cases, it may be your best option. Talk to your boss, offering some sort of abbreviated work day. This might include popping in to finalize some paperwork while baby naps in her carrier next to you or canceling a meeting to stick to your office (with your sick kid).
5. Telecommute for the day. Between Skype, Facetime, email, text and everything else that the Internet/your smartphone has to offer, it may be possible to work a full day (this includes keeping your face-to-face meetings) without leaving home. And, you never know — your boss might just be so impressed with your telecommuting skills that she’ll let you WFH more often!
6. Have a village in your back pocket. You know the saying “It takes a village.” As a mom, you know it sure does. Even if you have the most supportive spouse on the planet, you still need some extra adult help from time to time. Instead of frantically scrolling through your contacts list at the last moment, have at least two different backup child caregiver options ready to go. This may include grandma, grandpa, a neighbor or some sort of sick-day babysitting co-op that your group of mommy friends creates.
7. Be the hostess with the mostess. Keep in mind, very few people will actually welcome your child’s germs into their homes. Instead of asking if you can drop your little one off (where he’ll most likely spread a layer of illness around), invite the in-a-pinch sitter over to your house. While it’s unlikely that a relative or close friend expect any type of financial compensation for their sick day duties, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat them to a sort of special day. Offer to chauffeur the sick day sitter to and from your home, order (and pay for) lunch from a fab local delivery spot and keep a stash of snacks on hand to make them feel at home.
What’s your working mom tip for taking care of a sick kid? Share your idea with us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)