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A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Coping With a Sick Child (Part II)

A photo of my daughter during healthier times

As I have mentioned in prior posts, our daughter began pre-school in the fall after spending three nearly idyllic years in the safety and security of our home with a nanny.  Although I made the transition to school reluctantly, I can tell that having her in pre-school has been monumental from a developmental perspective. I also believe that she started at the right time for her and for us.  That being said, we live in a world of scarce resources.  While our help cometh from the Lord our bills are paid by our salaries as opposed to a family nest egg. For that reason, this phase of life has caused us to experience some growing pains.

Unlike some families, we discharged our nanny after the toddler began pre-school. So, rely on pre-school as our primary childcare. And unlike the nanny, pre-school doesn’t accept sick children because they might infect the other children, which is somewhat ironic because our daughter never got sick until she began going to school… In any event, when our toddler is sick during the week Andre and I evaluate our schedules to see who will stay home with her. That has been a huge adjustment.  

When a child gets sick, a working mom misses work

Not many working moms have the luxury of having emergency in-home childcare. When their children get sick, either the mom or the dad has to miss work. Having to miss work has caused us to experience some challenges...

Before having a child, I used “Paid Time Off” to travel, take in a mental health day or rest when I was sick.  Now, I am conscious to save some of those days for the unpredictable, but foreseeable days when my daughter is under the weather.  I also try to work from home whenever these situations arise because I have a decent amount of “free time” on those days. On her sick days my daughter’s favorite activity tends to be napping.  So, I am able to be pretty productive.

Without In-home Childcare we Rely on Medication More Often

      Still, having our work schedule interrupted has made us more frequent users of medication than we had been before, in part because our need to have her recover more quickly is more acute. Before she started pre-school, we were very infrequent users of Acetaminophen as a fever reducer. Based on what we read, our conversations with our pediatrician as well as our personal beliefs we were previously motivated us to adopt an almost hippie-like approach to medicine. We believed that if given time, the body would heal itself. And once it did, our daughter would be rewarded with a stronger immune system.
Now that we don’t have the luxury of keeping her home without penalty, we have been more anxious about getting her well than we otherwise would have been. When you have a nanny, illnesses can run their natural course. When you have to miss work every time your child is sick, you search for a more speedy recovery. For us, that has resulted in our administering medication earlier and more frequently than we had historically. And that makes us incredibly guilty…

Are we the only parents falling into the “medication trap”???
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