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A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Coping With a Sick Child

Toddler under the weather in too small pajamas

There are many days that I wake up ready to conquer the world. Today is not one of them. I have learned that my mood is directly tied to my daughter’s well being. And she’s been under the weather for the past two days. She has a stuffy nose, a fever, and her spirits are low.
I don’t have the other symptoms, but my spirits are low too. I have found that I cannot function without her being in a good mood. When I am sick, I am all about applying mind over matter.  Everybody knows that when mommy is sick, there is still a lot of work to do. (Check out "When Mommy Is Sick She Still Has Work to Do".) However, when my daughter is sick I cannot function.
It seems silly that my world becomes disrupted by what appears to be a common cold. Logically, I know that children get colds, especially those like her who have been coddled at home with a nanny for nearly three years and then are thrown into the rough waters of pre-school.  Still, I work in health care and know that common illnesses can present uncommon challenges.  Hell, the last time we thought it was "just a cold", it turned out to be pneumonia. Not only did I have to deal with the illness, my ever understanding mother compounded my guilt by interrogating me and insinuated that it was ultimately my fault.  That is a topic for another blog post though...

Pre-School and Germs Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Pre-school is a great place for learning. However, I have learned that it is also germ infested. My daughter has learned her letters, her colors, and how to make patterns. She has learned songs, rhymes, and self-control. However, along with all of those things she has also been exposed to more germs in these past four months than she has in her entire life. 

This semester has brought her more colds and sick days than she’s had in her entire life. She has also contracted pneumonia and taken her first round of antibiotics in her life.  I know that like reading, learning is fundamental. Still, the illnesses that have accompanied pre-school have tried my patience.

Now that she is sick again, I wonder how often the teachers or janitors clean the toys, instruments and chairs that the children love so much? Not knowing the exact answer, I'm confident that it is not nearly as frequent as I would like.  Still, I understand that this is the winter, it is pre-school, and that combination leads to illness. Knowing that does not make me relax and take it all in stride because my daughter looks bad, feels bad, and is spark is diminished.
So, as I sit on the couch in my pajamas at 7:00 PM, I realize that my ineffectiveness is a direct result of my daughter’s sickness. When she isn’t well my brain doesn’t work, my energy is low and I cannot function. She has been listless most of the day and has only wanted lay her head on her mama. And while I am unable to remain home with her everyday and my choices as a working mom have likely exposed her to more germs that have led to this bout of illness, today on this Saturday we are in this sickness together. There may be magical healing powers in togetherness. So, for the meantime, productivity be damned. Sometimes, there are more important things than the laundry.
Let's pray that she recovers soon!
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