Every parent wants to be a good mom or dad. But when you have commitments to your employer as well, sometimes things can get tricky. What do you do when your children get sick and they have to stay home?
How you handle the situation depends on whether you have other people nearby who can help. Some can simply ask a spouse. Others might have a trusted extended family member that could step in and take care of your child. Do you have a sitter that is willing to take care of your child when they are ill? There are also a few daycares and hospitals that will take on sick children during the day while you are at work.
I was often faced with this dilemma when my children were younger. I worked for a large corporation that actually offered a medical center hospital stay to kids too sick for school or daycare. I never used this benefit, but I also had access to family members that my children loved and knew who could stay home with them during these times. But this may not be an option for you. Many people hesitate to watch a sick child, especially if they are contagious, and this is where the problem comes in.
I was once challenged by a supervisor when I stayed home with my child with the chicken pox. My child was really sick and even though I had access to a close family member and to their dad, my child needed me. It was not that no one else could have cared for them but there are times when they just simply need their mother.
My supervisor (even though she was also a mom) asked me why I did not take my child to the hospital day center and I told her my child needed me. She insinuated that I may be hurting my career to which I responded that my children were much more important than my career.
Now I understand that not everyone feels free to respond this way, that some may be the only breadwinner your family has. When this is the case you will need to prepare in advance and not wait until a child becomes ill to handle the situation. If you do not have a spouse that has more leeway to stay home than you do, look for an extended family member and have them bond with your child before they ever get sick. If there is no extended family close by then find a sitter that is willing to stay with a sick child. Get them to babysit for date nights or while you do your errands so that the child can bond with them. There is no feeling that is worse for me than to leave my sick child with someone they do not know and that you do not have substantiated confidence in.
When there is no one else to care for your child and you must stay home, be upfront and honest with your employer. If you have been faithful in your work and given your employer the time and effort that is due your job, you should be able to take time off to care for your child when necessary. Most employers are parents themselves, but every once in a while you will run across someone who has absolutely no parental emotions or feelings whatsoever even if they are a parent.
Pick the times you take off with your children wisely and do the best you can to build good relationships with those near to your children to help out in a time of need. Maybe even a neighbor or someone from your church. Just make sure to have the child spend plenty of time with these people so that they feel comfortable and you do as well when it is necessary.
These are just some ideas that may work for your situation. It is never easy but all you can do is to do your best in any given situation. Things must go in your child’s favor when it comes to a choice between a very sick child and an employer. Just do your best to prepare in advance and be a faithful employee the rest of the time.